Poll: How Much Should You Pay for an Engagement Ring for a Cambodian Woman?

A number of months ago, I was reading some kind of “men’s interest” magazine. No, not porn. One of those magazines like GQ or Men’s Journal that teaches you how to tie a bow tie and bait a hook and properly groom your ball sack.

Anyway, there was an article in the magazine that said that a gentleman with class should never spend less than $20,000 on an engagement ring. This got me thinking about two things. First, perhaps I need to start reading less douchebaggy magazines. Second, if I ever proposed to a Cambodian woman, how much should I spend on the engagement ring?

I think there are good reasons why you shouldn’t spend a ton of money on an engagement ring for a Cambodian woman. The classic rule in the U.S. for engagement ring buying is that you spend “two months salary.” The average income in Cambodia is about $100 per month. Therefore, you should logically be able to get away with spending well under $500 for an engagement ring for a Cambodian bride.

More importantly, there are safety reasons why it may not make sense to buy your Cambodian fiancee a $20,000 diamond ring and then let her go skipping around Phnom Penh wearing that on her finger. The Phnom Penh Post’s “Police Blotter” is full of stories of Cambodians violently attacking each other over 3000 riel disputes. $20,000 is more than enough motive for many Cambodian thieves to chew off your fiancee’s finger if necessary just to steal her ring.

We know of the Cambodian nature to boast about all things money-related. If you buy your fiancee an expensive ring and if she knows it’s an expensive ring, she’s going to tell all of her friends and neighbors and anyone who will listen about how expensive the ring on her finger is. This all puts her at further risk of being attacked, robbed, kidnapped for ransom, etc.

On the other hand, I don’t think a white guy who marries a Cambodian woman should skimp on the ring either. Presumably you’ll be marrying a Cambodian girl who is younger and better looking but much poorer than you. That’s kind of the whole point. A big reason why she would marry an older white guy is that she can then enjoy luxuries like decent jewelry that Khmer dudes can’t give her. If you get down on one knee and then offer her a cheap and tiny engagement ring that a motodop could offer her, she has no reason to say yes.

Also, even if you get her to say yes by offering her a modest $1,000 ring in Cambodia, what happens when you move her back to the U.S., where the average cost of the engagement rings of all the other women she meets is about $5,000? She’s going to figure out pretty soon that you went cheap on her engagement ring and took a substantial dark skin bride discount. She probably won’t appreciate that.

Lastly, let’s say you have an “end game” strategy that you want your young Cambodian bride to stick around for a while and take care of you when you are old? What’s the best way to guarantee that? Answer: keep buying her a lot of really expensive sh*t so that she never leaves you for a younger and better looking guy. That starts with buying her a proper engagement ring.


27 thoughts on “Poll: How Much Should You Pay for an Engagement Ring for a Cambodian Woman?

  1. Fred Spofforth Reply

    “If you get down on one knee and then offer her a cheap tiny an engagement ring that a motodop could offer her, she has no reason to say yes.”

    Wow, brutally honest. No reason, at all?

  2. williagra Reply

    The engagement diamond was created in 1938 by N. W. Ayer & Son (the first advertising agency in the United States) to boost the declining value of diamonds, which are not precious. They are controlled by a cartel! Why are we still buying into this charade? …”First, perhaps I need to start reading less douchebaggy magazines.”LOL!!!

  3. Khmer kid Reply

    Most diamonds in Cambodia are fake anyways so why bother with an expensive one. I know one jewelry shop near 136 and Central Market which has absolutely no security, but charges thousands for diamonds. Wonder why?

    • Dermot Sheehan Reply

      Perhaps that is true, but then you seem to be missing the Cambodian obsession with jewelry. Forgetting about women for now, haven’t you ever noticed how every police or military guy here wears big diamond/precious stone encrusted gold rings? What’s up with that? Where I’m from that would be thought of as effeminate.

      • Tony Reply

        I did not miss that at all… it even scares me a bit (that I might be expected to spend big money on that).

        If we have to “prove” our love by spending big money on a ring she might lose, sisters might borrow, or get robbed injured or be killed for… it’s meaningless.

  4. James Reply

    Why would any sensible white guy want to marry a Cambodian??? This article was stupid.

