Daily Archives: August 26, 2008

Ritual to Stop Storm Surge

During the last few weeks, everyone has been talking about the predicted storm surge that could hit the coastline of Samut Prakan any time between now and October. A storm surge is caused by high winds pushing down on the water of the Gulf of Thailand. This will then make it rise higher along the coastline by about two or three meters. Much of Samut Prakan, as well as my house, is in the danger zone. This morning at 6.30 a.m., Anuwat Maytheewibulwut, the governor of Samut Prakan Province, took part in a ceremony at the city hall in order to keep the citizens of our city safe. It was called “Stop the Wind, Stop the Water”. In the above picture that I took this morning, the governor is placing a jasmine garland on a statue of the Buddha which is in the posture of “calming the ocean”.

During the ceremony, a total of 499 religious people, representing the four main religions in our province, took turns in praying and chanting. The religious groups that took part in the ritual were: (1) Christians, (2) Muslims, (3) Sikhs and (4) Buddhists. Each group had about 15 minutes each starting with the Christians. The prayers concluded with chanting by several hundred Buddhist monks present.

The ceremony ended with giving alms to the monks. I guess we can now all feel a bit safer now that the local authority have appeased the gods and spirits of four major religions. They even prayed to the statue of King Rama V. But, we shouldn’t knock it. All the talk has made quite a few residents fearful of what might happen if we have massive floods several metres deep. I live in a four storey house so I shouldn’t have a problem. However, I will pay attention to the brochures that have been distributed around town telling people to stock up on drinking water and canned food. It is the people along the coastline like Ban Khun Samut Chin that I feel worried about. A storm surge in that area would be devastating.