A “Child Angel” or Luk Thep is a doll that became so popular in Thailand few months back that they were allowed seats on aeroplanes and special menus at restaurants. The popular Thai hobby of owning a doll the size of a real baby was forced to retreat from the public eye following the media frenzy that ensued around it.
Mananya Boonmi, more commonly known as Mama Ning, is a member of the Luk Thep community and considers herself one of the earliest adopters of the Child Angel dolls.
Boonmi has dozens of immaculately child-like dolls sitting around the house. However, to Boonmi, these are her children and not just mere dolls.
These dolls are believed to be possessed by good spirits that bring good luck to the owners if they treat them like their own children. It is also a belief that the better the dolls are treated, the luckier the owners become. The devotees have the doll child blessed by monks and invite the good spirits to possess them, the Mail Online reported.
Boonmi said that she bought her first Child Angel, Nong Ploy, 14 years ago for just 350 baht (AU$12.88). She recounted that while selling souvenirs and trinkets five years ago, she sensed that Nong Ploy was trying to help her. Since then, she has been treating Nong Ploy as a real child. She said she holds conversations and shares food with him. She also buys new clothing for him from time to time, Mashable reported.
She has since then created scores of Luk Theps on her own which she passes on to others looking for good fortune. The dolls may come for any price between 1,500 baht (AU$55.15) to tens of thousands of baht.
However, for Mama Ning, business is the last thing on her mind for her Child Angels.
“If I wanted, I could sell [them] on Facebook without any questions or any problems and become very rich,” she said. She instead prefers to meet up with prospective “parents” and help them choose the doll that would suit them the most.