Life and Meaning in Bangkok’s Slum


Its interesting, the way people live in crowded communities in Bangkok. Quite a popular term “crowded community” as the Thais dislike the word “slum” « fortunately I’m not Thai.

People living in the slum are people. Many are poor, others are slightly above the working-class, almost everyone have a problem with land ownership. However it never stops them from living their lives the best that they can. Some are Thais, others are refugees and migrant workers, though this would depend on which district you’re visiting.

People are generally friendly, though suspicion will be thrown at your direction the moment you start snapping pictures at their direction. There’s also a distrust towards landowners and their agents, as there has been many tales and violent dramas when these two groups meet. Bangkok is a colossal city, and urbanisation is a growing problem, despite the city’s administration attempt at containment.

I’m enjoying my time in the slums, the friendly faces, the street food and the stories that people share. Slum, a word that Thais should not deny, as it vibrates not only hardship but also Life.

a wooden house in the slum

a wooden house in the slum


An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at and @bedlamfury

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