(Yesterday, in Part 1 of this post, after a lengthy digression about Henry VIII, for those of you unfamiliar with the Thai custom, we covered their modern day version of a dowry, sin sod. A well as the news that an old German guy had just wed his on-line Thai BS of three years, ponying up 1 million baht as the ‘bride price’. Today we’ll look a bit deeper into that custom – sin sod, not old farangs hooking up with young Thai moneyboys on-line – and discover why those frequent whiners on the message boards bemoaning how they were done wrong by a bar boy, just don’t get it.)
So now that you know how prevalent the custom of sin sod is in Thai society, let’s look at how that impacts you as a farang. But wait. That’s putting the cart before the horse. Because before you get to paying out sin sod for the pleasure of years of pleasure, first you’ll be ponying up for another Thai custom. One that you are probably already familiar with. Even though you didn’t know about the line you’d just stepped over.
The Thai version of ‘first comes love, then comes marriage’ is first comes khong man, then comes sin sod. You can consider khong man as a test of how worthy you are of the love and devotion you are trying to buy. Thais consider it a test of how worthy the status of your bank account is. Because love and marriage are nothing more than delusional farang concepts; everyone knows that in the real world love can be measured by the amount of baht it can afford. And khong man is an excellent test of how much love you can afford to pay in sin sod. ‘Cuz nothing says love like solid gold.
In Thai culture – and under Thai law – an engagement becomes official when the groom-to-be gives his bride-to-be a present of pure gold jewelry, known locally both as khong man and look what the farang just gave me. You may be thinking engagement ring, your BS is thinking a nice hefty baht gold chain. And as the Thai embassy website advises: The rule of thumb is, the higher the amount of the gold, the better. Don’t worry, as with most Thai customs, if you don’t get it right your BS will correct you. ‘Cuz he lubs you.
Just like khong man is customary in Thailand, not knowing what they just got themselves into is customary among farang looking to solidify their love with a Thai moneyboy through a financial transaction. Now, how many boys have you bought gold gifts for in the past? Oooops! You thought those were tokens of your affection. He considered them the first step toward being taken care of for the rest of his life. Fortunately, you were probably the cheap bastard you always are and your gift of khong man was lacking. You’re no longer a suitable suitor. If you can’t afford a few thousand for gold, that doesn’t bode well for how much you’ll cough up as sin sod. If you are lucky, your BS will now consider you just another customer to be fleeced at any given opportunity. If, however, you were generous (which is Thai for foolish) you’re on your way to a lifetime of caring for him. And his family. And his village.
That commitment of a lifetime of care is not to be taken lightly. At least not by his family. Their social status (and bank account) hangs in the balance. A does you bank account balance. And that’s where sin sod, or the bride price, comes into play.
Sin Sod is a public affair. It’s a large gift of baht presented to your BS’s parents during the wedding ceremony, the idea being that farang are notoriously prideful and will pay up better if they risk being shamed by proving what a cheap bastard they really are in front of the entire village. But it’s about face too. Not yours, your BS’s family. The more sin sod you give them, the higher social status they gain. This may not be a concern to you, but it is a convenient way for your BS to prod you into giving more than you otherwise would. One website offering advice to farang states: “Sin Sod amounts vary widely. If your fiance is a middle class university graduate, expect to pay 100,000-300,000 Baht. On the upper end, you may have to pay millions of Baht if your fiance is a successful businesswoman, famous performer, or rich socialite!”
Obviously, being a moneyboy, or on-line hook-up, is viewed on social status terms as the same as being a socialite. And there’s no doubt your BS does qualify as a famous performer too. At least in Pattaya. And undoubtedly his fame has been much discussed on the Gay Romeo forum on SGT.
Now in a Thai-Thai marriage, the sin sod is more for show. The cash is usually given back to the newly wed couple to finance their new life together. And if the groom doesn’t have enough to make an impressive impression on the wedding guests, the bride’s parents often ‘loan’ him enough to make them look good. Uh, that won’t happen with you. You’re not Thai. And if you can’t afford your BS as a spouse, some other lonely farang can.
