Monday, August 30, 2010

Ting Mong

This female Ting Mong had one of the few faces still recognizable after the recent rains in Chi Phat
Chi Phat, the eco-tourism community that has been hosting visitors to their village (actually its a series of 4 villages; Chi Phat, Chaom Sla, Kam Lort and Teuk Laork) with the help of WildAid for the last couple of years, and which hosted the Hanuman 'fam' trip on Saturday and Sunday, was recently in the grip of an outbreak of Ting Mong. This isn't a tropical disease as you might think, but a simple belief in the power of spirits. Scarecrows are usually found in a field of corn or other crops to scare away birds but you will often see them perched outside homes and are a part of village life and the belief systems of rural Cambodians, who put great stock in their animist spirit forces such as Neak Ta and Ting Mong. Many Khmers believe that an unknown force is embodied in the large puppet-like figure that will protect them from disease or death. You can find Ting Mong constructed using spare clothes and placed in front of the house doorway or gate in the belief that it has the power to drive away the spirit of disease, danger or death. The villagers in Chi Phat had the very same beliefs about a month ago and the Ting Mong pictured here are left-overs from that. About 50% of the houses along the main street had a traditional Ting Mong in residence. Ting Mong is also the name given to the larger-than-life puppets with giant heads that you see at certain festivals in the Khmer calendar.
This very skinny Ting Mong was outside the next door neighbour of my guesthouse in Chi Phat
The face of this Ting Mong had been washed away
A casual looking Ting Mong - maybe waiting for a bus?
This Ting Mong is designed to ward off evil spirits and disease from entering the property
The owners of this guesthouse were taking no chances
Probably the most dapper looking Ting Mong on show in Chi Phat - is this a bullfighter impression?
A coconut will suffice as the head of this scarecrow

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Anonymous James said...

I love these scarecrows.

You can even see them in some villages on the outskirts of Phnom Penh tied to the front of people's houses.

I find them funny but would never say anything in public in case the evil spirits come after me.

August 31, 2010 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Emma Manos said...

Hey there, I'm living in Phnom Penh and would love to go see some Ting Mong. Could you give me any directions or names of villages where i could find them? Cheers

June 5, 2014 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Ting Mong can spring up there's not a permanent collection of Ting Mong that I'm aware of. You just have to keep your eyes open to see them.

June 6, 2014 at 1:32 PM  

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