Sunday, December 09, 2007
So how did I come to be in the presence of this Buddhist legend? Well, I took a day trip to Phnom Baset and his pagoda is on the way back, at Wat Prasat, at a guess, some ten kilometres from National Highway No 5. The pagoda was buzzing with people, coaches and cars were arriving all the time and they all wanted to be blessed by this man. Even though he was mobbed and surrounded from the moment I arrived until I left, I was spotted by his personal aide and ushered forward to meet the great man. He was all smiles and congeniality and beckoned me to sit down and join one of his blessings, asking for my mobile phone at the same time. You can see me in the photo below - middle, second row. He proceeded to splash water over everyone, annoint me with his stick with water and sweet-smelling honey on my face and hands, and blessed me with good luck and blessed my phone too! I didn't understand his chanting but his assistant seemed well versed in conveying his blessings, and then handed me a large plastic bag of fruit which he said was a present from Som Sim. In return I gave a few dollars for the pagoda's renovation program. As I moved away, with Som Sim still smiling and thanking me for my contribution, my place was taken by another and it began all over again.
There's more to this pagoda, which is a favourite stomping-ground of the highest-level of politicians in the country, including Hun Sen, who all come to receive Som Sim's blessings, but I'll leave you with his parting words, "somnang la-or [which means, good luck]."
Posted by Andy at 9:54 pm