Letter to the editor: Ratanawan monastery reflects a globalizing Isaan

This weekend I went to Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat) to attend a community-based ceremony called Gratitude to the Teacher at Ratanawan Monastery. Located on a hilltop amid perennial green forest, it is considered a forest-tradition temple, a sub-category of Theravada Buddhism. This type of tradition is interspersed throughout Isaan — you may be familiar with Luang […]

NEW SECTION: Letters to the editor

The Isaan Record is happy to announce a new section in the publication: Letters to the Editor. We invite readers to share their thoughts by sending comment to editor@isaanrecord.com. Please be aware that any published letter or comment might be subject to editing for clarity. (We apologize for republishing a Letter to the Editor from […]

Thai has the highest percentage of second-language speakers among major languages

If Ethnologue says 67% of Thai speakers speak it as a second language, what language are those people speaking as their first language? And what does this mean for Thailand’s divided politics? GUEST EDITORIAL by Karl Victor The organization Ethnologue has a peculiar statistic in its 2015 report on Thailand. The Thai language comes in […]

Draft constitution neglects minority rights of millions

This editorial provides an analysis of the 2015 Draft Constitution using the unofficial English translation here. The Thai version is available here. GUEST EDITORIAL by John Draper In the draft constitution, there is no explicit mention of minorities or minority rights, making this constitution the only one in ASEAN to not have a provision for […]

International Mother Language Day: implications for Isaan

Without an official language policy, Thailand’s many ethnolinguistic minorities cannot experience equality. GUEST EDITORIAL by  John Draper This past Saturday marked International Mother Language Day, and while it is not particularly celebrated in Thailand, there were a couple of academic seminars in Chiang Mai and at Mahidol University in Bangkok. It is a difficult day […]

PISA Thailand regional breakdown shows inequalities between Bangkok and upper north with the rest of Thailand

GUEST CONTRIBUTION by John Draper As reported previously in The Isaan Record, there are clear inequalities in Thai students’ academic achievement, and these are easily seen in official Ordinary National Educational Test (O-NET) Results by province. These results have been seen to broadly follow ethnolinguistic and class groupings, with Bangkok, home to wealthier ethnic Central […]

OP-ED: Thai Migrant Workers’ Return to Libya is Premature

In early February, Department of Employment (DOE) director Prawit Kiengphon authorized the return of Thai workers to Libya. More than 10,000 Thai refinery and construction workers were evacuated from the North African nation in March 2011 after an uprising broke out which resulted in the overthrow of Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi’s authoritarian regime. As thousands of Thais […]

OP-ED: Solving Isaan’s Education Problem

GUEST CONTRIBUTION by John Draper In 2011, the 2010 Ordinary National Education Test (O-NET) results by province were made available to the public for only the second time in the history of this standardized nationwide test, and students in Northeast Thailand achieved terrible results.  This article considers the reasons for these poor academic results, focusing […]

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