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Mysterious deaths

October 21, 2011

Kadhafi was mysteriously killed – we wish the Libyan people freedom and hope there will not be continued warfare like in Yugoslavia or a reign of religious extremists like in Iran.

Another murderer not well known to the world is a white cat that has tormented the inhabitants of Dokmai Garden. This morning it was found dead. Its death pleased me as much as the death of Kadhafi. To Ketsanee and Nived the cat’s death was a tragic event. Being Buddhists they care for all life, even enemies that wipe out our fellow lizards and birds, bite our shoes and pee on the floor. Many cats and stray dogs are loaded with parasites including toxoplasma which is dangerous to pregnant women like Ketsanee. Ketsanee and Nived actually wanted to find out how the cat had died, a surprisingly scientific approach, while I and Khun Densak with a more practical approach concluded ‘case closed’. The reason for the Buddhist ladies’ concern is that they believe harming an animal may affect your karma, and they were concerned we had something to do with it. It is especially important not to hurt anything while pregnant. The cat may have died from disease or old age. We buried it near a bamboo (old Chinese garden advice).

We had similar views in Sweden until the 1930’s, when beliefs in magic, astrology and trolls were still widespread. In fact, many Thai traditional beliefs are so similar to the old Swedish that I think they emanate from the time when we were all confined to Africa some 50 000 years ago. Such stories and beliefs are cool to listen to, but quite annoying when people actually believe that somebody threw the evil eye on you and they spend time and money visiting a charlatan to break the spell, instead of doing something about the problem.

As to the cat, finding the head of a beloved gecko or to see Chinese pond-herons run and fly for their lives while a neighbour’s cat chases them within your land is not fun. Uneducated people believe cats are nature. They are not. Like dogs they are unnatural breeds fit to please the owner. The density of cats in any village is far higher than any wild leopard cat population (a small spotted feline still around in the Thai national parks), and so they kill anything left by the hunters and dogs. I find the Siamese cats adorable and investigated the possibilities to attach a bell to combine wildlife and an adorable cat. Cat owners told me they will lose the bell in a day. You simply have to make a choice: wildlife or pets. Many pet owners are responsible and in most western countries keeping pets are regulated by the law. If you release your pets without attention, you are part of exterminating Thai wildlife, part of spreading serious diseases and part of causing numerous road accidents and damage on your neighbour’s private property.

A third mysterious death is the case of Chiang Mai city’s potted allamandas and bougainvilleas along the canal road. These plants have looked stunted for years due to the drought in such small pots. This year they first thrived better than ever due to the early rains, but the recent heavy rains became too much. Plants kept in pots for too long usually clog their drainage holes with roots. That is one reason to repot plants.

Updates on Dokmai Garden:

1. We begin some painting now when the rains are less severe and before the tourist season commencing in November. You can enter the main building as usual but there might be working crews around.

2. Ricky Kindly submitted a summary of Sunday’s talk on plants to prevent soil erosion, which I posted on his announcement page on October 5th.

3. Ever since April the local government has promised to fix the gravel road connecting Dokmai Garden’s concrete road with the canal road. They keep promising ‘next week’, but there is a chance you may actually see it happen before 2012. The preparations to broaden the canal road (a second double lane) has begun and the consequence is a bonanza in Hang Dong/Namprae land sales. This phenomenon is possibly paired with the devastating flooding in the southern Thai provinces and northern Chiang Mai districts. Many new projects pop up around us, I hope to the better.

Eric Danell


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