We continue with the unfinished business between Dicky and Ducky. In Round One, Ducky had it pretty bad. Got shot at and neutered by an *asterisk. Besides death, it’s hard to imagine a worse fate. But now, in Round Two, Ducky’s luck is turning for the better and Dicky’s for the worse.
We know well by now that Ducky (in the Northern hemisphere) is petrified by Dicky – as anyone who knows anything about Dicky (the Cheney) or who has read my previous post can testify. (But if you’re absolutely clueless about Dicky, look at the picture on the left. Who wouldn’t be scared of the guy, huh?)
Truth be told, it’s not just the poultry that are scared shi*tless and squeal at the sight of Dick. Even humans squirm at the mere mention of his name, and shake in their boots when spotting him with a rifle. Ask one of his (former?) friends, the Texas lawyer Mr. Harry Whittington. One has a feeling that Dick ain’t afraid of nothin’ or nobody — people or poultry.
But then these people and poultry live in America, not Thailand, where things are quite different. In fact, quite the reverse.
See, if Donald Duck had been born in Thailand, he would never even contemplate changing his name to Donald Dick just to feel appropriately macho. There is absolutely no need to do that in my country, I’d tell Donald. Unlike Western men, Thai men don’t do duck hunting for sport (yes, they might hunt other things – but ducks, no). Instead, in Thailand, men squirm, some may even squeak, at the sight of a harmless duck.
Now, Thailand old hands who know a thing or two about Thai ducks and certain Thai duck food are nodding, giving me a knowing look. If they are male, they might nod a bit somberly and squirm a little. If they are female, I see a smirk that is tinged with undue gleefulness.
I am not very good at keeping people in suspense (can never tell jokes or ghost stories), but I’ll try to explain for the benefit of those who know little or nothing about Thai ducks. Here’s the thing. Many Thais will tell you that even macho Thai men (and foreign men who have lived long enough in Thailand) have a certain regard – even fear – for the Thai Ducky.
Sure, non-vegetarian men in Thailand are not averse
to eating a Peking duck or two on some occasion, or duck eggs for breakfast. But in case you haven’t noticed, this kind of Duckies and their (prematurely aborted) offspring are dead. As in fried or crispy-fried.
We’re talking about the living, breathing and quacking ducks that men with a Thai wife (Thai and farang alike) have a certain regard for. Especially those ones that are actively looking for food. Why? This expression will reveal the mystery.
ตอนให้เป็ดกิน /tOOn hâi pèt kin/ = literally, “castrate and feed [the Dicky] to the Ducky”
….. (Take as much time as you need to digest this.)
….. (Welcome back, to those gentlemen who just fainted and came to.)
….. (Okay, ready for more?)
Every so often Thai newspapers report the recurring incident that a certain “member” of an unfortunate Thai man being cut off by his wife and fed to an (actual or metaphorical) duck. Almost always the cause of such crime against manhood is infidelity (on the part of the husband, if it needs to be said). Luckily for foreign husbands and boyfriends of Thai women, this type of penile crime remains limited to Thai-Thai couples. As far as I know, Thai ducks have not yet developed a taste for foreign Dickies.
I scratched my chin once again – this time over the mystery of why only ducks, and why not chicken, or geese, or pigs, or any other species of livestock? Or soi dogs? Or even pet dogs to whom a piece of rare steak must be reliably a special treat? There must be something special about ducks, I reckoned.
Well, where else would I go but Google? And there I found that I was not alone in pondering such an existential question. Other Thais were before me. Someone raised this question on the popular Thai online community Pantip a few years ago (discussion in Thai). And around the same time a women’s online magazine also raised the same question, quoting two news articles about two Thai couples in separate incidents involving a cutter, a kitchen knife, a plastic bag, but interestingly no mention of any actual duck – dead or alive. In each case, a man’s จู๋ /jǔu/ n., “dicky”) really became truly /jǔu/ (adj., “very short”, “truncated”, “stumpy”). And as can be expected, a reattachment surgeon was on site as a source quoted on the condition of the unfortunate /jǔu/ in the news.
In the first incident, the butchered /jǔu/ was put in a plastic bag and thrown into a klong (คลอง /khlOOng/ = canal). No surgeon was going to be of any help to the unlucky husband in that case, I’m afraid. In the second incident, the kitchen knife was apparently less effective than the cutter; the member was not completely severed but “dangling precariously, causing onlookers to gasp with fright” (this is not my literary flourish, mind you, I’m quoting almost verbatim from the news – such is the Thai style of news reporting). But, graphically horrific as the second case was, there was hope for the unfortunate /jǔu/ and its owner. The chance of the owner getting his precious possession back was actually quite good, given Thai surgeons’ world-renowned skills in this particular field of medicine.
There was a similar penile crime reported in 1993 in the United States, involving a young American couple in Virginia. The reportedly rare reattachment surgery was performed by a team of doctors and made a big news splash in the New York Times, causing chill to run down many spines, and certain members to shrink, both in and outside of the American medical community. (FYI, the shrinking bit would be described inThai as จู๋หด /jǔu hòt/ — “shrunken dicky”.)
All right, all right, I didn’t get into why the ducks are complicit in this quintessentially Thai crime against manhood. … It’s … uh, I really don’t know, sorry. … But some older Thai person conjectured that about 30-40 years ago, the first Thai woman who committed this dreadful crime tossed her husband’s Dicky over to her Ducky. And the expression stuck — /tOOn hâi pèt kin/ (“cut/hack/slice/sever”, take your pick, “and feed to the duck”), in other words, “the Dicky is gone to the Ducky.”
So, willingly or not ever since Thai ducks have become co-conspirators in the Thai penile crime. Still some others speculated on the ducks’ eating habit and digesting system: ducks don’t chew but simply swallow and they have a heavy-duty digestive enzyme, guaranteeing the irreversible destruction of any swallowed objects. This latter theory sounds to me too premeditated to be a crime of passion. So, I’ll give my vote to the former theory.
It’s hard to verify whether any unfortunate Ducky has really eaten any severed Dicky, but that’s neither here nor there. The feeding-the-ducky expression is here to stay.
It is also unclear where exactly scorned Thai wives with a ready knife ever got their imagination (and, I’d say as a Thai wife myself, such a nerve of steel to go through with the act). Yet, all is not bleak for cheating husbands in Thailand.
Thailand is said to be the preeminent country of penis reattachment surgery in the world. With lots of practice, a man can never get better surgeons elsewhere. And if a man’s going to get his thing cut off, what better country to be in than Thailand, eh? 😉
If you still have a taste for more psychology and history of penile crime, a Thai surgeon gave an interview to AFP some years ago, giving a summary of medical advances, as well as opinions on the matter and on Thai tradition of polygamy: Penis hacking all the rage. See also Penis News: Penis re-attachment is big in Thailand.