And so, using my own knowledge and experience, and through quizzing three of my good Thai friends, I decided to write a definitive guide to Sin Sod.
Before I begin, I am not by any means saying that the information in this post is entirely definitive or one hundred percent historically factual.
However, what I can say is that the information is the experience of a cross-section of Thai people, all of whom are university educated, have experienced many Thai weddings and are well-versed in Thai culture.
But who knows, occasionally a rich man does fall for a poorer woman in good old classist Thailand, and to show his wealth he would no doubt slap down a hefty sin sod. Sin Sod is generally decided by status, family wealth, family name and accomplishment/education of the female in question.
Any man marrying a Thai woman is expected to pay Sin Sod.
Many families sell land, borrow money and generally go without to put their kids through university, or in some cases to simply put food on the table.
The Sin Sod is essentially a repayment for that investment.
The Western-centric viewpoint that Sin Sod equates to the purchasing of a Thai bride is completely incorrect.
To fully understand the tradition, you need to put the word “dowry” out of your mind, not least because any suggestion to your future in-laws of will be very offensive.
And like traditions the world over, some people simply participate and follow along without ever understanding the history behind it.