Sin Sod is almost always given in the form of baht. It’s difficult to present a water buffalo during a wedding ceremony. Especially since that makes it hard for the guests to tell which is the farang and which is the buffalo. And while a moneyboy will always gain face in his village for landing a rich farang (or just farang, as Thais refer to them) he may not be too keen on showing everyone just how buffalo looking like his farang is. There’s also the fact that same-sex marriage is not yet recognized in Thailand. And that moneyboys know that while getting lots of cold hard cash out of a farang can be a chore, they are usually willing to pay up for life’s necessities. :Like a water buffalo, motocy, and real estate. And this is where the confusion and problems arise.
Later, after the farang has drained his bank account and discovered love was never part of the equation (well, love of his money was, but ya know . . .) the farang takes to the message boards with his tale of woe about the (latest) moneyboy who done him wrong. And to prove just how despicable that boy was, the farang takes great delight in listing everything he bought for his BS. As soon as that total hits the 10,000 baht mark, alarm bells should ring. All that largesse the farang at one time thought was about proving his love and now considers to be what the boy scammed out of him, in the boy’s mind was nothing more than sin sod. You wanted a full-time relationship with him, even if you only planned on being in Thailand a few weeks out of the year. To his way of thinking, that was a betrothal. Not a betrayal. If you wanted him as your bride, it’s only right that you paid his bride price. (And if you weren’t serious about it, then what was up with that khong man gift of gold you gave him?)
You may think that’s an oversimplification of the problem, that no moneyboy would ever actually confuse the house you bought him as being his due as sin sod. In logical, linear thinking you’re probably right. But then Thai are not big on logic, and don’t know what linear thinking is. It’s the thought that counts, however. And while he may not believe in your often repeated vows of love any more than he does in those he’s whispered in your ear, your actions speak louder than your words. And those actions far too often mimic a cultural custom he is familiar with. He may not look at that deed to a house you just handed him and think sin sod, but the idea is there. Because in Thailand it’s only a sin when you love somebody if you don’t pay the sin sod.
Farang who are in a successful relationship with a Thai will tell you that sin sod is a custom that you don’t have to adhere to. While not strictly true, they do have a point. But then unlike those you hear whining on the message boards about the moneyboy who done them wrong, those farang actually made a positive attempt at evolving their relationship past the moneyboy/customer paradigm. They moved to Thailand, they provided a secure life-style so the boy no longer had to sell his ass. And while they may not have gone through a marriage ceremony, or paid the accompanying sin sod, they have provided their Thai boyfriend with a home and a secure financial future through a mutually beneficial partnership, rather than as a financial arrangement for sex. If you’re not willing to make that kind of commitment to your commitment, you only have yourself to blame for the result.
There’s an old saying about lying down with dogs; if – and when – you get bitten you need to look at the bed you made before looking at someone else to blame. But then if you were wise enough to do that, you wouldn’t be in the predicament that you’ve found yourself in in the first place.
In the end, there’s only one shot of reality that maters when it comes to farang and the Thai boys they think they love. It’s about you. Not them. No one can scam you if you do not willingly allow it. No one can take advantage of you unless you allow them to. It’s easy to cry fowl, to blame them, and say what a kind hearted and trusting fool you were after the fact. But in reality you were only fooling yourself throughout your entire ‘relationship’. Some willingly pay for that privilege. That fantasy is what fuels the Thai moneyboy paradigm. And that’s cool. But when you allow that fantasy to become your reality, and then wake up alone and penniless, be a man about it and take responsibility for your own actions. Because it was your actions, not his, that got you where you didn’t want to be. Which probably is logged on to one of the Gay Thailand message boards, singing your tale of woe, and looking for sympathy for having acted like such a stooge.
|Related Posts You Might Enjoy:|