The organisation, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), received an Albies award in New York on August 28. Yasothon native Sirikan Charoensiri, representing TLHR, delivered an impassioned speech at the awards ceremony, declaring, “We still have a long way to go toward true democracy.”
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.
“The Bangkok Tragedy” refers to the government-backed massacre of members of the red shirt movement, when a military crackdown on protesters from May 10 to May 19, 2010, resulted in at least 94 deaths.
The Pak Mun Dam has long been controversial. It is blamed for the devastation of the surrounding ecosystem, so much so to the point that locals can no longer make a living from fishing, their traditional livelihood. Although the locals established the Assembly of the Poor to move against the construction and call out the government for their failure to take responsibility for the impacts to their livelihood and the environment, officials have continued to disregard their voices. The fishers of the Mun River who still love their profession, the ecosystem, and their hometown, have collectively said that the dam has permanently destroyed their livelihood and the trade in fisheries.
The Facebook page, “Prated Ubon,” is an example of the success of impressive content creators from Ubon Ratchathani province. Racking up over 300,000 followers, the page is run by a team of young people who tell local stories in a fun and accessible way. Prated Ubon also has a strong will and dedication to bring happiness to local people and put an emphasis on the importance of giving voice to ordinary people. They hope to bring about changes that will improve their hometown.
"Impression Sunrise" represents a group of teenagers in Ubon Ratchathani province who dream of having their own space for live music performances, food, drinks, and art workshops. They hope that their hometown will become a popular attraction like other big cities.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, streaming businesses and online platforms enjoyed explosive growth, especially for the entertainment industry. In Thailand, however, one particular traditional music business — molam — plunged into dire circumstances. Yet to be afforded legitimacy, molam artists receive little to no support from the government. Today, they hang onto a dimming hope that they will return to the stage as their art form gradually dies.
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.
When the draft of the progressive alcohol bill was rejected, it shattered the hope of homemade brewers looking forward to making inexpensive alcoholic products while preserving their traditional brewing techniques. A representative from the Sato Makers Group from Surin province asked, “Why is producing liquor so easy for major corporations, but nearly impossible for ordinary people?”
Those who have eaten fermented sweet rice (khao mak) might describe it as a kind of traditional dessert. However, the process of making khao mak is similar to the fermentation of alcoholic drink sato [rice wine]. Although the traditional beverage is considered part of local wisdom, its production is extremely restricted by the current alcohol law. Both khao mak and sato producers still look forward to the day that this traditional fermentation technique will finally be recognized by the law.