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What’s going on in the northeast of Thailand?


TJM
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The Thaiger reports stories about Bangkok and Phuket but what about other provinces?   For instance, coverage of the tourist industry and the Phuket sandbox is head news everyday.  
There are other important economic sectors such as agriculture, health care or education .  Can’t find many reports on low commodity prices (sugar, rubber, palm oil…) and the monopolies that control them.  
Another example is permaculture.  It is a big trend in Australia and the world, is it happening in Thailand?  

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According the family and friends in Isaan Thailand, they are all struggling, but they dont have a lot of C10 cases and very few deaths. Prices on all things grown are down. Thai farming methods go back thousands of years - and they usually do a good job - except for the burning of old crops. But the reality is that burning does offer a lot of benefits - cheap and easy, kills weed seeds and diseases and insects, and reduces nitrogen in the soil, plus makes a readily absorbed nutrient supply.  The problem with burning in Thailand and SEAsia generally, is not the rice farmers - it is the sugar cane and corn. Those crops have a much larger volume/weight to burn, and their smoke is very 'heavy' and does not dissapate as quickly as rice crop burned smoke.  

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Isaan, especially rural folk and mainly the elderly, suffer from lack of income.  Due to lay-offs in so many industries, not just tourism and hospitality, many 'children' are unable to send money home to support their parents, grandparents and others.

 

The Government does pay a small pension and has been providing ex gratia payments to the needy.

 

Fortunately most rural folk grow their own produce and whilst not self-sufficient, they can easily live quite well.  Money is required for electricity, cooking gas (though many use charcoal), and petrol for the scooter.

 

The biggest headache is loan monies given freely by parents, uncles, aunts and also the Farmer Bank or a village co-op which is now unable to be re-paid (see para 1)

 

Surprisingly, thankfully, Covid 19 has not been a major problem in rural areas.

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On 6/27/2021 at 12:36 PM, KaptainRob said:

Isaan, especially rural folk and mainly the elderly, suffer from lack of income.  Due to lay-offs in so many industries, not just tourism and hospitality, many 'children' are unable to send money home to support their parents, grandparents and others.

The Government does pay a small pension and has been providing ex gratia payments to the needy.

Fortunately most rural folk grow their own produce and whilst not self-sufficient, they can easily live quite well.  Money is required for electricity, cooking gas (though many use charcoal), and petrol for the scooter.

The biggest headache is loan monies given freely by parents, uncles, aunts and also the Farmer Bank or a village co-op which is now unable to be re-paid (see para 1)

Surprisingly, thankfully, Covid 19 has not been a major problem in rural areas.

So true KR - the debts are pilling up and many are going to lose their farms (again). Same thing happened in the 90s and the defaulters had to 'sell' their farms (or parts) to the banks to get payment for the loan defaults, and then they entered long term lease arrangements whereby they basically rented the farmland. 

However, Covid19 is bow a problem since they started shutting down working sites and factories in Bangkok and surrounding Provinces and around Chiang Mai and Lamphun and Khon Kaen. As you know, many Isaan people will travel for a 3-6 month period to work somewhere, and sometimes that is extended for years. With so many businesses being closed down now, the workers have started to head home. In my family's village and all the surrounding ones, they are very strict and anyone arriving from another Province is isolated - but that is not the case in many parts of Isaan and that is a big worry.  

    

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My wife's village experienced a large influx of young relations returning from BKK at Songkran and we were fearful of Covid emerging then but it did not. 

This time it's more of a worry as Covid has spread through so many factories and worker accommodations making it far more likely that it will be transmitted in Isaan.  The only upside is the semi-isolation of most villages although with so many elderly and infirm the risk of death increases.  And how many deaths in Isaan ever get reported with true cause of death?

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1 hour ago, AussieBob said:

... However, Covid19 is now a problem since they started shutting down working sites and factories in Bangkok and surrounding Provinces and around Chiang Mai and Lamphun and Khon Kaen. As you know, many Isaan people will travel for a 3-6 month period to work somewhere, and sometimes that is extended for years. With so many businesses being closed down now, the workers have started to head home. In my family's village and all the surrounding ones, they are very strict and anyone arriving from another Province is isolated - but that is not the case in many parts of Isaan and that is a big worry.  

Good post, but I don't agree with your last sentence.  Why should people arriving from elsewhere be 'isolated' when they feel fine and do not exhibit any symptoms?  Covid is not the black plague.  Asymptomatic spread may occur but is very rare and treating healthy people as lepers actually goes against the warm welcoming traditions in Isaan.  Luckily in my rural Isaan village - with very little masks and asocial distancing - that tradition is still honored.

