Haunted dolls cause controversy on Thai airlines
A spooky new trend out of Thailand is showing everyone what wackiness can ensue when ancient spirits collide with modern technology.
According to The Bangkok Post, Thailand’s airlines are scrambling to standardize their haunted doll policy as more customers begin trying to bring them on planes. Called luk thep or “angel children,” the dolls supposedly become sentient when they’re blessed by Buddhist monks in ceremonies designed to trap — err, invite — a totally not malevolent spirit to live in each one for all eternity. In the hopes that they will
not murder them in the night bring them good luck, the dolls’ owners then treat them as if they were real children, dressing them, feeding them, and yes, buying plane tickets for them so they can see the world. (You know a country’s middle class is growing when people have money to spend on bullshit like this.)
That last part is causing some problems on airlines, not limited to but including: Concerns about drug smuggling (this has already happened), certain passengers not wanting to sit next to them (I can’t imagine why), and the question of whether you can even book a plane ticket for an inanimate object. Some passengers are even demanding refreshments for their dolls, because it’s better for people to think you’re crazy than that you’re eating an extra can of Pringles.
In light of these questions, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has issued a statement on angel child dolls. Via the Bangkok Post:
“The dolls will be initially classified as luggage, not passengers. Based on international aviation rules, passengers are people. So airlines aren’t allowed to sell tickets for dolls and assign a special code to the dolls,” he said.
If passengers want seats for their dolls, they must purchase tickets under their names and comply with safety regulations throughout the flight. If they do not have tickets for the dolls, they must keep the dolls in overhead compartments or under their seats, which are in-flight requirements, he said.
Religious officials in the country have also began asking if this is even allowed under Buddhism [emphasis mine]:
Somkiat Thongsri, director of the Supreme Sangha Council’s Secretariat Office, said he has ordered provincial Buddhism offices to investigate a number of reports about monks performing rituals for the dolls. He said that an investigation is also under way to determine if monks taking part in the ritual violate the monastic code of conduct.
Mr. Somkiat also called on Buddhists to be aware of what Buddhism is.
Sounds like someone is mighty confident he’s not going to be choked by a million tiny hands in his sleep.