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Polygamy is not under Thai law, but the lifestyle is still practiced

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PHOTO: Sanook

While polygamy in Thailand isn’t as prevalent as it was a century ago and the marriages aren’t recognised under Thai law, the lifestyle is still practiced by some. Thai media reporters recently interviewed a polygamous trio and apparently “life is good,” according to the husband with 2 wives. The wives didn’t seem to do much talking in the interview.

Reporters from the Thai news outlet Sanook spoke with 44 year old Wacharatorn “Tum” Sironam about his taboo family arrangement. The trio have been living together for 7 years.  Tum says his family is perfectly happy, they have no arguments and they work together to care for Tum’s 4 children, 2 from each wife.

Tum has nicknames for his wives which translate to “big wife” and “little wife.” In the past, Thai law assigned women in polygamy marriages a certain category.

Polygamy in Thailand could be freely practiced before 1 October 1935. Polygamy was recognised under civil law. The old family law assigned wives to three categories, in accordance with the way they became wives. (The “official wife” known as mia klang muang, the “minor wife” known as mia klang nok, and slave wives known as mia klang thasi.)

While polygamy has since been abolished, it is still alive in Thailand. – Wikapedia

Worapat  “Pla” Sroinam, who has been with Tum for 18 years, is called the “big wife.” Tum says their love has remained strong over the years. One day, Tum told her he wanted another wife to join the family.

Pla was shocked, but said it would be okay as long as Tum loved them both the same, Tum says. He then spoke with Kochakorn “Wan” Tapchom, admitted that he was married and asked her to be his “little wife.”

The family now runs a noodle shop in Ratchaburi province, west of Bangkok, where they sell noodle soup for 10 baht. The Pla and Wan each receive 10,000 baht per month to help with the family business.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

 

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28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Issan John

    Monday, February 22, 2021 at 7:32 pm

    FFS. Term “mia noi” isn’t exactly a nickname invented by Mr Tum.

    The suggestion that this sort of relationship is widespread in Thailand, with two or more wives living with one husband, is absurd.

    Mistresses / mia nois? Yes, not unusual at all, but hardly accepted by most wives any more than anywhere else.

    Polygamy Mormon-style? No more prevalent than in other cultures, and less than some.

    • James R

      Monday, February 22, 2021 at 9:26 pm

      Issan John

      Where does the article indicate it is widespread ?

      The only reference to its acceptance is in, “while polygamy has since been abolished, it is still alive in Thailand. – Wikapedia”

      Most people know it is not widespread in Thailand.

      And as far as I can see Thai women are the bosses in most households.

      • Issan John

        Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 12:58 am

        “Where does the article indicate it is widespread?”

        In the first line, James R:

        “While polygamy in Thailand isn’t as prevalent as it was a century ago … etc”

        Maybe you didn’t get that far … 🙂

        • Matt Owens Rees

          Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 7:43 pm

          Learn to read, IsaanJohn. “Isn’t as prevalent” does not suggest it’s widespread.

          “maybe you didn’t get that far” is therefore uncalled for and irrelevant sarcasm

        • James R

          Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 9:10 pm

          Issan John

          “……the lifestyle is still practiced by some.”

          It seems you didn’t either ?

    • EdwardV

      Monday, February 22, 2021 at 10:42 pm

      Relatively speaking, I get the feeling the only cultures where polygamy is more prevalent than in Thailand are the one’s where it’s actually legal. Personally I could care less, if a guy is crazy enough to want one wife let alone two or three wives go for it. Although I am curious how you keep them from killing you at some point.

      • Issan John

        Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 1:08 am

        Agreed, Ed V, but only up to a point with the legality – how about Mormons, where even if it’s not “prevalent” it’s far more widely practiced and accepted than in Thailand but not “actually legal”?

        The practice of having “mia nois” isn’t that unusual here, particularly with those who can afford them, but I’d suggest living together in a menage a trois (or more) as these are is as unusual here as it is anywhere else – and considerably more unusual than in some places.

        • EdwardV

          Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 4:54 am

          Mormons? I’m not sure term “practiced and accepted” would be the appropriate word for polygamy with the Mormon church. You are correct polygamy has never been legal in any US state (polygamy is covered by state, not federal law) including Utah (a condition of statehood). However, it’s been disavowed by the Mormon church for over 100 years. Fact is the Mormon church will excommunicate you for polygamy quicker than a hot knife cuts through warm butter. That in no way says it doesn’t exist in the US, just it’s pretty well underground. I think that might be the biggest difference, it’s not socially acceptable to be a polygamist anywhere in the US. It’s why they don’t really socialize with outsiders and pretty much keep to their compounds. The best estimates are there are about 40K practicing polygamists in America. The Mormon sects that practice polygamy are very small (made up of a handful of families each) and widely scattered throughout the mountain region of the country. That said it is a Mormon thing, and the small towns near those sects live by the motto: “don’t ask, don’t tell”. On a side note, those Mormon sects stretch up into Canada and down into Mexico (where they tend to be on the larger side).

