Ladyboys in Thai Culture- Phrakun & Bunkhun

  Phrakhun is a traditional Thai system of patronage.   The king of Thailand is often described as the “father of the nation” and provided assistance for those less fortunate. The late king was revered and loved for his many good works helping the poorest in the nation. Men of wealth in Thailand are expected to follow the example of the king in providing money, shelter and food. The late king was adored by his subjects and I have to admit to being touched by their love for him. He was clearly a rather wonderful person who held dear his spiritual links with Thai people. He should be our model. However, when you ask Thai people to explain Phrakhun you may find that they have different interpretation or may not ever have heard of Phrakhun. There is an enormously wide educational gap between the classes in Thailand and perhaps the more archaic elements of culture are not widely taught just as not many Thai people are able to name all the letters of the Thai alphabet. Bunkhun is the bond of indebted goodness towards a person who out of kindness and sincerity gave what was needed at an important time. It’s a formal way of recognising that one owes another for their help. It’s a kind of loyalty and fealty. So both are forms of obligation; the former, the obligation to “give back” to society often in the form of charity or in personal life, helping and supporting one’s family, wife, girlfriend and relatives. The latter, the obligation to reciprocate the kindness and material goods given. Bunkhun is sometimes...