The second week in Taichung began with a visit to the small community of Thai Labourer in Miao Li , which is quite different from ASEAN square. Miou Li is a small city surrounded by the countryside. For different reasons, the writer with 1095 group (Project organiser) had a chance to visit the Thai Labour’s accommodation, and a conversation with them as friends saw us welcomed, cooking local Thai food and being grant an insight into their private lives such as a bedroom or the presentation personal belongings.

There is a widespread perception that almost Thai labourers in Taiwan are from the northeast of Thailand (ESAN). They have many local favourite activities that their leisure time is spent on fishing, as well as finding vegetables and other food materials in forest. On the whole, there is a preservation of local food culture that most of Thai labourers from ESAN are familiar with. This is because the dry weather in the northeast of Thailand creates difficulties for agriculture, and wildlife. Consequently, they have to adapt the local culture to relate to their everyday way of life. For example, the pickled fish (Pla-Ra) is a popular local ingredient in the northeast of Thailand, it plays some a re-occurring role that it has come to be known as the heart of the area and a symbol of it. These activities can show that Thai labours can adapt their ways of life in Taiwan to response their demands,and they are very unique. To consider some conversations with them. 

In summary, the main aspect for Thai labourer’s life in Taiwan is the idea of life improvement. Everyone desires a better financial situation so as to achieve a better life, and some of them have said, “that they feel this is the last place of getting in”. This later point, is a direct result of the Taiwan requirement for a working permit, which here is easier to obtain, compared to other countries such as England, Israel, Korea, Japan, Singapore and so on. In addition, There are no demands on the learning of new languages, and it is easy to find the agency. However, the low standard of requirement is leading to the exploitation by employers and agency. For instance, the rates for migrant workers here are at least 20,008 TWD which is lower than a native worker, and 20% might be deducted from an agency and taxed fee. For this reason, it can be an oppressive choice which may lead to extensive over working, and as the efficiency of body is overloaded, there grows the risk of death. Furthermore, one of them said, I also have a part-time job on a day off which is one day per a week.

On the other hand, one of Thai labourers said that “I don’t have any part-time job like him. I like to have a free time on my day off, cooking local food, and drinking Thai beer and whisky with my friends here that is my happiness. I don’t want to go to ASEAN Square like other that is not my way. It is enough for my working life.” It is the first opinion of this project that the writer considered to be different about Thai labourers in Asean Square, their individual perspective and taste of their lifestyles. From the writer’s perspective, it is still on the leisure topic that this “black and white” division stands in relation to “free time and fixed time”. Thai labourer’s perspective seeks a strong contrast and distinct definition and it may be this that pushes them to resolve the problems of their lives by spending their leisure time on “drinking everyday” or “overloaded working”. They said, “it is my day off” but it still be a fixed day off by harder drinking than other day, and fixed time on part time work. Often condensing all desired activities into only one day. So it is not leisure time in theory’s way but they are still define that is my relaxing day.

To conclude, It might be the reason of happiness that they are fishing, cooking, working and drinking on day off. Just taking this moments to realise themselves and waiting for the day they can go back to their hometown then they might find the real happiness. 

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