Politics, religion, Khmer black magic, Thai astrology, and solar eclipse surrounding the Preah Vihear issue

Si Sa Ket fends off wizards' black magic
By Supalak Ganjanakhundee
The Nation
Published on August 2, 2008

Many residents in Si Sa Ket province wore yellow yesterday, ostensibly
to help protect Thailand from black-magic spells cast by Khmer
"wizards" who met at Preah Vihear during the solar eclipse yesterday.

Bun Rany, the wife of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, led Buddhist
monks and soldiers to the ancient Hindu temple yesterday morning to
call upon their ancestors to protect the temple.

"The first lady called upon ancestral spirits to chase away the
enemy," Min Khin, chairman of Cambodia's festival committee, told
reporters after the ceremony.

Thai media reports said that the mysterious black-magic spells by
Khmer wizards would not only protect the temple but also weaken
Thailand. Some astrologers urged locals to wear yellow yesterday to
deflect the spells.

Tensions have been running high since Thailand deployed troops in the
disputed area on July 15, and Cambodia responded by doing the same.
The dispute began when Phnom Penh applied for World Heritage Site
status for the 900-year-old Hindu temple.

Things got worse when Thai protesters stormed into the complex in a
bid to blame Samak Sundaravej's Cabinet for the loss of sovereignty
over land in Preah Vihear's vicinity.

In 1962, the International Court of Justice ruled that the temple was
situated in a territory under Cambodian sovereignty, but Thailand said
the ruling never indicated that 4.6 square kilometres of land around
the ruins also belonged to Cambodia.

Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag yesterday spoke with Laurent Bili, the
French Ambassador to Thailand, urging France to help bridge relations
between Thailand and the former French colony.

Ministry spokesman Tharit Charungvat said Tej had told the ambassador
that France, which colonised the country in the mid-18th century,
could join tri-party talks. Tej also econveyed Thailand's concerns
over Phnom Penh's move to take the stand-off to the United Nations
Security Council.

Tej had agreed with his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong on Monday to
redeploy troops in the area, but no changes were made on the ground.