Kjaer chong kas

How to ward off ghosts in Siem Reap

Kjaer chong kas as worn by a Khmer man

When I moved to this house, I can see ghosts in this room. When I sleep, they seem to hold me that I have difficulty moving. That’s why my mother gave me this.

The Khmer man pointed to his band around his waist. Showing it to me.

After I wore this one, the ghosts didn’t bother me anymore and I can no longer see them here.

I was walking near the Siem Reap river when I chanced upon this 24 year old man, with his shirt off. Always curious, I asked him what that green band was for, thinking that it was an amulet, as what some men in the Philippines wear too.

Kjaer chong kas, front and back

The amulet is called kjaer chong kas. Its jade green in color but actually feels like plastic wound into a band by pairs and tied into a knot at the back. I’m not sure though if most people in Siem Reap wear this amulet but the man I talked to lives in another district around 30 kilometers from the city and is just here for work.

The amulet calls to mind the ones worn by some Filipinos but instead of the jade like ornament, these are mostly bullet casings with something sealed inside.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

6 Comments

  1. Gregory Mendoza
    November 1, 2012 @ 18:00

    Cambodia has their own share of rich culture and intriguing folklore… good thing you were able to spot this one…

  2. Andrea Awenc
    November 1, 2012 @ 18:04

    interesting! did you ask where his mother get it? you should have bought one for yourself, just in case you’ll encounter ghosts or other elementals…

  3. estancabigas
    November 1, 2012 @ 18:16

    Andrea, I’m not one who is attracted to spirits 🙂

  4. estancabigas
    November 1, 2012 @ 18:28

    I’m always curious of things and tend to watch out for something that has parallels in Pinas 🙂

  5. Andrea Awenc
    November 1, 2012 @ 18:55

    that’s great! me neither… but im always interested to ghost stories from people who can see them…

  6. Smith Cam
    April 9, 2013 @ 10:44

    The Kingdom of Cambodia, formerly Kampuchea, is a Southeast Asian nation that borders Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand. The capital city is Phnom Penh.
    http://www.tourismcambodia.org/contents/about_cambodia/

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