Tue 28 Feb 2006
Filed under: News,Regional
Descendents of Shan people who migrated to Thailand before Second World War have been assimilated and think themselves as 100% Thai, because they enjoy the same rights as other Thais, according a narration of Ajarn Nakorn (not his real name) a native Shan who attended Tai (Shan) Poets Day on 25 February.
â€œThis is a beautiful and lovely country and we can live peacefully, that’s why I love Thailand. If anyone says bad thing about Thailand, we feel angry,â€ said Ajarn Nakorn.
The first generation was still Shan, but the second generation became Thai and during the third generation all Shan consciousness disappeared, according to Ajarn Nakorn.
He recounted about his friends being asked, â€œYour father is Shan and your mother is also Shan. Why can you not speak Shan?â€ His friends answered, â€œMy parents don’t speak to me in Shan or teach me Shanâ€.
Many Shan people at that time were (Nang Pawng) pork skin sellers and they didn’t have surnames so the neighbors used to kid them, â€œMong Tuk Mong (Imitation of Shan drums and gongs) Ngiao Nang Pawng Yu Ban Changpuek (Skin selling Shans of Changpuek village)
Shans as well as Lanna (northern) people adopt Thai as their written language. As such they can’t read and write their own language anymore.
He is concerned that Shan migrants in Thailand today would fall into the same fate in the long run.
At the Tai Poets Day, on 25 February he asked whether the Shans have a national anthem. The participants answered, â€œYes, we do,â€ and stood up to sing it for the audience.
â€œThey are willing to be Thai, they are not forced to be,â€ said a long term Shan resident.
Tai Poets Day has been cerebrated in Thailand since 1975 at Ban Mai Mawk Jarm village, Tha Ton tract, Mae Ai district, Chiang Mai province.
In Chiang Mai the Shan poets have been honored since 2004. This year the venue was at the Chiang Mai University.
There were at least 40 people who attended the ceremony including Thai academics and students.
According to an organizer Lung Sai Khong (Not his real name) they are planning to make the event bigger next year, because this year many people had asked to attend, but he had to refuse due to lack of space.