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Ryan Hendry is a former detective and lawyer from the UK. He is now a freelance writer living in the Philippines. Ryan has a Filipina partner and hopes to be married to her later in 2016. He has traveled extensively in Asia and is a veteran of the Asian online dating world. He has experienced online, and physically met, some scammers, including unscrupulous ladies from Thailand and the more obvious scammers from Nigeria. Ryan is keen therefore to share his experiences and uses this platform for his blogs as CLM and ALM is committed to hunting down all scammers. Ryan, despite some of his experiences, respects Asian culture, loves Asian food and is now happy in the Philippines!
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International Dating: My Story - Sin Sod

By Ryan Hendry
415 Views | 4 Comments | 9/3/2017 1:11:38 PM

As I was saying in the last instalment, one more important aspect of Asian wedding traditions, or in Thailand in any event, is sin sod. Noi had quietly mentioned the subject of sin sod to me before our village wedding. I decided to play dumb and pretend I had never heard of it before. I had. It was a topic I came across while researching the different Asian cultures. I feigned ignorance because I wanted to know what Noi had to say about it.

 

Essentially sin sod is the money paid to a Thai woman’s family by the groom during the marriage ceremony. It is something that is misunderstood by many foreigners, including those who have lived in Thailand for many years. That’s not that surprising as It is one of those cross cultural issues that has been subject to abuse and mythicized. There have been reports of gullible farangs (foreigners) scammed out of huge sums of money in connection with the payment of sin sod.

 

What it Isn’t. Firstly, let’s get one thing straight. Sin Sod is not a dowry. You are not buying a woman or approaching her family to buy her. The western notion that the man is purchasing a Thai bride is completely fallacious. One of the inherent problems is that not many Thai people can fully explain the concept. It is such an ancient tradition that it is just accepted. It’s like trying to describe an elephant. What’s the point? Everyone would recognize an elephant if it walked into the room!

 

Here’s how it works. Like in so many SE Asian Marriage traditions, the eldest unmarried daughter takes care of her parents until she gets married. So sin sod assists in some part in replacing that income for the parents. It is common place for many Thai women to send a portion of her salary to her parents each month. When she is married that usually stops. Unlike the west, many aging Thai parents have no pension plan and little in the way of savings. The sin sod represents a gesture from the groom to help out the bride’s parents. In modern times sin sod is not paid to daughters from the wealthier families. It may still be offered as a sign of respect but is often rejected or returned in the case of a family who doesn’t need the money.

 

Sin sod is also a kind of insurance policy. A Thai woman who marries and/or has children faces some social difficulties in the event she is divorced or separated. Thai society makes it difficult for her to find another man of decent standing. Once again, it’s unlike the west where the woman walks away with half of everything.

 

Therefore, the theory goes that If a woman finds herself back living with her parents as a single mother, the sin sod ensures that there will be some money or land in the family to support the family. Thai society also dictates that the older a Thai woman gets the harder it becomes for her to find any kind of work. So again, should she find herself alone in the future, at least the family will have some money put aside for the ‘rainy days.’

 

Another view is sin sod is a repayment for the money invested in their daughter. Many families sell land, borrow money and generally go without to put their kids through university, or in some cases to simply put food on the table. The sin sod is essentially a repayment for that investment. The amount paid for sin sod could be considered relative to the sacrificial cost of bringing up the child. That is why some Thais refer to the payment as “nom mae” - mother’s milk.

 

How much to pay? That varies and is governed by these criteria: age of the woman, social status, family wealth, family name (social standing) and the education or achievements of the respective woman.

 

Any man marrying a Thai woman is expected to pay sin sod. The price is usually agreed between the two Thai families when it is a case of bride and groom being Thai. As a foreigner in Thailand, you are expected to ask the family how much they expect to receive in sin sod. In modern times many families don’t expect sin sod. But it is still usual for a ‘show’ of money at the wedding ceremony even if it is returned in full later. However, never ask for its return. That is seen as an insult directed at the bride’s parents. It’s also unusual for sin sod to be offered if the woman has previously been married.

 

So, as a foreigner in Thailand we already know that you will be viewed as a ‘walking ATM.’ The chances are that you will be expected to pay some sin sod. I already knew most of the above about sin sod. I waited for what Noi had to say.

 

“About sin sod, darling.” I knew then it was to do with money. Money matters always seemed to have a ‘darling’ somewhere in the sentence. That, and the little girl smile that captivated me. She went on to explain how she wouldn’t be sending money home any longer to her father. I interrupted Noi and asked, “How much?”

 

“Fifty thousand baht.” I agreed.

 

In retrospect, I should have got a discount off that price. After all, by then I knew Noi had been married once before to Chris, the Englishman. But to be frank I was a little relieved. It wasn’t an outrageous request so wasn’t out of the question. At that time, it was the equivalent of about GBP £700. That wasn’t the end of the wedding expenses. Gold is a big deal in Thailand. Gold jewelry is seen as a good investment and something that can be used as collateral if hard times arrive. My wedding gift to Noi was a gold wedding band and two gold chains. Another fifty thousand baht!

 

Then there was a traditional silk wedding dress, for Noi - not me! The food, beer, whisky and the live band. But it was a great day.

 

More about the wedding soon.

 

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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(Showing 1 to 4 of 4) 1
#2017-09-03 13:23:44 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

This a very well done explanation of Sin Sod, better by far than I could have done. And it's a topic that every guy thinking of marrying a Thai woman has to have a clear understanding of how it is going to affect him. 

I am curious, if you don't mind answering. Did Noi's family offer to return the money? Was that a topic of discussion between yourself and Noi?

#2017-09-03 14:33:34 by Barry1 @Barry1

@RHendry

 

"Actually John, what I think Ryan meant to say was "Sin City".........To paraphrase what this effectively means is a matter of long Thai tradition. Every intending marriage partner is given free reign a night or two before the wedding, to go out on the town, get uproariously drunk and act like hyper-sexed teenagers, as if there was no tomorrow. Similar to a buck's night or a hen's night, but much more intense."

 

I must proffer my humble apologies to you, Ryan.  I could've sworn you meant to say "Sin City" in your last blog, hence the above explanation.  But I can clearly see now it was indeed "sin sod" that you were trying to say.

The term thus nothing to do with going out on the town and acting like a bawdy buffoon, provocatively punctuating his last night of fleshly freedom

I'm greatly enjoying your series of interesting blogs. Captivating and educational stuff. Well done, Ryan!  (clap)(beer)

#2017-09-04 00:24:09 by anonymous16515 @anonymous16515

well written explanation. I still would feel a bit "used" in this situation. I did notice  that you said Noi had that smile you liked so much when talking about the amount of money for the sin sod and money in general. Me being the type of guy who is worried that every Asian woman wants my wallet first I would have been a chicken shit and ran....you are much braver than I.

If her parents offerd to return the sin sod money what would have happened if you politely refused to take it back? 

I am looking forward to reading about your wedding day.....

 

Cheers mate!

#2017-09-04 00:29:19 by anonymous16516 @anonymous16516

I forgot to ask in my previous reply, did her first western husband pay sin sod to her parents and if so was it a bigger amount than you paid? Did she every tell you why her first marriage to a western man failed or did you ask her. I know most women have a hard time talking about these things but in my opinion it is crucial knowledge for both partners to know each others pasts.

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