Farmers in Cambodia believe these effigies have the power to protect them from COVID-19

Farmers in Cambodia believe these effigies have the power to protect them from COVID-19

We’re well into the final quarter of 2020 and COVID-19 is still taking over our social media news feeds.

It’s no surprise, seeing as global COVID-19 cases have surpassed 37.7 million, with the death toll already shooting past 1 million unfortunate souls.

And when it comes to virus mitigation, we’re all used to this new normal, or should be by now. This includes the use of face masks, strict adherence to social distancing and self isolation measures, as well as an increased awareness of personal hygiene.

But farmers in Cambodia, where COVID-19 has kept to a mere 283 cases and zero deaths, are making use of scarecrows to ward off the virus.

Known as ‘Ting Mong’ in Khmer, these scarecrows are propped up at the entrances of rural homes, farms, and entire villages as a means to protect the inhabitants from COVID-19.

IMAGE: AFP / theSundaily

Cambodia is a majority Thearavada Buddhist nation, with 95 percent of the population practicing the religion. ‘Ting Mong’ are essentially effigies that devotees use to protect themselves from imminent danger, as well as all things evil. And COVID-19 surely is one of those things.

In the past, ‘Ting Mong’ have also been used to protect villages plagued with other diseases, such as dengue fever and water-borne diarrhoea. They’re a pretty common sight in that regard.

They come in all shapes and sizes. Some people put more effort into them than others. But at the end of the day, they all serve the same purpose.

A Ting Mong tied to a fence outside a farmer’s home. IMAGE: AFP / South China Morning Post

“I’ve set up the Ting Mong to prevent the coronavirus from threatening my family,” says 45-year-old farmer Sok Chany. “It is our ancient superstition to set up Ting Mong when there are dangerous diseases or to avert evil.”

Many Cambodians believe that spirits are tied to objects, animals, and places.

In the village of Trapeang Sla, where Chany lives, Ting Mong can be found ‘guarding’ nearly every single home.

IMAGE: AFP / Opoyi

Some, like Chany’s, are elaborately dressed in military uniform, while others sport floral pyjamas. And then there are Ting Mong that are merely put together with stuffed bags, accompanied by sun glasses to act as the head.

Though Cambodia’s COVID-19 numbers may seem low, skeptics link it to a lack of testing.

IMAGE: AFP / CTV News

And for now, the only thing ‘preventing’ those numbers from increasing are the Ting Mong.— Source: Danial Martinus / sea.mashable.com

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