Residence: Manhattan Beach CA
Date of Performance/Collection: April 19, 2016
Primary Language: Thai (laotian)
Other Language(s): English
“So you remember Papa’s (your grandfather’s) house right? Papa lived right where the road should keep on going, but it doesn’t because it is a T junction, you know, even like Aunty Piak’s house where the road is coming to an end. Anyway he…well, we lived in the house right where, at the T junction, it comes exactly at the point where the two roads intersect, right where the two roads are perpendicular to each other. So you have a house at the end of a road, like a cul-de-sac, but if your house is right at the end of the road at that path, it is not a good thing because that is like where the spirits come through. The spirits travel down the road and are hit with the road that is perpendicular to the road on which they travel, and without time to stop they automatically hit where our house is supposed to be. I guess the better way of saying it is that is where the passage way of spirits to go and when your house in in the way, it is not a good thing. You need some sort of statue to protect the family or the people who live in the house. My mom put statue by the window in order to protect people in the house. She put a Chinese tiger statue, she just believed…she knew something about the Chinese folklore that she used, you know, how certain animals represent certain characteristics. It was either a tiger or a lion. I never really knew where this belief came from but she was very superstitious about it and always had this little statue sitting by the window so that it would protect our house and our family from the many ghosts who were supposedly headed straight towards our house from their voyage up from the street that extended out beyond our house.”
Background information: my mother originally told me a much briefer version of this story because always had this little statue of a tiger or a lion sitting on our countertop, and I never understood why it was there. She then told me about how her mother had this belief about ghosts, and even though we now do not live on a street at the cross of a T junction, my mother still kept it in our house. My mother told me this story in person and I think since it was such a long time ago, it was hard for her to remember certain details, so it was a bit of a slow process for her to tell me, but it was very interesting to learn more than I had originally known about this little statue that had been sitting in my household for such a long time. It was very interesting to learn about some of the beliefs that are associated not only with my family but with my nationality and ethnicity as well.