Thailand Jobs

& Rural Migration

Thailand Jobs, Everywhere across Bangkok construction crews are at work. Filling the streets of the city are thousands of buses, the sky trains, minibuses, taxis and samlors (mororized tricycles) to transport the millions of inhabitants of the metropolis that is Bangkok.

by Wayne Burns

At the construction sites you may see horders of workers, covered from head to tow with grubby cloth as protection against the sun, crawling like ants over the 27 floors of concrete shell that will be the latest condominium. Factories and production plants sprout at numerous industrial estates, which have mushroomed on the outskirts of the city. And all require labor, specialist and skilled.

Thailand Jobs - Cheap Labor

Where do all these workers come from? The vast majority are from the rural villages of Isarn, an area which suffers from periodic droughts.

Especially during the dry season when no work is done in the fields, a steady stream of workers is moving south to Bangkok, toother more prosperous provinces, and even overseas. In Bangkok, this influx has resulted in the formation of huge squatter colonies, with one of the city`s largest slums located in the district known as Klong Toey.

Thailand Jobs - Khlong Toei, the Center of Cheap Labor

"Khlong Toei (also Klong Toey, Thai: คลองเตย; IPA: [kʰlɔ̄ːŋ tɤ̄ːj]) is a district in central Bangkok, long known for substandard housing. It is bordered by the Chao Phraya River and contains major port facilities. It is also the name of a major market, though not touristic. The market is served by the Bangkok Metro station Khlong Toei on Rama IV Road.

Neighboring districts are (from the north clockwise) Watthana, Phra Khanong, across the Chao Phraya the district Phra Pradaeng of Samut Prakan, Yan Nawa, Sathon and Pathum Wan."

BTW Skytrain station of the Klong Toei District is Nana Station

These shanty towns are scattered across the city alongside railway tracks, under expressways, or on and near the construction sites themselves. And like slums the world over, sever social problems arise: crime, drug addiction, prostitution and disease.

While these labor colonies are an embarrassment to the authorities, they not only continue to exist, but are a dire necessity. Cheap labor is needed to maintain the speed of the urban development boom. The Thai Government has recognized the problem and is attempting, through investment incentives, to encourage private industries to move into the provinces.

Thailand Jobs - The Greening of Isarn

The Greening of Isarn Project has generated wide interest and involved the Royal Thai Armed Forces in mobilizing resources to reforest denuded areas and begin planting tree crops in marginal areas.

"The targets of the water grid were so ambitious that it strained the imagination to envision anything close to its realization, not to mention its awesome environmental consequences. The project was shown to be highly inconsistent with four distinct and crucial issues: Mobilizing water at a high cost to meet the increase in irrigation demand cannot be achieved without heavy tapping of the Mekong river itself, with limited solutions to store water during the wet season and several political and environmental impediments to abstracting water in the dry season; the current limited availability of labour, shown by the hiring of Lao labour at harvest time, contrasted with the huge demand incurred by the project; pervasive salinity problems already made more salient by the KCM weirs built on the Chi and the Mun rivers would likely reach unprecedented levels; with a heavy specialization in rice cultivation, and diversification constrained by actual market demand and risk, only a limited part of the irrigated areas could be cultivated with cash crops; this makes investments economically unsound and does not increase the likelihood that new infrastructures will fare better than the many earlier ones that are often left largely idle.

Even discounting populist undertones, the above account also suggests that Thai politicians tend to stick to the idea that Thais are a nation of rice-growers and that provision of irrigation infrastructure is possibly the best development option (Phongpaichit 2000). It is also apparent that, despite warnings and misgivings from part of the administration or from the civil society, water development plans seem to be only marginally informed by social or environmental concerns. It is high time, for example, to stop considering salinity problems are a mere externality that can be mitigated (Wiszniewski 2003).

Most water experts, even in concerned agencies, would comment off-record on the near-absurdity of the project. Yet this case study shows that the checks and balances potentially provided by the most professional segments of line agencies and by civil society are insufficient to both derail the project and impose a more open decision-making process. Secrecy was the rule and even if the whole project arguably had no chance to be realized, it is likely that some part of it would have gone ahead, had not the Thaksin administration been abruptly terminated. This suggests that the governance of large water projects has yet to become more politically balanced and open to public scrutiny, in line with the principles enacted in the 1997 constitution."
--Fran├žois Molle and Philippe Floch

Thailand Jobs - The Standard of Living Gap

One persistent economic and social problem is the poor distribution of income. The authorities are aware of the fact that the benefits of strong growth must be passed on to those in the countryside. Alas, as yet much of the wealth that development has brought to the metropolis and its surroundings has made the rich wealthier, while the vast hinterland remains deprived.

Thailand Jobs - The Brainwashing of the Rural Poor

Not only does rural migration reflect this continuous economic disparity, but it also highlights the concentration of services and facilities in the city. In villages, television advertises the glitter of the urban world, providing a further lure to migrants to leave the toil of the rice paddies for the glamor of Bangkok.

The newcomers form a permanent under-privileged class in the city, mainly because the work they obtain is so poorly paid. The minimum wage is sometimes not even paid. Yet prices are rising constantly in a city that is overrun with tourists and foreign investors.

Thailand Jobs - In Search of Eden

The poorly educated villagers, drawn to the Eden called Bangkok, become maids, prostitutes, street sweepers, taxi drivers and food service workers. But the annual rise in the cost of living ensures that their meagre wages buy less and less. In most other social environments this condition would produce volatility, but the Thais are docile and rather fatalistic in their attitudes. While organized labor is growing more restive, strikes are relatively rare. Yet we have seen in the21st century that Thais can rise up and fight for what they believe in.

It would seem that for the forseeable future the influx of rural migrants to Bangkok will continue.

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