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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    The Paduang (Karen Long Necks)

    Whilst we were in the North we visited a village of the paduang, the Karen Long Necks.

    Frankly the place felt like they had been moved there and were purely a tourist attraction. It was not much more than a human zoo. That said, as I'd never photographed them before I was really enthusiastic to do so and they were very nice and had no problem having pictures taken.

    There are also a few pics of a couple of people from other tribes that we came across, but don't warrant their own thread.










  2. #2
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    NIce pics, agree about the human zoo, I've been to a few as a tourist, felt the same as you and boycott them now. You do gotta wonder how much of this is a show and how they would be living if tourists weren't coming to look at them. It's also disturbing that the tourism income doesn't go directly to the longnecks, but some Thai person in control. Remember, these people cannot legally work in Thailand outside their village. Even those born here have less rights and I'm not sure if they are even regarded as citizens.

  3. #3
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    Thanks BC: excellent stuff as always...
    It's interesting that they are not actually 'rings' around their necks but a length of brass spiraled, allowing for growth...
    the neck does not actually stretch but the brass spiral which is 'locked' at the top by the chin causes the collar bone to depress giving the appearance of a 'long neck'...

    as the girl ages the rib cage can also compress allowing for the increased number of spirals...

    I read somewhere that the young girls can choose for themselves whether they want the rings or not but of course the ones with them get more photographed and therefore earn more money...BC: did you see any girls there without the rings?
    Last edited by klongmaster; 15-09-2009 at 12:46 PM.

  4. #4
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    Those villages are human zoos but are not quite as bad as people think. The Paduang don't normally live there, they live further up the mountains and are bussed in and out of the show villages daily. While there are one or two villages which are definitely exploitative most of them are legitimate, as long as you remember that they are show villages and not the real thing.

    For those who want to boycott them, remember that this is those peoples main form of income. Your boycotting them means that they make no money, that means no education and not much in the way of living or food. They are actively hunted down, enslaved, or killed by the Burmese army - that's why they come to Thailand. Boycotting them because you believe they're in a human zoo only makes you feel better, what you're actually doing is depriving them of a major source of income.
    The Above Post May Contain Strong Language, Flashing Lights, or Violent Scenes.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    I certainly wouldn't boycott going to see them, else I wouldn't have gone. I felt the same way about the trek I did 20 years ago. It is a source of income to them, but not one of them asked for money to be photographed. They were happy and talked enough Thai to converse and were very pleasant. The woman in Pic 3 giggled incessently and was really sweet.

    We bought a few things off them because I don't like the human zoo aspect.....

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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  7. #7
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    These are the pics of other people from other tribes that I took on the trip.

    We arrived in Mae Salong / Santikiri on Mothers Day and there was a procession going through the town, lots of kids and then a group of Akha women which was colourful and not so posed....



    This is a Lahu woman who was referred to as a long eared tribeswoman. I think it was probably just a primitive hearing aid.



    Lastly another shot of an Akha woman, which deserved a bit of bleaching in Photoshop....


  8. #8
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    all nice pics mate.

  9. #9
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    The Gentleman Scamp's Avatar
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    I wonder what it would be like to shag one.

  10. #10
    Newbie juddie's Avatar
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    Nice pics. Which village was it?
    About 1 yr ago the villages near Mae Hong Son were offered a choice, either move in to the proper refugee camp and be resettled to the US with the rest of the Karenni refugees but obviously lose their income or stay in the village and get a Thai hill tribe ID card (the pink one). Many moved in to the camps and are now well on their way in the resettlement process, but the ones that stayed in the hope of getting Thai ID have, quite predictably, been shafted by the Thai authorities who now say theat never said such a thing. Many of the girls have taken their rings off in protest, and iff you visit the villages in MHS not many women under 40 wear them anymore, not as many as in the past.
    The trouble with the whole thing is that it is now the women that are the main earners, going against 100s of years of tradition and making the men feel useless so they sit around drinking all day.
    They are wonderful people who deserve more than the treatment they get from both the Burmese junta and the money grabbing thai authorities.
    Please dont boycott the villages for the reasons stated above but also dont take the piss and treat them like animals in a zoo for your amusement. They are interesting, caring, funny and as you can see beautiful people and will treat you with the same respect you give them.

  11. #11
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    DrBob, Bobcock, klong, juddie, all well said, definately made me think more. I will continue to boycott them because this whole situation is something I'd rather not be a part of at all.

  12. #12
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    The photos are stunning. I have been to this place and it is nothing more than a human zoo and very sad to see people living like some modern day sideshow attraction.

