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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Living the Good Life in Isaan, Flood or No Flood

Isaan Flood victims, family together

I just finished my morning read of Twitter #thaifloodeng –RT and am more and more coming to realize how good it has to have not much, but to have somebody. And in Isaan it is often many somebodies
                The flood has had a impact on life everywhere in the Kingdom. Yes people will lose their land, have financial difficulties, and suffer health problems. The roads will get even worse, government officers will get rich off kickbacks from all the new relief projects, some villages will get relief and food packages from all sorts of agencies others will get the bare minimum, but life will go on because Isaan people have family. Remember the word for house and village is the same.
                In Isaan people have to depend on each other and people still know how to forage and make do. When the rivers flood there is fish to eat, and when you get tired of fish there are some bugs for protein. In Isaan people are so used to the Government distorting the truth that they watch the evening news for its entertainment value. But when they watch the news, or watch whatever they do it together.
                A family of 4 can sit down to a meal and share 1 chicken leg, 1 fried egg a bit of greens, nahm phrick and a whole bunch of khao nqiaow to fill the belly. Or can go out once a month for an “All You Can Eat” Korean BBQ for 99 baht a person including ice-cream, but they do it together
                Much of the land in Isaan is agricultural. Yes there are cities with business owners and office workers, teachers and students, people in uniform and everyday folks, but everyone is together and that’s the way life is in Isaan.
                Whether it is blood family, adopted family or neighborhood family it might sometimes be a major pain in the ass. And just as Buddhism is at the heart or rural Isaan, family is the backbone.
                  Sure, I know everyone cannot move back to the village, but perhaps the idea of huge mega-cities is a bit archaic. Maybe it might be time to look at quality of life as a priority. There is modern communication now perhaps folks should spread out a bit. In Thailand putting all the eggs in the Central region Bangkok basket, seems not to be all that good an idea. Perhaps the concept of "urban planning" might become a reality. Like we used to say in VietNam "One grenade'll get you all."