Stickman Readers' Submissions December 19th, 2005

Farang And Sin Sot

I really like to read the stories submitted to the Stickman website. Some are very entertaining but I also like to read the more serious ones about the way farang see Thai people. I enjoy very much reading about the way farang try to understand Thai culture. I especially like to read about the farang not understanding Sin Sot.

This is quite difficult for me but I want to explain as clearly as possible the Thai attitude to Sin Sot because I believe that most farangs do not understand about Sin Sot. Really, this should not surprise me because there are many things about Thai people that farangs do not understand. I will try to write slowly so that even farang people can understand it.

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In Thailand we have to respect for our elders that not exist in western cultures. The farang will run away from their family as soon as they are old enough and do not take care about what happens to their mother or father after that. The parents are left alone to look after themselves and often live their old age alone or in some institution where they are look after by strangers. It look like, the more money the farang have, the more bad they treat their parents. Thai people are better than this. We might not have the same big money like farang but our family bonds are much stronger. It is our duty to look after our parents when they get too old to look after themselves. It is normal in Thai culture for a man to marry into a family to present the bride’s parents with Sin Sot as a way to helping to look after the bride’s family now that he take her away. To make easy for farang to understand, this is like paying a bar fine when you take the girl outside from the bar.

In marriage between Thai people, the Sin Sot stay with the bride’s family for them to use as they please. The new husband will pay as much as he can afford. For him, it is very important to pay as much as possible. The bigger the Sin Sot, the more he is respected by his new family. This very important for him to show he respect them also.

The farang have no use for this kind of family respect because he no have in his own family.

When a Thai lady marries a farang most Thai families do not like this but they will not say anything out loud. Most Thai family believe she marrying below her station even if she come from a very poor family. In this case, it is important for her to show that she is marry with a good man and will ask for big Sin Sot. This is not because she greedy but she must show to her family her farang husband is good man who has respect for family.

Sometimes, they might arrange to show money only but when other people know this is only for show, they not like that but will never talk out loud.

‘Bad’ girls will always ask for big Sin Sot from new farang husband. She only marry farang for money and if she can get him to pay a big Sin Sot this is good for her family. Most Thai girls ‘good’ or ‘bad’ only marry farang to get money to look after family. Thai lady know very well that farang not understand Sin Sot but just want the money for family.

When farang will argue with his new wife or her family about the amount of Sin Sot he make himself look very bad in Thai eyes. Most times, farang is too stupid to know he look bad. Sometimes he not even care he look bad. This is not good and make the whole family look bad. This is another reason Thai people not like for daughter to marry farang.

When Thai lady marry farang and he not give Sin Sot at all, this is very bad for family. If he not pay Sin Sot, maybe family not tell anybody know about wedding is better.

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Most Thai family believe farang no have good manners and not give respect for parents. Many times money and Sin Sot is big problem when Thai lady marry farang. Most times family not like this but if they see daughter is happy then they happy too.

When new husband make problem about Sin Sot he make big problem with new family also. Most times when Thai lady marry Thai man, Sin Sot is no problem even small money is OK if family not rich. It is important for show respect for family not big money but because farang have money a lot he can show he has respect for family and not cause problem because he not want to give.

Stickman's thoughts:

I'm sorry, but for most farangs, respect is not something that we ever buy.

Intentional or not I don't know, but the tone of your submission suggests that Thai people see farangs as little different to animals.

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