Showing posts from June, 2015

Livelihood Concerns of Marginalized Youths in Sungai Padi

Key points recently compiled during a June rural-based focus group discussion in Sungai Padi, Narathiwat province, with twelve marginalized young women and men. The diversity of age range from 15 to 25, with many failing to complete secondary-level schools and are all from lower-income families.

1. A shrinking economy, and a growing public disillusionment with the present state of microeconomics.

2. Even with the weekly assurances by the junta that the national economy is blooming, this doesn't reflect an accurate picture on the ground, especially in the villages and plantations. Nor do young people believe in the regime's sentiments, and they are more inclined to think that the Bangkok-based leadership is boastfully overconfident.

3. Some youths have shrugged off "good news" as propaganda, as what they have been seening for the past decade.

4. One sarcastically remarked, and that was agreed by the focus group, that at least during the days of prime minister Yingluck…

An Afternoon Break, Accompanied By Thoughts

Light dawned in my eyes. Ramadan, and outreach in a heavily-militarised terrain.

Remembering sahur, a pre-dawn meal, and of a tin pot of dark local coffee... that prominent bittersweet flavour. I now sit on a wooden bench, opposite of the elevated pondok. Stained fingers on the keyboard. Typing away, just to share some thoughts before the next focus group discussion.

Most countries in the region are concerned about living standards for the rural population, or at the very least according to political doctrine, claim to be. Yet at this point, I don't see honesty from institutions nor a positive deviation from the cycle of failed tokenism.

How many NGOs and government agencies take any measures to find out from young people themselves what policy works and whether marginalized youths are part of a democratic decision-making process.

Young people living and working in rural places are often vulnerable due to the absence of rights, while institutions and civil society at times take th…

Darkened by Memories

Night, bleeding then extinguishing,
Evening of blackened ruin.

The mind's eye, thoughts,
Of endless stream.
Forceful, through the flesh, into blood.
Out it goes, to reality.

From the nightmare, we swim.
Dazed, overwhelmed by these exhausted contemplation.
To the darkness, I, we
That buries all.

Patani Youths - Their Right to Have Their Views Taken Seriously

Community-based workshops. Often I wonder about the extended impact of specific-themed workshops for marginalized young people living in rural poverty or in conflict zones. Its complex, naturally, as measurement of success depends partly on behavioural change, particularly the long-term progression and how young people cope with other challenges associated with their lives.
In the course of my outreach, in Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand, I've facilitated, observed and assisted young coordinators in such workshops. Young people are fond of focus-group discussions, especially when the itinerary is participatory in approach, and which (may) spearhead into future self-advocacy programs.

On one such workshop, which was organized at a rural settlement in Kayu Khla district, of Narathiwat province, I found that youths have taken a leadership role within their kampung (village), despite the increasing poverty-associated problems that they face.…

Short, High-Pitched Sounds of Hat Yai

This photo was taken in Hat Yai, one of Thailand's largest cities in the south. I've been to this city and the surrounding countryside many times before. Despite the gnawing hardship and the frequent migration of young people to distant cities in search for employment and education, life in Songkhla province is simple and satisfying.

Its so unlike Bangkok, thankfully. The southern courtesy, of hospitality, and good 'southern-style' cuisine, rich in thick curry and spices, that unique blend of Patani and Melayu flavours.

Anyway, the two elderly Muslim women squatted down on the pavement, waiting for customers to buy small birds. Caged birds are popular, a pastime, particularly among the older generation in many parts of Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Hot weather, slight traffic at the narrow corner, I don't mind. I think, its best for now, that I forget the concrete jungles of Bangkok and focus on the birds; enthralled by their chirping.