Academic journal article Asian Culture and History

Burmese Migrant Workers: Dimensions of Cultural Adaptation and an Assimilation Model for Economic and Social Development in the Central Coastal Region of Thailand

Academic journal article Asian Culture and History

Burmese Migrant Workers: Dimensions of Cultural Adaptation and an Assimilation Model for Economic and Social Development in the Central Coastal Region of Thailand

Article excerpt

Abstract

This research is aimed at studying the background of Burmese migrant labor, the current state and problems with Burmese migrant labor and the dimensions of cultural adaptation and an assimilation model for economic and social development of Burmese migrant labor in the Central Coastal Region of Thailand. This is a qualitative study carried out between November 2012 and November 2013 that incorporates document study and field research. The research area was purposively selected as Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan and Samut Songkhram Provinces. The research sample was also purposively selected and comprised of 150 individuals, divided into three groups: key informants (n=21), casual informants (n=69) and general informants (n=60). Tools used for data collection were observation, interview and focus group discussion. Data was validated using a triangulation technique. The result of the investigation is a development model in five sections: cost of labor, work conditions, job security, career progression and work sanitation and safety.

Keywords: Burmese migrant labor, cultural adaptation, cultural dimensions, social development, economy

1. Introduction

In recent years, the strength of the Western economy has influenced the Eastern economy, which has grown as a result and now looks like being an important part of the global economic situation for the foreseeable future (Media, 2012). Globalization has affected the economy in such a way that borders and governments are much more fluid when it comes to labor and finances (Achawanichagul, 2002). Thailand is no exception (Chantavanit, 2001). There are two types of causes for labor migration to Thailand from neighboring countries, which are push factors and pull factors. Pull factors are primarily related to the strength of the Thai economy in relation to surrounding countries. Push factors are generally problems in the home country of the immigrants, such as economic or political problems. Most working immigrants in Thailand come from Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. The GNP of Thailand is six times that of Myanmar, seven times that of Laos and twelve times that of Cambodia (Huget & Punpuing, 2005). Additionally, the population expansion ratio in Thailand has decreased. Almost all Burmese laborers have immigrated to Thailand due to political conflict in Myanmar and population over-control. These affected Burmese life security and safety, making them were willing to move by both legal and illegal means to find jobs in Thailand where better economic growth and lifestyle were on offer. There was also a lack of labor in Thailand because Thai people didn't want to be employed for the low wages available. Those Burmese workers responded to the needs of the economy and helped many entrepreneurs spend much less on labor. The government defense measurements for illegal immigrants were regulated in BE 2555 (2012) and stated that entrepreneurs must register their foreign laborers as legal immigrants (Office of foreign worker administration, 2011). The Central Coastal Region of Thailand is one area where many Burmese workers would like to come and be employed because of the appropriate location within industrial cities where the economy, society, politics and culture are quite similar to the Bangkok metropolis. There are socio-economic problems with Burmese laborers in Thailand. Not only do Burmese laborers compete with Thai workers in the employment market but also cause problems of Thai national security, health and safety, as seen in current criminal news. For more than a century, Thailand has tried to manage these problems, which seem to be out of control. This has resulted in decreasing Thai labor productivity and a chronic lack of labor force. In BE 2558 (2015), Thailand will enter as a member of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the international workflow will increase. The Burmese are prepared to open their borders and welcome the trend of globalized capitalism making their economy more attractive to international entrepreneurs by granting an eight-year tax exemption. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.