Sisters of Isan displays Isan (the northeastern part of Thailand)’s value and their construction at the beginning of the 20th century together with Thailand as a modern state. The book has recorded the stories of two sisters growing up and working from the countryside to Bangkok. At the same time, the book shows the perspectives of Isan people through their belief, lifestyle, culture, social norm, value and fate. This book covers the changes by over 50 years of Isan workers and Thailand. Hence, beyond two sisters who had shifted from rural to urban landscape, the stories inside reflect how Thai society has come. The struggle is not something Isan people choose, whereas, reading this book may imply the answer. Sisters of Isan is not just a book. This infers lives… the Isan’s lives.
Isaan voters have a long track record of their candidates winning and then eventually losing. Northeasterners picked parties whose leaders became prime ministers in 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011, and 2014. But they lost to coups (twice), court rulings (two or three times), and election annulments (twice). The overwhelming choice of Isaan voters (and the majority of voters throughout the country) now face a new challenge: an unelected Senate. Will its beloved Pheu Thai Party rise to the occasion and save democracy? Or will it take the premiership and break the pro-democratic bloc? Does it have any choice?
Natticha Nasee shares her journey of reclaiming her identity in Thailand after growing up in Nepal, where she was labeled a foreigner. A growing disconnect from her Thai heritage and loss of cultural ties compel her to return to Thailand and enroll at Khon Kaen University. There, Natticha finds reintegrating into Thai society doesn’t go as hoped, and she is soon labeled foreigner again due to her unfamiliarity with the language as well as simple cultural norms, like how to eat mu kata. Frustrated by again being treated as an outsider, Natticha eventually navigates the blurred lines between being both farang noi and Thai to make peace with her complex identity through the connections she forms and the enduring bonds of family.
Isaan would not be in poverty if the central government distributed administrative power to localities and was more careful in how it imposed development policies and projects in the region. The series “What will Isaan people get from the 2023 elections?” looks back on how Isaan has been left out in such policy making processes, and what can be done to resolve the issue.
While Tha Rae district in Sakon Nakhon province is well known for having the biggest Catholic community in Thailand, the district may perhaps be even better known for a darker history as the former heart of the dog meat trade in Southeast Asia. Although most residents of Tha Rae no longer eat dog meat and the tradition has died down due to the influence of Buddhism, some locals in Sakon Nakhon’s Tha Rae district still consume it. This raises the question: “Man’s best friend or favorite meal?” Isaan Record intern, Russell Chapman, goes to Sakon Nakhon to explore the issue.
The daughter of a redshirt grows up and comes to understand and appreciate her father in a new way. Although he died a decade ago when she was just a child, she now reaches out to him in a letter. Guest contributor Rattanapon Noi-Wong confronts the past and asks to join her father, as a […]
In a time of political dissent, people in the Northeast have turned to unique ways of protesting. From July to August 2021, people all over Isaan participated in over 40 Car Mobs, a new way to protest–from the safety of one’s car. In her latest contribution, Saowanee T. Alexander underscores how Car Mobs have embodied the hopes and dreams of the pro-democracy movement in the Northeast.
Thailand’s tourist industry has long profited from inhumane and exploitative techniques in handling elephants. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed new pressures on human-elephant relationships. The elephant tourist industry is on the brink of collapse and wild elephant habitats are coming into closer contact with humans than before. How can Thailand better protect its elephants while bringing attention to elephant welfare with advocacy? Guest contributor Mark S. Cogan looks into the issue.
In this final segment of our series, “The Holy Man Rebellion(s) from both sides of the Mekong,” Ian G. Baird focuses on the role of the Lao royal family in the House of Champassak and the role they would come to play in colonial Laos and how its influence declined in Siam’s Northeast.
In Part I of our special three-part series, “The Holy Man Rebellions from both sides of the Mekong,” Ian G. Baird described how the political dynamics between the French, the House of Champassak, and the Siamese all played a role in sparking sporadic millenarian movements in both the newly established French colony of Laos and the Bangkok-colonized Northeast of Siam. In this segment, Baird explains how the “holy men” of the period moved back and forth across the Mekong River, making it a significant cross-border set of events.
In this first installment Baird takes us to the “Lao” side of the Mekong, at a time when once-fluid frontiers had just solidified into national borders.
In response to popular demand (on the Thai-language side), we are bringing our readers a new set of items on the Holy Man Rebellion, part of an effort to rediscover Isaan’s lost history. This time we explore the causes behind the uprising of Isaan people 121 years ago. Although the lives of 300 rebels were lost in Ban Saphue, Ubon Ratchathani, there’s no memorial, no museum, no sign that the community has once seen so many die all at once. The Isaan Record presents the Season 2 of “The Isaan Holy Man Rebellion” to commemorate the 121st anniversary of the brutal crackdown.