Isan women drinking too much? Really?

Interesting article recently in the Bangkok Post

On the last day of my 1st visit to Thailand and the Big Mango Bar, I had a pile of notes that I didn’t want so thought I’d give a little challenge to a couple of Mango girls. I told them that I’d give them 100bht for each Tequila shot they could down in 2 mins and lined up 2 rows of 10. They drank the fuckin lot and didn’t even flinch. (yes I did check it was tequila) When I asked how the fuck she was o.k she simply replied ‘I am a professional’. Bless her.

Nice jugs

More than half of northeastern women drink alcohol regularly, both during festivities and everyday life, according to a civic group survey.

Out of the 400 women surveyed in five Isan provinces, 59% said they regularly drink beer or liquor.

Also, 15% of them insisted they were not alcoholics, said Suphaphon Thongsu, director of the Foundation for Community Soul, which conducted the survey.

They cited a range of reasons for drinking, including social gatherings to the ease of buying alcohol at village shops with no closing hours.

Most like drinking beer and lao khao, or white liquor, which is most popular among the elderly, especially during parties and cultural events, according to the poll, which was highlighted at a seminar on a campaign for reducing alcohol consumption among women at the Rajvithi Home for Girls in Bangkok.

“A shocking finding was that women aged between 50 and 60 years drink every morning and night without caring about the impact on their health,” said Ms Suphaphon, adding that over-consumption of alcohol is dangerous.

The intake of 9.6 grammes of alcohol a day can lead to alcoholism and greater amounts can put drinkers at high risk of accidents, said Ms Suphaphon.

Also, most cases of violence in families result from alcohol abuse.

A women’s rights advocate linked the alcohol addiction to Thailand’s male-dominated society. Many upcountry women have small roles and almost no means for social expression. As a result, they drink alcohol to help “release pressure” during celebrations, considered as their space for expression, said Chadet Chaowilai, director of the Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation.

He called on the Public Health and Social Development and Human Security ministries to provide venues for women to complain, express their views and initiate creative activities.

20 thoughts on “Isan women drinking too much? Really?”

  1. That article is totally accurate. My wife used to drink like a fish, as do most women in Isaan. The accidents up there due to alcohol during Songkran are mindboggling. Every year there’s death’s aplenty in the tiny village my wife hails from and yet they never think it will happen to them so they keep on drinking and motorbiking.

  2. It seems that any gathering of more than 2 is an excuse to start drinking from as early as sunrise (or before). I was at an Issan wedding recently and the men and women started drinking spirits well before I joined in for breakfast. Personally I prefer beer that early.

  3. I don’t think it is just Isan, but anywhere in the Land.

    Flashback to one of my main National Geo moments in ’07 and I pulled myself up at sunrise somehow (feeling guilty for missing the dinner or something the night before) and made it to a Wat somewhere in Phayun beach for my bro-inlaw’s boy’s nephew’s monk ceremony and I was the only falung around taking pics with sem i- maybe not welcome who are you tude, cuz they dropped me off down the road and I was alone in the town to make the march with the band etc…, but the Thai takes over and as I’m following them around the temple forever, but may have only been only 3 times?, I get passed one of those silver like water pitchers, thinking ah I can use some water for my hangover, but alas it is a pitcher of 100 Pipers and they had several in rotation.

    It still helped or fixed my hangover and next thing you know I’m fam to everyone and dancing and going around the Wat with the band and the town, checking out the hons trying to get with, freaking awesome! I still have one of those little ribbon like stars with a baht coin in it, they were throwing them like death stars and everyone was going crazy!

    Went to a the “after party” aka block party, 0900 tops, with mucho food, drink, band, awesome food, more drink, then get back to, I think it was Phayun Resort, with rest of fam that didn’t go and my cuz from the states hit one of the fam girls, freaking awesome!!!! And, my cuz and other bro-inlaw polished off a case of Thai beer and when I saw cuz, I knew he hit (I should have known when he didn’t make it to the temple, but the smile said it all)!!!

    Well, anyway, I guess the moral is, drinking is not always a bad thing!

  4. They start at a young age too!like most things in Thailand,there is little controll or sensible attitudes,just mai ben rai or bo panyang dork or mai prue-all the same.And everybody know drinking improves your bike riding skills..and booze busses-what are they?

  5. @ YP,,, No doubt there…

    The girls in my Issan fam dont drink. But the boys go hard… And thats sayin somthin around here.

  6. The two big social problems here are alcohol and gambling and they get in the way of any real social progress. Most visitors see a narrow strip of the country, but when you get away from the Golden Mile there are some pretty unsettling things.

  7. Yet on the other hand probably most of the Thai girls that I know do not drink at all. A “culture of extremes”?

  8. 9.6 grammes of alcohol would be the content in 24 ml of vodka (40% v/v). That’s less than a “small” measure (30 ml.) Is that daily dose supposed to lead to alcoholism ? Surely there is a typo here ?

