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  1. #1
    The Fool on the Hill bowie's Avatar
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    Sin Sod Thai Style

    Been traipsin’ round Thailand going on 30 years. Over my time been to about a dozen Thai weddings. All full Thai, me being the only Falang in attendance less my wedding and one other Falang-Thai wedding.

    So, have had my share of the old “Sin Sod” debate on forums. A > 95% negative opinions expressed concerning the Thai custom of sin sod.

    Now, my practical experiences with the age old “sin sod” custom, run quite opposite of the standard Falang analysis of this Thai custom. Yup, the many, many, many anti-Thai stories of the proverbial Falang ATM Machine, ref.; Isan bargirls, sick buffalos, pickup trucks, crippled and blind elders, new roofs, new houses, etc.

    I’ve been fortunate to observe the Thai sin sod custom in full, unadulterated Thai style. Even sitting in on a couple of bride price discussions. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending upon the situation) my Thai lingual skills, although reasonable, can’t follow Thai conversations when the get rapid or deeply detailed, but, I can usually follow the “general” flow of the conversation.

    Now, in my experience. The sin sod custom is a deeply ingrained and the most prominent yardstick used for the wedding ceremony.

    Recently had a Thai family wedding – one of my grand nieces from Yala marrying a Bangkokian. From a household venue we are hosting our Yala folk at our house during the preparations. Note, the actual preparations and discussions took place over about a six month period. Really over the course of a year from “engagement” to finalization and the wedding itself.

    Ceremony happened Saturday past. A good time was had by all.

    Some “background” – these are by definition “poor” folk. Grand niece in laws Dad is a Yala fisherman (big bucks in that occupation). The groom Bangkokian family runs a family store – you know, one of them shops you live above and keep the doors open 18 hours a day living off cheap sales of “stuff” to the street walking traffic. So, no Mercedes or tuxes, involved.

    To save money the actual Buddhist wedding was held with six/seven other couples all getting hitched together. Single group of nine Monks officiating. Interesting scenario. Large conference room with many attendees (well, eight weddings makes for lots of attendees). Nine Monks, preliminary short chanting (@ 15 minutes) followed by one half-hour of food donations, Monks eat, then the Wedding Chanting followed by the assembly line water blessing. About five minutes per couple getting their water blessing then the long line of guests parading past the Monks for their water blessing. 2-3 hours tops for 16 newlyweds.

    Guestimate about 200 observers/guests about twenty professional photographers tripping over each other. Quite a sight. And me, the only Falang.

    Anyway, back to the sin sod. My experiences, the amount of “sin sod” is excessive and more than the people can afford. Realize these ore “poor” people. Yet, the sin sod was, in their eyes “massive”. Rings, gold, a bouquet of Gray THB 1k’s and stacks of red hundreds.

    The parents of the bride made a most impressive exaggerated show of how heavy the bundle of “sin sod” was as they shouldered the heavy burden to carry it out of the reception hall.

    Just a quick note – the sin sod presentation occurred in the late afternoon/early evening at a reception hall where dinner was served to our contingency of about 100 guests.

    To reiterate, these are “poor” folk, the bride is a department store clerk as is the groom. The parents are fisherman and a small shop owner. The actual sin sod pays for the wedding, the wedding reception, a good portion of the cash money gets returned to the source (borrowed for show) and, if they are fortunate and planned well, and, “thrifty” they have the start of a housing nest egg.

    A few pix.


    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Sin Sod Thai Style-img_8519.jpg   Sin Sod Thai Style-img_8523.jpg   Sin Sod Thai Style-img_8527.jpg   Sin Sod Thai Style-img_8532.jpg   Sin Sod Thai Style-img_8534.jpg  

    Sin Sod Thai Style-img_8631.jpg   Sin Sod Thai Style-img_8634.jpg   Sin Sod Thai Style-img_8671.jpg  

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    bowie ... thanks for sharing.

    We are saving for the SinSot for the day my Thai Partner and I eventually marry.

    Fifty bucks a month each from us ... we saved roughly BHT 100/120,000 ... not a patch
    on what is shown above.

    I know lot's will diss the SinSot idea, but it's a tradition I'm happy to fulfill.

    It will be 'our' money, not 'my' money.

    Prepared for

    “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”

    .

  3. #3
    The Fool on the Hill bowie's Avatar
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    Dave,

    In my experience the Thai tradition is deeply ingrained in their culture and the MOST important of all their many traditions.

    It is the yardstick used to value the bride and is a measure of telling the parents just how good a job they did raising their child. In effect, telling them just how "good" they are.

