Interview on Animist Beliefs in ThailandName of person interviewed: Supaporn Heidel Nickname: GoyOccupation: NoneRelationship to the Interviewer: MotherLanguage in which interview was conducted: EnglishDate of interview: March 30, 2011 Place of interview: my living room Q1: Are you a Buddhist? What are some things you do to practice your religion? A1: Yes. Every night, I pray Follow up Question: What chants? A: We have chants, like “Na mo ta sa packa wa to” we have so many. We use bali words to chant. And then I have to kind of give kindness to ourselves and to all of the human beings, to the animals, something like giving our blessings to the world. Then I ask for forgiveness, if we did something wrong to other people or other animals, we ask for forgiveness from them. And then after that, we do the meditation that is for me. Follow up Question: For how long do you meditate? A: It depends, 10 minutes 20 minutes, but when we start we start for a short period of time because we didn’t get used to it. But after we get used to we can tell ourselves how long we meditate. And then on the occasions I’m supposed to go to the temple, on “Wun pra” Full moon half moon that we have to go the temple. We go to the temple once a week too. On special days, makka busha, asanha busha, we will go to the temple at night time. Q.2 Is there a spirit house at your home? Why? (Why not?) A. In Nichada, no Follow up Question: What about at the house where you grew up? A. In Rayong yes, because we believe that the spirit will help to protect us from the bad things. The spirits in the spirit house will protect the people living on the land. We have to offer food to the spirit every one pra, so once a week. We have to light the candle and incense stick when we offer food. We also put flowers in the vase at the spirit house. Sometimes we offer garlands too. Q.3 Do you wear an amulet? Why or Why not? A. For me, I’m not. I used to wear it, but later I think that if you are a good person, if you are in danger, the spirit or the angel will always protect you, and
that is my opinion. It might not be for the others. When I was a little kid, I had it but when I grow up I never had it.Q. 4. Have you ever had an experience with a ghost? What happened?A. I saw a woman walk past me, I didn’t know if it was a person or not. I went to mydad’s friends house and I saw a woman walk. Maybe in her mid twenties. I asked theowner of the house who is that? And they said they don’t have anyone in the house, nowomen in the house. That was only one time that I saw. I don’t know if it was a spirit.Q. 5: Do you know anyone else who has had an experience with a ghost? Whathappened?A. Yes, my cousin saw his mom’s cousin walk, in the house. He died because somebodyshot him. But I don’t know any others.Q 6. Have you ever been to an astrologer? A. Well I just do it for fun, but it happened in my life only 5 times, so I’ve onlybeen 5 times to one. Most of the time I don’t believe it, but many things that happened,it’s exactly right.Follow up: Do you have any examples?A. For example, I didn’t want to go do that but my friend said just do it for fun. She read,because they use the cards, and she said that my husband is going to come from far away,just across the ocean, but I didn’t believe. Another time a guy read my palm, and at thetime your dad and I were already engaged. But I wanted to prove his knowledge so Iasked him, and he didn’t know that I engaged with your did, I didn’t wear a ring at thattime, and when he read my palm I asked him I want to go to travel to another country, doyou think I will have the chance? That’s what I asked him. And when he read my palm hesaid that you are going to reside in a foreign country. That’s what he said. And I did, but Ionly wanted to prove if he could read my palm because normally I won’t believe it.Follow up: Did the astrologers give you any advice?A. Well some of them give me the advice, I don’t go very often. When I have someproblems or some trouble like in my family, he gave the advice to do offer wine to theancestors, something like that, and then the problem will be gone. And it’s true, theproblem was gone.
Q. 7: Have you ever been to “bai sri” ceremony? Please describe it.A. yes, when I attended Chiang Mai University we ha a Bai sri ceremony. They woulddecorate the bai sri, it’s made out of banana leaves and decorated on the top with theflowers, it’s beautiful, and some people put boiled eggs on the top too. During theceremony they will have somebody like “cru” or Brahman they would chant, give you thegood luck, and bring everything good to you. Then they would use a white string and tieit around your wrist. It is also to bring the bad luck out of you.Q. 8: Do you have a tattoo? Do you know anyone who has a tattoo? Why did thatperson get one?A. No, but my dad has one. Because he’s the old person, during that time they believethat when they put tattoo, the good spirit would come and help you when you get into thebad situation, I think. Or some people have it because they want to be like invincible, likeif somebody else tries to cut you the knife cannot go through, and you won’t get hurt.Q. 9: I always see a lot of ribbons tied around trees, why is that?A. some people believe that trees have spirit too, so they tie the ribbons around it .Theydon’t want anybody to cut down that tree, especially the big tree. And you will see thatthe tree that has the ribbons, it’s actually a kind of cloth they called three colors, theyhave to use three colors of cloth and tie it around, and they will offer the flower or foodsand fruits. They will light the candle and incense stick and ask for good luck too. They doit to ask for good luck and protect the tree from being cut down because they believe thetree has spirits.