School principal capitalizes on superstitions

Any casual observer may have noticed recently in many of Thailand’s cities a growing number of people wearing garish amulets around their necks, akin to what a dogmatically inclined Flavor Flav may sport.

Aside from the obvious fashion trend they’ve created, the Jatukarm Ramathep amulets caused quite a stir in the Phra Pohm district of Nakhon Si Thamarat last week, when a school principal was made to resign over what were concluded as inappropriate actions concerning the draw of the amulets.

Seri Sripakpraek, in an attempt to raise money for the cash-drained Phra Phom Phitayanusorn School, allegedly considered that students should buy the amulets for 599 baht each.

Parents saw this as crass opportunism, as their pockets were collecting lint as well after paying high fees and covering the costs of books and materials. They demanded his resignation over what they deemed inappropriate actions.

As reported by The Bangkok Post 'It's a failure of communication. I didn't order the students to buy the amulets, just asked them for their cooperation.'' Said Mr. Seri, apparently taken aback at the commotion his suggestion had created.

This is not the first news story concerning these amulets that bear the name of a guardian god of relics of Buddha enshrined at Wat Phramahathat in Nakkon Si Thammarat. Buddhist monks have spoken out against this trend, claiming that it has nothing to do with true Buddhism, and a woman was trampled amidst a frothing mob at a temple, trying to procure an amulet.

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