Readers' Submissions

Sin Sot & Integrity

  • Written by IndyUK
  • November 24th, 2005
  • 9 min read


Sin Sot and Integrity

Caveat

It is a fact of life that any contract that wise men enter into will take into account the balance of convenience, its risk, the true worth of the parties, and the obligations to which both parties will be bound. Within the scope of a contract there has to be the certainty that the transaction will not break either party. The only good contracts in this world are those contracts, wherein, when executed, all parties believe they may have left a little cash on the table. This little piece of wisdom holds true between parties to mega projects costing billions of dollars and matrimonial parties alike, whether the issue is sin sot or a prenuptial agreement.

Introduction
The sin sot debate between western males has to continue until it is understood to the point where all good men intending to marry a Thai woman can get their negotiations right and can honor their commitment without impoverishing their future wives or themselves.

On the 1st of November ‘Casanundra’ published ‘Sin Sot Reflections’ wherein he disclosed the details of his sin sot commitment and wedding costs for the benefit of us all. In the submission he also demonstrated his cunning and worldliness.

When I read his submission I was skeptical. This skepticism was born of the contrast between his submission of the 26th October, ‘Indonesian Alternatives’, in which he is portrayed as a global womanizer and his good fortune in marrying a good Thai woman for whom he implies he has undying love. I began to think that one of the two submissions might be a ‘send up’

According to my quest to get clarity into the sin sot debate I submitted ‘Response to Sin Sot Reflections’ on the 14th November 2005. This sub was written in a way that was sure to flush him out. Sure enough within 48 hours of publication I received a long mail from Casanundra. It is very well written and made me laugh. It is quite the best piece of hate mail that I have ever received, so much so that I wrote the email below to him. To be perfectly frank I am still uncertain as to the extent of his sincerity. I find that in Thailand a little skepticism is healthy. You can read Casanundra’s email to me in his submission of the 18th November 2005 on Stickman’s web site. So here then is what I wrote in my email to him, which has not been published before;

Hi Casanundra
Absolutely brilliant. You should definitely email this to Stickman as a sub. I really enjoyed reading it and I'm sure that many others would too. Am I a bigot? A protagonist? A devil's advocate? Or am I just a poor old sod struggling along on a pittance, scraping up a shekel or two in the promotion of my wick dipping in sleazy bars? I'll let you decide. But thank you, you made me laugh and dazzled me with the composition of your email. I just wish I got more hate mail.

However, to be serious for a moment; many of us are struggling to get inside the concept of sin sot. I maintain that the whole sin sot thing is out of hand. An important fact that has become clear is that sin sot payments were always a factor of the ability to pay or the worth of the groom. The object being to test the 'Worth' of the groom and ensure that one's daughter does not marry below her station in life. Today wedding fixers are charging 15,000 baht to 'fix' a wedding. For which they arrange everything including the sin sot which they present to the mother-in-law to be as a non negotiable 50,000 baht ‘sin sot package’. Obviously hi-so families do not use wedding fixers because they have the means to pay the bills when they come in and have no need to protect themselves by buying a fixed package deal from a wedding fixer. The bottom line is that I don't have a problem with a groom who has a net worth of tens of millions of baht being asked for one, two, or even five million baht sin sot. What I do have a problem with is the sincere and at times, naive middle-aged men that come to Thailand having been asset stripped by a western wife, to seek a new start, only to get stitched up on wedding costs that are beyond their means. Having coughed up they marry, buy a house and sometimes a bar too, only to go down the tubes later, and in all too many cases in Pattaya, they throw themselves out of the eighth floor window. I congratulate you on your personal achievements and wish you every happiness in your marriage. Off the record, I think you got a bargain too, since clearly being young, employed and with assets too, you probably got off much more lightly than you should have done. My very best wishes for your future. Indyuk

Now back to the debate

Thailand is a free and honorable country whose government has genuine compassion for its poor and underprivileged citizens. Within Thailand’s constitution there is no differentiation between the civil rights and opportunities or humanitarian values, on the basis of an individual’s wealth, cast, creed or color.

