CHIANG MAI: Villagers in Sansai District’s Tambon Nong Jom have been rushing to try the services of the village’s newest masseuse – a wild boar piglet named Phalo.
In exchange for occasional mackerel or a few sweets, Phalo uses his snout to massage tired limbs – reportedly with as much skill as the most expert human hands.
The unusual talent was discovered by the little boar’s owner, 30-year-old Wachareewong Somchai, when he took Phalo to play in the bedroom and the piglet began to use his snout to rub his owner’s calves. Mr Wacha-reewong then pointed to other parts of his body and Phalo duly obliged, giving him a complete body massage.
When word spread around the village, neighbours came to try out the piggy masseuse for themselves.
Mr Wachareewong calls Phalo’s name, points to the person and the the piglet starts the treatment. Phalo duly continues until Mr Wachareewong tells him to stop.
The pig came to live with Mr Wachareewong and his wife, 30-year-old Sao Somchai, after Mr Wachareewong found him at a friend’s house in Fang District. The friend explained to Mr Wachareewong that Phalo’s mother had given birth to a litter of five piglets, but she then trampled four of them to death.
Phalo, also trampled by his clumsy mother, somehow managed to survive. Feeling sorry for the creature, Mr Wachareewong asked his friend if he could take the piglet home. Mr Wacha-reewong and his wife raised Phalo on baby formula, then weaned him onto solid food.
However, unlike normal boars, Phalo does not like typical pig fare such as rice bran. Rather, he insists on human food. His favourite dish is mackerel with rice.
Also quite strangely, given his species, Phalo does not like playing in the mud – he is a house pig through and through, even sleeping in the same bed as his owners. Phalo, who, incredibly, has never wet the bed, wakes the couple up with his snout to go outside every morning. He also likes to go for rides on the back of his owners’ motorcycle.
As Phalo’s fame spread, offers started coming in to buy the boar – some for more than 10,000 baht. But Mr Wacha-reewong and Mrs Sao, who have no children, said that they love Phalo like a child and could never sell him.
Mr Wachareewong said that he believes that in a previous life Phalo was a human and that the two of them must have made merit together so they could be reunited in this life.
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China has the most atheists. Indonesia and Philippines the most believers.
China is the least believing country in the world but belief in a God gets 100 per cent mention in countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh and Philippines, according to the survey by Gallup International.
According to the survey exploring religious tendencies of 66,000 people in 68 countries across the world, 62 per cent of people in the world define themselves as religious, 74% of people globally believe we have a ‘soul’ and 71% believe in a God. Another 56% believe in heaven, 54% in life after death and 49% in hell.
China has the highest percentage of atheists in the world with 67% not believing in any religion. Every seven out ten people are atheists, more than double than any other country. 23% consider themselves as non-religious. Less than 10% identify themselves as religious in China.
China’s atheist percentage is followed by Japan, a long way behind in second place at 29%, Slovenia (28%) and Chech Republic (25%). Despite rapid industrialisation and urbanisation religion has stayed relevant in the South Korean region with only 23% identifying as atheist.
European countries like Belgium (21 %), France (21%) , Sweden (18%) and Iceland (17%) also have a large percentage of believing population.
Bangladesh, Indonesia and Philippines are the most believing countries with entire population claiming to believe in God, soul, hell and heaven. Thailand and Pakistan have 99% believing population, followed by India, Vietnam and Mongolia.
The survey shows that the levels of religiosity diminish as income and education levels increase. While 66% of people with low income affirm to be religious, this percentage drops to 50% among people with higher incomes. The same trend is verified in relation to education levels: 83% of people with lower education level are religious against 49% of higher level.
According to the survey there is a connection between religiosity, beliefs and socio-demographic characteristics like age, income and education level. As education and income levels grow higher, religiosity levels tend to go down. Also, the expression of different beliefs is higher among young people.
The level of education has a considerable influence on the perception of religion by the society. Women and young children show higher percentage for spiritual forces.
SOURCE: Data Leads
Stunning Malaysian election result ousts Barisan Nasional
Malaysia’s Pakatan Harapan (PH) opposition coalition has crossed the minimum threshold of 112 seats needed to form government in Malaysia. The Election Commission continue to count a few remaining votes this morning but have confirmed the win of the Pakatan Harapan party and coalition members.
The result brings to an end the rule of Barisan Nasional (BN) and it’s leader Najib Razak. Barisan Nasional, a nationalist right-wing government with strong links to it’s ethnic Malay constituency, has dominated Malaysian politics for decades.
In a press conference just before the official confirmation, opposition leader and former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad, now 92 years old, said his party had achieved a victory.
He said he hoped a swearing-in ceremony would be held on Thursday. Mr Mahathir will become the oldest elected leader in the world.
The final official results indicate PH had won 115 seats, with BN on 79 (these numbers will alter slightly as the counting finishes today).
The 92 year old pledged a government that would include a “young person”, referring to criticism during the campaign that he was too old to lead Malaysia again. Mahathir said he would honour his agreement to help secure a royal pardon for jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. The two became the odd couple of Asian politics after decades working together, then becoming bitter enemies. Anwar was Mahathir’s deputy PM at one stage but then fell out of favour.
But the two formed a curious coalition to bring down PM Najib Razak who they claimed was corrupt and had stained the country with the 1MDB financial scandal.
Mahathir said Anwar would have to win a by-election or be elected senator in order for him to take over as prime minister from Dr Mahathir, as per their agreement.
An upset was on the cards when unofficial results started trickling in about four hours after the ballot boxes were closed at 5.30 last night.
• 9pm – Bernama reported that caretaker Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai, the president of BN component party Malaysian Chinese Association, had lost his Bentong seat.
• Caretaker Health Minister S Subramaniam, of BN coalition party Malaysian Indian Congress, was the next major casualty, losing his Segamat seat in Johor.
• 9.30pm, there was respite for BN when word came in that incumbent PM Najib Razak had successfully defended his Pekan seat in Pahang.
By 9.45pm last night, another four deputy ministers fell. At about the same time, it emerged that Mahathir would make a return to parliament after winning his Langkawi seat.
The result throws into doubt Najib Razak’s position in his party.
While he had been praised for his fiscal policies, he was also unpopular for rolling out a goods and services tax in addition to being a target of unwanted international attention over allegations funds were misappropriated from a state fund he advised, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). He has denied consistently any wrongdoing.
Mahathir had accused his former protege Najib of corruption and abuse of power before quitting UMNO to form his own party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
But Mahathir has vowed: “We are not seeking revenge. We want to restore the rule of law.”
92 year old PM-elect Mahathir Mohamad, with a shirt emblazoned with his name, in case he forgot it whilst campaigning for the historic election.
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