In the 30 years of the twentieth century, the Burmese "giraffe women" worked in British circuses. Today, long-necked Karen – one of the main attractions of northern Thailand. However, the attitude to the exotic attraction in the world rather ambiguous. Activists and fighters for the rights of ethnic minorities accused the Thai travel agencies to operate long-necked women who are forced to go for a halfpenny earnings for tourist "panel". Representatives of business circles object: Thailand provided "women-Giraffs" work; In the amazed Genocide Birma at long-haired Karen and there is no. Who is the right in this dispute and what the difference between the ethnographic village and the human zoo? Curator of the Museum of the Mountain tribes of the city of Chiangraj Alberto de la.
– Who are "women giraffes" and how they became a tourist attraction of Thailand?
– "Women-Giraffes" belong to the relatives of the Karen Mountain tribe Padaung, or Kayyang, as they themselves call themselves. The tribe is, unlike the remaining Karens, historically lives only in Burma. It was his representatives who are lengthened their neck metal rings. As a result of civil confrontation in Burma in the 1980s, fighting the autonomy of tribes, including Kayan, were pushed back to the border with Thailand. Then the rebels dependent on the transparency of the border and deliveries from the Thai side. They made friends with Thai authorities, having agreed on the organization of tours to their bases. So women Kayyan became a tourist attraction. Over time, Thais brought order on the border and deported most of the people who had time to run out, but mercy was shown to the gold-like Kayyang: the settlement of Longly Karen appeared in the province of Mahongson. Today, most of tourists who want to look at exotic women, goes there.
– What do they mean when they talk about the exploitation of long-haired women in Thailand?
– Speech on their legal and economic insecurity. According to the law, Thai citizenship receives those representatives of the mountain tribes that can prove that they lived in Thailand until 1976. Kayyang came later and because citizens are not. If you have no citizenship, you do not have access to education, medical services, there is no right to work on Earth, the norms of the Labor Code do not apply. In addition to the settlement in Mahongson in Thailand, there are other ethnographic villages – Thais invite women from Burma, make it working visas and make it decent to them. You were here nearby, in the village of Longly Karen (speech about the ethnographic settlement "Union villages of the mountain tribes. Karen’s Longsion, Union of Hill Tribe Villages Long Neck Karen, near the city of Chiangray in the north of Thailand. – approx. author)? What time did you cost the entrance ticket?
– 300 baht.
– 300 baht is the minimum wage per day in Thailand. I doubt that women working there are even this amount. And if they say that yes, it will not necessarily be true. You noticed that only women and girls live in the village? Strange commune, is not true? Somehow in reservation Mahongson I asked one Kayyang, where her husband. She said that in the field. Then I realized that it was a lie. Cayan has no fields in Thailand and the right to work on them. And there is nothing to do their husbands here: they do not represent interests for tourists.
– In the ethnographic settlement under Chiangra, I saw men and boys. However, in addition to Burmets, Thai Akha, Fox, Yiao and Palongi were presented there. The village itself reminded the market. You go past the counters, and it comes from all sides: "Buy!"And the expressions of people sorrowful, embarrassing to leave empty hands.
– Well, it’s hard to earn on the crafts. In addition, in addition to economic exploitation, there is still an exploitation of cultural. I was in the settlement of Kayyang in Mahongson 20 years ago. Since then, there has changed little. The main task of its inhabitants – demonstrate their necks, working out the cost of the entrance ticket. The traditional lifestyle Kayyang is not represented there. Here you visited one of the villages that you left there?
– I understood why this place is called the Human Zoo. And this is also a lesson.
– This is a negative lesson. You have not enriched yourself with new knowledge, this place did not make you imbued with respect for what you saw. When I was in America, I spent the night in the real Indian Wigwam and felt that something unusual happened to me, that this is a privilege and honor. Tourists and travel agencies need to be understood that their interests and actions should be aimed at strengthening and supporting the culture of people with whom they work or whom they visit. The way Kayyang and other mountain tribes are represented today in Thai tourism – this is usually "Fast Food" and the cultural desert. Why go there?
– You advise tourists at all do not attend "women giraffes"?
– about the situation of "women giraffes" it is important to inform tourists. Knowing what actually happens, you won’t go there. About the wearing rings on the neck I do not have a clear solution. Nevertheless, this is a cultural tradition that must be respected. The problem occurs when the tradition begins to manage the need of tourists to see her. As long as there is a demand, there will be a sentence.
– other mandatory "exhibits" of Thai ethnographic villages are indigenous for Thailand. Representatives of Acha, Lisu, Yiao, Palongi, Karen and other nationalities. In the 1960s, the Thai government moved them from the mountains to the valley, forbid to engage in traditional fishery – housing up fire agriculture and growing poppies. How do these tribes live now?
– those representatives of the tribes that in time took care of receiving documents, became full-fledged citizens of the country. Some live in cities, others remained in native settlements and work on Earth. However, despite the fact that these settlements are officially, the state almost does not support them. The main help of Thai ethnic minorities today is provided by private charitable organizations and the Christian Church. The latter, in addition, turns the wards in their faith, accelerating the disappearance of original cultures.
– What exactly is your organization makes for the mountain tribes of Thailand?
– Museum of the Mountain tribes was founded in Chiangra as an educational center. We have our own program of ecoturs. The museum itself is a project of the Thai charity organization PDA and sponsored by her. All our revenues goes to maintain six concrete villages: we spend water to them, help organize village banks, tell about family planning and t. D.
– Is there ethnographic villages in Thailand, where tourists can go without fear that their money will fall into pockets of unscrupulous travel agencies?
– There is, but long-haired Karen you will not find there. I would advise you to go to the ache tribe village churred under the name Ban Lorka. In 2001, we helped its inhabitants to build a completely different model of hospitality, which successfully works to this day. Previously, the entrance to the settlement was free, its inhabitants survived due to the sale of souvenirs and charging the fees for photography, no tests for any excursions and the cultural program. Today the cost of the entrance ticket – 80 baht. Tourists meet guide and animators from locals – about eight people, all in traditional costumes. They tell about their life, dance, sing, sharing the secrets of traditional crafts, in particular, explain how to make traps on small animals. If earlier ache literally fought for the tourist’s attention, today every five days the team is changing in such a way that all residents of the village are equally involved in the tourist business. It is also important that while the animators entertain guests, the rest of the village lives its usual life, and the resulting profit is evenly distributed between all the inhabitants with the help of a village bank. Our Ban Lork was recognized as the best innovative tourist product at the seventh travel forum in Yangon, organized by the Asia-Pacific Tourist Association (PATA) in 2002. As part of this project, we killed three hares at once: they created an interesting and independent ethnographic village, which not only brings the income to its residents, but also helps them not forget their culture.