Isaan’s first Pride marches in Udon Thani

The LGBTQ+ community has awakened. No official Pride events have ever been held in Isaan. But remarkably, during this month, Pride Month for LGBTQ+ groups around the world, activities have or will be carried out in five provinces: Udon Thani, Buriram, Srisaket, Ubon Ratchathani, and Khon Kaen.

Elephant welfare in Thailand: a growing ethical, political, and cultural concern

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.

Tiwakorn Withiton protests for release a Bangkokian activist denied bail

Tiwakorn Withiton protests at Khon Kaen’s Democracy Monument, demanding release of Bangkok activist denied bail

Two citizen journalists detained without charges in Ubon Ratchathani

Two members of The Isaan Record’s citizen reporter network were arrested today while trying to take photos of the atmosphere surrounding the visit of King Rama X to Ubon. 

Community Rights in the Mekong Sustainability Management

The Mekong River is unique in that it flows through and between so many countries. Every country takes what it can from it, leaving the millions who depend on it for their livelihoods and survival in an increasingly perilous situation. A team of guest contributors went to two communities in Isaan—one where the Mekong first touches the region in Loei and one 600 kms away in Ubon where it leaves Thai territory to learn how two communities are dealing with a drastically changing environment.

PART III: The Role of Champassak Royals as Mediators

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.

PART II: The Holy Men Rise and Fall Across Borders

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.

PART I: The Holy Men Revolt: A Tale of Two Countries

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.

Remembering Prince Sapphasitthiprasong: the modernizer of Ubon or its pacifier?

Prince Sapphasitthiprasong was the one who brought urban planning to Ubon Ratchathani. He might be called the father of modern Ubon. But he was also the one who launched the campaign against the Holy Man Rebellion in Trakan Phuet Phon District. The rebels were hopelessly outgunned and the crackdown led to the death of more than 300. A local historian and restaurant owner weighs in on how the people of Ubon Ratchathani remember this Bangkok-appointed governor.

First-ever religious ceremony held following the suppression of Ubon’s Holy Man rebels 121 years ago.

The first-ever religious ceremony dedicated to the Holy Man Rebellion of 121 years ago received a throng of attendees in Ubon Ratchathani last week. Community leaders discussed building a monument to commemorate the event as a way to make Saphue’s local history more widespread.

Remembering the suppression of the “Phi Bun” Rebellion 120+1 years on

The tale of resistance surrounding Isaan’s Holy Man Rebellion in Ubon Ratchathani province, called “The Battle of Non Pho,” was passed down from generation to generation. Much folklore and many poems recalled the event of 121 years ago. Non Pho was a killing field, shelled by the government’s cannons, where over 400 people died. Local residents hope to build a local history museum in order to memorialize the tragic history of that day, one that has otherwise been fading.

Isaan Holy Man Rebellion — Understanding the unwilling subjects of Siam’s internal colonialism

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.

Thai education beset by poor management, inequality, and high teacher debt

Thailand’s public education system is rarely held up as a success story. But its woes have become even more acute in the past decade. It faces a host of challenges: inequality, uneven funding and frequent policy changes by the Ministry of Education, and high levels of teacher debt. Guest contributor Mark S. Cogan takes a look at the challenges and the dim chances for improvement.

Abuse in Thai schools requires a long, hard look in the mirror

News of physical abuse of students by teachers is all but commonplace in Isaan and in Thailand more generally. Guest contributor Mark Cogan examines why such abuse is tolerated, arguing that the persistence of such abuse points to larger problems in the education system that trains students (and their parents) to focus more on obedience than learning.