Isaan berry pickers in Europe: a worthy or wasted effort?
Picking berries or other wild fruits in Europe is a very lucrative job for many. It has become popular among Thai workers, especially those from Isaan. Many invested their life savings to fly to the opposite side of the world, with high hopes of turning their lives around. However, for some, they return to Thailand with little to show for their labors.
The Isaan Record speaks to a worker from Sakon Nakhon who picks berries in Finland. She is among the lucky few who are able to bring some savings back to Thailand. Still, many others have little to show for time in a foreign land.
The province of Sakon Nakhon has long been stigmatized as the “land of dog eaters.” In fact, the culture behind consuming dog meat exists across Asia. Historically, Sakon Nakhon city was the nexus of the dog meat trade with exports to neighboring countries. Dogs in the countryside were commonly traded for a water container or wash tub before being transported to other countries. The Isaan Record explores the reasons why the image of Sakon Nakhon is still tied to dog eating until today.
In Thai society, there are few Thai scholars who remain hopeful. One of them is Prof. Dr. Thongchai Winichakul, a former lecturer at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA, points to a way out for Thai society, once again in a time of crisis. The media needs to reinvent itself, and truly become professional.
It was also where locals were educated politically, and was a critical and important point in the political development in Isaan.
The Isaan Record visits the site to learn about the life of those who searched for enlightenment, living as communists in the vast forest; those who reflect on what they learned after living in Dong Phra Jao.
Amid an ongoing attempt to demolish what’s left of the Seri Thai Airport and its history in Kalasin province, The Isaan Record explores another Seri Thai Airport in Sakon Nakhon province. Here lie the last traces of an airport built by the Seri Thai Movement, exhibiting the history of the political struggle in Isaan aimed to resist Japanese occupation during WWII. (Locals still refer to the area as an “airport” although it appears to been more of a “drop site.”)