      • apolloyon Reply

        First, it is my privilege to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your ” 7 reasons not to marry a Cambodian woman”. I did not see the ” 7 Reasons to Marry Cambodian” , but I think MANY of the readers ignored that article. Also, many (of course) never heard of Mad magazine or (years) SNL. Never mind Second City or Firesign Theater. Monty Python? National Lampoon? Al Capp? Jacob Cohen?
        There is a difference the love a woman has for the man who somehow is ‘ under her skin’ and the love that comes only from security. 3 divorces taught me that.The oldest profession comes in various forms. As if you do not know this. Curious: ever heard of a site asianbeauties? What a scam! Many 50-60 year old men want a young looking(attractive)wife with no child criteria.$$$$$$$$$$ Am I right?
        I would like to read more of your articles,especially your recent stuff on international marriage failures/successes. Where to look?

  5. sofia Reply

    The very fact that this article was even written is a great reason for cambodian women not to marry superficial, old, ugly, soulless white men.

    • Nara Reply

      can you please take your time and do sth better , if you dont like us and our country just go back to where you belong. why border yourself to stay in a poor country like cambodia . You back home man !!!

  6. mr.norway Reply

    You should not use to much, because she allways end up losing it.My cambodian wife lost the first one she got from me (gold pussle ring), and on the last trip she lost the engagement ring to.

  7. BaodaoDynamite Reply

    Q: “How Much Should You Pay for an Engagement Ring for a Cambodian Woman?”

    This is so retarded a question. Why does this article have to generalize anything Cambodian all over again? There is never a set rule for this stupid kind of question. A woman is a woman even if that person just happens to be born a Cambodian. How the f*ck does anybody know anyway? If you love a woman, and you want to marry her and create a family with her and have children with her and have future with her, then show her your appreciation of your love for her worth through a man-made “engagement ring” with only you know the price that is within your own private budget. Sure if your love for her is as “big as the sky”, but you live on a $100 weekly budget, then it is not wise to be borrowing money to buy her a $1,000,000 engagement ring at all because you will end up hating her for causing you to be a broke ass. If you starting hating her, well, then she will eventually starting hating you back and consequentially, the two of you will go separate roads.

    Anyway, let me go back in time regarding this marriage thing with the Cambodian women. Culturally, Cambodian women are governed by the buddhist values of chastiy, modesty, decency, “until-death do us part” and stuff, respecting the husband as the “head of the household”. In the old days, a man wanting to marry a girl had to prove his worth by serving her family for a period of time for the observation purposes. Only when the suitor passed the approval of the parents that he could be allowed to marry their children. That was old school. Now fast forward. The French did introduce the Western romanticism culture to the Cambodian elites. You know stuff like, “Hey you look nice, you have a great personality, can we go out on a date?” That used to be a no-no with the Cambodian women. You just can’t walk up to her and say nice thing with her and ask her to go out with you. Then the Americans came along and they messed up everything. While the French were classy, the American GIs just wanted to have sex with as many women as they could as a part of their “life experiences” and then moved on. This was a giant NO-NO with the proper Cambodian women whose womanhood was governed by this standard that says a woman’s body is “as white as cotton and once impurity sets in, it is forever stained and discarded”. In fact, it used to be believed that any Cambodian women with Western males were considered as simply “whores, period”. Now fast forward again to the present-day Cambodia. Naturally, with the advent of modernity the Cambodian women are mostly influenced by the outside world. They start wearing pants and start to see their bodily assets comparable to the Western ladies and Latin females. Cambodian women are physically different from the East Asian ladies who tried to brainwash the Cambodian women to see “light or white” skin color as the thing to die for. Now going back to the question posted at the beginning, if you happen to fall in love with those “Westernized” Cambodian women, then do what a man would do with a Western woman. First you talk to her, then date her, then move in together, then if the two of you are still compatible, then make a marriage prosal to her. Then if she says yes, then it is a green light. You know the kind of stuff one sess on the international TV.

