Every home and business in Thailand is inhabited by spiritsâ€”both good and evilâ€”and the Thais believe these beings must be acknowledged and appeased, whether that means providing a â€œspirit houseâ€ in which to live on the corner of their land, a high shelf inside the house for dead ancestors, or a special offering on a table in front of your storefront. In the latter case, a succulent pigâ€™s head, white rice, pack of smokes, bottle of whiskey, and some sweets and incense seems to do the trick.
Even big embassies and office buildings have spirit houses. Some are equipped with whole scenes of praying and/or partying miniature people, some are offered tea or bottles of cherry-flavored soda (with straws), and many are framed with gorgeous flowers and vegetation. Still others are doubly blessed with manly tokens of fertility.