Cambodian uses scarecrows to 'ward off' COVID

Cambodian villager Ek Chan believes she has found a way of avoiding coronavirus.

Not using masks or social distancing, but rather - scarecrows - known locally as "Ting Mong".

"Since I've made these scarecrows, they have helped to scare away all viruses, including the coronavirus, from spreading to my family. I myself really believe in the magic of scarecrows and don't worry about catching the virus at all."

The two scarecrows guard the gate to the 64-year-old's house near the capital, Phnom Penh.

The practice has existed for more than a century in some Cambodian villages.

The scarecrows are typically made of rice hay, bamboo or wooden sticks, and dressed in old clothes.

Chan added a motorcycle helmet for extra protection, trusting the scarecrows' ability to fend off evil spirits and disease.

Cambodia is among the countries least affected by the coronavirus, with just 307 cases and no deaths reported.

But many Cambodians are still wary of getting infected, with fears heightened earlier this month when Hungary's foreign minister visited the country and later tested positive.

Ek Chan said she knows little of the science of COVID-19, and though she believes in the power of her scarecrows, she hopes a free vaccine will be available soon.

Video Transcript

- Cambodian villager EK Chan believes she has found a way of avoiding coronavirus. Not using masks or social distancing, but rather-- scarecrows-- known locally as Ting Mong.

SPEAKER THROUGH INTERPRETER: Since I have made these scarecrows, they have helped to scare away all viruses, including the coronavirus, from spreading to my family. I myself really believe in the magic of scarecrows and don't worry about catching the virus at all.

- The two scarecrows guard the gate to the 64-year-old's house near the capital, Phnom Penh. The practice has existed for more than a century in some Cambodian villages. The scarecrows are typically made of rice hay, bamboo or wooden sticks, and dressed in old clothes.

Chan added a motorcycle helmet for extra protection, trusting the scarecrow's ability to fend off evil spirits and disease. Cambodia is among the countries least affected by the coronavirus, with just 307 cases and no deaths reported. But many Cambodians are still wary of getting infected, with fears heightened earlier this month when Hungary's foreign minister visited the country and later tested positive.

EK CHAN: [SPEAKING CAMBODIAN]

- EK Chan said she knows little of the science of COVID-19. And though she believes in the power of her scarecrows, she hopes a free vaccine will be available soon.