In the modern day many families don’t expect Sin Sod, and many will tell the boyfriend that they don’t want any money.
However, it is very rare that money isn’t shown at the wedding, albeit that it is returned in full afterwards.*It should be noted that to expect the money back or to ask for it back is unacceptable.
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.
Traditionally, the eldest unmarried daughter takes care of her parents until she gets married, and therefore the Sin Sod in some respects replaces that income for the parents.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.Any man marrying a Thai woman is expected to pay Sin Sod.The price is usually agreed between the two families, yet where a foreigner is concerned and his parents aren't present, the duty falls on him to ask the family how much they expect.Therefore, the Sin Sod acts as a sort of insurance in the event that the husband leaves her and doesn't offer post separation financial support.The bottom line is, women don't walk away with half of everything like they do in some Western countries.So, when a foreigner wants to marry his Thai girlfriend and the inevitable subject of Sin Sod arises, it is no surprise that he becomes confused over what he should be paying and why he is expected to pay it.Part of the problem is that Thai women often don’t explain the concept of Sin Sod very well, which isn’t at all surprising, considering that for them it’s a standard tradition and an age-old part of Thai culture.If a woman finds herself back living with her parents as a single mother, the Sin Sod insures that there will be some money/land in the family to support the family.Thai society also dictates that the older a Thai woman gets the harder it becomes for her to find a job, let alone a well-paid one.