An American man asked the Reddit community for advice on what to do after his Thai girlfriend’s family demanded a million baht ($28,000) dowry, known as sinsod in Thailand. He said he loved her very much, but was not a foolish ‘farang’ (Thai slang for a foreigner).
She Won’t Make Much Money – Even with a Degree
The OP shared his story on the social media platform. The man explained that he was dating a Thai university student from a province in the Isaan region of Thailand.
He explained that his girlfriend wouldn’t make much money from her career after graduation but her parents are middle class and work for a shipping company.
1 Million Baht
The parents asked the man to give them 1 million baht ($28,000) as a dowry, half of which would go to his fiancée after the wedding ceremony and the other half would be kept by the parents for safekeeping.
They stated that she would get the other half of the money if and when needed.
Sinsod – An Older Custom
Although the sinsod tradition is somewhat an older custom and may not be requested at all, the average amount is in the region of 100,000 Thai baht ($2,800), a tenth of the amount this individual was asked to pay.
OP added that the amount was not negotiable and that his girlfriend believed that the amount was fair because they had to show the dowry during the wedding ceremony.
Leaving in Two Weeks
OP finished his post by stating that he would be leaving Thailand in two weeks and might not return, therefore possibly ending the relationship.
Over 300 Comments
The post garnered over 300 comments from Reddit users.
Some individuals online suggested that the dowry served as a form of security for the woman, as her parents might have been concerned that a foreigner would eventually abandon her.
Provide for Their Daughter
Others believed that the parents simply wanted to ensure that the man could provide for their daughter.
Don’t Just Run
Some Reddit users advised the OP to end the relationship because they thought he might end up having to provide even more for the woman and her family down the road.
However, most people thought he should let his girlfriend and her parents know that he would not pay the dowry, instead of just leaving without any explanation.
Reddit Users Had Mixed Responses
There was some direct advice from readers.
Run for the Hills
One user simply said, “Run for the hills or the airport.”
4 Billion Other Females
A second user agreed, “Walk away. There are over 4 billion females, you will find the right one.”
Not Emotionally Invested
Another had a more thoughtful response, and they said “If you’re willing to pack a bag and leave forever it sounds like you’re not very emotionally invested in the relationship. Which begs the question, why are you engaged to her in the first place?”
“There is a good chance that all that “safe kept” money will be invested in magic beans.” joked another user.
All Westerners Are Wealthy
One of the comments was from a user who claimed to be half Thai and half Australian.
He said, “There is a stereotype among Isaan people that Western foreigners are wealthy and marrying one will bring you and your family a better life. So, if the assumption is that you, the potential husband, is rich, then the sinsod is sort of the first step in your commitment to take care of her and her family”.
Pay the Family Bills Forever
The Thai-Australian man also advised the American man to not pay the dowry, as it was a red flag that the man would have to pay the bills for her and her family forever.
Another commenter asked a similar question on Reddit in March.
The man said his girlfriend had jokingly asked him for a million baht dowry. He wanted to know if he would get it back and if the amount was too much.
Another user answered his question by saying she was about to marry her Irish boyfriend and had not asked him for a dowry. Her father, who was a policeman, eventually accepted the condition, even though he didn’t like it.
Thai Culture – Old and New
In Thai culture, the dowry is mostly seen as a way to show a good image and the family’s financial status.
The bigger the dowry paid to the bride, then the more he is accepted by the family.
However, a lot of the younger generation doesn’t care how much the dowry is anymore; many think it’s an antiquated system that is rarely followed.
They prefer to use the money for a dream wedding, but some of their conservative parents and relatives still care.
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