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Cambodian farmers install traditional ‘Ting Mong’ scarecrows to ward off coronavirus

A scarecrow dressed in a floral shirt, armed with sticks were erected in front of rural Cambodian homes by superstitious farmers to ward off the coronavirus.

Known as “Ting Mong” in Khmer, the creatively rendered scarecrows often pop up in villages that have been hard-hit by infectious diseases like dengue or water-borne diarrhoea.

“I’ve set up the Ting Mong to prevent the coronavirus from threatening my family,” says farmer Sok Chany, 45.




“It is our ancient superstition to set up Ting Mongs when there are dangerous diseases or to avert evil,” she added.

The majority-Buddhist kingdom has a strong strain of animism incorporated into the daily lives and rituals of Cambodians, with many believing that spirits are tied to places, animals and things.

The Ting Mongs are meant to ward off evil spirits wishing to bring harm on an unsuspecting family by spreading disease.



In Sok Chany’s Trapeang Sla village, no chances are taken — an effigy is tied to the gate of nearly every home, though constructed with varying degrees of effort.

Some are elaborately dressed in military uniform or floral pyjamas, while others simply have stuffed bags with sunglasses perched on them for a head.

Cambodia appears to escaped the brunt of the pandemic, registering just 283 infections and no deaths — though sceptics say the low toll could be due to a lack of testing.