S1E4: The Mekong River's 'serpent' fire

  • 21 Jun 2022

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 interviews 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 Produced by: Tan Jia Ning (jianing@sph.com.sg), Tan Hui Yee (tanhy@sph.com.sg), Magdalene Fung (magfung@sph.com.sg), Ernest Luis and Teo Tong Kai Edited by: Teo Tong Kai Follow The Unsolved Mysteries Of South-east Asia podcast series here every third Tuesday of the month till July: Channel: https://str.sg/wuZ2 Apple Podcasts: https://str.sg/wu3W Spotify: https://str.sg/wuJ9 SPH Awedio app: https://www.awedio.sg/ Website: http://str.sg/stpodcasts Feedback to: podcast@sph.com.sg Read Tan Hui Yee's articles: https://str.sg/wuNL --- Discover ST's special edition podcasts: Singapore's War On Covid: https://str.sg/wuJa The Unsolved Mysteries of South-east Asia: https://str.sg/wuZ2 Stop Scams: https://str.sg/wuZB Invisible Asia: https://str.sg/wuZn --- Discover more ST podcast series: Asian Insider: https://str.sg/JWa7 Green Pulse: https://str.sg/JWaf Health Check: https://str.sg/JWaN In Your Opinion: https://str.sg/w7Qt Your Money & Career: https://str.sg/wB2m SG Extra: https://str.sg/wukR #PopVultures: https://str.sg/JWad ST Sports Talk: https://str.sg/JWRE Bookmark This!: https://str.sg/JWas The Big Story: https://str.sg/wuZe Lunch With Sumiko: https://str.sg/J6hQ Discover BT Podcasts: https://bt.sg/pcPL Follow our shows then, if you like short, practical podcasts! #unsolved See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.