Thaification, a double-edged sword

No doubt many of you are aware of the escalating troubles in the south. News analysts talk about the details of the violence and ponder about possible causes, but strangely no-one looked into how Thailand has dealt with such fringe groups in the past. So I set out to find this out by myself.

What I found is quite interesting. I stumbled upon a strange term called “Thaification”, a process in which groups on the fringe of Thai society become more similar to the mainstream Thai culture.

Did you know that the Thai language we learn, the Thai customs we try to follow, most of the food and music we call “Thai”, represent only Central Thailand? Places like the Northeast, the southern provinces, the sea gypsies, hilltribes of the North, and several other subgroups have their own way of life, sometimes very different from that of the mainstream Thai way.

This makes up Thailand’s cultural and linguistic diversity, a treasure with a value that cannot be measured in money.

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