Thailand 1997 Impression – BANGKOK POST – Article 1 of 5
The morning of Sunday 15 June, 1997 I boarded a flight at Changi Airport in Singapore to fly to Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport. It was my first trip ever to Thailand. On the plane I was given a copy of that day’s edition of the Bangkok Post. I’ve saved a memorable section of that paper for these past 20 years.
Here is one of the stories featured that day in the paper. It’s about a lady that had a fruit stall in a market and used her pineapple knife to cut off her philandering husband’s banana…
The knife that changed a life
SLICE OF LUCK : A former playboy had to lose his vital organ to realise how fortunate he is to be alive
Entering monkhood in his hometown for a month, Prayoon Eklang, 47, can talk about his nightmare calmly and even with a smile.
He hit the vernacular headlines on March 18 when his wife cut off his penis and reportedly sent it aloft with a helium ballon.
“I have heard about this thing happening, but I never thought it would happen to me,” Prayoon said, adjusting his saffron robe.
Prayoon admitted that his job as a tuktuk driver gave him many opportunities to meet girls, many of whom became girlfriends. “But most were just flings,” he said. He has been married to Noi for eight years.
“We fought all the time. She is very jealous.”
“She tended to be violent too,” Prayoon said. One time they fought because he was angry at her drinking. She grabbed a cleaver and sliced at his adam’s apple and fortunately missed. But Prayoon has a long scar on his chin.
Despite the scar, Noi’s son in Nakhon Ratchasima disagrees. “She is not like that. She is very gentle. But she did that because she couldn’t stand his behavior anymore,” he said.
HELL HAS NO FURY LIKE A WOMAN SPURNED
In the morning of March 15, a tuktuk driver, one of Prayoon’s colleagues, left a message for him through his wife, who had a pineapple stall in the market, that a woman called Tim “missed him and wanted him to go and see her.”
Noi got angry.
“Tim was my minor wife,” Prayoon admitted. “I rented a house for her, and supported her financially. Noi didn’t know about that. I had a convenient timetable: At 5 a.m. I would bring Noi to the market. At seven, I would pick up Tim to bring her to the factory. I think it is fine for a man to have a minor wife as long as he can support both.”
But for Noi, it was not fine at all. She abandoned her stall, disappeared, and returned home at about eight in the evening, loud and drunken.
“I should have sensed it then,” Prayoon mused. “She said something like … today is a big day to get it done.”
A neighbour agreed. “I knew this was going to happen one day. Noi complained to me a lot about her philandering husband. She said she couldn’t take it anymore. We all know Prayoon was a playboy.”
That night, she gave him a piece of her mind. She prepared him dinner and urged him to take two pills.
“She said the pills were for my allergy,” the monk recalled.
“Before I went to bed, she told me to remove my shorts and underpants and <wear> a sarong. She also told me to sleep on the cement floor instead of on the mattress, because it was cooler.”
“Now I have no doubt she planned it all. The sarong made it easy for her to practice her surgery, and she made me sleep on the cement floor because she didn’t want bloodstains on the mattress.”
Prayoon believed the two pills were actually sleeping pills.
“I felt an intense pain below my waist. I woke to find blood gushing. I saw my wife rise and run away. I tried to follow her but because so much blood came out, I did not have the strength.
“I went to my tuktuk and drove to Maharaj hospital. The doctor told me that they had to find my penis so they could re-attach it.
“I waited in the hospital and all the while my heart was pounding like a drum. I prayed to every god and goddess to help the police find it.”
By noon the next day, the doctor said, “Mr Prayoon, it’s hopeless now.”
When he heard that, Prayoon felt the world had ended. “I felt like I was going to faint again,” he recalled. “It was the most incredible loss of my life.”
Their son, however, does not believe that she would have the time to tie the penis to a balloon. He believes she threw it behind their house.
The morning after the incident, neighbours say they saw Noi crying as she walked among the high grass behind their house, searching for something.
“A lot of rats live there,” Prayoon said. “How could anyone find it?”
LIFE AFTER THE CHOP
After his wound healed, he returned to driving his tuktuk, but things were not the same.
“My friend said it was good for me not to have a banana so I don’t have to be bothered with women. But what is my life for? I cannot have a wife, I cannot have children.
“I began to drink every day. I even tried to kill myself once.”
“Finally, I went back to my hometown to find a peaceful life. My relatives supported my idea about entering the monkhood. It does help me, the way Buddha taught us to abandon all lust and desire.”
After Noi chopped off his penis with the knife that she used every day to peel pineapples, he has not seen her again.
“I was very angry at her at first. I thought I would kill her. But I don’t feel like that anymore.
“At first I felt that because she made me lose face, I would make her lose face too. But now I think that even if she died, I would never get my penis back. It’s not like she stole some money I can hope to get back.”
Far from the thoughts of revenge, the former playboy now entertains thoughts of thanks after entering the monkhood.
“I think that it was very kind of her not to have cut off my head. I am so lucky I am still alive.”
He has problems with urinating, but Phra Prayoon seems to have the calm acceptance of whatever bad luck he has experienced.
“It is my own karma. I think it is also my own fault that I had to have other women,” he said.