The calls of the gecko

by Sim Phally

Ich und alle anderen (Ausgabe IV/2016)

-

A tokeh. Illustration: Stephanie F. Scholz


When evening falls in Cambodia, a loud call often rings through the houses, that comes very close to the word "tokeh." Tokeh is also the name of the gecko that produces this incomparable sound and which sits hidden on the ceilings and walls of the houses. It is well worth listening more closely.

According to old Cambodian wisdom it is good luck if the gecko makes the Tokeh call more than seven times. Eight calls bring prosperity to the family, nine calls promise social recognition and eleven calls mean you are set to rise to an elevated professional position. Less than seven calls, however, spell bad luck.

Because it is considered a lucky charm, the blue-grey and red spotted gecko is a welcome guest in every household in Cambodia. The nocturnal animal also has a practical use: It eats insects, especially those unpopular mosquitoes, thus protecting house dwellers from insect bites. In Cambodia, where dengue fever and malaria are common, this is more than welcome. So when visiting Cambodia, it is important to listen out for the Tokeh. It spells happiness – and some respite from mosquitoes!

Translated by Jess Smee



similar articles

Guilt (Topic: Guilt)

The greatest crime

by Hille Norden

When he was 14 years old, Soun Rottana was kidnapped and became a child soldier for Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge, killing dozens of enemy combatants.

more


Für Mutige. 18 Dinge, die die Welt verändern (What's different elsewhere)

The monarch lands

by Alfredo Carrera López

About a special animal in Mexico

more


The hunters and the hunted (Topic: Humans and animals)

Meat on legs

By Corine Pelluchon

The mass production of animals inoculates us to their suffering. Our insensitivity is coming back to haunt us.

more


The hunters and the hunted (Topic: Humans and animals)

“I talk to them like with a baby”

In conversation with T.C. Boyle

The writer T.C. Boyle explains why he writes about animals and how he communicates with them. An interview.

more


Rausch (What's different elsewhere)

Catching dragonflies

by Toshiyuki Miyazaki

About a special animal in Japan

more


Beweg dich. Ein Heft über Sport (What's different elsewhere)

Evil spirits in the pond

by Samia Tamrin Ahmed

About a special animal in Bangladesh

more