I would urge all western males to comply with these tenets of civilized behavior and to respect their Thai girlfriends as the equals that they truly are, regardless of their past or their present predicament(s). A Thai lady is a Thai lady, no more, no less, regardless of her station in life or her profession. Please treat her as a lady, whether you are with her for a day or the rest of your life. Any who would scoff at this observation should bear in mind that it is their constitutional, and moral responsibility to respect these rights which are embedded in the law of this wonderful country.

It is my experience that sin sot payments that do not meet the caveat that I have written at the top of this submission, lead to unrelenting disappointments and volatile family relationships throughout the marriage. It is absolutely vital that sin sot paid is well within the means of the groom to pay it, whether Thai or Farang. At the low end of the ‘market I am personally aware of four individual sin sot payments which were 10,000, 20,000, 40,000 and 50,000 baht respectively.

From submissions on this site and literature elsewhere I read of payments of 75,000, 100,000, 3,000,000 and 5,000,000 baht respectively. I sincerely hope that each of these payments reflected the honest ability to pay on the part of the groom. However if a groom ‘poor boys’ his prospective mother-in-law, when in fact he has hidden resources, he may have to face terrible consequences from both his wife and her family would he ever attempt enjoy said hidden wealth publicly enough for his bride or her family to become aware of it.

When negotiating sin sot in it important to follow guidelines based upon your own wealth or lack of it, your fiancé's education, her family's standing and whether or not your wife has been married, or lived with a man before. If sin sot has been paid to her family previously there is a serious question as to whether you should pay sin sot at all. However, I imagine that you would want to help her/your family in some way, would circumstances indicate that your help be appropriate. If you are a man of limited means do not pay a sin sot payment that exceeds the value of your disposable worth. Remember, your future wife has expectations too; she’ll not thank you if she has to live below her (established) station in life, or at the lower end of the market, in relative poverty after you are married.

Conversely if you are a man of significant substance and you drive the family down in respect to value of your sin sot payment you will have trouble in the future when it comes to light that you are kee-nee-ow, (stingy). (Yeah! I said it twice) sic.

On no account should a groom allow the family to set the value of the proposed sin sot payment, especially if they do so without any idea of his worth or his station in life. This is important because would they set the value in ignorance of your ability to pay it would be clear that they have no marry-art (respect) for you. This is why western men should never enter into short notice weddings with a Thai woman. Before any in-law family accepts you they should know who you are and whether or not you are a suitable suitor.

The key word in all of this is ‘integrity’. If my own son were to seek the hand of a Thai woman in marriage I would advise him to calculate the value of the sin sot he might pay on the basis of 10% of his liquid assets. If the family is unhappy with his offer I would advise him to disclose his worth to them and explain his plans to provide a good life for their daughter and that the other 90% of his net liquid worth is intended to fund those plans and take care of future family emergencies.

If your bride’s family is wealthy it is vital that you are not strapped for cash after the marriage. This is because such circumstance will limit you ability to fit in with your new in-laws. If your bride’s family is poor you should pay whatever sin sot you comfortably can (but be sensible, don’t go over the top) to improve their life and their relationship with their daughter and newly acquired son. The fact is that if you lift your bride’s poor family out of poverty you will be in a position to strongly resist any future unreasonable request from them for money. You will however want to help in a real emergency. (Your emphasis should be on real or perhaps even dire emergency).

Footnote
I am not prepared to get into rebuttals of any of the innuendos, as to my life-style, habits or financial standing, in any of the hate mail that I have received.

It is suffice to say that no one that has commented on my submissions to date has made an accurate observation as to my persona or financial standing.

Stickman's thoughts:

Some good info here. Time for me to write about the sin sot in the weekly again, I think.