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How Isaan’s alternative energy future could shine bright

Northeast Thailand has the potential to become a solar power hub. But with high installation costs, the government should do more to promote the use of alternative energy.

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Thailand dreams of a sugary future as farmers struggle to survive

Thailand’s ten-year sugar plan glowingly envisions more than doubling sugarcane production and making the country the “bio-hub” of Southeast Asia. But in the Northeast where nearly half the country’s sugarcane is produced, growers both large and small are struggling to keep their heads above water. Part of our special series Sweetness & Power.

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Sugarcane’s bitter effects on the environment

Are the environmental costs of sugar production worth suffering for a substance that contributes nutrition-less empty calories to the human diet? Part of our special series Sweetness & Power

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What lies below should stay below

Fearing an environmental crisis that could end their traditional way of life, a local protest group in Sakon Nakhon is fighting against a Chinese mining project.

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My mother, the marriage migrant

People looked down on my mother because she used marriage to create a better life for us overseas. What’s so shameful about that?

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Lao women in Isaan’s karaoke bars: “Men certainly don’t pretend we’re waitresses.”

Under the guise of waitresses in karaoke bars, Lao migrant women continue to work in the sex trade in the Northeast, despite the risk of arrest and deportation.




More than just a pretty face: A look into the lives of Khon Kaen’s beer pretties

“Beer Pretty” is the name commonly given to the women, usually dressed in suggestive, tight skirts, who encourage customers to buy their brand of beer in restaurants throughout Thailand. But who are these women? A peek into the lives of beer pretties shows there’s more to them than just selling beer.

Junlaholaan: An Isaan band playing the sound of sincerity

Coming out of sleepy Sakon Nakhon, Junlaholaan is a genre-bending band that seems to be striking a chord with a rapidly growing number of listeners in Isaan and beyond. 

Sweetness & Power (17) – “Smart Farming” sugar plan crashes into bitter reality

An analysis of Thailand's sugar industry hampered by low world sugar prices, farmers consistently growing at a loss, and local opposition to new sugar mills as the government champions “Smart Farming,” an 80 percent increase of sugarcane production by 2026, and 29 new mills in the Northeast. How do these plans square up with reality?

Sweetness & Power (16) – Sinister cycle: The sugar savior

Questioning the role of sugar in Thai society, especially in Isaan, a region with the highest number of people suffering from chronic diabetes in the country, Kridpuj Dhansandors asks whether the problem has been handled the right way.

Sweetness & Power (15) – Talking sugar with Mitr Phol and the Sugarcane Board

Representatives of Mitr Phol Group and the Office of Cane and Sugar Board talk about sugarcane in the Northeast and their role in the region’s sugar scheme.