Friday, October 3, 2008

Dying to Be Reborn...

Hundreds of Thai citizens are lining up outside the Wat Prommanee temple every day. Not for any traditional Buddhist services, but for a chance to spend a short while in a pink coffin.

How trendy.

For the nominal fee of 180 baht (approximately US$5.63), anyone wishing to cleanse themselves of their past can climb into one of the coffins, have a monk chant a dirge over their body, and reemerge born again from the "death" of their old self a minute and a half later. Nine coffins have been lined up in the great hall in an effort to streamline the procedure.

A new film in cinemas, The Coffin, deals with similar funeral practices for the living. Writer-director Ekachai Uekrongtham is hardly surprised at the sudden interest. "When the economy is down, we latch our hopes onto some supernatural power." The film is a supernatural thriller in which the lead characters go through a similar ritual.

Visitors of all ages have taken a turn at resurrection, even the entire Royal Thai Army football team. It's all about gaining an advantage in life or seeking out remedies for their illnesses. Customers report a feeling of well-being upon emerging from their "grave". But just to be safe, you can purchase amulets, lucky charms, and even fortunetelling to be doubly sure.

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