    The Cheap Charlies will brag about how "little" they paid without understanding the implied insult and embarrassment they provide to their in-laws. Then complain they "get no respect". FFS, they are marrying into a different culture - understand and accept what you are doing. Thailand doesn't exist to conform to your bias ideals. Yet, the fools merrily go down that path patting themselves on the back.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat
    BoganInParasite's Avatar
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    Going back almost ten years ago I paid the equivalent of $19k SGD in gold and cash. (The wife and I had already legally married in Australia on the quiet so this wedding was for Thai family and friends although some of mine came over as well.) At the time the MIL told the wife she would return it all if ever we moved to Thailand, and she did. The Thai family paid for the wedding and the wife asked them to keep all of the money gifts given at the wedding. They are not rich being fish farmers and local storekeepers but they are good honest people. They worked themselves out of poverty, the family of five lived in a truck until the wife was five and she had to live with a grandmother for the first two years of her life and without dairy based milk.

  5. #5
    The Fool on the Hill bowie's Avatar
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    On my end. Asian financial crisis put an "urgency" to my wedding. Quick trip to the Bangkok District office to register the marriage and get my wife immigration petition started.

    For the Buddhist wedding ceremony I gave my wife THB 150k and let her, her sisters, and her friends go at it. 25 years ago so the money went a bit further, but, had a Thai tradition ceremony in the morning at her fathers apartment with nine Monks chanting followed by a western style reception with a buffet serving, band for music and dancing and traditional Thai dancers doing the traditional Hanuman Ramakien Khon Dance. A reasonable show of sin sod presented/displayed with rings gold and cash.

    The in-laws had ear-to-ear smiles. Well worth the price (and the angst I felt concerning the "amount"). But, what was delivered far exceeded my expectations and I am treated like a king by my in-laws.

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat cyrille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowie View Post
    the fools merrily go down that path patting themselves on the back.
    You sound as pathetic as anyone on the whole thing, tbh. Judging from afar and constantly bigging yourself up 'like a king'.

    In my case my wife's father had died about three years before we married, and the family (step mother and four siblings) is scattered from N to S Thailand.

    We and the family just met up north of bkk after a two month honeymoon in Europe (funded by the unpaid sinsot ) for a good meal.

    Saved me a whole lot of ball ache, and yes, I was glad.
    Last edited by cyrille; 07-10-2019 at 10:21 AM.

  7. #7
    The Fool on the Hill bowie's Avatar
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    There ya go folk. Ole cheap charlie has spoken.

    one of the 95%ers I spoke about.

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat cyrille's Avatar
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    You go at it, big fella.

    How's the somtam?

  9. #9
    The Fool on the Hill bowie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    How's the somtam?
    Thai style, spicy hot, to my taste...

  10. #10
    The Fool on the Hill bowie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    'like a king'.
    Naw, not like, I am the King and I rule...

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    bowie, I wouldn't say cyrille is a cheap charlie based on his account.
    It's just that he did things differently to you and potentially myself.

    From his account, it seems that the Thai Family is not particularly tight knit, well, certainly not geographically anyway.

    Wheres my Partners Family unit couldn't be tighter. Relatives own the surrounding Farms.

    Some have dwellings on the main Farm.

    Our bedroom shares a common wall with the Farm Mother's bedroom.

    So, for me, it was a deep dive (figuratively) into the family pool.

    It's OK, not perfect ... sort of like making lemonade out of lemons ... to coin a phrase.
    Last edited by David48atTD; 07-10-2019 at 12:24 PM.

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat cyrille's Avatar
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    Exactly.

    Horses for Courses, and 'don't think too much', as some thais say.

  13. #13
    The Fool on the Hill bowie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David48atTD View Post
    cyrille is a cheap charlie
    cyrille spoke tongue-in-cheek.

    He's saying he spend his sin sod on a two month european vacation.

    I spent mine on the wedding ceremony and reception.

    Worked for him, worked for me, it'll (whatever you and your family decide) work for you.

    I'm just relaying my experience(s) with a most recent hard example, which runs counter to the majority of the whining, crying and lamenting 'bout the sin sod tradition as posted by most expats on the forums. The other caveat is most don't care to hear examples that run counter to their posts.

  14. #14
    'ello 'ello 'ello Luigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowie View Post
    these are “poor” folk, the bride is a department store clerk as is the groom. The parents are fisherman and a small shop owner.
    That will have been borrowed and returned the next day.


    The guests would have given envelopes with money as they entered, every name and amount will have been noted in a book, so the same amount can be given back at their family's wedding.

  15. #15
    The Fool on the Hill bowie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luigi View Post
    That will have been borrowed and returned the next day.
    The guests would have given envelopes with money as they entered, every name and amount will have been noted in a book, so the same amount can be given back at their family's wedding.
    Yup, pretty much a "plan of the day" oft rinsed and repeated, the Thai wedding ritual and showmanship. This one went quite well, got a house full of smiling' Thais with ear-to-ear grins . They just couldn't be happier. They managed to provide a most impressive show of wealth on the cheap.

