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Cambodian Woman Believes Her Dead Husband Reincarnated as 5-Month-Old Calf

Khim Hang, a 74-year-old woman from Cambodia’s Kratie province, recently made news headlines around the world, after it was reported that she shares her home with a 5-month-old calf, which she believes is a reincarnation of her dead husband.

Khim was devastated by the sudden death of her husband, Tol Khut, a year ago, but she is convinced that he has come back to her as a calf. Born in march, the young cow believed to be Tol reincarnated, allegedly has some of the man’s habits, and only licks the hands of his relatives. For this reason, he is allowed to spend time in the family home, and is even tucked into bed at night by Khim and her children.

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The Country Where People Actually Like Receiving Injections and IV Drips

Cambodia is known for its rich culture and history, natural beauty, exquisite temples like the Angkor Wat, the Vietnam war, the Khmer Rouge, land mines, and more. But not many people are aware of the nation’s quirks and eccentricities – like this one particular obsession that locals have with needles.

While most people in other parts of the world would do anything to avoid getting injected, things are quite the opposite in Cambodia, where citizens have a fascination for injections and intravenous drips. The reason for this fascination is unclear, but it seems that a strong belief in needles has become ingrained in the nation’s psyche. So much so that people want IV drips or injections even in situations where they’re not needed at all.

“It’s not just in the village,” a Western doctor, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the BBC. “Everybody who goes to hospital gets an IV because they think it’s important and the doctors and nurses think it’s important. If you walk into a hospital, pretty close to every patient will have an IV. They’ll just get them, you know, ad infinitum, until they leave the hospital.”

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Canadian Scientist Uses Small Iron Fish to Save Lives in Cambodia

When Canadian scientist Christopher Charles discovered six years ago how badly Cambodians were suffering from anemia, he decided to try and solve the problem. Unfortunately, tried-and-tested methods such as iron supplements and iron-rich diets didn’t work because they weren’t affordable. So he came up with the novel idea of using a small iron fish as a cooking ingredient!

The people Charles was working with were the poorest of the poor, and couldn’t afford red meat or expensive iron pills. The women couldn’t even switch to iron pots because they were too heavy and costly. “Some nights I wondered what I had got myself into; here I was in a village with no running water, no electricity and no way to use my computer — it was like a (research) baptism by fire,” Charles recalled.

But inspiration struck eventually, and he decided that the best way cure anemia was to literally add iron to the food. “We knew some random piece of ugly metal wouldn’t work . . . so we had to come up with an attractive idea,” Charles said. Along with his research team, he came up with small, circular chunk of iron, but the women were hesitant to add it to their pots. They changed the prototype to a lotus shape, but the women didn’t like that either. So Charles dug deeper into Cambodian history and culture, and decided upon a piece of iron shaped like a fish – a symbol of good luck in Cambodia. And it worked! Women were more than happy to add it to their cooking pots and follow Charles’ instructions.

lucky-iron-fish

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Former Khmer Rouge Child Soldier Has Spent the Last Two Decades Cleaning Cambodia of Mines, Alone and without Protection

Modern Cambodian hero Aki Ra has made it his life’s mission to rid his nation of land mines. The one-man army spends most of his day chopping vegetation in fields and delicately prodding the areas that set off his metal detector. More often than not, he uncovers hockey-puck sized antipersonnel land mines, and destroys them with a controlled explosion. “I want to make my country safe for my people,” he said.

There was a time when Cambodia was plagued by over six million land mines buried underground in paddy fields and lush jungles, ready to indiscriminately murder soldiers and innocent children alike. The devices were once used by the nation’s warring factions, including the notorious Khmer Rouge, to finish their enemies.

Aki Ra, who used to be a child soldier for Khmer Rouge, has spent over 22 years of his life single-handedly removing land mines that were left behind unexploded. Between 1992 and 2007, he was able to rid his homeland of a whopping 50,000 mines, armed with nothing but a pocket knife, pliers, a stick, and his bare hands.

