Friday, April 18, 2008

Madame Beckons

Naang Gwak นางกวัก is the Thai goddess who lures in money with her sticky paw. Her name literally means "madame beckons". You can find her kneeling in noodle shops and gesturing to passersby on dessert carts on the streets of Bangkok. And you can see her on brightly colored incantation cloths, like the one inside the taxi in the photo. Amid ancient Khmer symbols and sacred writings, there she sits with a chunk of cash in her mitt. She's not one bit shy about it. In fact, you can detect a look of pride and satisfaction on her face. Besides recently coming into money, she's apparently had a big, tasty bowl of those noodles or a few of those luscious, sweet treats.