Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Secret Behind Pak Pao’s Kumanthong

Pak Pao is a Thai lady who owns an 800 square feet souvenir shop in an emporium here in George Town. The front part of her shop is the item display room while a small office and a store room is at the back. She also has a small Thai altar attached to the wall in one corner of her shop which is just in front of the storeroom.


I frequently dropped into her shop just to pick up one or two cute dolls for my niece. Since we are already acquainted, sometimes I also helped her to temporary watch over her shop while she went off to pay her bills.


One day a toy salesman came and so happened that Pak Pao wasn’t in her shop. So he passed me a promotional programmable electro-mechanical maneki-neko (beckoning cat) and some toy catalogues. The maneki-neko was a neat toy; it can be treated as an alarm clock and a good luck charm. The most unique part is that its hand can swing to and fro according to the set time. I was a techno-handicap, so I asked the salesman to give me a demo and he set the time to 9pm and interestingly; the maneki-neko’s right hand swung 9 times and said: “Hello!” 9 times as well. After the demo, the salesman left and I packed the maneki-meko into its box but didn’t turn off the toy; and put it in the storeroom right behind the altar for ease of identification.


When Pak Pao returned to her shop, I bid her farewell and to mind my own business; but I have forgotten to tell Pak Pao regarding the maneki-neko in her storeroom. This slip of my mind has stirred some interesting commotion in Pak Pao’s shop…


A few days later, a friend of mine gave me a call and he said the Kumanthong on Pak Pao’s altar became active and it was able to speak. He asked me if I was interested to join him at 9pm that day to witness the miraculous Kumanthong in action. I agreed as I was too curious then.


Soon it was 9pm, and there were around 20 people in the shop waiting to see the miracle from happening… At this point the Kumanthong altar was filled with flowers and other offerings donated by curious visitors. And true enough right at 9pm, the sound of knocking followed by a cute “hello!” follow by a knocking sound: ‘tok’… there were 9 repetitions altogether.


Everyone showed awed expressions, some chanted Kumanthong mantra and some holding hands together revering this extraordinary statue.  After the crowd had revered the Kumanthong with some discussions and idea exchanging, they left the shop about half an hour later; I quickly pulled Pak Pao aside and told her about her new toy: maneki-neko which I put in her store room a few days back…


The last time I dropped by Pak Pao’s shop, she handed some candy bars to me as a present to my niece. She thanked me for the ‘mistake’ I made as she has sold the Kumanthong statue for $5,000 which was about 500 times of original selling price! Now she has a new Kumanthong… of a quieter type of course!

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