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Cambodia’s Miracle-Performing Baby Draws Thousands of Sick Pilgrims

Kong Keng, a 2-year-old kid from Khnor village in Cambodia, is being hailed as a miracle baby with special healing powers. Thousands of people are traveling from as far as Laos and Vietnam, believing that even a glimpse of Kong will help cure them of their ailments. He appears to be the last ray of hope in a nation that doesn’t exactly have the world’s best healthcare system.

Hundreds of people throng outside Kong’s single-room wooden home every single day. It’s a motley crowd of handicapped people in wheelchairs, and ailing, dying patients on stretchers. Phat Soen, Kong’s 21-year-old mother, brings the boy out and places a row of eucalyptus balm bottles in front of him. She then guides his hand over each bottle – his touch is believed to transfer healing powers to the balm.

The toddler’s healing powers were discovered by an accidental healing ‘miracle’ that occurred a few months ago. “The miracle happened to my brother,” said Sung Bahn, Kong’s uncle. “He was paralyzed from the waist down after a motorcycle accident. Doctors couldn’t cure him and neither could the Kru Khmers (traditional Cambodian healers).”

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Cambodia’s Rickety Bamboo Trains

Although Cambodia has a fine network of railway tracks dating back to the French colonial days, there are hardly any trains running these days. Real trains, that is. The locals get by perfectly well with their own indigenous invention – bamboo trains.

The Cambodian railway system never really recovered from the horrors of war and the Khmer Rouge genocide that happened decades ago. They have just one proper train line in service and the rest of the tracks were covered for years by homemade trains called ‘norrys’. These weird contraptions aren’t exactly what you’d call luxury transport. But they are cheap – about 50 cents a ride. And that suits the locals just fine.

Norrys are made of bamboo, wood and sometimes even parts of old tanks. The first one was built in the 1980s by 73-year-old Pat Oun, or so he claims. The earlier versions didn’t have any engines. Drivers just stood in the train and used long bamboo poles to propel the vehicle down the tracks. “I did this for 20 to 30 kilometers in the past,” said Pat, as he demonstrated the motion.

bamboo-trains-Cambodia

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Ting Mong – Cambodia’s Creepy Scarecrows

If you ask me, common scarecrows are creepy enough, but the Cambodian Ting Mong carry real firearms and instead of birds they scare off evil spirits.

Scarecrows usually belong in  the fields, protecting villagers’ crops, but in some Cambodian villages you’ll see them in front of houses, by the gate, or on garden paths, and you can bet they’re not there to scare some man-eating birds. Ting Mong are a part of old Khmer culture, and even though Budhism came to Cambodia thousands of years ago, there are still some rural areas where people believe in spirits and their power over the living. These creepy “scarecrows” are actually guardians who ward off evil spirits and protect against disease and death.

Many Khmers believe a powerful force is embodied in the Ting Mong, which will keep spirits from coming inside, and to make them even more effective, they equip the life-size dolls with real or sculpted weapons. Some carry machetes and swords, while other carry modern weaponry like revolvers, AK47s and even sculpted bazookas. Even a bad-ass spirit wouldn’t dare approach a Ting Mong carrying this kind of firepower.

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Python Wedding Held in Cambodian Village

Over 1,000 people gathered in the Cambodian village of Sit Bow, to witness the wedding of two pythons, believed to bring prosperity and good fortune to the settlement.

Early 2008, I wrote a post about a Cambodian boy who had an unusually friendly relationship with a full grown python. Villagers believed he was the son of a dragon, and had supernatural powers. Fast forward to present day, Chamerun, the boy’s female pet snake is getting married to male Krong Pich, and the whole village has gathered for the big ceremony.

While most Camodians are Buddhists, they also believe in animism – a belief that spirits inhabit the bodies of animals – so whenever a bizarre animal makes an appearance, there are always speculations about it being housing some important spirit. Fortunetellers told the two snake owner their reptiles were soul mates blessed by the gods, and that they needed to be married and live together, otherwise the village will be struck by bad luck.

The marriage ceremony lasted two hours and was attended by people from all around the village area. Two Buddhist monks  blessed the snake couple, while villagers showered them with flowers and sang traditional wedding music. It must have been pretty creepy, for the pythons, of course.

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