The hills and borderlands of Chiang Rai, only 100 kilometers from ethnically diverse Yunnan, present an ethnic kaleidoscope to visitors.
Read a previous article on a US government grant to save Akha culture in Chiang Rai (read article) and an article on the long-necked Karen, yet another hilltribe inhabiting the borderlands of Thailand (read article).
Click button to listen to Akha Matron and rightclick to download
FACES & PLACES: Crowning glory by Kamamol Pongthanee
This fine lady, resplendent in her traditional dress, was more or less holding court at a small souvenir market near Doi Mae Salong to the north of Chiang Rai. A member of the Akha tribe whose roots are in China and who migrated to Thailand in the 19th century, she seemed to be generally ordering people around. When she saw me with a camera in hand, she treated me to this big, beaming smile. With their impressive headgear and jewellery, the Akha are just one of the several hill tribes that populate this area of Thailand.
Meeting locals makes your travels even more enriching. If you have interesting photos of people and a memorable experience to share with other readers, please email them to email@example.com. The photos must be sent as jpeg files (at least 1MB in size), and the text as document files.
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(Source: Bangkok Post, FACES & PLACES, Crowning glory, 17/01/2011, Kamamol Pongthanee, link)
Akha - hill tribe farmers known for their artistry, the remaining Akha people live in small villages in Yunnan, China (known as "Hani"), Laos, Burma and northern Thailand where they number around 80,000 people, they're villages are popular tourist destinations for "trekkers" (See Wikipedia)
matron - an older married woman with authority
ethnic group - a group of people with the same culture and language, longer: "a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, consisting of a common language, a common culture (often including a shared religion) and a tradition of common ancestry" กลุ่มชาติพันธุ์, กลุ่มชนที่มีเชื้อชาติเดียวกัน, เผ่าพันธุ์ (See Wikipedia)
ethnic (adjective) - related to an ethnic group or ethnic groups
diverse - many different kinds or types of something
ethnically diverse - having many different ethnic groups in an area
culture - the set of ideas, beliefs, and ways of behaving of a certain group of people วัฒนธรรม (ethnic groups usually have their own old culture)
Yunnan - the province of China closest to Thailand and Southeast Asia, many different ethnic groups have always lived in this province (See Wikipedia)
kaleidoscope - 1. a situation that is always changing and has many different aspects, 2. a toy that shows changing colourful patterns when you look inside it (See Wikipedia and colourful images) กล้องคาเลโดสโคป, กล้องภาพลวงตาที่เกิดจากการสะท้อนภาพของแผ่นกระจกหลายแผ่นประกบกันในกล้อง
border - the line that separates two countries (when you cross the line, you enter another country) เขตแดน
borderlands - the area between two countries or states
crowning glory - the best and greatest thing or person at a place
fine lady - of very good and high quality
resplendent - very nice and impressive to look at
traditional - things (clothes, music, customs, etc.) that have been part of a country or society for a long time
more or less - roughly, this is the way it looked (a general and approximate description)
holding court - meeting with people who come to see you in the same way that a king or a prince does
souvenir - an object that reminds you of some place you have been to or travelled to, a memento, a token ของที่ระลึก, สิ่งเตือนใจ
Doi Mae Salong - "The village of Santikhiri (Thai: สันติคีรี), formerly known as Mae Salong (Thai: แม่สลอง), is situated on the mountain of Doi Mae Salong, in Mae Fa luang district, Chiang Rai Province, the northernmost province of Thailand. The area has an alpine-like landscape and climate, and is known for its hill tribe villages, tea plantations and cherry blossoms.
Santikhiri's early history centered around the Golden Triangle's opium trade, in which its distinctive population – the "lost army" of the Republic of China Army's 93rd Division – became involved. At the conclusion of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, some remnants of the anti-communist Kuomintang (KMT) forces refused to surrender, including the 93rd Division, led by General Tuan Shi-wen (also known as Chiwan Khamlue). The division fought its way out of Yunnan in southwestern China, and its soldiers lived nomadic lives in Burma's (now Myanmar) jungles before seeking asylum in Mae Salong. In exchange for their asylum, they fought for Thailand until 1982, helping to counter the communist insurgency at the Thai frontier. In reward, the Thai government granted citizenship to most of the KMT soldiers and their families.
Cash crops, especially tea, have now replaced the growing of opium poppies, and Santikhiri today is a tourist attraction known as Little Switzerland" (See Wikipedia)
roots - the place where you come from, where you were born
ordering people around - telling the people around her to do things for her
beaming smile - a smile that is very easy to see and obvious
migrate - to move from one place to another place to live and work อพยพ
century - a period of one hundred years ศตวรรษ
19th century - the 100-year period of time from 1800 to 1900
impressive - makes you think very highly of it and admire (because it is very good, shows great skill, is very large, lifelike, colourful, beautiful, etc) ประทับใจ
headgear - something that people wear on the their head (more complex and bigger than just a hat)
population (noun) - the number of people who live in an area (country, province, city)
populate (verb) - exist in a place, live in a place
locals - people who live in a nearby rural area ชาวบ้าน
enriching - making richer and deeper, making more interesting
memorable - likely to be remembered or worth remembering ซึ่งมีค่าน่าจดจำ, โดดเด่น
share - to let other people have something that you have too, to have or use something at the same time as someone else ใช้ร่วมกัน
reserve - keep something for a particular purpose or time สงวน, สงวนไว้, สำรอง, จองไว้
reserves the right to - keep certain things for oneself (while giving other things away to others)