Synopsis: In this special series, The Straits Times dives into some of the greatest unsolved mysteries in South-east Asia, and examines the underlying issues that they exposed.
In this episode, we investigate the source of the red and orange fireballs that emerge from the Mekong River once every year.
ST Indochina bureau chief Tan Hui Yee speaks to Dr San Sunthornthanakul, mayor of Phon Phisai municipality, and biologist from Chulalongkorn University Dr Jessada Denduangboripant.
She also interviewed Mr Thanavorakit Kounthawatphinyo, a Laotian filmmaker based in Bangkok, Mr Sompop Khamsawat, a civil servant who is convinced that Naga Fireballs are a hoax.
Highlights (click/tap above): (Headphones recommended)
01:53 The annual Naga Fireball festival draws large crowd
05:20 The Naga is seen as a celestial guardian, a symbol of abundance and a patron of water
06:30 Dr Jessada dismisses the theory of chemical reaction giving rise to the fireballs
09:00 Mr Thanavorakit traces the fireballs to Laotian soldiers firing bullets into the sky
13:36 Mr Sompop petitioned the authorities for an investigation into the phenomenon
15:45 Dr San says the term “Naga Fireball” is a modern creation
17:38 The health of the Mekong River is failing
Edited by: Teo Tong Kai
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