Hey big spender
Bongkot ‘Tak’ Khongmalai.
Actress Bongkot "Tak" Khongmalai is brushing off criticism of her decision to donate seven million baht to a Thon Buri temple rather than put it aside for her unborn child.
Tak last week posted on Instagram a copy of a cheque made out to the Pak Nam temple abbot for seven million baht, adding: "Why make merit in small doses? It's my money. Join me in my happiness, and share in any merit which comes to me."
Tak handed over the cheque on a recent visit to the temple with her mother. Tak's husband, billionaire Dtac founder Boonchai Bencharongkul, did not accompany them.
Netizens were quick to criticise the gesture, saying Tak was boasting of her newfound wealth.
"I'm not jealous, but it is a little disgusting," one wrote. "Tak is like the tuk-tuk driver who won the lottery. She goes to extremes, from someone who never had anything to showing it off, proclaiming to the world that suddenly she's worth something."
"I would rather you gave the money to small hospitals or schools so they could buy more supplies, or perhaps disabled children. Why give it to a temple which is already wealthy?" said another.
"Why boast about making merit when you are doing it with someone else's money," said yet another critic, referring to Mr Boonchai. Tak and Mr Boonchai, who gave his wife a 100 million baht marriage dowry, were married last month.
Tak is four months' pregnant with their child.
Former Bangkok governor candidate Leena Jangjanja, aka Leena Jung, said Tak's donation showed she was ignorant and does not understand the value of money.
Speaking on her cable TV show, Leena said if Tak was prepared to make merit at seven million baht a pop, her marriage dowry will be exhausted before long and she will have nothing.
"Mr Boonchai has five previous wives. Tak is his sixth. He'll get bored and eventually dump her. She's put on so much weight she looks ugly. Tak is 28 and looks like someone in her fifties," Leena said bluntly.
"Tak is stupid, her donation over the top. She should have put the money into a business venture so she has something put aside for the day when Boonchai leaves," she said. "They haven't registered their marriage, but she's lucky that he's old and rich.
"Boonchai will now think twice about giving her money if this is the wasteful way she spends it. She gives it away easily because it came to her easily. In reality, her family is poor."
Replying to her internet critics, Tak said she saw no harm in doing a little boasting in the cause of performing good works.
"Some people buy expensive bags and cars and boast about it. I make a lot of merit _ can't I do a little showing off too?" she asked.
"Making merit where you have a large number of people sharing in your happiness _ followers, close friends _ is like creating a large Buddha image. It's making merit on a big scale."
Asked about Leena's remarks, Tak said it was her money and she would do as she likes.
"I want to give away some of the money from my marriage dowry so others can share in my good fortune," she said.
"Our bond will grow stronger as a result.
"I'm not interested in people who are always trying to obstruct things.
"But I am pregnant and don't want a fight with anyone."
Actress and model Panita "Ning" Tumwattana says "honey" means "honey", no matter what language it is in.
Ning is inviting Thais to translate some of the more intimate exchanges in English between her husband and his former socialite girlfriend Warrapan "Namwan" Pankongchuen, after Namwan insisted they were never that close.
A debate over semantics has broken out, even as both sides declared they have settled the row over the affair, which went public early last month.
Socialite Namwan went before the media on April 5 to reject claims she attempted to steal Ning's husband, businessman Jin Tumwattana.
She was responding to Ning's claims that Namwan carried on the relationship with her husband even while knowing that the couple were still together and have a child.
Ning took her husband before reporters to discuss his relationship with Namwan on March 29.
She said she had known about her husband's affair for two months, but chosen to say nothing.
Jin, who says he has now turned his back on the affair for the sake of his family, apologised both to his wife and Namwan for causing them distress. Jin and Ning married early last year and have an infant daughter.
Days later, in her first formal response to the affair claims, Namwan invited the media to the Four Seasons hotel, where she said the pair met at a function.
Accompanied by her lawyer, she insisted her relationship with Jin was merely a surface one.
She defended her choice of words in Instagram messages to Jin, including one in which she says to him in English: "Honey, I miss you."
"My friends and I use this word. It's not necessary for use in the context of love or two people who are seeing each other," Namwan said.
"I might have erred in not understanding Thai culture enough. But you should note that there's no clear evidence that we had a relationship any deeper than this."
Namwan said she spoke to Ning on the phone just three days after she and Jin had met.
"A senior called me, and asked my name, and particulars of my family," she said.
"The caller asked if I knew that Ning and Jin were still married. I said I didn't, but the caller said Ning wanted to talk to me, as she was agitated about it.
"The senior left a number, which I called.
"Ning replied and said she and her husband were still together, and had not argued.
"I don't know why she told me, as I had met her husband only three days before. Moments after I finished that call, Jin called to say sorry."
Responding to Namwan's remarks, Ning said last week she doubted she translated the word "honey" wrongly, but was happy for Thais to decide the matter themselves. In her mind, there was no doubt they were intimate.
"Did I translate it incorrectly? I don't think so. But don't let me be the judge. Let's throw it open to all Thais, or get a language expert in, just as she suggests."
She said Namwan and her husband carried on exchanging intimacies and seeing each other, even after she had told the young woman that he was taken.
Jin, meanwhile, is busy fielding nuisance calls from Thais unhappy about his infidelity, after his phone number was leaked to a popular website.
"My number has ended up on sanook.com. How did that happen?" he asked.
"I have never made her [Namwan's] number public. I am getting 60 nuisance calls a day. I answer, and most callers hang up. If you want to play games, why not play them straight, rather than below the belt?"
Warrapan ‘Namwan’ Pankongchuen, Jin Tumwattana and Panita ‘Ning’ Tumwattana.
About the author
- Writer: Mae Moo