  13. #13
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    Fantastic photos, thanks.
    I saw a documentary on the Paduang people maybe 2 years ago - some had been granted refugee status and eligible to be accepted into New Zealand but something about their status here meant they could not get relevant visas from (? Thai or Myanmar) government.
    Personally i think resettlement in New Zealand would be totally inappropriate, climate, people, language and culture would make it extremely difficult to assimilate, possible from what an earlier post said was 'human zoo' to another 'human zoo'; detachmant form their own society would be a form of punishment long-term (and some might say living in NZ itself constitutes a form of cruelty - just thought I'd get that in before someone else does).

  14. #14
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    In NZ they could become a human zoo, and probably make shitloads, but at least they'd be in control and have other options. A longneck working in an Auckland 7/11 would look a bit odd though.

  15. #15
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by 9999 View Post
    In NZ they could become a human zoo, and probably make shitloads, but at least they'd be in control and have other options. A longneck working in an Auckland 7/11 would look a bit odd though.
    not an Aucklander, but when i lived/worked in Newtown (Wellington) 1998-2002 there were ongoing problems with groups of Somalis and Ethiopians who had been rehoused into council flats there - the worst kind of housing, 1960s tower blocks, once they'd spent their time at the Auckland refugee centre they didn't seem to get much support, dumped into the crap climate of Wellington, benefit-dependent; living in their own 'community' is fine in some ways but litle encouragement to mix, the best option was the local football and athletics clubs for the male youths.
    I don't have any answers, guess it takes a full generation or more to get over the grief of their past hardship.

  16. #16
    Newbie juddie's Avatar
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    I know a number of Longneck people who have been resettled to NZ, they have taken the rings off. In fact the term human zoo was mentioned in the programme Genghis saw and the girl (Zember i think her name was) is now living in NZ and working in a Japanese restaurant.
    The ones that have been turned down for resettlement have no different visa or status issues than the rest of the Burmese refugees but rather the reason they weren't allowed to go was down to the MHS governor refusing to let them leave as this would affect the income of Thai people. This has recently changed however and they are back in the refugee camps.
    BTW....not one single displaced person in Thailand is classed as a refugee as Thailand has never signed the Geneva convention and so therefore can treat them however they like. Just look at the Hmong and Rohingya situations.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingwilly View Post
    all nice pics mate.
    Yes. A couple of the younger ones have stunning natural beauty.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrB0b View Post
    Those villages are human zoos but are not quite as bad as people think. The Paduang don't normally live there, they live further up the mountains and are bussed in and out of the show villages daily. While there are one or two villages which are definitely exploitative most of them are legitimate, as long as you remember that they are show villages and not the real thing.

    For those who want to boycott them, remember that this is those peoples main form of income. Your boycotting them means that they make no money, that means no education and not much in the way of living or food. They are actively hunted down, enslaved, or killed by the Burmese army - that's why they come to Thailand. Boycotting them because you believe they're in a human zoo only makes you feel better, what you're actually doing is depriving them of a major source of income.
    Well sure, Bob. Isn't that the idea behind warm, fuzzy, and feel-good causes - selfish inner-enrichment? Even if most haven't a clue regarding the whys and wherefores...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gentleman Scamp View Post
    I wonder what it would be like to shag one.
    A few years back, on my very first visa run to Mae Sai the first person to talk to me after I crossed the bridge to Myanmar said "Welcome to my country, you like to fuck Long Neck?" When I said no he then offered to sell me young boys, young girls, ya ba, and emeralds, in that order. As he wasn't able to sell me anything he just stamped my passport in the end, took 5 dollars off me and told me to get the fcuk out of his immigration office.

  20. #20
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    it is $10 dollars now

    and no Longneck

  21. #21
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    wery nice pics always enjoy watching pics from peoples trips around thailand kep them comming

  22. #22
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    The same custom, different part of the world. Ndebele woman from South Africa. Is there perhaps a link?


  23. #23
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    Have any westerners tried this? I would guess if a parent did this in the west the social services department would take away their kid.

    Beautiful pics there anyways, Bob.

  24. #24
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    it depends on the village. I visited one outside Mae Hong Son, (Nai Soi Village) and the money is split between the Kayan fighters and the villagers, entrance was 250 Baht. I spoke with a few of the younger ones as she spoke very good thai and also with Karen refugee outside the camp selling drinks. They lived there and would rather be there than back in Burma. MOst of them make money off of what the sell the tourists. They had a school, a church and small clinic.

    I also had never been before becasue considered it a sort of Human zoo but my opinion changed after going there and talking with them on more than one occasion.

    Pics here; Zenfolio | Richard Reitman Photography | Northern Thailand
    Last edited by Phuketrichard; 28-09-2009 at 09:12 PM.
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  25. #25
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    Nice pics. Hope these folks are getting some benefits from being on display.

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