    A ritual most well performed.

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat jabir's Avatar
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    On the day we married there was another ceremony taking place at the village, nice kid we used to recruit for yard work from among the village layabouts, came to our attention when we decided to repair the street outside nan's home, and the only one of an idle bunch that actually enjoyed working.

    Anyway we went to pay our respects having kicked off an hour or two in front, hung around a while, and when it came to sin sot the master of ceremonies proudly announced something like 340 baht, a very low and odd number. For me it was a double take, I discretely confirmed what I thought I heard with wifey, nobody seemed the least surprised or embarrassed, but having seen where the kid lived it probably reflected close to his net worth, together with what I would have sworn was a plastic necklace pretending to be gold. We left soon after bunging a few k into the envelope that tends to appear at these events.

    So yes, the sin sot is not just about money but part of the culture, and thrives even under conditions of extreme poverty.

  17. #17
    The Fool on the Hill bowie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabir View Post
    sin sot the master of ceremonies proudly announced something like 340 baht... probably reflected close to his net worth... a plastic necklace pretending to be gold.
    Expect, without knowing, that scenario occurs in many, many outlying Thai villages/rice farms/communities that do not really use "money" as we know it. Can't really imagine farmers carrying around a wallet full of cash. Consider the lifestyle of collecting cash when the crop is harvested and sold then buying your seed, fertilizer, irrigation, etc. for the next crop.

    As is reported most farmers are saddled with a bunch of debt - making spending money a rare commodity. A tougher and more difficult existence than I've ever known.

    Thanks for the input.

  18. #18
    ความรู้ลึกลับ HuangLao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabir View Post

    So yes, the sin sot is not just about money but part of the culture.
    Sure.
    Tradition has it's place, in one form or another. Largely revolving around image, respect, and face-saving.
    Yet, even among the presence of all the comparative and competitive aspects - every sin sod situation will differ greatly in mindset and practice.

  19. #19
    Can I still change this?
    Bogon's Avatar
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    This is how my wedding went around 15 years back.

    Held at parents house up North. Not poor, but not rich either.

    100k sin sot of our money (me and wife), which was returned.
    8 baht of gold. kept 1 baht for us (our wedding rings) and sold the rest back to the shop we bought it from a week later losing a few thousand baht in the transaction.
    50k for the wedding and party. This was for around 300 village folk drinking, eating and a stage with a few hired sexy dancers and a band.
    The sweetner for the parents was that they could keep all of the envelope money, No idea how much was collected, but do know that it was noted in the magic notebook for future reference.

    Basically, all the wealth was for show and back then the 250k or so that it cost for sin sot, party and gold was a lot of money to us. We were in our 20's and still starting out in life. I have no qualms or embarrassment about getting the sin sot back and selling most of the gold back as at that time, we didn't have that amout of coin saved up.
    Last edited by Bogon; 07-10-2019 at 06:52 PM.
    Black diamonds? I shit 'em.

  20. #20
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    ^ That’s the way it goes, whether marriage to a foreigner or Thai.

    People who get their panties in a wad over sinsot just don’t understand its importance.

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowie View Post
    Thai style, spicy hot, to my taste...
    Yeah we get you're *so* Thai.

  22. #22
    ความรู้ลึกลับ HuangLao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misskit View Post
    ^ That’s the way it goes, whether marriage to a foreigner or Thai.

    People who get their panties in a wad over sinsot just don’t understand its importance.

    Simple and well put, Kitty....

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat
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    Usually, any such tamboon, be it at wedding, funeral, new house warming, etc, will collect more money from the invited (and uninvited) people than is being spent, even if it is enhanced with a light and sound show...

  24. #24
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    I find this whole argument a bit bizarre.
    I met met my wife, we lived together for a while the we we decided to move from the south to the north and set up a house.
    We weren't married at this time.
    So, we moved to an area near her families village, but far enough away to be left alone.
    Rented, then bought and developed a bit of a reconstructed wooden shed which suited us.
    A couple of years later we did the official marriage thing, trip to BKK and all that other palaver then finally did a family/religous event in her house. Saved money by doing the house blessing and wedding at the same time.
    Folk came from far and wide, my father was an Anglican Vicar so he did a blessing for the the Falang and it was all a pleasant day. Not true, hated it, but the various families enjoyed it.

    So, Thai and Christian wedding and a house blessing all in one day. No kareoke, no blaring duff duff music. All done and dusted.

    Oh, and no Sin Sod.
    Never even mentioned.
    We agreed from day one we'd try and work things out together and 10 years later it's still the same.

    42

  • #25
    Thailand Expat
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    Nice pictures from a surely nice time...

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