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  1. #1
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    100,000 Farangs in Issan,creating jobs etc.,

    Foreign husbands move to impoverished Isan

    by bobbyd on Thu Oct 29, 2009 2:54 pm [61.90.189.xx]
    Foreign husbands flock to impoverished Isan

    100,000 foreign husbands in Issan, generating 10.5 billion baht in spending with 578,609 jobs created? Astounding figures. Got to wonder how accurate they are!

    Isan is the country's poorest region.

    Degraded soil, a lack of irrigation and dense population have combined to make Isan (pronounced e-saan) the country's fountainhead for factory workers, housemaids, bus boys and bar girls.

    But the region is not without its attractions, as an estimated 100,000 foreign husbands will testify.

    ``When I came up here 17 years ago, I thought, this place is brilliant,'' said Briton Martin Wheeler, 47.

    ``In terms of social infrastructure, everyone has a house, everyone has land, and the lifestyle is unbelievable,'' he said, describing his adopted home in Kam Pla Lai village in Khon Kaen province, 350km northeast of Bangkok.

    A former construction worker from London, Mr Wheeler married his Thai wife Rojana in Bangkok and moved to her home town in Khon Kaen when she became pregnant with their first child.

    ``My wife warned me about Isan being the poorest place in Thailand, but I thought, `If this is poor, I'll have some of it','' Mr Wheeler said.

    A London University graduate with distinction in Latin, Mr Wheeler started out as a labourer and farmer, learned the Isan dialect and eventually became an assistant to a rural-development project, working in community building and promoting self-sufficiency agriculture as an alternative to single-crop farming.

    As Kam Pla Lai became known as a success story in rural development, Mr Wheeler has become a popular figure and is often recruited by the Thai government to talk to farmers and civil servants, using Isan slang, about the benefits of diversifying crops, self-sufficiency and wholesome country living.

    ``My primary point is you have to accept two truisms _ most people are not going to get rich, and most will not get highly educated,'' Mr Wheeler said. ``If you accept these two truisms, the countryside has a lot to offer.''

    Another message is closer to home.

    ``For the rural people now, the answer to poverty is to get your daughter married to a foreign husband,'' Mr Wheeler said. ``But a lot of the Westerners who come over here are like me _ we're not the cream of the crop.''

    Westerners have been marrying Isan girls for decades, starting during the Vietnam War when more than 100,000 US military men were stationed in Thailand, including four air bases in the Northeast.

    The bases attracted bars and bar girls. Some local women became ``rented wives'' for the servicemen.

    After the war, the GIs were replaced by European and American tourists, for whom Thai ladies remained a major attraction.

    Although the Thai government has few statistics on the number of cross-culture marriages, there is plenty of evidence that they are on the rise, especially in Isan.
    Increasingly, academics and economists have studied the social phenomenon.

    According to a study carried out by the government's National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), as of 2003 there were 19,594 women in northeast Thailand married to Westerners.

    The migration of these mostly elderly, retired men to the region had generated 10.5 billion baht (US$308 million) in spending and created 578,609 jobs, according to the NESDB's estimates.

    Buapan Promphakping, an associate professor in humanities at Khon Kaen University, estimates the actual number of cross-culture couples in the 19 northeastern provinces as closer to 100,000, or about 3% of the region's households.

    The influx of comparatively wealthy Westerners, sometimes amounting to 100 foreigners in one small village, has had an obvious impact on Isan society _ creating a huge income gap between cross-culture couples and villagers and fuelling more materialism and consumerism, according to Mr Buapan's studies.

    And the trend hasn't been good for Thai men.

    ``Nowadays in the villages, parents will say to their daughters: `If your Thai husband is no good you can divorce him and find a farang [foreign] husband','' Mr Buapan said. ``So you have to behave now.''

    For Western men, especially elderly ones retiring on modest pensions, Isan women have won a reputation as good housewives and nurses, while the local economy offers them a standard of living their incomes couldn't buy them in the West.

    ``It's a win-win situation, but it's not a love story,'' Mr Wheeler said. ``It's finance, and it's sex. It's a mirror of what's wrong with the West, not what's wrong with Thailand.'' - Peter Janssen, dpa

    Here's lookin' at you.

  2. #2
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    an LU man eh!
    good show

  3. #3
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    B10.5 billion....seems a conservative estimate.
    Last edited by Rural Surin; 31-10-2009 at 07:59 PM.

  4. #4
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    A few years back a Thai friend handed me a copy of a Thai newspaper ( setchagit, business news ) that did a big spread on this giving govournment figures. It mentioned 10,000 foreign husbands living in Isaan. Now, just 5 years later we get 100,000 . I wonder what the real figure is ? Certainly a lot . I took a train from Khon Kaen to Nong Kai and as we trundled along and I stared out the window I was really surprised at the number of times we passed through a village in the middle of nowhere only to see a falang sitting on his porch, alone or with friends , having a quiet beer.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rural Surin
    B10.5 million....seems a conservative estimate.
    It would be, if that was the figure given, but it isn't.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Rural Surin
    B10.5 million....seems a conservative estimate.
    It would be, if that was the figure given, but it isn't.
    The figure given was B10.5 billion.

