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Trash or treasure?

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Trash or treasure? | Thaiger

NAKHON SRI THAMMARAT: The heady days of “Jatukham Fever” last year, when sale of the over-sized Jatukham Ramathep medallions hit a record high, are clearly over.

The large amulets – particularly beloved by tuk-tuk drivers, gunmen and others in dangerous professions – were reputed to bring good fortune. Some individual medallions sold for millions of baht and one woman was literally trampled to death in the rush to get hold of one medallion in a highly-anticipated new series.

However, massive overproduction coupled with waning interest soon brought the price down and quelled the fever.

Just how much the bottom has fallen out of the Jatukham trade was made evident on March 14, when villagers in Tambon Pak Nakhon in Nakhon Sri Thammarat’s Muang District found a pile of Jatukham amulets unceremoniously dumped under a tree.

The reporter at the scene estimated there were more than 200,000 abandoned amulets.

The find came to light when Siriphen Bunchet, 33, told reporters that there was a huge pile of amulets under a tree by the side of the road. Villagers were very upset, he said, as many local people regard Jatukham Ramathep amulets as holy.

When the reporter arrived at the scene, he found villagers picking over the thousands of amulets, taking the ones they liked. There was quite a selection: the amulets were available in two sizes and a wide range of colors.

The amulets were of two designs, “Thewaracha” and “Patihan”, both commissioned by Wat Bang Saphan in Tambon Bangjak to raise money for renovations at nine temples in the area.

The larger amulets, 5 centimeters across, were originally sold for 150 baht each. Their 3-cm counterparts were offered at just 59 baht – hardly a steep price to pay for invincibility.

During the height of Jatukham Fever, the pile would have fetched more than 200 million baht.

While helping themselves to their fortunate find, many of the villagers cursed the people who had dumped the amulets.

The culprits would soon surely meet disaster for their sacrilegious act, they predicted.


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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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