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The Western-centric viewpoint that Sin Sod equates to the purchasing of a Thai bride is completely incorrect.
The story was of a guy that had met a 42 year old woman online, and after one month of dating was asking for 500,000 Baht for marriage. he should seriously consider his position because it smacks of extortion, a debate ensued regarding Sin Sod – the money paid to a Thai woman’s family by the groom during the marriage ceremony.
I was shocked at just how misunderstood this part of Thai culture is by so many foreigners, many of whom have lived in Thailand for many years.
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.
And like traditions the world over, some people simply participate and follow along without ever understanding the history behind it.
Fortunately, I am lucky enough to have a cross-section of Thai friends from varying backgrounds, and being the nosey parker I am, I have endeavoured to collect as much information as possible regarding this tradition.
And so, using my own knowledge and experience, and through quizzing three of my good Thai friends, I decided to write a definitive guide to Sin Sod.
So, when a foreigner wants to marry his Thai girlfriend and the inevitable subject of Sin Sod arises, it is no surprise that he becomes confused over what he should be paying and why he is expected to pay it.
Part of the problem is that Thai women often don’t explain the concept of Sin Sod very well, which isn’t at all surprising, considering that for them it’s a standard tradition and an age-old part of Thai culture.
Of course, if we want to know the truth about Sin Sod, the best people to ask are Thai people themselves.
Yet like many Thai customs, I find that foreigners have a gross misconception of what Sin Sod is all about, inherited largely from other misinformed foreigners.
Before I begin, I am not by any means saying that the information in this post is entirely definitive or one hundred percent historically factual.
However, what I can say is that the information is the experience of a cross-section of Thai people, all of whom are university educated, have experienced many Thai weddings and are well-versed in Thai culture.