Sunday, February 5, 2017

Thai No Nos


Several years ago I walked across town heading for the Brooklyn Bridge. The Patriots had lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl and I was in no mood for celebration. Approaching Chinatown I turned around to survey the city skyline shimmering under a clear sky dotted by the few stars strong enough to pierce New York's light umbrella. It was cold and I pulled down my hat tight, thinking my last hair-cut had been in Thailand.

Two weeks ago.

The rising moon would be setting in Thailand. My son and his mother still asleep in Sri Racha, then I remembered Mam warning that you shouldn't cut your hair at night and never on Wednesday. I phoned to make sure. She sleepily told me that both were against Thai tradition. I hung up for her to return to sleep and continued walking toward the Brooklyn Bridge, wondering how this prohibition came into being.

Upon reaching my top-floor apartment in Fort Greene I sat at my MacBook Pro.

A search of Google revealed nothing about the edict against cutting hair at night, although I suspect it has something to do with the practicality of the night-cutter's night vision issues, however a website suggested that the Wednesday ban can be attributed to the centuries of the royal family having their hair trimmed on Wednesday during the day and commoners i.e. serfs are banned from any royal behavior.

Only trusted stylists were allowed this privilege to avoid the theft of the noble hair for the purpose of magic.

The tradition was also steeped with superstition, but then I'm half-Irish and we believe in leprechauns.

Other Thai Superstitions:

(1) Don’t whistle at night because you will invite ghosts into your house.
(2) Don’t let women eat chicken feet because they will have an affair
(3) Do not let pregnant women whistle because her baby will have a crooked mouth
(4) Do not allow an adult pay respect to a child (wai) because that child will have a shortened life
(5) Do not joke while you are eating because the ghost will steal your rice
(6) Do not cover your head when you go to a temple because this will make you bald
(7) Do not sharpen a knife at night time because you will offend the angels
(8) Do not look at naked people because your eyes will become swollen
(9) Do not have sexual intercourse on holy days (wan phra) because bad things will happen.
(10) Do not let the bride and the groom meet three days before the wedding because their marriage will not last
(11) Do not smile while sowing corn because it won’t grow
(12) Do not stand in a doorway because a ghost will enter the house
(13) Do not sew at night because the ghost will haunt you
(14) Do not throw money away because you will lose your finger
(15) Do not sing while you are eating because the ghost will curse you.

Of course most farangs don't believe in superstitions.

Only the Irish are smart enough to know better.

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