Monday, August 25, 2008

Introduction of The Palong Tribe

Our Mission Trip was mainly to visit the Palong tribe at Chiang Dao, which is about 1.30 hours from Chiang Mai.  A very small town.

To understand  more about the Palong tribe, we have to know their history....

The roots of the Palong people go back to the nation of Myanmar (formerly Burma).  They lived under the rule of Khun Sat, a famour drug warlord and military leader who forced them to serve as soldiers since their childhood.  They fought alongside the Thai Yai against the Burmese army.

When the Burmese army entered Palong villages and saw that the Palong had provided food for Khun Sat and the Thai Yai, they became very angry and set fire to the Palong villages, raped the women and forced the men to carry their ammunition.  The Thai Yai and soldiers of Khun Sat would find refuge in the homes of the Palong creating hardship for them.

Finally, the Palong moved into Thailand along the Thai-Burmese border as refugees because of the fighting.  Immense poverty resulted.

The Palong people began moving into Thailand more than 20 years ago and began waiting to obtain Thai citizenship, which has now been granted.  Although they were able to escape the persecutions of their former country they met other hardships in Thailand.  Because they did not have Thai citizenship they were not able to enrol in school to receive an education.  Initially, they were also unable to speak Thai fluently.  Living without Thai citizenship and lacking in the Thai language made it difficult, if not impossible, to find work to provide for the needs of their families.

Having obtained Thai citizenship there was still another hurdle to cross and that was finding a permanent place to live.  They had no money to purchase land and build homes.  This along with the lack of language skills and education produced poverty once again.

No comments: