My Parents Adopted a Dead Baby

By Chef robinchwannn


I live in a small country in Southeast Asia called Singapore. A few years back, I had converted to Christianity but I was raised in a Buddhist household like the majority of Singaporean Chinese families. Though my parents were not strict in their beliefs, they still kept an altar in the corridor of our home and offered incense to it religiously.

My father owned a small business and it had been going smoothly for the past few years. We lived comfortably and were able to afford the lifestyle we wanted. Singapore is a country with very high standard of living, so everything is extremely overpriced. To be able to live a comfortable lifestyle is truly a blessing. However, since a few months back, his business had been dropping. It was not a drastic drop, but it still got him worried that the decline was going to continue. My father’s friend had told him about this thing called the Kumanthong which was known to bring good luck and fortune to the owner.

Kumanthong (literally translated as Golden sacrificed young boy) is popular in Thai religion and although it is not part of Buddhist practices, many people still consider it as such. Authentic Kumanthongs originated from a practice of necromancy. According to Wikipedia (because I had no idea what they were in the first place), they were obtained from the desiccated fetuses of children who had died whilst still in their mothers’ womb. Witch doctors were said to be able to invoke these stillborn babies, adopt them as their children, and use them to help them in their endeavors.

To make a Kumanthong, the unborn fetus will first be surgically removed from the womb of its mother. Then the body would be taken to a cemetery for the conduction of the proper ceremonial ritual to invoke a Kumanthong. The body will then be roasted until dry while the witch doctor chants incantations. Once the rite was completed, the dry-roasted fetus will be painted in Ya Lak (a kind of lacquer used to cover amulets) and covered in gold leaf. Thus the name “Golden Little Boy”.

Some Kumanthongs are soaked in Nam Man Phrai, a kind of oil extracted by burning a candle close to the chin of a dead child or a person who died in violent circumstances or an unnatural death. The collection of oil is less common now, because the practice is considered illegal if they were using fat from human babies for the oil. Occasionally, there are still some amulets that are obtained through authentic methods. How “authentic” it is, I have no idea.

Nowadays, Kumanthongs are made by monks and evil priests from the bones, hairs or cremated powder of the baby. Some are obtained through the black market from recent abortions.

Anyway, my father’s friend mentioned to him about Kumanthongs and how helpful they were in helping him get his promotion in the place he worked. He talked about his Kumanthong with high respect and believed that the spirit of the little boy was the one that brought him all his fortune. My father was fascinated and he wanted an easy way out of his troubles, thus he went to a Thai temple and obtained his Kumanthong from a monk.

When he first showed us the Kumanthong, I was indifferent. My mother accepted it quite quickly because she had heard many good things about it too. At that point of time, I was not educated about it and I thought it was just like the other Buddhist deity statues we had at our altar. My father told me that it was different and that we have to treat it as if it was alive and part of our family. He then mentioned to me that the purpose of owning a Kumanthong was so that we can help its spirit move on and reincarnate through our good deeds. I didn’t understand what it meant, but it had something to do with karma and passing on your merits to the Kumanthong.

The Kumanthong was a statue of a toddler, depicted to be about 3 years old. The statue was a dark matte grey, but his pants and accessories (like arm bracelets, hair tie, necklace) were painted in gold. Gold Thai writing was painted all over its arms and back. He sat crossed legged and had his hands pressed together in front of his chest. Upon his arrival, my parents created a mini-altar beside the one we already had. Because he had to be treated like he was alive, my parents placed things on the altar that toddlers usually like. He was still a little boy after all. They had bought pacifiers, sweets, soft drinks and toys for him and had even given him a nickname. ‘Di di’ was what they called, which meant ‘little brother’ in Chinese. Every meal, my mother would set aside an extra bowl of food for the Kumanthong and called it to meal. Sometimes my dad would ask me to “play” with him by rolling the toy car at his altar. They really treated him like a son.

Honestly, I never really thought much of it. I had grown up in a house where we had many Buddhist statues and I was pretty much used to them. Even though I had converted to Christianity, I was not going to force my religion unto my family or say what they were doing to be wrong. It had been my decision to convert and my parents respected that. In turn, I respect their religion and I help out whenever I can. They were adults and they should know what they were doing.

Nothing notable happened last week. My father mentioned that his business was picking up again. He attributed it to the Kumanthong and said it was because of it that his business was going well again. My mother believed that too. I didn’t want to burst their bubble and tell them that it was all just a placebo effect, so I kept my mouth quiet and let them believe what they wanted to.

Even though I helped my parents with “taking care” of him, I never really believed in it like my parents did. However, something weird happened to me yesterday and I’m not sure what to think of it. It’s currently my semester break from university and I have taken up a part-time job to get some extra cash to spend. Usually, I had to be awake at 6.45AM to prepare myself before I head out of the house. I had to travel an hour to the place I work, so I had specifically set that I was to leave the house by 7.30AM. But, I was so tired that I ‘accidentally’ turned off the alarm on my phone. By accidentally, I meant on purpose. You know when you’re so familiar with your phone that you know how to unconsciously press the button to turn off the alarm? Yeah, that’s what I did. I went back to sleep, unaware that it was already 7AM and continued my slumber. In my sleep, I felt someone pulling my leg and I reflexively pulled it back, thinking nothing of it. Again, it was pulled. It was not a harsh pull like those you see in horror films where the person was pulled off the bed. It was just a small tug. “Stop it,” I mumbled in my sleep before turning to face the other side.

“Jie jie (‘Big Sister’ in Chinese), it’s time to wake up.” I heard a soft voice beside my ear. Upon hearing that, my eyes instantly shot opened and I looked around my room. I was an only child and had no siblings, thus it scared the shit out of me when I heard a little boy’s voice beside my ear. I’m not sure if it was just in my mind or if I really heard someone else in my room.

Before I left the house, I passed by the altars in the corridor and my eyes flickered to the side to glance at the Kumanthong. I swear its usually expressionless face was replaced with a slight smile.

I reached work on time.

I had the day off work today so I thought I would write this down and share it with you guys. I’m still not sure what to make out of this incident. Everything in me tells me that something that was created through such extreme means could not be a kind spirit. So far, it had brought only good luck to my family but it has only been a week since my dad brought it home. What do you guys? Is anyone experienced with Kumanthongs and can tell me more?

I will keep you guys updated if anything else happens.


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