Picture the scene. It’s 2 o’clock in the morning, I’ve just switched off my computer and I need some shut-eye. I venture into the bathroom to brush my teeth. Nothing unusual there and what’s that got to do with Thailand anyway, you’re probably thinking. Well, as I’m brushing my teeth I feel something on my head and then it drops into the sink in front me. Jeez, I nearly choked on the Colgate!
A tiny little chingchok (house lizard) sits motionless for a moment before scurrying out of the sink and away up the wall. I’m sure he (or she) was probably more shocked than I was. Lizards of different sizes are common in Thailand (tokay, gecko, chingchok) and no matter where you are staying you are likely to see a small house lizard appear at some stage in your room or just outside it. They’re nothing to be scared of, they don’t bite and will steer well clear of you. In fact, they should be welcomed because they eat mosquitoes.
OK, back to the story of the falling chingchok. A Thai friend, Jeab, calls me this morning and I tell her about the amusing incident with the lizard. There’s a momentary silence on the other end of the phone.
‘This very bad luck when have animal fall on head’.
It would have been even worse luck if it was an elephant, I think to myself.
‘In Thailand, old story must have bad luck when animal fall on head.’
Then I realize what the day is; Friday 13th. I’m not superstitious (I used to get a lot of splinters, but I don’t get then anymore . . . touch wood!), but it got me thinking. So I ask Jeab if she knows about the Western belief about Friday 13th.
‘Oooh-weee. Suk sip sam.’
Suk sip sam (Wan suk sip sam; Friday 13) is also believed by some people in Thailand to be bad luck. I’m not sure why because I always thought it was something that was tied up in Christian beliefs. Anyway, it seems the combination of the falling lizard and the inauspicious date signals bad luck ahead, so if there are no more posts for a while you’ll know why.
Throwing caution to the wind, I ventured outside my apartment and nothing untoward has happened yet. I’ve just Googled ‘Thailand house lizard superstition’ and came across this very interesting article. Now I wish I paid more attention to which way the lizard’s tail was pointing when it landed in the sink. Apparently, all is not lost for me; if the tail was pointing to the right I could be in the money. Right, where’s that lottery vendor.