At a recent lunch, I found out that Indonesian civil servants still have to present their prospective spouse to their boss and ask for permission before they can get married.
Like many of the stranger aspects of the Indonesian bureaucracy, it's a hangover from the Suharto era, when military and civil service wives wielded significant influence and had to be vetted before they could join the gang of kleptocrats.
Apparently, approval is mostly a formality these days.
Meanwhile, a Chinese diplomat explained that Foreign Ministry officials are prevented from marrying foreigners while on posting. To do so is an immediate sackable offence.
I suspect this policy is upheld due to a fear of espionage and some lingering sense of racial superiority.
It suggests that Chinese diplomats are rather less interested than some of their counterparts in spreading soft power.
But no-one said anything about mistresses.