If it makes you learn to adapt one’s culture and language in a fun and loving way, why not choose an interracial marriage? Enjoying good Thai foods and being surrounded by warm and affectionate people are some good things about marrying a Thai. Sure, raising a son that’s both Catholic and Buddhist is real challenging for Daisy and Lak, but they’ve found a way to work it out. Find out how!
The Offbeat Couple
Daisy Ocay is a high-spirited and fashionable Filipina who works as an assistant teacher in an international school in Bangkok. She’s happily married to Lak Preeprem, a multi-talented Thai national who traded his engineering career over his passion in cooking. He could have used his father’s influence, a well-known and in-demand chef in the country, but he chose to climb up the ladder by pure hard work and established himself as one respectable chef in the city.
They’re blessed with one child, Justin, a three-year-old who’s learning to speak both English and Thai. They’ve been together for about ten years now.
What made your marriage offbeat?
Our marriage is offbeat because it’s interracial, Thai-Filipino; and interfaith, Buddhist-Catholic.
Tell us about the wedding. Did your different religious and cultural background affect how you planned the wedding?
Our different beliefs didn’t affect how we planned the wedding. We both wanted to have a traditional Filipino church (Catholic) wedding so that Thai, Filipino and International friends could attend. For the reception, we opted for a Thai wedding reception. Thai foods were mostly served. We also had a private Buddhist registration wedding attended by only family members.
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What’s your biggest challenge and how do you solve it?
Lak: The biggest challenge for us came when we had the baby. The Catholic baptizes the child at a very young age while the Buddhist requires that a boy, preferably 15 years or older, spend a month in temple as a monk without contact from the outside world. We had no option but to have Justin baptized in the Catholic Church when he was a baby and to then send him to become a monk for a month when he reaches fifteen. Every Thai male is by must serve as a monk in order for him to become a Buddhist. Also, he’d be undesirable for Thai women when he grows up without doing so.
When our son becomes adult, he can choose which religion to follow – either the Catholic or the Buddhist. It’d be up to him. What’s important for us right now is to prepare him to be able to choose his religion freely and safely without pressure from both cultures.
Daisy: What I found very challenging on our interracial marriage are the clashes of cultures. There are things that I’d love to do to my son which are acceptable in Filipino culture but I couldn’t do so because they’d mean rude and disrespectful to Thais. For example, touching my sons’ head, playing and messing up his hair is a way for me to show affection but is strictly unacceptable for Thais.
We Filipinos also train our kids to wear socks or slippers inside the house to protect their feet from the cold floor. But Thaïs, by culture are barefooted inside the house.
What are the benefits of an interracial and interfaith marriage?
What compromises are required in order to make your marriage work?
Lak: Whenever there are issues that arise, we share ideas, discuss and choose which one works best for us. The nature of my work also requires a lot of sacrifices and understanding from my wife. I’ve to work in the weekends and she has to spend the holidays alone with our son.
Daisy: Since I live with my husband in his country, I’m the one who needs to adapt more to his culture. I also have to learn his language so I could communicate with his family and friends better. But I love it because Thai people are warm and affectionate.
What are your secrets in keeping the romance alive?
We make it a point that we have time to go out alone once a week. We either have dinner or watch movies. We also support each other’s decisions. We forgive and forget whatever mistakes each of us commit.
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What advice would you give to other Offbeat Couples?
Lak: You must be helpful and supportive to your partner all the time.
Daisy: The couples who are planning for an interracial/interfaith marriage must discuss where they’ll gonna settle down after the marriage and how they’ll raise their kids – of which culture or religion must they adapt. It’s also necessary that they consider how much compromises are required for this type of marriage to work before they give it a go.
Adapting each other’s language and culture is both challenging and exciting
Consider what it takes before you sign up for Offbeat Marriage
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