I haven’t been posting very often these days because I have a lot of distractions in my life right now, and my entries are starting to sound manic and incoherent. So I decided to just share a delightful little story about carved wooden penises in Thailand instead. Because when you don’t have anything interesting to say, you should always just talk about penises. That’s my motto.
So anyway, when we were at Phranang Beach in Thailand earlier this year, we came across this impressive shrine for the spirit of Phranang, composed of thousands of carved wooden penises and some flowers and fruits. There was a little sign with an interesting back story:
It is believed among the villagers here that the spirit of Phranang (Princess Goddess) resides in this cave. Fisherman, before going out, would pledge Phranang for good luck. When their wishes fulfilled, votive offering would be made at the shrine. Common gifts are flowers and incense sticks, but usually, the spirits of goddess shall be offered special gifts, the lingams. However, this has nothing to do with the Thai people’s religions, neither Buddhism nor Islam, that the belief of lingam and holy womb shall create fertility and prosperity to the whole earth and mankind.
After seeing this sign, we began to notice “lingams” everywhere. The little snack shack on the beach had tiny wooden penises hanging in front of their cash registers. There were also colorful ribbons tied around anything that even most remotely looks phallic — cave dripstones, front of longtail boats, etc.
I wonder if there is some correlation between fishing villages and penis offerings, because South Korea has a similar story of its own. Haesindang Park in Samcheok is also known as Penis Park, because the carvings/sculptures were created to appease the soul of a virgin maiden who drowned while waiting for her lover. It is said there was a major fish famine after her death, and the penis offerings helped bring the fish back. The Penis Park is also a huge tourist destination, and you will find thousands of pictures on-line of people posing with giant penis sculptures. This makes perfect sense to me. Because if you have nothing interesting to show tourists, you should just build lots of penises. That’s my new motto.