The social adjustment of the Kuy people to a multicultural context in Southern Isan, Thailand.

Author:Pothisan, Wilart


Kuy was one ethnic group in Southern Isan (Northeast of Thailand), Southern Laos and Northern Cambodia along the Phanom Dong Rek. They settled down in groups between the Phanom Dong Rek and the Mun River, while building relationship with other ethnic groups like Khmer and Lao. Kuy spoke a language in Mon-Khmer family and called themselves by their accent as "Kuy or Kuai" which meant people. "Kuy Malo or Melo or Malua" earned their living as farmers; "Kuy Dam Rey" caught and tamed wild elephants; "Kuy Bru" lived in a highland or mountainous area. "Bru" meant mountain. Thai and Thai-Isan (Laos) people called Kuy "Suai" or "Kha". Kuy adjusted themselves well enough to speak different languages of their neighboring ethnic groups such as Khmer-Suai and Lao-Suai (1). They earned a living in various forms according to their surrounding topography liked collecting forest products, growing rice and field crops, gardening, raising animals, making pots and iron products. Moreover, The Kuy females were skillful in weaving. In 1985, 9.59% of Surin people were Kuy, 9.20% were a mix of Thai-Isan and Kuy and 3.15 were a mix of Thai-Khmer and Kuy (1) Malua in Ban Truem of Si Khoraphum district in Surin province. The state had paid much attention on economy by building a network of roads between the province, the district and the village for the Kuy people in Ban Treum. The state established a health center to provide for the people with modern medical care and malaria prevention. There were trucks carrying passengers and farm products from the village to the market in Si Khoraphum District. However,The Kuy people in Ban Treum believed in San (spirit house) Phi Takuat", the symbol of fertility. The Kuy people adjusted themselves by paying more attention on importance events of Buddhism, culture and tradition. Gradually, The Kuy people had adjusted their way of life to become Buddhists. This new kind of power reflected the forms of Kuy's relationship which were transferred from generation to generation and united with nature and ancestral spirits. It also showed that Kuy adjusted their relationship with other ethnic groups of Thai-Isan (Laos) and Thai-Khmer (Khmer), while developing the "rice culture and fish culture", based on their accumulated experience. Such adjustment reflected Kuy's establishment of socio-economic relationship and "community culture" which had existed for a long period of time.

The social adjustment in multicultural context by super natural power:

The social adjustment in multicultural context before world war II (Before 1945): The Kuy people in Ban Treum had adjusted gradually when Thai-Isan migrated to Southern Isan, Kuy started to build their relationship with Thai-Isan by accepting Buddhism and developing a new set of local wisdom tended to change their culture much slower. Thus, it took them a very long...

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