          • Issan John

            Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 11:56 am

            Just a guess, Ed V, but “40K practicing polygamists in America” is probably a lot more than there are menages a trois in Thailand 🙂

            Maybe they need more practice 😮

        • Sam

          Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 12:33 am

          More widely practiced s for the verb and c for the noun as in medical practice
          Not trying to be a pain but do like to see words written used and spelled correctly

    • Bill

      Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 7:16 am

      isaan john likes boys.

      • Issan John

        Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 11:58 am

        I doubt you’re my type, Bill, but you can always hope 😮

  2. James Pate

    Monday, February 22, 2021 at 7:41 pm

    Yeah, the women look absolutely ecstatic! Smug looking bastard. A regular Bill Gates with his 10 baht noodle shop. It’ll all blow up in their faces. Betcha one wife slings a bowl of hot noodle soup on the other someday. I only saw this “work” in modern times once before. A very well-to-do couple and the wife couldn’t have kids. He had a 2nd wife in another part of part of town w/2 kids. Both wives were provided for equally. They all acknowledged each other but never lived or even socialized together. Oh well, to each his own.

    • Sanuk

      Monday, February 22, 2021 at 9:40 pm

      Are you jealous? If they’re all cool with it what is the problem?
      Some of you on the comments need to get a life.

      • Jonnie

        Monday, February 22, 2021 at 9:50 pm

        Agree…as long as there is no coercion and such marriage is freely entered into it’s no one else’s business. Plural marriage has been the norm through most of human history.

        • Toby Andrews

          Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 12:19 pm

          The handsome devil. Is it the mustache that make him so attractive to women, or the shirt?

          • James R

            Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 9:15 pm

            Toby

            In relative terms to the second “wife’s” low social standing, the attraction will be his wallet.

      • James Pate

        Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 5:10 am

        Not jealous. As I said, to each his own. I’ll marry my wives 1 at a time, thank you. When I was a boy, an old woman told me that when she was a girl, a man lived for years with 2 wives. One day, the women argued over a can of fruit and the whole thing fell apart. On the other hand, my 1st ex-wife’s rich grandfather had 6 wives and 19 children. They all lived in a 6 floor apt bldg he owned, 1 family on each floor. Checked each kid’s homework every night after work. Spent 1 night per wk w/ each wife and his Sundays alone on the roof for some peace and quiet. He was a real over-achiever. Whatever floats your boat.

  3. Sam Tompsom

    Monday, February 22, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    looks like two men and one woman…..still polygamy, I guess

  4. albert zweistein

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 12:51 am

    Is this NEWS ?

    • Issan John

      Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 1:14 am

      The real “NEWS” is that “they sell noodle soup for 10 baht.”

      10 baht for a bowl of noodles??? 😮

      Even out in the sticks there’s no way you’d get a bowl of noodles for ten baht 😮

      • Michael

        Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 2:14 am

        And he sells so much that he is able to pay both wives a 10k Baht salary.

        So the money from the first 2000 Noodle soups go to the women…

      • James Pate

        Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 5:28 am

        Yeah, that is curious. Would you prefer the cat or, the dog noodles? Oops! I meant to say, chicken or beef!

        • Issan John

          Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 12:05 pm

          “curious” ???

          Ten baht for a bowl of noodles would have been unlikely twenty years ago – even school meals and the monkey house budget more than that.

          Puts the article into perspective, though … 😮

          • James R

            Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 9:22 pm

            I thought the same.

            In Phuket down-town you pay 40 baht for a moo dam noodles, soup and veg.

            I think outside in the sticks it is 30 baht.

            I have been buying from the same family for 20 years, they take 40 baht every minute in the rush period, hardly any overheads,they must make a packet.

            The bloke above owns three houses (farang style) which he rents out.

  5. Changyue

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    Legal or paper official marriages seem pretty rare in most of Thailand. Many Thsis drift in and out of relationships and call them marriages. Commitment is not part of the Thai vocabluary. Grandmas are stuck with the offsprinng and the cycle is self perpetusting. No judgement. Just the wazy it seems.

  6. James R

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    Which one is the bloke, the one on the left or the one in the middle? ?

  7. Toby Andrews

    Monday, March 1, 2021 at 5:19 pm

    I could not stand it myself. Going home and not one, but two wives saying where have you been until this time?

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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