    How they arrive at these figures must be pure guesstimates!!

    100000 farangs seems rather a lot and as for their spend,so many ways we bring
    our ill gotten gains to the LOS .The true figure of investment[?] would be considerably higher.

  7. #7
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    Every place I go in Thailand has a huge number of farangs that are permanently living in Thailand. Not just Isaan, but everywhere. I was stold recently that there are permanent 10,000 farangs permanently living in the Buriram. Surin, Sisaket provinces. And that another 10,000 come and go for their jobs ie oil and gas, working on ships etc.. My wife's relative that work's for immigration in Gap Cherng near Surin says there are farangs all over the place up there. She suggested that a farang could make a lot of money if they had a farang restaurant with decent food and a full service Western grocery store.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Rural Surin
    B10.5 million....seems a conservative estimate.
    It would be, if that was the figure given, but it isn't.
    Its hard for him to concentrate on posting here when he is also posting 1000's of posts of his drivel at SubZero.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by chitown View Post
    Every place I go in Thailand has a huge number of farangs that are permanently living in Thailand. Not just Isaan, but everywhere. I was stold recently that there are permanent 10,000 farangs permanently living in the Buriram. Surin, Sisaket provinces. And that another 10,000 come and go for their jobs ie oil and gas, working on ships etc.. My wife's relative that work's for immigration in Gap Cherng near Surin says there are farangs all over the place up there. She suggested that a farang could make a lot of money if they had a farang restaurant with decent food and a full service Western grocery store.
    Curious Chi, your wife's relative who works at Kap Cheong {which recently just closed} - female or male?

  10. #10
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    Curiously, Ubon province has a lot less expats than Surin/Buriram and certainly Udon. But growing exponentially.

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    `In terms of social infrastructure, everyone has a house, everyone has land, and the lifestyle is unbelievable'

    Most of the houses are little more than sheds and the lifestyle is unbelievably boring having just come back from a few village days. How anyone can stand village life after living in a city is beyond me. Good luck to them if they can stand the insects the lack of shops and entertainment and the everyday dull routine of eating, sleeping and eating again which is all anyone seems to do.

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    Each to their own, but I've moved to rural Ubon recently and I'm enjoying it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Each to their own, but I've moved to rural Ubon recently and I'm enjoying it.

    But how far are you from Ubon? not that far I'll wager and it's a very pleasant city. What do you do all day? Where I was is very cut off even from a main road and although everyone has electricity and water that's about it and no other falang there at all. The one thing they do seem to have is better sat TV.

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    ^ 25km, so near enough for a night out- can always overnight too if it's a big one, I don't get there as much as I thought i would actually, but it's always an option. Do all day- family, puter, TV (not much), maybe gardening, a walk, some beers at a local shop or someones place. Quiet life really. Theres a few expats in the area, but really only catch up with two for a regular beer and another bloke when he's in town. Family & other visitors from down south or elsewhere in isaan too, and of course the odd trip down sarf or to see friends in nearby provinces. Seems every two or three weeks theres a party or festival too- last weekend was boat racing.
    probes Aliens

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    Quote Originally Posted by crazy dog View Post
    `In terms of social infrastructure, everyone has a house, everyone has land, and the lifestyle is unbelievable'

    Most of the houses are little more than sheds and the lifestyle is unbelievably boring having just come back from a few village days. How anyone can stand village life after living in a city is beyond me. Good luck to them if they can stand the insects the lack of shops and entertainment and the everyday dull routine of eating, sleeping and eating again which is all anyone seems to do.
    You forgot about the telly.
    But besides from that I totally agree with you.
    During the cool season "our" village is virtually abandoned. Only old folks are left and to me they seem like they are only waiting to pass on to a better existance.

  16. #16
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    the social structure is what keeps the villages alive, not an hour goes by without somebody stopping at the inlaws to chat or eat, maybe bring something to sell or show the pics of the family in Denmark or America, cautioned my wife that she would get bored when we moved back to Merika, but within a month or two she has created a little "village life" aound us with Asian expats coming and going to our house, can't wait to move back to the Moo Ban for a little peace and quiet

  17. #17
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    I wonder how many expats there are in Pattaya,

    100,000 ?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    ^ 25km, so near enough for a night out- can always overnight too if it's a big one, I don't get there as much as I thought i would actually, but it's always an option. Do all day- family, puter, TV (not much), maybe gardening, a walk, some beers at a local shop or someones place. Quiet life really. Theres a few expats in the area, but really only catch up with two for a regular beer and another bloke when he's in town. Family & other visitors from down south or elsewhere in isaan too, and of course the odd trip down sarf or to see friends in nearby provinces. Seems every two or three weeks theres a party or festival too- last weekend was boat racing.

    They had the boat racing where I was in surin last sun, the local team always seem to win, it was on the TV too. There is a famous club in Ubon called the see saw, I think it's still there, looks a bit tatty but they did a very good run through of various musical styles when I went a few years ago. I guess it's more interesting if you have your own house. One thing I would get is a few cows, I like feeding 'em and they eat any leftovers.

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