Why thousands of Thais are flocking to a Morlam singer’s shrine 30 years after her death

Yesterday, more than 2,000 people gathered at the shrine of famous Morlam singer Honey Sri-isan in Kalasin province, northeast Thailand, for a lottery number selection event hosted by a 16 year old singer who is believed by fans to carry the reborn spirit of Honey Sri-Isan, who died in a car accident in 1992.

Newcomer to the Morlam scene, 16 year old Ung-ing Petchbanpaeng, performed at Mae Honey’s shrine (“Mother Honey“) and drew number predictions (6, 2, 5) for the upcoming national lottery draw on March 16.

Yesterday was the third time Ung-ing performed at the shrine of Mother Honey, attracting a 4-kilometre queue of cars. Fans say Ung-ing, also born in Kalasin province, correctly predicted the lottery numbers for the latest two draws.

Mother Honey’s biological elder sister attended the event and embraced Ung-ing, with tears streaming down her face.

Ung-ing has risen to success in a short time after her potential was spotted by Morlam star Jo Yomanil, who invited her to join the famous Morlam group Sao Noi Petchbanpaeng.

Now, Ung-ing’s music videos draw millions of views. Ung-ing released a new song “Luak Kao Saa Ai” (เลือกเขาสาอ้าย) this morning which is currently the No.1 trending video on YouTube in Thailand. The second trending video in Thailand right now is a nearly two-hour live stream of the event at Mother Honey’s shrine yesterday.

A song Ung-ing released one month ago, “Horb Fan Ma Lang Han” (หอบฝันหลังฺฮ้าน) has already attracted 7.3 million views.

Fans attribute Ung-ing’s beautiful voice, beauty and rise to fame to the powerful spirit of Honey Sri-Isan, which they believe was reborn into Ung-ing.

Mother Honey – her real name Supin Hemwichit – was born in the Kamalasai district in Kalasin on October 22, 1971. She recorded two successful albums, “Nam Ta Lon Bon Thee Non” (น้ำตาหล่นบนที่นอน) and “Won Phee Mee Rak Dieaw” (วอนพี่มีรักเดียว).

Honey Sri-Isan’s career lasted only two years, abruptly ending on February 25, 1992, at the age of 20, when she died in a car accident on the way home from a performance in Prang Ku district,

Mother Honey died at 4.20am on the Srisaket – Ubon Ratchathani Highway 226 in the Nong Kaeo subdistrict, where fans erected her shrine following her death.

Morlam performances are held at the shrine on the anniversary of Mother Honey’s death every year.

Why thousands are flocking to a famous Thai singer's shrine 30 years after her death morlam thailaand
Photo via KhaoSod

Why thousands are flocking to a famous Thai singer's shrine 30 years after her death morlam thailand

Northern Thailand News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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