Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Beaches of Thailand have been claimed by it's Dead.

Lek stares nervously out to the Patong sea from the shore and remembers the command that his passengers gave him on the night of the sixth of January “Go to Kata Beach", seven foreign tourists instructed him, and after agreeing on a 200 baht fee. He drove a while, but then felt numb all over his body.

Looking around he saw the cab was empty.

Ghosts of the Tsunami, no joke, Lek is leaving his job as a cab driver, and never takes off the religious charms that hang around his neck.

This is only one of the many reports of "Tsunami ghosts" that have been reported in recent weeks. At night the screams of a foreign woman ring out from the carcass of a gutted hotel, specter like along the beaches. In Khao Lak a family reports that their telephone rings all night, and when they lift the receiver, all they hear is screams crying out to be rescued from the searing flames of the crematorium. They say the voices belong to friends and family that died in the Tsunami.

A local shrink
Dr Wanlop claims that this is all the result of post traumatic stress disorder, and points out that these stories began ten days after the tsunami struck. Though the passage of time hardly cements his case. In my mind, the post traumatic stress disorder model works, but it is only one model, and as such we, not knowing the full details of the situation, should not disregard other models, as a "quick" answer may not provide the right answer that best helps in the healing process, it could be ghosts, it could be sub sonic sound, it could be many things. Dr Wanlop seems to only deal in certainties, another of which is that the reason so many foreign ghosts have been sited is because "foreigners make a big impression on Thais". There, it's all solved and the Thai's can go back to sleeping soundly in their beds.

Except the people who have reported the "Ghosts" say that Dr. Wanlop's theory provides little comfort.

Thailand is a mostly Buddhist country, and Buddhist monks are now functioning as counselors to many of the berieved. Thailands "Ghost" model predates the arrival of the teachings of Siddartha. In recent weeks non Buddhist spiritualist exorcisims have been performed with regualarity on beaches and in houses in an effort to provide safe passage for the "Ghosts" to what the Thais consider to be the other world.

The beaches of Thailand, are now clouded with incense and the mantra of chants as Thai's offer paper clothes, money and slices of pizza to help the foreigners find their way across the Styx.

Peace and Hope to everyone involved.



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