While I have been back in the UK I have been watching a number of documentaries and programs about Thailand. Last night I came across a series aired some time ago called Blood, Sweat & Takeaways. The program takes a handful of British youngsters, all of whom love food, around the world to learn where and how their food is grown, harvested and prepared.
One particular episode focuses on rice farming in North East Thailand (Isaan). It really did make me appreciate just how hard these rice farmers work for very little cash. Even the fittest in the group of youngsters can't keep up with the old Isaan women who are brought in to speed up their slow working performance.
It's a funny thing, I have lost count of the number of times expats have commented to me that “Thais are lazy”; in fact just do a quick sweep of the popular forums and you will see such comments. I am willing to bet that 90% of foreigners couldn't hack doing a day in the rice fields, especially surviving on a diet of sticky rice and small pieces of fish – me especially.
This backbreaking work made me realize why so many elderly people in Isaan shuffle around bent over with spinal curvature problems. Anyway, here is the program…