Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond

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Posts tagged tattoos

Odisha – The Land That Time Forgot in The Nikkei Asian Review

My latest story with French journalist Laure Siegel on Odisha, one of India’s least visited states, and its fledgling tourist industry, published in the Nikkei Asian Review. PURI, India — “Jay Jagannath! Jay Jagannath!” A sea of people chants the sacred mantra while pulling on thick ropes hauling three massive, 14-meter-high wooden carts decorated in […]

Thailand’s Sacred Tattoos – A Secret Tradition Goes Global

My article in this month’s InDepth Magazine on Thailand’s Sacred Tattoos with images by Aroon Thaewchatturat, co-author and photographer of Sacred Skin – Thailand’s Spirit Tattoos, the first English language book to look at Sak Yant. On a sultry Monday morning, Ajarn Neng Onnut’s studio, known locally as a samnak, which sits tucked away in […]

From the Archives: Wai Khru Day – The Wat Bang Phra Tattoo Festival in Thailand

Every year in March, thousands of Buddhist devotees gather at a temple an hour west of Bangkok to worship and celebrate one of Thailand’s strangest cults: At Wat Bang Phra, Buddhist monks use long needles to tattoo magic images and prayers on the believers’ skin. The tattoos are believed to give the wearer protection, especially […]

From the Archives: Tom Vater on the Wat Bang Phra Tattoo Festival in Thailand

Every year in March, thousands of Buddhist devotees gather at a temple an hour west of Bangkok to worship and celebrate one of Thailand’s strangest cults: At Wat Bang Phra, Buddhist monks use long needles to tattoo magic images and prayers on the believers’ skin. The tattoos are believed to give the wearer protection, especially […]

The Pain Of Vegetables – The Phuket Vegetarian Festival

The Vegetarian Festival on the tourist island of Phuket in Southern Thailand is a truly bizarre occasion. Men and women, ostensibly possessed by gods, pierce their tongues and cheeks with sharp implements. Adepts apparently feel no pain, and show little no sign of real injury. The young man wears only shorts. He is drenched in […]

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