Sunday, April 08, 2007

To be a Thai Monk

I have attended many of these ceremonies. Every once in a while, I will be invited to a lunch or dinner celebration. Sometimes, it is in Bangkok, other I did have to drive gig and her mum a hundred kilometers to a secluded temple in another province. When a man comes of age, his parents will want him to undergo monk-hood. And if he agrees, it is an occasion to be proud of and a celebration will be held. Thais believe that if their son undergoes this stint, he will bring good luck to the family. Often, just before one gets married, if he has not already done the monk-hood thing, his parents will often try to force him to do so. This is because if monk-hood is done after marriage, the superstitious benefits will have to be shared by the wife’s family as well. So better take more now, then to take less after marriage. You can be a monk for any period of time. Over the weekend, a week, 3 months etc. Attending an occasion like this is much like attending a Chinese wedding, or a “mun-yue” (full moon party for baby). You give money or ang-pows.

I don’t think I wanna undergo monk-hood. They are not allowed to wear underwear. Although it may be cooling, I think this condition exposes you to mosquito bites where you don’t want them, especially if you are snoring in the night, saliva drooling, legs wide apart. For a man, monk-hood means 200 over rules to follow. Women in Thailand have their version of nun-hood. Gig does this once a year if time permits. I asked her… so if monks dun wear underwear, what about woman? Of course she gave me that god-gonna-slap-you-in-face-look and explained nuns only have 8 rules to follow. So they can be excused from feeling like a swaying papaya tree in the temples.

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