Indonesia police confiscate sex toy mistaken for 'angel'
Pictures spread on social media of the apparent "angel"
Indonesian police have confiscated a sex toy from a remote village after its inhabitants and some on social media mistook it for an "angel".
The doll was found in March floating in the sea by a fisherman in the Banggai islands in Sulawesi province.
His family took care of the doll, and pictures soon spread online along with claims it was an angel.
Police investigated amid fears the rumours would cause unrest, and found it was in fact an inflatable sex doll.
The doll was taken home by the fisherman
Indonesian news portal Detik said photos of the doll dressed demurely and wearing a hijab spread on social media shortly after its discovery.
Rumours then began to spread that it was a "bidadari" along with unverified stories about how it was found "stranded and crying", prompting the police investigation.
Many across Indonesia continue to hold strong beliefs in the supernatural, including the existence of "bidadari", which is a type of angel or spirit.
Local police chief Heru Pramukarno told reporters that villagers had found the doll shortly after the rare March solar eclipse that swept across South East Asia.
The timing of the discovery led some to believe the doll had a divine provenance.
"They have no internet, they don't know what a sex toy is," the police chief was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.
In 2012, a TV station in China's Xian city apologised after running a false report that a local farmer had discovered a giant piece of precious lingzhi mushroom.
The fleshy object, found in a well by the farmer, was identified by many viewers as a sex toy made of silicone.
Big in Thailand: Fake Kids
Middle-class women treat the “child angels” as though they’re real, taking them to get blowouts at salons and even giving them their own seats at restaurants.
Rungroj Yongrit / EPA / Corbis
In Bangkok, a plastic-baby boom is under way. Thai adults have lately been towing around lifelike dolls known as luk thep (commonly translated as “child angels”), which are believed to be inhabited by spirits that bring good fortune. There are few places the dolls don’t go: They are carried through street markets, they receive blowouts at salons, they take up seats on airplanes, they are even served restaurant meals.
Although nearly 95 percent of Thais practice Buddhism, many also make offerings to Hindu gods, and the country has a long tradition of object worship, thought to have roots in animism.
Mae Ning, a doll-seller and self-professed master of Hindu ritual, is widely credited as the first person to transform plastic dolls into sacred luk thep. Last year, Thai celebrities started posting photos of the dolls on social media and crediting them with bringing good fortune. One radio DJ said that his lifeless look-alike, a doll named Wansai, had helped him recoup a lost job and later land a film gig. Ever since, assorted Buddhist monks, fortune-tellers, and other enterprising individuals have been conducting rituals that promise to imbue dolls with spirits. People have in turn been shelling out hundreds of dollars for the dolls—a down payment, perhaps, on future prosperity. “They are my children,” one businesswoman told the Bangkok Post, referring to her doll collection. “My children are part of my success.”
Some onlookers have compared the trend to a gruesome Thai practice from centuries past: kuman thong, dolls that were made from the remains of a stillborn baby and were believed to retain the infant’s spirit. However, experts on Thai religion told me that luk thep dolls have more in common with jatukam ramathep, a type of gold amulet believed to grant wealth, which became tremendously popular a decade ago. Justin McDaniel, who has written extensively on Thai amulets, says Thailand has a long tradition of seeking good fortune and physical protection through talismans.
Press accounts of the luk thep fad posit that the dolls are also a manifestation of growing public unease over the past couple of years, as Thailand has experienced a political coup and a declining economy.
And yet the dolls themselves are prompting certain anxieties. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, for
one, has urged luk thep purchasers not to squander money on the dolls that they might need for practical things. The Supreme Sangha Council, the assembly of Buddhist monks that oversees Thai Buddhism, hasn’t weighed in yet, but at least one senior monk has condemned the craze as anti-Buddhist.
Meanwhile, a hotel in Phayao has gone so far as to ban luk thep entirely, warning that plastic guests might leave the more traditional flesh-and-blood ones feeling “paranoid.”
Thai police detain 'Child's Angel' drug mule as airline allows passengers to buy seats for 'spirit' dolls
Thailand swept by craze for pampering infant-sized “child’s angel” dolls that are believed to bring good fortune, wealth and health
Ratchada Mahanavanont talking and patting her Child Angels Dolls while having a meal at her house in Bangkok Photo: EPA
OK, you laugh, but these Thai people are onto something.
Population in the world is currently (2016) growing at a rate of around 1.13% per year. The current average population change is estimated at around 80 million per year.
I think we all ought to have fake children.