Stickman Readers' Submissions February 16th, 2009

Sin Sot Again

Many farangs have a problem with paying a sin sot, because in our western mode of thinking, paying for a wife is a perverse concept. My main thesis is that the sin sot isn’t so perverse, although the question of whether or what to pay depends very much upon the individual situation. In arguing this point, I don’t claim to be an expert on anything. These are the opinions of one person. Some of the ideas presented here are a rehash of what others have written, and some I have not seen elsewhere.

I’ll present some legal opinions as well, but keep in mind that I’m no attorney. That said, there are some pretty dumb lawyers out there, working alongside the smart ones. The dumbest attorneys can be found practicing family law in the states. That is one of the least intellectually challenging branches of law. In terms of sleaze, family lawyers rank with the ambulance chasers. While I have no certifiable credentials in law, you should be more skeptical of some charlatan hiding behind his or her professional license than of what I say.

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Thais view marriage in a totally different light than farangs. In contrast to Farangland, Thai law has it right by classifying family code as a part of Commercial Code. Family Code per se doesn’t exist as a standalone entity. Marriage is inherently a commercial relationship because the family is an economic unit. The emotional element doesn’t change this aspect at all.

The usual criticism of the stereotypical older farang / younger Thai couple, is that the relationship is obviously commercial. The problem with that argument is that all marriages are commercial. You say the girl doesn’t really love the old codger, and she is just waiting for him to kick the bucket so she can inherit his money? Well that is an entirely different matter. Marrying a spouse that doesn’t really love you is akin to choosing a dishonest business partner.

Almost every Thai woman wants to have children. She needs to find a husband willing and able to financially support her and her children. The husband’s income will almost certainly exceed the wife’s, at least while the children are young. She might not want to work at all during this time period. His income likely will still exceed hers even when the children have grown up. Can you blame her when she prefers a guy with money? I think a decent income is a prerequisite to any successful marriage. Paying a sin sot demonstrates a certain level of commitment and financial means by the husband.

Thai parents do not necessarily exploit their daughter in demanding a sin sot. They could be looking out for her best interests, as well as asking fair compensation for having supported her in the past. That is not to say that a farang should ever cave in to an outrageously high amount, or let his in-laws take unfair advantage of him. Furthermore, a family westernized in all areas other than the sin sot should not be asking for one.

Let’s put the sin sot in the proper perspective. When you consider the lifetime commitment that marriage is supposed to be, a fair amount is almost trifling. Compare that to the high cost of divorce in the states.

The submission to Stick last week Divorce American Style presents a distorted view of divorce in America. The author doesn’t specify which state, but it doesn’t really matter. He describes a $5 divorce obtained without his wife’s knowledge. The author states that he had a lot of free time, qualified for free legal aid, and a $5 (reduced?) filing fee. While he doesn’t explicitly say so, one can reasonably conclude that he is unemployed. It also appears that the couple had no children. This means that that there probably wasn’t much at stake.

There is a fundamental problem with this case. His wife’s procedural due process rights were violated and she can sue him to effectively nullify the divorce judgment when she finds out about it. Due process is a constitutional right enforceable against every state through the 14th amendment. That is why it doesn’t matter in which state he obtained the divorce. Perhaps the author was wise to remain anonymous.

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However, it might not be worth her while to sue him. Very likely the value of their home has plummeted with the real estate market being what it is. If they have no children, no home equity, and he doesn’t have a job, what could she get from him? Nothing?

This might be a rare case where he was better off divorcing in his home state. I am guessing a lot because the information is sketchy. I might be inferring details about his case incorrectly. Nevertheless, I believe that in almost every case where there is a choice of jurisdiction, the Thai courts would serve the man better. American courts are far too lopsided in favor of the woman, at the expense of men and children.

How many people would enter into a commercial contract where there is no penalty for breach of contract, which your business partner can terminate at will, and in all likelihood eventually will sue you in a court that is heavily stacked against you? In America, men do this all the time by getting married. Most states have adopted no fault divorce laws. Adultery is OK. There doesn’t need to be a reason to file, and a divorce can be done on whim. Usually the woman is the petitioner, i.e. initiates the divorce, for obvious reasons. The net result is a very high divorce rate.

Inherent in the concept of sin sot is that marriage is inherently a commercial contract. Western culture attempts to separate the emotional aspect from the commercial aspect. That is why some farangs think that the sin sot is perverse. However, the two can’t be separated in practice. When you try, you end up with the Alice in Wonderland world of the farang divorce court.

The sin sot is an anti-feminist concept. It implicitly assumes that men and women are apples and oranges and that different ruled should apply to each gender. Thais seem to accept this much more readily than emasculated men who have been brainwashed by feminized farang culture. Western feminists either accept or deny gender differences depending upon what is advantageous to their point of view. For example, try Googling their latest catch phrase “comparative worth”. The underlying assumption is that any salary discrepancy between the genders must be due to discrimination. Forget about the free market in determining someone’s value in the workplace. On the other hand, have you heard of any feminist protests demanding that women be required to register for the draft?

Of course, the sin sot depends upon whom you marry. A bar girl isn’t sin sot material. For the record, here’s what I think are traits of an ideal Thai wife when you first meet her:

  1. Has always lived with her parents.
  2. Barely speaks English, if at all.
  3. Isn’t proficient in using the internet.
  4. Doesn’t know any other farangs.
  5. Lives north of the Mekong River.

Ok, with number five, she isn’t technically Thai, but Laos are almost Thai, and most of them are able to speak the Thai language because they watch TV. Trait number five is due to my own personal bias that Lao people are generally more sincere and less provincial than Thais.

I consider any deviation from the first four criteria to be red flags, unless she has studied at a university. In that case, you might be expected to pay an even higher amount, to compensate her parents for shouldering the cost of her tuition.

How does one meet such a girl? That would be an entirely different submission. Let’s just say that you won’t likely find her in Pattaya. Nor will you be able to talk to her, unless you speak Thai.

As a practical matter I think it would be difficult to marry that kind of girl for free, unless perhaps, she is an orphan. If you manage to avoid the sin sot, you are probably getting what you pay for.

Stickman's thoughts:

Many excellent points. I still disagree with the concept of sin sot, but I also agree with most of what you say! And what you say about marriage being a commercial issue in these parts is SO true!

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