Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Culture that is Thailand

A Thai man is keeping more than 4,600 scorpions as pets to atone for the years he spent cooking the arachnids to sell as snacks.

Scorpions, insects and worms are commonly eaten in Thailand, especially in the northern regions.
But after years of serving up scorpions, Suang Puangsri, a practicing Buddhist, felt it was time to befriend them instead.

"Although I was happy to have money, I felt suffering deep inside as they were being harmed by me," he told Reuters. "I felt scared that I was committing a sin."

The 38-year-old has given up the bottom floor of his two-storey home to the scorpions, who scuttle about a 6 meter by 5 meter (19 ft by 16 ft) enclosure decorated with branches and stone so that very little light and heat come in.

Suang buys up to one kg of live cicadas and other inspects daily to feed his pets, who have stung him so many times that he says he is immune to their venom.

He also spends at least an hour every day meditating inside the enclosure, often placing scorpions in his mouth.

So clearly, another title for this post could have been: Karma reparations: yer doin' them wrong.

He has stopped torturing scorpions (at least partly stopped, I doubt the scorpion enjoys being inside his mouth), only to start torturing and killing cicadas instead.

Turns out that this guy is not alone:

Suang's fixation with scorpions is unusual, but not totally unheard of in Thailand.
Earlier this year a Thai woman went into the record books for spending 33 days and nights with 5,000 live scorpions. She also held a 7-inch live scorpion in her mouth for 2 minutes and 3 seconds.

The full story is here.