Sin Sot – My Story
I have to applaud the Thai woman who submitted the article on sin sot. It is so interesting to hear the thinking on the other side of that coin.
I have been with and married for 5+ years to a Thai woman from the south (Nakhon Si Thammarat) and I find a real conflict in what my wife has told me about sin sot and what this other 25-year old lady from the south has written.
My wife is one of 9 children from a farming family with most of the children having been sent off to and graduating from college. This resulted in the father gradually selling off much of his extensive holdings of farm land to support the education of his children. My wife graduated from university in Bangkok.
When we first got together she gave me a one year trial period before she stated that at the end of the year we either be married or she would leave me. Fair enough I thought and agreed. She was working at the time and her work contract was scheduled to run out in about 6 months. We discussed it often but I did not care if she continued to work or not. It was up to her. In reality I preferred she not work so we could have the freedom to travel anywhere or do anything at any time. When her job ran out she was offered another job at a lesser pay but it was across Bangkok and would have cost her much time and expense to travel to and from every day. I did the math on the daily transportation costs and the amount she had left over was not much.
Two months after living together she arranged a gathering of the whole family (yes, all eight brothers and sisters plus mom and local friends) with three monks officiating from the local temple. The purpose was to introduce me to the family. I had to pay the expenses of about 10,000 baht for the food, drinks and monks. It was not a wedding but, I think, a blessing of our relationship. What was I to know since everything was in Thai language that I don’t understand.
One year later to the day she was reminding me and we were married at the Ampur office for a total cost of 25 baht on December 25th. No ceremony or party but just the two of us and a witness in a small office in downtown Hua Hin.
I may have gone off track a bit, but in my discussions with my wife she told me that sin sot was not prevalent in the south but was a custom mainly practiced in the north. I did not deal with the family at all about our relationship as my wife took care of all the notifications and arrangements for the gathering. The lady who wrote the submission is stating that sin sot is a southern tradition and with numbers I could not phantom ever being put on the table. 100,000 baht even sounds like a lot to me.
My wife has done quite well for herself and has proven to be a very loyal, devoted partner and companion who I am quite happy to be married to. I often call her my seven million baht wife since the car, Bangkok condo and house are all registered in her name because it is so much more convenient and less hassle to do so. Were she to send me packing she would have a lot to show for her time with me. Point being is that instead of sin sot she has done better financially by just being the wonderful partner / companion that she has been for me.
Where else in Thailand could she not have to work and yet have enough money to live as she likes without being extravagant? Gosh and almost every week spending the giant sum of about 100 – 200 baht (anything more would not be considered) for some very attractive pieces of clothing.
I agree with Stick that paying even one baht for the “privilege” to marry a Thai women is abhorrent to most westerners. Do these women really think that their worth is measured in baht? They surely cannot see it the way we see it as a purchase price for “buying” a Thai women. I like the sound of the Indian tradition better where the woman’s family must pay a dowry to the man so the family can “unload” their women. The biggest problem with that system is that many men “dispose” (both literally and physically) of their women and cast them off so they can move on to find another “mark”.
Strange these different marriage traditions!
You raise a very good point stating that sin sot custom is not big in the south. There is much I like about the southern women and the attitudes of the people in that region. It's amazing that Westerners seem to prefer another part of the country when they hunt for a wife when I think there are some compelling reasons why a southerner might make a better partner.