    However, if the so called Westernized Cambodian women are still Khmer- culturally bound and you have to go through her parents, then guess what, it is not you or her who will be calling the shots, OK. It will be her greedy parent or namely the MOM who will be the “prize fixer”. Perhaps this information is irrelevant to the topic at hand since it only asks for the information regarding the PRICE of an Engagement Ring, but it is still good to know. Recall that an engagement ring concept is also a Western idea or custom, not a Cambodian one. Or perhaps I am ignorant of the term “dowry” which in the Asian Indian culture a woman is required to give her property to the husband in marriage. This dowry concept never took place with the Cambodian women. In Cambodian cultural context, the men are always beneath the women. This had to do with the matriachy system once in existence in ancient Cambodia. In the past, the Indians, the Chinese, and the French had tried their very best to erect the patriachy system to supplant the native matriachy system, but the cultural practices still continue until this modern day. While married to a man, a Cambodian woman still wears proudly her own last name. So don’t expect her to join your clan as the Chinese women would do. Anyway, the sum it up, this is how it goes: A man loves a Khmer-culture bound Cambodian woman. He confesses his love for her. She takes pity of him and loves him too. Then he asks her if she would marry him. Then she asks him to go talk to her parents since culturally she is not allowed to decide on the marriage thing on her own at all because it has to deal with the feudal old-aged classism and family values. Then the man goes to her parents and express his intention to marry their daughter. Then the parents will decide and tell the “price” for the marriage of their daughter. The Cambodians are governed by this concept called “face”, which means, they care so much about their social standing and what others say about them in their society. Then if you can, you will just give the amount asked and then they will use the money to organize a wedding ceremony and banquet (at home and at a restaurant) for the two of you. Then the guests are invited and the donated money from the guests are given back to the two of you the newly wedded couple as financial resources to start the new life together. So that is how it goes, but naturally there are always conflicts and politics involved in these activities. Say the bride’s list of guests numbers to 40 people, and the groom’s list of guests goes as high as 2. Then it is going to be problem as to who got the most donations. Some parents keep the donation money for themselves for various purposes.

    Another thing: this is in response to that person called James who said that why would any sensible white man be marrying a Cambodian woman for. Well guess what there are real-life stories about Cambodian women marrying to the so-called sensible white men out there who turn out to be simply losers in the real world back in their country of origins. Here is one that goes like this: This one white male expat residing in Phnom Penh married this one Cambodian girl there. He claimed to be a college graduate with a degree in computer science. To the Cambodians, whites are the moon and the sun. Whites are the creators of industries and jobs and modern societies. But guess what after marrying the Cambodian girl, he took her back to Canada, knocked her up, and they lived in a rented apartment. Cambodians own their own houses. Living in rentals is never their thing. Anyway, the white dude didn’t even have a job. Worst yet, he did drugs. The Cambodian woman was asking her parents to send her money from Cambodia. What a twisted of fate after all.

    • Bernhardow Reply

      Wow, I love the two middle parts and its great explanations, I didn’t like the end of the story, knowing … that it hits a big part of reality. Anyhow, I also understand the thinking in the article, I have funny thoughts like that too sometimes but luckily, my wife and I don’t wear rings at all and we don’t follow artificial rituals or events like valentines day and rings lol

      Anyhow, funny article and fantastic reply …

    • Tra Reply

      It’s not the article, since all this author does is draw a sweeping and unfair generalization out of everything. I guess it’s time for me to complete stop reading this garbage. It’s like reading a five years old ranting about his life.

    • M Reply

      Well, well. truly written. I am a European and my Wife is Cambodian, I am in my 50th and my Wife, well lets say she is a mature lady, very special and very dedicated, the old way. Yes her Mom has the say, and I agree fully with it. I give you an example, if Mom asks for 10.000, I will give her 20.000. If my wife likes a ring for 5.000, I will buy one for 10.000. Perhaps a thought to remember, for a European to understand Asian culture, to be specific Khmer culture it takes a little time and dedication, but once you understand you get more than you where initially looking for.

  8. sidneywho Reply

    I am Cambodian living and educating in USA for more than 25 years. I have seen many Asian American women named their price for the engagement ring, $8000 – $20000. I have not seen a Cambodian named her price. Most Cambodian women are not into engagement ring. She will take whatever you offer. She wants emotional and financial support rather than the ring. She will be more than happy if you give her a necklace or earrings.

    • M Reply

      Necklace you are quite right, its more bonding than a ring. Financial stability is in every women heart so rightfully it should be as she is bearer of your child, well said. regards M

  9. paul scott Reply

    Another good post, and very interesting replies.
    Good writers like Gavin attract bile and venom from some because they present ideas in a clever and succint way.

  10. paul scott Reply

    There is one piece of frothing garbage that people like to sling at Gavinmac, and that is that he is old. Pathetic garbage.
    He is 42 or something for Gods sake.

  11. Vileak Reply

    Not enough for even a pair of shoes!!!

    With that money, u should get married with beggar in ur country!!!

    Cambodia is developing country, but people are so rich, dude! Ur theory is so stupid!!!

  12. Willard Losinger Reply

    That “classic rule in the U.S. for engagement ring buying is that you spend two months salary” is just a ridiculous but highly successful marketing ploy on the part of our jewelers and DeBeers.

  13. PepperGii Reply

    How much should you pay for an engagement ring for a Cambodian woman? Zero. The ring should come from someone in your family, like a ring your grandmother or mother is passing down to you and it carries historical and sentimental value. Cambodian women would understand that bc Cambodians are big on such meanings and values. Actually, they even have multiple words/phrases to describe it.

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