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Thailand Powered by Myanmar

  • Written by BrianKS
  • April 1st, 2013
  • 4 min read




No sordid tales of the women or complaining of something here in the LOS. Just a tale of human interest and if that floats your boat you may enjoy the learning experience.

Most of you probably do not notice but if you travel south from Bangkok you will see more and more of the little people from Myanmar with the women distinctive in their painted faces. As Stick has continued to point out, if a Thai wants to work there are jobs a plenty which leaves the lowest rung on the ladder to the desperate for any kind of work. I witnessed that process for the last over 50 years while living in Southern California. The illegals coming across the border with Mexico in droves seeking any kind of a better life with any kind of job that pays money they cannot earn at home. At my business I heard the word “trabaho” which (if I spelled it correctly) means “work” in Spanish many times from guys just walking around and asking any business they passed by. There are many places where they just stand on a street corner hoping someone will come by and offer them work for the day.

Myanmar has millions of people but there is little industry there and little work for them so they go where the work is and do the jobs the Thais won’t do. The fishing industry simply would not exist in Thailand without them and that industry is big here in Khanom where the northern half of the town seems to be made up of mostly those from Myanmar who have something to do with the fishing industry or boats docked there. Almost all of your fishing villages or harbors are loaded with workers from Myanmar. Yes, and they even have their girly bar area here for the fisherman coming in to port. Someday I will walk down it in the evening and report on it. Have driven it by car but not traveled on foot yet. Looks very interesting.

We are having a house constructed in Khanom (which is located on the east coast of the mainland directly south of Koh Samui) and have run into the labor situation in construction here. Had noticed it in Hua Hin but down here in Khanom there are absolutely no Thais who would work the grubby, grueling, hot jobs in construction.

When you look and talk to them (wife does the talking – 5 years and I still can’t speak Thai) you can really see their plight and that they're willing to do anything to earn money.

A few pictures to show you the work they are doing on our building site. Both women and men work together.


Burmese in Thailand


I really like this one as it shows the “Cement Pumper Brigade” in action. It's called pass the bucket full of cement to the hole then pass the empty one back to be refilled. Cement pumper trucks are nonexistent outside of Bangkok.


Burmese in Thailand


Our contractor has mentioned that he needs more workers and was having trouble finding them. Three days ago he showed up with 5 young males we had never seen before. Wife found out from contractor that he ran across them. They are all without papers (illegal) and wanted to work. Rather than put them on one of his other work sites he “stored” them on our house site which is well off the beaten path and nobody would have a reason to suspect they were not legal as they would stick to themselves there. They built a hut, contractor gave them some basic cooking utensils and they stay on our worksite where they are safe from the authorities.

Now just a bit of advertising for the Khanom Hilton with daylight shot of the “superstructure” of the building. Inexpensive lodging!


Burmese in Thailand


We brought the whole crew some food from the big Wednesday morning market (that is behind our rental house) this morning. Gave builder some money last night for clothes for them also as he said one did not even have a shirt. Can buy used clothes cheap at the outdoor or fresh markets (10 – 30 baht).

Those guys really work hard in that blazing sun.


Burmese in Thailand


And finally thought I would show you that those women from Myanmar can be attractive too. This lady is part of the construction crew and she certainly has some attractive features.


Burmese in Thailand


Now for the one who melted me when I first saw her playing around the construction site. She is the daughter of the lady above and comes with mom every day to work. Gorgeous smile.


Burmese in Thailand


Next time you’re out and about around construction and fishing venues, look around at the little people from Myanmar and see how industrious they are and how they power much of Thailand with their cheap labor.




Stickman's thoughts:

Very nice. With the Thai economy booming I expect we will see more and more folks from Myanmar working in Thailand.