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

Iraner erzählen von Iran (What's different elsewhere)

The heavenly Llama

by Fabian Grieger

About a special animal in Bolivia

more


Finally! (What's different elsewhere)

Proud symbolic bird

by Melanie Taylor

About a special animal from Panama

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


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


Brasilien: alles drin (What's different elsewhere)

Under the spell of the goat

by Saba Khalid

About a special animal in Pakistan

more


Above (How I became me)

Paradise lost

by Sonny Thet

I grew up as though I was an extra in the film, Anna and the King of Siam: Among royalty in Phnom Penh in the 1950s and ‘60s. My father led the orchestra there. Since my birth, I had travelled with him because he wanted me to become a musician. If he didn’t take me, and I was forced to stay behind with my mother, I would dig a hole, get into it and cry for my father as though my life depended on it. 

more