I am leaving today for a trip to England. If I run into Thaksin in McDonalds or Tesco I will try to get a quotable quote for NewMandala. I will be blogging a bit less regularly over the next three weeks. I will be stopping over in Singapore on the way and Hong Kong on the way back so will miss Thailand’s flash new Suvarnabhumi Airport that opens this week. I was pleased to read in the Bangkok Post (23 September) that spirits are alive and well at the new airport. No Qantas Club yet, but a guardian spirit is reassuring.

Eerie experience interrupts rite

Ghostly encounters at Suvarnabhumi

By Amornrat Mahitthirook

Airports of Thailand (AoT) organised its largest religious rite at the new Suvarnabhumi airport yesterday to ward off evil spirits, only to experience an encounter with the unexplained. Rumours of occasional ”ghostly sightings” have gone around since the first foundation brick was laid at the airport many years ago. The AoT is determined to correct the growing perception that the airport is possibly harbouring some ”uninvited inhabitants” and to put its staff members’ minds at ease.

Yesterday’s rite was presided over by 99 monks who chanted en masse to improve the luck of the new airport, set to open commercially on Thursday.

However, halfway through the rite, a man appeared, quivering, and began to speak in a commanding voice claiming to be ”Poo Ming”, a guardian spirit of the land partially developed into the airport.

He ordered that a proper spirit house be built at the airport to allow for its smooth operation. The man, who was unidentified, later passed out and woke up to find the spirit had left him.

AoT president Chotisak Asapaviriya said the ceremony helped to boost the morale of airport staff, some of whom were unnerved after learning of frequent car crashes on the road running parallel to the airport’s eastern runway.

Some veiled figures have sometimes been spotted on the 6km-long road.

Somchai Sawasdeepon, the airport general manager, said he had heard ghost stories from staff who came across a woman dressed in a Thai-style costume at the airport construction site in the evening.

He said the airport land formerly belonged to some local communities encompassing the centuries-old Wat Nhong Prue and its cemetery. It was reported that the bodies had not been exhumed for proper religious cremation.

Sqn Ldr Panupong Nualthongyai, head of Suvarnabhumi airport security, was also a witness to some strange, unexplained episodes.

”Whatever you make of it, it is the belief associated with the Thai way of life. For the non-believer, it is best not to act disrespectfully [towards the supernatural],” he said.