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1 hour ago, BlueSphinx said:

Good post, but I don't agree with your last sentence.  Why should people arriving from elsewhere be 'isolated' when they feel fine and do not exhibit any symptoms?  Covid is not the black plague.  Asymptomatic spread may occur but is very rare and treating healthy people as lepers actually goes against the warm welcoming traditions in Isaan.  Luckily in my rural Isaan village - with very little masks and asocial distancing - that tradition is still honored.

Sorry - but you are wrong about asymptomatic spreadings. Australia has a very strict and rigourously enforced protocol for Covid outbreaks - and they give details reporting of such activities. A vaccinated nurse recently treated a vaccinated negative testing person in a quarantine facility - she then exposed 309 people to covid before she tested positive. Asymptomatic spreading of the covid is a common and proven occurrence - people can give it to others (like the flu) for many days before they exhibit any symptoms.  I would stay away from any person who has returned from Bangkok, and any other person who has been in close proximity to that person. Unless of course you are under 40 and fit and well - but even then some in that demographic have become very sick and died. 

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2 hours ago, AussieBob said:

Sorry - but you are wrong about asymptomatic spreadings. ... Asymptomatic spreading of the covid is a common and proven occurrence - people can give it to others (like the flu) for many days before they exhibit any symptoms.  ...

As with all things covid, it depends on which sources you consult. 

The available data/evidence from experts/studies ranging from 'you cannot transmit covid when not having any symptoms' over 'asymptomatic transmission is very rare' (my stance) to 'asymptomatic spreading is a common and proven occurence' (your stance).  Who is right or wrong still needs to be proven (and the biased opinions of 'fact checkers' count for zilch in this matter). 

As a decent tolerant person I don't want to provoke stress and instill fear in people who believe in the benefits of wearing face-masks, and so I wear mine when entering a store even though I KNOW that they are totally useless. However there is a limit to my non-provocative attitude and in this case (the practice of isolating healthy people with no symptoms, because they MIGHT be asymptomatic carriers) it clearly goes too far.  The vulnerable deserve protection, but we should not have our lives dictated by the fearful ones.

To paraphrase Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1933 inaugural address: There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

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2 hours ago, BlueSphinx said:

As with all things covid, it depends on which sources you consult. 

The available data/evidence from experts/studies ranging from 'you cannot transmit covid when not having any symptoms' over 'asymptomatic transmission is very rare' (my stance) to 'asymptomatic spreading is a common and proven occurence' (your stance).  Who is right or wrong still needs to be proven (and the biased opinions of 'fact checkers' count for zilch in this matter). 

As a decent tolerant person I don't want to provoke stress and instill fear in people who believe in the benefits of wearing face-masks, and so I wear mine when entering a store even though I KNOW that they are totally useless. However there is a limit to my non-provocative attitude and in this case (the practice of isolating healthy people with no symptoms, because they MIGHT be asymptomatic carriers) it clearly goes too far.  The vulnerable deserve protection, but we should not have our lives dictated by the fearful ones.

To paraphrase Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1933 inaugural address: There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

As you said - time will tell.  But if you want to know some real facts now, just check the Australian reported statistics and those from CDC in USA and WGO site too. Asymptomatic carriers are responsible for the vast majority of transmissions from one person to another.   There are very very few people in the world who would knowingly spend time close to other people when they have flu like symptoms in the middle of a pandemic that has killed almost 4 million.

 However, masks will not stop the spread - I agree with that. But if an infected person was to cough or sneeze, a mask will greatly lesson the distance whereby other people can become infected. 

Franklin was talking about the great depression and his plans for recovery - not the earlier pandemic.

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A bit more recently, this fourth 'wave' or whatever you want to call it, is now tearing through a lot of the Isaan villages.  The situation is getting quite bad around the Nakhon Ratchasima area at least.  These people are terrified of the illness and are locking themselves behind the gates of their homes or spending most of their time on their farms as isolated as possible.  Thai people have been groomed to fear this virus greatly.

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Well up where I live in the northern part of Udon Thani province on the the surface little has changed except the obvious that most people wear masks, outside the local village that is. People still have parties with their friends of course, just a little bit more circumspect as to how they do it. Unfortunately we know of not one person in our Amphur who has had a vaccination and that includes the doctors and nurse at our community hospital much to their annoyance at the governments apparent disregard for Issan people yet again. However many people have returned from BKK and elsewhere because of no work and sensibly they seemed to have wanted to keep in their homes for 2 weeks so as to ensure not only they have not contracted covid but also to make sure as best they can their friends don't either. Not compulsory but just commonsense. It seems to have worked because no one in the Amphur has contracted covid. Well officially anyway and I am no different to them, if I have a cough or a cold why see a doctor ? just get over it and let it go like it always does. The fear of covid can be very negative in some ways. I suspect that unlike living in cities and obviously condos, a village life provides the opportunity of more outside living and fresh air so perhaps that prevents the spread of most things , covid included, or at least mitigate the risk of it spreading.

