Romance and Valentine's Day usually conjure images of hearts, roses, chocolates, teddy bears, more roses, and all that lovey-dovey stuff. But in Thailand, love can also entail consuming weird stuff in the hopes of pleasing your lover in bed, asking supernatural entities to help you get laid, and carrying explicit-looking charms on your body. We take a look at some bizarre things people do for love in Thailand to get you ready for the upcoming Valentine's Day.
Forget about chocolate, oysters and asparagus. We Thais already have plenty of choices of things we eat (albeit less appetising) that are believed to increase sexual performance. Here are some suggestions for what to order on Valentine's Day (but don't blame us if you get too sick to celebrate). !
Ya dong is basically made by soaking herbs that are wrapped in white cloth in liquor over time to extract beneficial elements from them to cure ailments. It's a traditional Thai medicine. Regarded as a poor man's choice of drink today, ya dong is also believed to be able to increase your libido. If you don't know what a ya dong vendor looks like, it's usually a humble streetside wooden stall with clear jars filled with different recipes of ya dong. Some stalls are decorated with Christmas lights all year round and play luk thung music. What should also catch your attention is the suggestive names given to some recipes such as "doh mai roo lom" (never go down), "kamlung seua khrong" (strength of Bengal tiger) and "naree rumphueng" (a woman's groan). An article in Daily News in April 2000 cited research conducted by a team from The Botanical Garden Organization that showed some herbs used in ya dong can increase libido. The research team, however, recommend that people should drink ya dong only twice a day and at 33cc each.
Mah mui or mucuna pruriens, for Thais, is usually a plant to avoid. When your skin comes into contact with its hair, it makes you itch. However, when you use the right part of it, it allegedly brings married couples closer together both physically and emotionally. In September last year, Matichon reported a study that showed seeds of mah mui increase sexual drive in men and women. The study was carried out by Chanadda Bunlung, an academic who works at a hospital in Si Sa Ket. Twenty married couples volunteered for her study and, at the beginning, they described the stability of their relationship as average to rather low. Then they drank water with crushed seeds of the plant regularly and later reported they were happier with their marriage as a result of them "getting together" more. The couples also reported they enjoyed doing "homework" together more. Among many sexy benefits, women said they felt their breasts become fuller while men said they lasted longer. Good thing Channadda was quick to add that the usage of the plant should be done under supervision of experts only or else her study may have sparked a nationwide hunt for the seeds.
Cicada is literally considered the "love bug" by some Thais
Thai Rath reported in August 2011 of a high demand for cicada eggs at a market in Lampang after locals claimed them to be a love drug dug up from the ground. The manager of Thung Kwian market said the eggs were being sold at B1,900 per kilogramme and politicians had sent their assistants to buy these eggs for them. He added that, at first, the eggs were sold at B500 but the price soared after the supposed reputation of the eggs as a libido increaser spread through word of mouth. The locals cook them by either grilling or steaming. A provincial officer said although there is no proof of the eggs being an aphrodisiac, they are a source of vitamins and can be eaten safely so long as they are properly cooked.
Some Thais believe that by simply wearing or using items imbibed with a special spell from a sorcerer or shaman, they can attract love and kindness from people. Some of these love charms, however, probably aren't for children's eyes and shouldn't be shown at a party unless you want people to feel awkward.
They are just hugging very tightly
In koo is basically a small figure of a couple coupling. This charm, mostly made of different types of metals by sorcerers, is said to have originated in the north of Thailand and is believed to give single people power to become irresistible to the opposite sex. For lovers, the charm is supposed to keep them close emotionally and physically forever. In general, it's said to make people like you more. In koo comes in different forms and degrees of explicitness. There are modest versions of couples having intercourse while hugging face-to-face without showing male and female bits. Then there are versions of couples doing it on a horse's back showing full breasts and curves and erect penises and defined muscle. There are also homosexual versions.
Made by shamans, nam man prai is, for lack of a better description, oil you get from holding a fire under the chin of a body of a woman who died while pregnant. This is considered black magic and an underhanded way for a man to get love from a woman, though. This creepy love potion is packaged in a small tube today, making it very convenient to carry around. If a guy wants a girl to love him, all he needs to do is flick some of this creepy oil on her and she will come running after him.
The aura of a big schlong draws in customers
Paladkik, or phallus, is a charm made of wood in the likeness of a penis and is very well-known among Thais. It's said to be rooted in Hinduism but its time of appearance in Thailand isn't known. These small penises are now made by shamans or Buddhist monks. In the past, they were used as a charm for boys. They wore it around their waist or neck to ward off evil. Today, people usually use them to attract business to their shops and Thai phalluses have been created with more creativity. According to an article in Krungthep Turakij newspaper in September 2001, symbols are also carved onto these phalluses for specific effect. A monkey on a phallus represents quickness and agility to avoid danger while a naked lady will attract love and kindness.
PRAYING FOR LOVE
If you work out, keep your skin nicely moisturised, have no criminal record and are somehow still single, maybe you need help from supernatural entities. Why not go to these shrines well known for those who want to be lucky in love? It can't hurt since you already spend thousands of baht on your gym membership, cosmetics and trips to beauty clinics.
Mae Nak Shrine
Mae Nak Shrine in Wat Mahabut on Sukhumvit Soi 77 is among the places in Bangkok people go to pray for luck in love, which kind of makes sense. The shrine was built in honour of Mae Nak, the legendary female ghost who died while giving birth to her child but was so committed to being a good wife that she returned to her husband posthumously. It is said that after she grants your wishes, you must offer her garlands, Thai dresses and toys.
Chao Mae Sam Muk Shrine in Chon Buri was built to remind us love is a powerful thang. The story goes that Sam Muk was a girl who liked to watch people playing with kites in the hills. One day a kite fell in front of her and it belonged to Sean, a son of a village head. They became friends and then continued to see each other until they became lovers. They vowed to be together forever and, if not, they would jump off a cliff. Sean's father, however, forced him to marry a girl he approved of more. At his wedding, Sam Muk was there to pour celestial water on him and ran away before Sean could catch up with her. He rushed to the foothills and found that Sam Muk had already jumped off the cliff. He then jumped too. His father was later criticised for causing their deaths and he started to bring offerings to the spot where they jumped.
Chao Mae Soi Dok Mak Shrine in Wat Phananchoeng of Ayutthaya was built in memory of a Chinese princess named Soi Dok Mak, according to a local legend. Her father sent her there to marry a Thai king in a procession of junk boats. Instead of greeting her himself, the king sent his aides to collect her from the boat while he was busy preparing his palace inside. The princess felt disrespected and refused to get off the boat. When the king showed up to collect her later, she called him out on not giving her due courtesy. He retorted that if she wished to remain in the boat she should live there. The princess held her breath until she died on the spot. Gravely saddened by this tragedy, he ordered a shrine to be built in her honour. Strangely enough, it became a destination for singles to ask for soul mates and married couples for children. In return, you should offer her silk, miniature junk boats, or a lion dance.G
About the author
- Writer: Pornchai Sereemongkonpol
Position: Guru Reporter