Take one look at the herd of buffaloes grazing the grass just outside Nong Jode village in Yang
Talard distric, Kalasin province, and you will suddenly struck by the visible oddity: 3 white female
buffaloes in the midst of their fellow creatures.
The white buffaloes have been talk of the
town in the village for years now. The trio belong to Ms. Tong Phuchalerm, 50, who was walking by
the herd as they munch the grass.
Many Thais believe that anything white is lucky. The
belief is reflected on the White Elephants, considered to be auspicious symbol of Siamese kings for
centuries, and recent news about villagers worshiping a white toad out of conviction that it would
bring them good luck. These white buffaloes are no different.
Ms. Tong said she and her
family have been farmers for many years, and have always kept buffaloes for work in the rice field,
especially when she needs to plough the field. Other families in the village own buffaloes, too, but
she is well known because her family only employed white buffaloes. She said she only owned 3 white
buffaloes now, having handed out the rest to her relatives.
White buffaloes are rare, and
they are mongkol (auspicious) for my family. We have never had money problem and our crops
have been good, Ms. Tong said, before adding that merchants have offered tens of thousands of baht
for the white buffaloes, but she always refused, despite her humble career of a farmer.
from magical powers the white buffaloes supposedly granted to her – including but not limited to
good health and enhancement of her baramee (mystical aura) – she also intends to preserve the
rare animals for younger generations to behold.
Of her precious white
buffaloes, she said they are very obedient and ?well-behaved?. For example, the buffaloes always
leave their droppings on the same spot everyday, which is in front of their pen, contrary to other
buffaloes that simply leave their droppings everywhere,, Ms. Tong said.
She′s aware that
soon the image of buffaloes gracing the rice fields might be a thing of the past, as Thai farmers
are increasingly adopting tractors and motorized ploughing machine instead of their buffaloes, but
she insists that she would not abandon the old ways for the new.
Buffaloes are true friends
of farmers, Ms. Tong said, heir droppings are excellent fertilizers for the rice, and they helped
eat all the unwanted weeds that would have been shelter for poisonous