As for farming then this is only my observations. Previously sugar cane became a crop of plenty but this year especially many areas where that was grown have returned to rice growing. Whether that is due to price or not I have no facts but my wife say that she knows of families where previously 4 members were working and earning elsewhere, yet they have now had to return due to no work so as insurance they have reverted to growing rice so that they will not go hungry. If that is right then whilst good for them to be able to have something to eat,  to me it seems the overall economical future of the region is not so good. Not that this will matter to the current administrative regime of course whom are only Bangkok centric.

Doom and gloom here ? Well not really because as they say we have always been treated like this, do the best we can to look after ourselves and family and we will survive as we have always done. I have only one word to sum up their fortitude and outlook on life - Humbling.

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On 7/12/2021 at 10:33 PM, TiT said:

A bit more recently, this fourth 'wave' or whatever you want to call it, is now tearing through a lot of the Isaan villages.  The situation is getting quite bad around the Nakhon Ratchasima area at least.  These people are terrified of the illness and are locking themselves behind the gates of their homes or spending most of their time on their farms as isolated as possible.  Thai people have been groomed to fear this virus greatly.

My wife's family village is so far covid free, but a nearby village had someone return from Bangkok last week and they had tested positive (but still went home anyway). The Village Head went ape poo and locked that person away in a farm hut - with strict warnings not to leave for 14 days - and only the family can visit to take food, but must not get close.   Thais in remote parts of Isaan have a long way to go to the nearest hospital and they know that medical services will never be good where they are located.  And there are a lot of older people living in the villages who can no longer work in Bangkok etc.  They rightly fear Covid - for them it could become like what happened in India where only the wealthy and privileged got immediate treatment.

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2 hours ago, AussieBob said:

My wife's family village is so far covid free, but a nearby village had someone return from Bangkok last week and they had tested positive (but still went home anyway). The Village Head went ape poo and locked that person away in a farm hut - with strict warnings not to leave for 14 days - and only the family can visit to take food, but must not get close.   Thais in remote parts of Isaan have a long way to go to the nearest hospital and they know that medical services will never be good where they are located.  And there are a lot of older people living in the villages who can no longer work in Bangkok etc.  They rightly fear Covid - for them it could become like what happened in India where only the wealthy and privileged got immediate treatment.

I am in Koh Noi in Samrong District of Ubon Ratchathani province. Our small village here is much the same in terms of Covid-19 awareness. The District is reported to only have had 7 cases since January last year and our Sub-District, supposively none. The District only went up recently from 2 to 7 when locals came back home from Bangkok. 

We have had visits from the village nurse encouraging people to get vaccinations, especially the elder people in the village, however they no actual vaccines in this district to distribute. It is really just a registration thing as the Province is seen as low priority.

I wouldn't say that they are not scared of Covid-19, or that they were uneducated about the risks. Life just goes on normally due to the lack of cases. People generally only wear masks when someone from outside the village visits or they go outside the village area themselves. Use in the Wat has even started to drop off a lot.  

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2 hours ago, Smithydog said:

I am in Koh Noi in Samrong District of Ubon Ratchathani province. Our small village here is much the same in terms of Covid-19 awareness. The District is reported to only have had 7 cases since January last year and our Sub-District, supposively none. The District only went up recently from 2 to 7 when locals came back home from Bangkok. 

We have had visits from the village nurse encouraging people to get vaccinations, especially the elder people in the village, however they no actual vaccines in this district to distribute. It is really just a registration thing as the Province is seen as low priority.

I wouldn't say that they are not scared of Covid-19, or that they were uneducated about the risks. Life just goes on normally due to the lack of cases. People generally only wear masks when someone from outside the village visits or they go outside the village area themselves. Use in the Wat has even started to drop off a lot.  

What worries me and the wife, is that the number of cases could quickly increase and those in rural Isaan will not have the support they are getting in Bangkok, Phuket, Chonburi, Chiang Mai etc. The family village is in Yasothon/Roi Et (on border) and they have had very few cases over the last year - long may it remain that way. 

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Farmers are complaining about it not raining enough.

People have been arriving from BKK for the past 3 weeks so there's been a number of infections in surrounding villages. A few at nearby schools which are closed now. 

Police came around the village last night to cart someone away who had arrived from Ayutthaya that refused to quarantine.

All funerals/monks celebrations going on as normal. Can't say life has changed much. 

 

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Huge thunderstorm & big, big rain last evening, & at time throughout the night, here in Nongbualamphu.

I believe there's been 200 cases here, that's only what I've heard though.

Hopefully, the rain kill off that nasty Covid ..?

 

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