I hope that the introduction post of May the Force be With You will give you a little insight that Animistic beliefs are still widely practiced in Laos. As for our neighboring country Thailand, they also share this belief because Buddhism in Thailand is also closely tied to animist beliefs and belief in ancestral spirits. I found an interesting article from Koosang Koosom Magazine written by the mother of Nong Mou-Nong Mot from Maha Sarakham, Thailand that I like to share, this story will make you think twice before making a wish. This article is written in Thai language, translated by Nye.
Going back to 1990 (Thai year 2533), my husband and I were working in Krung Thep at the time, I was 3 months pregnant with my first child, my husband was ecstatic and so he went to visit the Erawan Shrine at the 4-intersection of Ratchaprasong to ask for a son. Then the day of my delivery came and we had a son just like he asked, my husband and I were very happy. We went back to give offering to Thunthou Phra Phrom Erawan (Erawan Statue), we did everything that we promised if our wish were granted. But one thing that we didn‘t do was to bring our son to pay respect to Thuntou Phra Phrom Erawan, not even once.
This was because my sons were raised by my parents in another town, they were good kids, easy to raise and I had 2 sons, the oldest was born in 1990 (2533), and the second in 1992 (2535), this one we didn’t ask for. Then in 1998 (2541), we moved back home since the boys were getting older and about time that we lived as a family. I kept thinking that I want to bring my sons to pay respect to Thunthou Phra Phrom Erawan, especially my oldest son, but since I was busy working, trying to make ends meet, and could never find the time.
During school breaks, my sons would help us at the clothing store in town to earn extra income, I worked there as a head cashier, and would get off work at 8 pm, and it’s considered late in the rural area, we did this for several years. My sons were good kids, they helped with household chores, including helping out in the rice paddy. I taught them not to forget their roots, the trade that has been passed down for many generations, we’d help each other farming during our day off, and hired out the things that we couldn’t do ourselves. Who said that having a son the mother has to do all the work, I say not true at all because ever since they were in the 5th and 6th grade, I didn’t have to wash dishes, nor clean the house because my sons did it all, they felt sorry for their mom that I had to work so late.
I was very happy and proud of my sons, but my happiness short-lived because in 2008 (2551), my oldest son had a late class and wouldn’t get out until 7 pm, he called to ask if he could stay at his friend’s dorm, I didn’t mind and only asked him not to disappoint his mom. He promised that he wouldn’t, and that was the last time that we spoke.
After I got off from work, I went straight home, and went to bed at my normal time. I woke up at 4 am when my younger sister came banging at my door and told me that my oldest son was dead and the police called for me to go pickup his body. I was in a state of shock and didn’t know what to do, all I knew was that I wanted to go see my son. My mind didn’t register anything else, it was a good thing that my younger sister came with me, she had to tell me what to do, all I knew was that my son passed away early that morning.
He left this earth without being a burden to anyone, he was in a motorcycle accident where he hit a light pole, no other vehicle was involved and no witness, only when the police got there, they saw that he was dead. His body didn’t appear to have any scratch or injury, very much like he was asleep, my son was still handsome dead as he was alive, still smiling, still laughing for his mom as always.
At his funeral, people came from near and far to help, makes you wonder why there were so many people attending when it was only a teenager’s funeral. It might be because he was sent from above, the son of Phra Phrom Erawan, and he was taken back too soon. After he passed away is when I knew that I should have done something sooner, and this could have been prevented.
It is belief that who ever asked for a child from a sacred place, you’ve to bring that child back to pay respect, telling the high being that his son has arrived, and that way he could help protect. I hope this is a lesson to others, don’t let your family be like mine.
No matter how sad I am to have lost my oldest son, but I’m happy that I had the opportunity to raise him for 18 years and 79 days, plus I still have another son to provide for, life goes on.