A subdistrict of Udon Thani is home to hundreds of Thai-foreign couples. Our guest reporter Krisada Phonchai talked to two women about how they came to marry Westerners and the challenges of intercultural relationships
Anthropologist Sine Plambech argues against the common perception of Isaan migrant women as victims or “gold diggers”.
Sommai Khamsingnok, main subject of the documentary “Heartbound – A Different Kind of Love Story”, shares her views on what is driving Isaan women to marry foreigners and move abroad.
Banjong Boonkit recalls the time when she worked as a “rented wife” for American soldiers at the US airbase in Udon Thani.
The Isaan Record31/08/2020
Anthropologist Patcharin Lapanan writes about how Isaan women who marry foreigners navigate a complex web of culture, love, money, and obligation.
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 Isaan Record25/08/2020
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.