The growing gap between South Thailand and the rest


Sharing my thoughts…

Ever since I had left Narathiwat, I grow edgy about the violent state of affairs in that province. I spent five days in the town and rural areas, talking to the people – Muslims and Buddhists alike – about their lives, their concerns, their children and their hopes. The ordinary people, not some middle-class Hi-So Thai, had lots to say, questions to throw, and especially on the bewilderment case of being caught in the middle of what many would say as a conflict between the military and militants who seek to destabilize life.

There has been many speculations about South Thailand, whether a climate of retaliation, a drug-infused-war, people seeking revenge upon those who had radicalized them, or for the sheer pleasure of chaos and terror. The sad fact is regardless of the motive, people from the other provinces are ignorant of the situation and the lives of the southern Thais.

Its not as if South Thailand is a melting pot of carnage, many other provinces and countries are riddled with violence and societal differences. However the continued state of ignorance and fear elsewhere prevents people in Narathiwat from an improve quality of life. What you see in the local English Thai newspapers (I would say, more tabloid-type) are usually associated with death, destruction and doom. Such perversion (sensationalism) of the news creates a wider gap between the south and the other provinces.  It seems other Thais have stopped caring for their kins and fellow citizens in the south, well in this case, people from Narathiwat.

Narathiwat is a province of Thailand. And as a community, people should find a common ground for contemplation and solidarity. I saw no antagonism or hatred between the Buddhists and Muslims. I merely saw the collective desire to build peace and a betterment state of their lives. Yet how can Thai society achieve this when many in other provinces choose to remain in their own suffocating cocoon of prejudice and ignorance?





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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