North Thailand: Man pleads with estranged wife who left with monk

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

A Uthai Thani man is pleading for his estranged wife to return after she allegedly left with a monk.

The Thai man, 61 year old Sanan, made a tearful appeal through the media, urging his 53 year old wife, Nanthawan to come back to their home in Nong Chang district.

Sanan expressed his willingness to forgive her relationship with the monk, Phra Thongkham, and emphasised the need for her to help care for their 30 cats and dogs, as well as to address their 500,000 baht debt. The couple had been together for over 30 years before Nanthawan appeared to develop feelings for the monk from Wat Nong Krathum.

The monk, 58 year old Phra Thongkham, originally from Surin, was expelled from the temple around the same time Nanthawan vanished, after the abbot caught them together, confirming suspicions that they had grown too close. The abbot, Phra Athikanrawai Mahawiriyo, expelled the monk yesterday after witnessing inappropriate behaviour between him and Nanthawan.

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“What are you doing?”

The abbot, who had hidden behind the temple kitchen where the pair liked to meet, yelled at them when he saw them standing too close. The couple quickly pushed each other away like reprimanded schoolchildren.

Nanthawan frequently visited the temple under an arrangement where her husband would pick up leftover food to help feed their numerous pets, while she did the dishes in return. This arrangement was overseen by the abbot until Phra Thongkham and Nanthawan exchanged numbers, leading to their growing closeness.

“I had heard about them carrying on for some time. If locals found out, the temple would suffer, so I tossed out the monk when he refused to swear that he had done nothing wrong.”

Phra Athikanrawai showed reporters where he saw the couple. Monastic rules forbid contact between monks and women.

Year-long affair

Sanan had suspected his wife’s relationship with the monk for about a year.

“She would often return from the temple as late as 10pm even though the temple is just 2 kilometres away.”

The monk’s name frequently appeared on her phone. When she left yesterday morning, she dropped off their saleng vehicle with a relative at a local market and has not been seen since.

“The night before she left, I took my wife into my arms and told her that I loved her. I asked if she loved the monk. She denied it, saying he already had a wife.”

Talking to reporters today, Sanan mentioned that his wife had called their daughter a few days ago, expressing her desire to be with the former monk. However, his wife’s elder sister, who denied Nanthawan had strayed, told him that his wife had found a job on a building site in another province and would return, reported Bangkok Post.

“When I called her back, she said my wife in fact would not be coming back as she was upset I had gone to the media. You told them the story that she had run off with the monk, harming her reputation.”

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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