Child Angel doll owners warned to be wise

Child Angel doll owners warned to be wise

Mental health authorities are warning believers in the powers of Child Angel dolls to have second thoughts. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
Mental health authorities are warning believers in the powers of Child Angel dolls to have second thoughts. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

Owners of the popular Child Angel dolls would be better advised to follow established religious doctrine than to rely on superstitious belief to avoid ill fortune, health authorities say.

The infant-like dolls, known as look thep, are believed by their owners to hold an angel's spirit.

Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, director-general of the Mental Health Department, said on Monday that Thai people's tendency to believe in the supernatural, to seek something their mind could rely on, and to follow changing fashions had led to the popularity of such dolls.

As there were shops selling clothing and jewellery and offering beauty services for such dolls, Dr Jedsada said, he did not see adherents as being mentally ill.

But he felt people would be better advised adhering to religions, which had clear origins and were credible, and accept that blessings come from doing good deeds.

Dr Yongyud Wongpiromsarn, advisory head of the department, said while belief could boost morale it should be based on the reality that personal success came from hard work, good planning and careful spending.

Celebrities and social media were used to influence people and believers in superstitions could be lured into paying out a lot of money, he said. He hoped the Child Angel fad would soon fade away.

Police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said on Monday said it was silly to allow people to carry these dolls aboard planes, because criminals could use them to smuggle drugs.

He ordered immigration police at airports and border checkpoints to carefully examine such Child Angel dolls.

Chula Sukmanop, director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, said that he would convene a meeting of Thai-registered airlines and airport operators in a few days to discuss standard procedures to handle passengers with Child Angel dolls.

"Without a standard, if passengers carry on look thep dolls aboard airplanes and cause a problem or unexpected incident in the way that affects air safety, that may affect efforts to solve the red flag and significant security concern of the International Civil Aviation Organisation," he said.

The procedures could range from check-in x-ray examination to the proper practices of keeping the dolls on board, he said.

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