Banjong Boonkit recalls the time when she worked as a “rented wife” for American soldiers at the US airbase in Udon Thani.
Anthropologist Patcharin Lapanan writes about how Isaan women who marry foreigners navigate a complex web of culture, love, money, and obligation.
Pattawee Chotanan looks at the government’s approach to curb and suppress the youth-led pro-democracy protests.
Marrying upwards the social ladder is nothing new in Thai society. Why,then, do rural Isaan women bear the brunt of criticism when they marry foreigners? Anthropologist Sirijit Sunanta analyzes the stigma placed on the mia farang.
A column by a Matichon Weekly columnist last December derided Isaan women who marry Western men as uneducated, materialistic, and good-for-nothing. Pintong Lekan, a women’s right activist who filed a lawsuit for defamation against the author, writes about the lifelong discrimination she has faced as an Isaan woman.
The Thai middle-class often looks down on Isaan women who marry Westerners at the same time they don’t support policies that could benefit the marginalized. But some academics argue that these women are in fact empowered by their marrying a Westerner, providing them with the means to achieve “international” status that in many ways threatens Thai gender and class distinctions. How does status as a mia farang open new opportunities for Isaan women, threaten the status of local men, and help us understand the very notion of love?
The rising number of marriages between Isaan women and Western men has not been lost on the government. Is the concern of the government warranted? Recent research suggests that, far from being victims, these women have shown agency over their own lives and improved the situation of themselves and their families.
A series examining the lives of Isaan women who have married Westerners. How has what the “mia farang phenomenon” affected the life trajectory of these women? How have these “good daughters of Isaan” fulfilled their filial duty and changed the lives of their families? How has it challenged traditional gender roles in Isaan society and altered the economy and culture?
Protesters at Khon Kaen city’s Democracy Monument called for democracy and held a mock ritual to drive out the prime minister on Thursday evening.