Thaification


Thaification

Thaification is the process by which regions at the fringe of the Kingdom of Thailand become more similar to the Central Thai heartland. To an extent this is a natural result of these regions being part of a modern country in which Central Thais occupy a dominant geographical, economic and cultural position.

However, this process has faded away since the last 30 years, since nowadays people throughout Thailand from different backgrounds, ancestries and origins can freely use their mother tongue and promote their own culture as the Constitution of Thailand states.fact

The main subjects of Thaification have been ethnic groups on the edges of the Kingdom of Thailand, geographically and culturally: the Lao of Isan, the hill tribes of the north and west, and the Muslim minority of the south. There has also been a Thaification of the large immigrant Chinese and Indian populations. However, Thaification has been, to a considerable extent a byproduct of the nationalist policies consistently followed by the Thai state in the first half of the 20th century. The promotion of Thai nationalism in the country as a whole took the form of reinforcing the Thai identity in the heartlands, while also creating a Thai identity on the fringes.

Thaification by the government can be separated into four sets of policies:
* In the first set of policies, the government has targeted specific policies and actions at the fringe groups. An example of this is the Accelerated Rural Development Programme of 1964, the Isan component of which included the strengthening of allegiances with Bangkok and the rest of the country as one of its objectives.
* The second set of policies consists of policies applied nationally, but which disproportionately affect the fringe groups. One example of this is the prescribed use of the Thai language in schools. This had little effect on Central Thais who already used the language in everyday life, but had a major impact on speakers of Isan in the north-east and of Yawi in the south. (Note: In 2003, the image at left of the 100- [Thai baht| baht] note was revised to depict King Chulalongkorn in navy uniform and, in the background, abolishing the slave tradition.)
* The third set of policies was designed to encourage Thai nationalism in all the country’s people: obvious examples are the promotion of the king as a national figurehead, saluting the flag in school and the twice daily broadcasts of the national anthem on radio and television at 8 AM and at 6 PM. Encouraging Thai nationalism had the obvious side-effect of discouraging other loyalties, such as that to Laos in Isan or that to Malaysia in the south.
* The fourth set of policies, consisted of those which were not overtly nationalistic could nevertheless have the effect of promoting nationalism. Increasing school attendance, for example, when coupled with the proscription of minority languages in schools, had the effect of discouraging the use of those languages in favour of Thai.

Thaification is also partly a natural result of participation in the society of the modern nation state. Central Thailand being economically and politically dominant, as well as geographically centrally located, its language became the language of the media and of business. Equally, its values became the national values. Central Thai culture’s being the culture of wealth and status made it hugely attractive to those on the edge economically and socially.

ee also

*Culture
*Culture of Thailand
*Democracy Monument, Bangkok
*Education in Thailand
*History of Thailand
*Socialization
*South Thailand insurgency

References

*Thongchai Winichakul. "Siam Mapped". University of Hawaii Press, 1994. ISBN 0-8248-1974-8
*Wyatt, David. "Thailand: A Short History" (2nd edition). Yale University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-300-08475-7


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