  9. TV media in Thailand emphasizes the greatness of asian culture. Historically, black skinned bar girls from northeast part and today from southern part are not thai ethic. The northeast part (from loas, ang kor wat empire) and the southern part (malaysia) were not Thailand, but were 200 years ago conquerred by the tai or siam ethic minority and have been ruled as inferior or slave by the minority tai shan or in ang kor wat language, siam. People from these 2 lands conquerred by the tai ehtic or siam have black skin and have been forced to work in bars. People from northeast and the south often rebel against the ruling tai ethic or Siam, and are separatists , and they want to declare dependence from the ruing tai ethic until today. The northeast Isaan people and the southern people who form separatist movement have been defeated by the ruling tai ethic or siam and have been forced into prostitution by the tai ethic as a means for the tai ruler to cover the cost of supressing and defeating these northeast and southern separatists. that’s why they work in pattaya where foreign contacts are. Under Thai-US ally in anticomminism, Thai side, not US side, commanded, and controlled access to, military bases, and these military bases were named purely “Thai Force”, not US Force, as falsely claimed in English later, and all the bar girls forced for sale to the outside world were black skinned Isaan women of the northeast separatists suppressed and defeated by the ruling tai shan or Siam. Domestically, prostitution is illegal except sex zone where these defeated separatist northeast and southern people have been forced in bars. Tai ethic (shan, tai yuan and tai dam) live in westnorth and west central plain and are the ruler of the ohter 42 races in today’s thailand and the richest, and all thai kings are tai shan descendant or siam. The thai kings never marry black skinned girls from Issan northest or isan women. Only Isaan women from the poorest Northeast are interested in whitemen and other foreigners because they are rejected by rich tai ethic men in the central plain and whitemen accept them. But tai ethic women of siam origin are never interested in whitemen and other asian men, without tai men, they prefer other asian men, not whitemen. Physically, whitemen are not much attractive, and i’m a thai woman from Siam proper.
    more info. a lot talk within thai society is that tai or thai ethics come from north in east asia and have a good contact with mongol even Geng Kis Kan. in fact, thai ethic have light skin and are found in west central plain up to the west north and further up to today’s south china. and as i told you, issan women are not thai ethics but multi-racial people of black skin southeast asian aborigines, and are insulted as inferior. And nearly all foreigners (whtiemen and even other asian men :singaporean men) contact these insulted isaan women of black skin who are in bars.

  10. Issan women are not thai ethic, but ruled by Siam or tai shan or the Thais as slaves. they have black skin, while the ruling thai ethic have very light gold skin. Tai ethic minority in fact migrated from east asia to southeast asia, and they are warlods and landlords and the ruling ethic of all 42 races in Thailand. i’m a thai women of Siam origin, and it makes us laugh at the outside world of whitemen and other asian men when all of you show your Issan wives from the northeast part. The northeast part was conquerred and ruled as inferior by tai shan or the Thais 200 years ago.
    See the above comment of mine for more profound details about thailand.

  11. @ Ms tu: why is it then most of the Thai celebrities and public figures alter their “proper Siam” phenotype to that of the Westerner? Changing the shape of the eyes and noses, hair color and texture, even lightening the skin beyond white? Seems if Thais’ don’t find Westerners attractive why do so many highly visible Thais’ want to look like unattractive Westerners?
    Just out of curious, have you ever traveled studied outside of Thailand?

  12. Another question Ms tu, are you trying to imply that The Thai military is capable of autonomous control of anything without US consent, aid and assistance? Do you know what happened during world war II and the Viet Nam conflic?

  13. Tu:

    You’re just tu funny!

    Like most really funny stuff, your diatribe is based in half-truths and partial-facts, but moves into hilarity because of the deeply flawed conclusions you draw or imply.

    Are you suggesting that there are no light-skinned “Siamese” prostitutes in Bangkok and throughout the Central plains and Northern Thailand? There certainly are, though they are seldom found working in Sukhumvit (unless it is in a Japanese-oriented bar or brothel.)

    You’ve stated specifically that the women of Isaan are working in bars “as a means for the tai ruler to cover the cost of supressing and defeating these northeast and southern separatists.” That puts a macro-economic and political spin on the reality of poor northeastern families trying to survive in an agrarian world where growing rice just isn’t enough for the family to move out of poverty.

    You imply a lot about attractiveness, and about who the typical prostitute is in Thailand, and who the typical customer is in Thailand. You are either blind, stupid or intentionally obfuscating. The vast majority of men hiring prostitutes in Thailand are Thai men. And while white foreigners are primarily interested in ‘exotic’ brown skinned women, Thai men are primarily attracted to those with light skin. It’s a culture/preference thing.

    You have ignored this very widespread industry of Thai-Thai prostitution, where the women tend to be young and light-skinned and the men as horny as foreign customers are. Siamese women aren’t better than their Isaan counterparts, they just attract different fish. And white foreigners aren’t ugly, ignorant buffaloes, they just don’t all share your personal biases.

    You’ve taken a complex issue that involves economics, culture, morals and personal preference and written a criminally simple analysis of it (as have I).

    But, that’s what blogs are for, I guess… 🙂

  14. “Obfuscating”
    Sounds sexual.
    Maybe I will just slide away and obfuscate myself for wee while.
    Will advise the results on my return.

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