i m a thai teenager girl who was formerly educated in thailand but who is now studying in europe so i think i know both cultures and the habit differences... i think that only time will change the situation in the respect of dowry (sin sod). It may seem obsolete but it is still in force. I think you are in front of an alternative : you either rely on an elderly thai person acquainted with your GF's parents who will "bargain" and try to reduce the amount of the dowry ( which is usually possible ) or whatever painful it may be forget this girl and look for another one whose parents seem more moderate as far as money is concerned.
i wish you the best.
good luck. ( chork dee )
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Before doing this, you need to explain to your girlfriend why you are doing this. I have noticed in the decade of being married to my Thai wife, that Thai's simply assume you will want to be generous to the family to show you are a good person. There may be a valid cultural tradition here, but it has grown to the point of abuse. You need to clearly explain to your wife that standards for farangs are different, and she needs to respect your culture as much as you respect hers. Farangs don't believe that giving large sums of money to a poor rural family is generous, but instead shows foolishness, as a poor villager who hasn't shown they know how to responsibly handle money will surely waste the money and be back later hat in hand asking for more. Explain to her that showing you are a good person in the farang tradition means teaching her parents how to be responsible, and how to take care of money.
Give a little in sin sod right now, and then put the family on a stipend. Explain to your girlfriend you are doing this because you love her and truly want to take care of her family. Give the family 5000 baht per month, and make a commitment to teaching the family how to budget. Tell her that when they have demonstrated they know how to budget and spend this 5000 baht per month wisely, you will increase the stipend. Explain this is how farang cultures have grown to be wealthy, and that to truly help her family you believe you must adopt these methods. That simply following the Thai tradition in this case would not show generosity, but foolishness and lack of true concern for their well being. Again, stress that this shows true compassion in Western culture and why, and that if you are going to be married she has to commit to accepting your culture as much as you have to accept hers.
Yes, you can give small gifts to the family now and then in the tradition of Thai culture, but only if she also accepts the traditions of responsibility in farang culture. A marriage is a 2 way street, and there must be compromise on both sides. If she doesn't accept this, you have no choice but to walk away no matter your feelings for her.
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I was in your postion and having arrived with only 500bt to my name I only had the money I was earning from teaching at a government school. I explained to my "wife to be" that my salary was 35000bt a month and though I had saved about 300,000bt most of that had gone on courting her - return flights to Chiang Mai (from Bkk), hotels, restuarants etc. I could offer a sin sod of 20,000bt which her father could keep or return on the basis that I would send him 1, 500bt per month for odds and sods (her mother had died some years ago). He went for the monthly income.
I recommend that you do the same - explain your financial position to your girlfriend and offer 2000bt per month for the next ten years. The advantage of this is that you still retain some control over the situation. If there is a problem with them and they over demand you can appologise politely with a big wide Thai smile and explain '... we have our own issues and that I may not even be able to make the 2000bt payment this month! Times are tough - just watch the tv!'
Rule number one - there is always a victim! Rule number two - don't be it! With the montly payment you are in control. You can also decide when not to pay by using their logic against them. 'Sorry, can't pay you for the next six months or so as our cow died at home and my family need to get a new one! I have to help my family first!' Or you can pull out the old chestnut that 'My brother needs a new pick-up and I have to send him your 2000bt! - so sorry, so sorry!'
Finally, you have to understand that in Thailand it is much easier to appologise than to ask permission - that's why they put so much emphasis on their smile and the wai! You do your own thing and then grovel afterwards when it is too late. I often point this out to exchange students who live in home stays. If you ask for permission they will 9 times out of 10 say no! It's just a knee-jerk control issue. Best to do it without permission (if you think that your parents would approve and it would be deemed acceptable in your own culture) and then appologise very politely afterwards. How does this translate to your situation? You and her go ahead and marry - get it all done legally with registration etc. You can then have a village wedding at your own convenience and on your terms! You can wear a big Thai smile and enjoy that the ball is in your court. You can take all the time you like until conditions are satisfactory to you before you have your wedding! It sounds like you know that you're on a hiding to nothing if you marry into this family so don't beat yourself up trying to keep them sweet. Do your thing and plead poverty!
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just crash and burn in the end.What is there to say once you have given the money there wont be more demands
for more money ????? THINK ABOUT IT
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When I got married this year, I had an arrangement with my in laws. We held our reception in Chinese dinner style. What happens is that I gave my in laws 5 tables. Meaning that whatever money received (you need to put in money into the invitation card) from that 3 tables is for them to keep. I of course pay for the tables which costs THB 11,000 each.
The money received from guests from the remaining 18 tables are meant for paying the entire costs of the wedding reception.
This is one way to compromise since westernes don't like paying directly to the in laws but are willing to sponsor in other ways.
Of course, my in laws are Thai Chinese and we held the reception in Bangkok. As I understand it, things may be a little bit different in the provinces.
Nonetheless, communication is the key, don't assume that you are always right. Keep talking with your wife to be, in laws, etc. That way, you gain a bigger and better picture.
Last of all, it's all good in the end, I hope.
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