#Clubhouse Toxic, Isaan Discrimination : Why Are We Shocked?

#Clubhouse Toxic, Isaan Discrimination : Why Are We Shocked?

#Clubhouse Toxic, Isaan Discrimination : Why Are We Shocked?

There is one word for all of us who believe what happened at  #Clubhouse Toxic was new, an anomaly or even a strange, unusual phenomena that happened in Thai society - hypocrites.

A group of Clubhouse users launched a verbal attack on Isaan people with vicious accusations that included stereotyping of them as people who are only good for farming, growing rice for Bangkokians to eat, or are like zombies in real life, have dark skin or the women are prone to teenage pregnancies, and only suitable to be “farang” wives.

Even Lalisa Manoban, Blackpink member, was not left alone and insinuations were made of her “selling herself” abroad apart from singing, which prompted her mother to retaliate with a threat of a defamation case.

This led to a huge divide and a Twitter outbreak amongst the public, some saying “let’s not make an issue of it, lets brush it under the carpet,” others say “ It’s not true (that discrimination exists) and let’s deal with the group in the #Clubhouse Toxic harshly so it would never happen again” and yet others say “ It’s true (discrimination and divide), but it’s been propagated by our political system and our current government and they need to come out and do something about it”.

Where was all this uproar when the yellow and the red shirts were having it out during the protests against ex premier Yingluck Shinawatra’s government? Wasn’t it then that red shirts were called “buffaloes” and even Yingluck herself had to bear the humiliation of being called a “prostitute”?

Did the current government create this divide or did they simply took advantage of it and seized power with the backing of the yellow shirts?

Yellow shirts originally were protestors against the Thaksin Shinawatra government in September 2006 and the color yellow was identified as people who were believed to be loyalists of the late King Bhumibol Ayulyadej. People donning yellow were “good” people and honored the virtues and deeds of the late monarchy who has hugely popular.

It all began in 2005 as Thaksin and his team increasingly became corrupt and indulged in policies that favored their private businesses. The yellows saw themselves as virtuous and righteous, the so-called “khon dee” or “good people” in a conflict with “evil”elected politicians who deliver promises to rural voters in what was seen as “populism”, such as cheap healthcare and rural credit schemes.

Rural voters were then condemned as “buffaloes”, people who were not educated enough or smart enough to be trusted in voting the “right” people in. The only problem was they were the majority.

Yellow shirts who have morphed into a new identity of “Salim” so called after a multi colored dessert in coconut milk after yellow shirts donned other colors except red, do not believe in democracy nor in fair elections. The only problem was they were the minority.

The privileged minority need to keep the underprivileged mass down by making them feel “worthless” and “small” to make themselves superior. This has been going on and there’s nothing new.

The change cannot come about by either ignoring the issue or by crucifying people who say it in a “raw” form what many in the country feel inside.

We need to see it for what it is and solve the problem at its roots.

Isaan people and the under privileged have been and always will be the backbone of our economy but perpetually sidelined.

Our economy historically and traditionally, continuing till to today, has been built on rice exports on the toil and hard sweat of our farmers. Tourism has been built on and grown exponentially on the attractiveness of our Thai women. This is the hard truth.

Yet, when the pandemic hit with it’s economic woes, these are the people who suffered the most. Where is the recognition that although these people toiled tirelessly in our kitchen, there are in their own way bringing wealth and recognition to our house?

So why look down on them? If you do not wish the country to grow on the backbone of these people and enjoy the benefits from it, why not do something about It? Reach out and make their lives better and narrow the income inequality gap instead of thrashing them because they lack opportunities.

We need a hard look at our values; culturally, politically and socially.
Do we as a society judge a person superficially by their skin color, economic and social status more than as a person, a life with dreams or aspirations? Do we value that everybody in a society has a role to play and each role is as important as ours, even though its different? Do we value differences of opinions or are we happy stereotyping people into different pigeon holes because that makes us more confident?

Do we ever wonder why we discriminate, is it not because inside we are insecure and we lack substance and feel secure only by making ourselves superior to ours.

We need to call it for what it is. Plain hypocrisy.

Written By - Patra Manas.