UN styled Moustache and Eyes, but Cambodian Body “Neak Ta Dombong Dek” Statue at ECCC

Posted by khmernews on February 1, 2008


At every court in Cambodia, there is always a statue of “Neak Ta” or “spirit” which has incredible power to which people pay high respect. In some regions, statues of “Neak Ta” such as Ta Klang Moeung, Ta Kraham Kor (red-neck old man spirit), Yeay Mao (black old lady sprit)… etc. are placed in court’s compound for witnesses to give pledges.  At the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), “Neak Ta Dombong Dek” statue or “Iron-Rod Old Man Spirit” statue is displayed.
According to Reach Sambath, ECCC’s spokesman, Ta Dombong Dek statue was built by a sculptor named Iy and it conforms to Chiso Mountain “style” in Ta Keo province.  The statue of Ta Dombong Dek represented justice in Angkorian era. Reach Sambath said that Sculptor Iy had started sculpting the statute on March 31, 2006 and finished on May 12, 2006. “Since the court is a hybrid court which has been joined by UN judges and prosecutors, the decorations of the statue were made differently from those of Ta Dombong Dek statue in other places. This “Ta Dombong Dek” statue has curved moustache and silver eyes like those of Europeans,” [he said].

“UN eyes mean the eyes of UN [officials],” he said, adding that “Neak Ta Dombong Dek” statue was also hybrid since it had Cambodian physique but moustache and eyes representing UN.

“In some night immediately after the statue was built, “Ta Dombong Dek” spirit told a policeman, also named Iey, who was guarding the tribunal, in his dream that “I will cut off your testicles with a pair of scissors. Why did you make my moustache so curved?” The policeman woke up, was very frightened, and rushed to burn incense sticks before the statue in the night. He admitted to the statue that he was not the one who built the statue. After the policeman reported the event to the people in charge of it, a ceremony was held to pray to Ta Dombong Dek. “You are not an ordinary “Ta Dombong Dek”, but a Cambodian-UN hybrid “Ta Dombong Dek”,” they prayed. Since then the hybrid “Ta Dombong Dek” has been calmed and has stopped frightening the people.

Cambodian people are very superstitious and dare not break pledges they have made. Before a trial every witness is always asked to make pledges that they would only tell the truth and that if not, they would not have happiness.

Unofficial Translation
-Extracted from Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol. 16, #4490, Wednesday, January 16, 2008.


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