In the following clip by Zhongtian News, Taiwan, it was reported that Hong Kong movie star Cecilia Cheung rented an antique Phra Somdej amulet for NT600, 000 and which had brought Cecilia Cheung tremendous career luck. However, according to the news anchor, an expert in Thai amulets pronounced that an antique Phra Somdej amulet does not command that kind of value Cecilia Cheung had paid for. Master Tan provided a thorough response and exposed the shoddy culture behind Taiwan’s news reporting…
Generally, an informed critic is a person who possesses profound knowledge in a specific field albeit not necessarily having to be a specialist in the said field but suffice that he is able to assess, evaluate, and communicate an objectively informed opinion or critique about a subject matter, for example, social or government policy. Do take note that I stipulated “profound knowledge” and not “specialized knowledge” although the latter may be preferable otherwise any opinion delivered stands the risk of being ill-informed and stupid if not misleading. These minimum criterions for criticism are necessary to invoke a judicious application of the mental faculty through examination of sensation by deliberation which in turn allow for a distinction to be drawn between a critique and a rant.
Pursuant to the afore-mentioned, there are inevitably many “critics” who adopt title inflation in order to justify their criticism as informed opinions. For example, here in Taiwan, there is a profuse and loose use of the term “師” which literally means a “master”, “teacher’, or “expert” and it is not surprising to hear plumbers, tilers, cooks, and et cetera being addressed as “師”. With as much looseness as the use of the term “師” there is also a liberal use of the term “評論家” or critic which is why we are seeing abundant commentary programs and commentary news (評論節目) here that is of entertaining quality more than knowledgeable deliberation. Inevitably, we too are seeing such title inflation and ill-informed commentary taking a toll on Thai Buddhism here.
The above is a Taiwan news clip by Zhongtian News on a Phra Buddha Somdej amulet rented for NT600, 000 by Hong Kong movie star Cecilia Cheung. It was reported that that Somdej amulet had brought Cecilia Cheung tremendous career luck. In the course of the broadcasting, an expert in Thai Buddhism was also introduced.
It was claimed therein that the particular Somdej amulet rented by Cecilia Cheung is 140 over years of age thereby implying it is possibly the last batch of Phra Buddha Somdej amulet made and consecrated by His Venerable Somdej Phra Buddhachantoh Promarangsi. However, the news reader Liu Yingxiu made a closing statement with a claim that according to expert an antique Somdej amulet does not worth that much of money.
What is the relevance of us sharing this piece of “news” here? Well, it is a general knowledge of Thai Buddhists and Thai amulet collectors that a genuine Somdej amulet made by Somdej Phra Buddhachantoh Promaragsi easily fetch a market price of more than a million baht which is equivalent to more than NT920, 000 and amulets with a price tag of NT500, 000 are just too common. Therefore, that piece of “news” not only highlights the abuse of title inflation, it also underscores the essence of fake news.
The above are photographs taken by our Mr David Tan on 5th June 2013 in Wat Kiat Chayeo which he immediately uploaded to our Facebook and shared them with our valued customers. The asking prices of those Somdej amulets were explicitly shown in the photograph and it was 1.5 million Baht each which is approximately equivalent to NT1.4 million. It was a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of a genuine antique Somdej amulet of that category and above.
To-date, we have rented out numerous high-ends Somdej amulets from prominent temples including but not limiting to Wat Rahkang, Wat Mai Amatarot, Wat Kiat Chayeo, Wat Pitkulthong, Wat Natangnok, and et cetera with prices costing more than NT300, 000 – NT500, 000. The piece of news from Zhongtian News and their expert’s opinion is so funny that we took the liberty to share it here just for a laugh! So what do you think? Feel free to express your opinion here.