My digital dowry

And six other strange apps designed for the Thai way of life

Living in Thailand, there comes a time when you need to figure out very specific questions.

Is the name I came up with for my kid good enough to ensure he/she will have a good life? Is today a good day to get married or join a mob? Did the dream I had last night contain a clue to the winning lottery numbers? Is my skin white enough? Or how much dowry should I ask for from the guy who wants to marry me?

Thanks to some Thai developers of smart phone applications, these answers are just a tap and swipe away. Here are our pick of the strangest (some of which, are arguably useful) apps that are applicable to the Thai way of life.

A woman’s worth

It comes in handy when: organising a shotgun wedding for a couple of 17-year-old teens with B4,000 monthly income (or should we say allowance, in this case).

Created by Dizcode, Sid Sod Khong Chan or My Dowry can help lovebirds solve the awkward question of how much the guy should pay in dowry to his lady's parents so she can marry him. Sin sod, or dowry, is used to repay the woman's parents for raising her and an inadequate amount may lead to gossip and loss of face for both families. However, the wife's parents may return the dowry to their daughter or the couple to help them start their life together. To calculate a woman's worth, the iOS application takes into account different factors i.e. the average monthly income of the couple, their average age, hometown and education level. This isn't purely guess work, though, as the app uses a complicated metric. You can also share how much your dowry is worth for friends to see.

For example, if you two are 30-year-old Bangkokians with bachelor degrees and big jobs generating an average monthly income of 50k, the appropriate dowry is calculated to be a little more than B500,000 (don't forget to factor in your lavish hotel wedding ceremony).

Skin-deep beauty

It comes in handy when: you want to prove whether the whitening cream you’ve been using works.

Developed by Chanat Attopakorn, Krachok (The Mirror) is available at App Store. It scores your beauty from zero to 10, according to how fair and smooth your complexion is in a picture. If there is more than one person in a picture, it gives an average score. Not only does the application grade your facial skin down to the decimal but it also provides catchphrases to describe how beautiful you look i.e. “Little princess”, “(You) put beauty queens to shame” and “You’re an angel!” We’ve seen some pictures of people who have used the app on the app’s Facebook page (facebook.com/themirrorapp) and those who received high scores tend to be the ones with so much light on their face they lose their nose bridge.

What dreams may come

It comes in handy when: you dream of a Chinese empress on Chinese New Year’s Day. It means a big piece of fortune awaits you (and, in this case, it’s very likely to be a thick envelope of ang pao from your ma).

Have you ever had a dream you think may have had significant meaning in your life? Some Thais believe dreams hide deeper meanings as well as clues to winning lottery numbers. With Tam Nai Phun (Dream Prediction), you can browse for the meaning of your dream using keywords arranged in the order of Thai consonants. For instance, if you dream of a horse, you just need to find the word horse in Thai and tap on it. To fine-tune the prediction, you can choose the day and time the dream took place (we recommend going to bed just before midnight so you’ll be sure it’s the dream of the following day). With each dream, the app tells you its meaning and what lucky numbers it hints at so you can look for them the next time you buy a lottery ticket. The application also includes a chant to counteract nightmares. The dream predictor is available for free from Google Play.

Good name, great future

It comes in handy when: you feel like you’ve been so unlucky so far in life and want a boost in confidence by getting yourself a new name. It also works if you want to find out how much work and thought (or lack thereof) your parents put into naming you. The truth may hurt, though.

Thais believe that if you have the right name you have a leg up on everything you do in life. This totally makes sense because no one would take a guy named Ting Tong Jing Jing seriously. Given there are 44 consonants, 15 vowel symbols and different tones in Thai language, it’s understandable that soon-to-be-parents may feel overwhelmed by the task of giving their baby the right name. Moreover, certain consonants are deemed unlucky, depending on what day of the week you’re born on. Download the free Cheu Mongkol from Google Play to get the daunting task done in a jiff. With a simple and straightforward interface, you choose the day of the week that you’re born on and it will show a wide selection of fancy names and their meanings that auspiciously suit you.

Lucky scrub

It comes in handy when: you want to scrub for lucky numbers on a tree without risking being bitten by ants. The app lets you scrub again and again.

One of Thailand’s national pastimes is lottery and there’s a way to carry around with you the lotto love. Lek Ded (Lucky Number) is available for free on Google Play. Through the simple interface of the app, you can search for the latest Thai lottery numbers as well as past ones. Another highlight is scrubbing for numbers that are likely to win on a digital sacred tree so you don’t have to do it on a real one. You can also look at other promising numbers predicted by gurus.

Spiritual shake-up

It comes in handy when: you want to go on a siem si spree without actually having to visit all nine temples. Or you want to know what you look like as a van boy or skoi girl.

SiemCWanz is available for free from Google Play and App Store and it puts a Thai twist on an ancient way of Chinese fortune telling known as siem si in Thailand. At temples, an answer seeker kneels down in prayer with a cylinder cup filled with red sticks inside between his/her hands. He/she then asks a question to the deity and shakes the cup until one sticks drops onto the floor. The number on the stick corresponds to a prediction paper. With the cute application, you first choose your gender and the day of the week you were born on to create a dek van avatar of yourself. Then choose a temple from nine famous ones from which you want to receive a prediction. To get a prediction, you ask a question and give your smartphone a good shake until a (digital) stick drops. You can share the prediction on Facebook or save it on your device for later reference. If your prediction isn’t so good, there are chants to bring you auspiciousness.

I should be so lucky

It comes in handy when: you want to know which date in Feb will be best to go on a romantic date with your beau or belle (and it isn’t Feb 14, BTW).

Many Thais want to know the right timing for significant events in life so they’ll have an auspicious start. These events range from travelling to home repairing, moving in, buying new car, getting married and going on a date. With Lucky Day 2013, which is available at both Google Play and App Store, you’ll learn which dates are a good omen for your various undertakings according to your date of birth. Auspicious dates are marked on the calendar and you can simply touch it to find out what occasion should take place on the date. You can plan ahead by choosing a month in which an event is expected to take place and see what dates of the month are deemed auspicious for the event. You can also share these lucky days on Facebook.

About the author

columnist
Writer: Pornchai Sereemongkonpol
Position: Guru Reporter