Red shirts to drive away ghosts

Red shirts are not just for political protests. When 10 healthy men died one after another last December, villagers realized they were under attack by a "widow ghost" so red shirts went up to protect each house.

Red shirt to drive away the infamous widow ghost killing men in Isan villages.

More than 20,000 people have clicked into this story since it was first published on January 18. Find out why.

Click button to listen to Widow Ghost download

Breakingnews

Red shirts keep 'widow ghost' away

17 Jan 2013

SURIN – Fearful villagers in tambon Tha Sawang have hung red shirts in front of their homes to repel a "widow ghost" rumoured to have taken the lives of 10 apparently healthy men in the village since last month.

People in the village told a reporter that 10 strong men have mysteriously died, some in their sleep and others just dropped dead while walking.

Doctors said all of them died from respiratory failure.

A spirit medium hired by the villagers said the "widow ghost", or pee mae mai, also known locally as the lai thai (sudden unexpected death syndrome) spirit, was responsible for their demise

The medium also told villagers to hang a red shirt outside their homes to repel the evil spirit and also warned that families with only one son have a higher chance of a visit from the ghost.

The reporter said that the widow ghost rumour has spread to other districts, such as Chom Phra and Tha Tum.

"The reason I hang a red shirt is not because of my political views, but it's because I am worried for my nephew's safety. I don't necessarily believe in the story but taking some precaution doesn't hurt," said a 61-year-old villager.

The red-shirt group, more formally known as the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), is a political pressure group opposed to the yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and those who support the military coup on Sept 19, 2006. Many of them are strong supporters of the Pheu Thai government.

Another villager, 42, said, "Some of the men who died did not show any sign of sickness, they were perfectly fine. When I heard about the rumour, I respected people's beliefs and put a red shirt on my front door as well."

(Source: Bangkok Post, Breakingnews, Red shirts keep 'widow ghost' away, 17 Jan 2013, link


Ghost Vocabulary

ghost - the soul or spirit of a dead person or animal that appears  in visible form or as a sound or a smell to living people (See Wikipedia)
Thai ghosts - "spirits or ghosts are known generically as Phi (ผี) and they may be found, among other places, in certain trees, burial grounds near Buddhist temples, some houses, as well as mountains and forests" (See Wikipedia)

widow - a woman whose husband has died แม่ม่าย, หญิงม่าย, หญิงที่สามีตาย
widow ghost

keep away - stop something from coming near to you; ward off ปัด; ทำให้หมดไปพ้นไป; ป้องปัด
Red shirts keep 'widow ghost' away

repel - make something go away; drive away; drive off, repulse ขับไล่, ไล่;  ไล่ออก
repel a ghost
repel an evil spirit
hang a red shirt outside their homes to repel the evil spirit

taken the lives of - killed
taken the lives of 10 healthy men

rumour (noun) - stories, information or news that passes from person to person and may or may not be true ข่าวลือ, ข่าวเล่าลือ
rumour (verb) - ปล่อยข่าวลือ, เล่าลือ  

rumoured to have taken the lives of 10 healthy men

apparently - based only on what you have heard or think, not on what you are certain is true; seemingly ตามที่ได้รู้มา
apparently healthy men

Fearful villagers in tambon Tha Sawang have hung red shirts in front of their homes to repel a "widow ghost" rumoured to have taken the lives of 10 apparently healthy men in the village since last month.

mysteriously - with people not knowing why it happened อย่างลึกลับ
died mysteriously

dropped dead - died quickly and suddenly (without sign or warning before it happened)

10 strong men have mysteriously died, some in their sleep and others just dropped dead while walking.

respiratory - relating to the process of breathing air in and out ระบบทางเดินหายใจ  เกี่ยวกับการหายใจ
respiratory failure - stopped breathing (and died)

Doctors said all of them died from respiratory failure.

spirit
- 1. the part of a person that exists even when their body is gone; an imaginary creature without body วิญญาณ

evil -  immoral, sinful, wicked ชั่วร้าย, ไม่ดี
evil spirit - demon ผี; ผีกระหัง (ผีชนิดหนึ่งที่ถือว่าเข้าสิงในตัวผู้ชาย เชื่อกันว่าเดิมเป็นผู้ชายที่เรียนวิชาอาคมแก่กล้าเข้าก็มีปีกมีหาง จะไปไหนก็ใช้กระด้งต่างปีก สากตำข้าวต่างขา สากกะเบือต่างหาง ชอบกินของโสโครก); รังควาน (ผีที่ประจำช้างป่า, ผีร้ายที่สิงอยู่ในกายคน)

spirit medium - a person who says that they can receive messages from people who are dead

syndrome -
a medical condition (or a set of conditions and events that typically happen in a situation)
sudden unexpected death syndrome

demise - death ความตาย
responsible for their demise

A spirit medium hired by the villagers said the "widow ghost", or pee mae mai, also known locally as the lai thai (sudden unexpected death syndrome) spirit, was responsible for their demise

chance - possibility ความเป็นไปได้, ความน่าจะเป็น
a higher chance of - more likely (a greater chance or possibility of event happening)
a higher chance of a visit from the ghost

rumour - a story that people are discussing but which may or may not be true;  that passes from person to person (by word-of-mouth) ข่าวลือ (See Wikipedia)
spread - to cover, reach or have an effect on a wider or increasing area or number of people กระจายไปทั่ว
The reporter said that the widow ghost rumour has spread to other districts, such as Chom Phra and Tha Tum.

reason - an explanation of an event, why an event happened เหตุ ; เหตุผล ; สาเหตุ

view - opinion, what people think about some issue, event or person
political views

nephew - your brother's son  หลานชาย
I am worried for my nephew's safety

precaution - การระมัดระวัง, การระมัดระวังไว้ก่อน, การป้องกันไว้ก่อน
taking precaution

...doesn't hurt, couldn't hurt
- meaning: if could have some benefit and their is no cost or bad thing that happens from it (example: taking some vitamins couldn't hurt)

taking some precaution doesn't hurt

"The reason I hang a red shirt is not because of my political views, but it's because I am worried for my nephew's safety. I don't necessarily believe in the story but taking some precaution doesn't hurt," said a 61-year-old villager...

sign
  เครื่องหมาย  เครื่องแสดง สัญลักษณ์
show sign of
did not show any sign of sickness

were perfectly
fine - there was no problem (they were not sick)

respect -
1. treating others politely, gently, carefully; being thoughtful and considerate of others ความเอาใจใส่ ; 2. looking up to; treating with esteem and  honour  เคารพ, นับถือ
I respected people's beliefs ...

...Another villager, 42, said, "Some of the men who died did not show any sign of sickness, they were perfectly fine. When I heard about the rumour, I respected people's beliefs and put a red shirt on my front door as well."

political pressure group - a group of people who seek to exert pressure on parliament and public opinion to promote their own ideas and to get things done for them (See Collins English Dictionary)


About the author

columnist
Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer