Anger Over Discrimination of Isaan Natives on Clubhouse

Controversial messages from a Clubhouse group have caused an online feud between different Thai communities.

Media reported that youngsters created a conversation room on the social audio app Clubhouse, named “#ClubhouseToxic,” and criticized Isan people. Their remarks were spread on social media recently.

Netizens were shocked when the app’s users insulted northeastern people, using terms such as “flat-nosed,” “uneducated,” “blacks,” “poor rice growers for the rich,” and “dog eaters.”

The group’s comments were made public on social media, sparking anger among Isaan and non-Isaan people across the country, and even Thai authorities spoke out about it.

According to the government’s spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was unhappy about the situation as “everyone ultimately is Thai.”

General Prayut said the Isan people should be admired and praised, as the northeastern region has played an important role in Thailand, especially in farming. Also, the government will develop Isaan and other areas to bring happiness and sustainable development to all the country’s residents.

Celebrities and prominent people from Isaan also expressed their displeasure and rejection over the discrimination and hate messages against them.

Actor and comedian Petchtai Wongkamlao, better known as Mum Jokmok, said each of Thailand’s four regions had its own culture and way of life and asked what Isan people had done to the online group to justify such abuse.

A Sakon Nakhon-born medical science researcher who asked to remain anonymous described the group’s remarks as “unacceptable.” The 24-year-old, who also stated that he had experienced discrimination himself, said he had been asked if all Sakon Nakhon people ate dogs and had been mocked as a dog eater.

The man clarified that they ate pork, beef, chicken and fish like the others but explained that the Isan people have long been “economically marginalized”.

“I was born in a poor family. When I was a kid, I went out with my friends to hunt for lizards, wild mushrooms, dung beetles or grasshoppers for my lunch. We had to eat everything for survival,” he went on.

A 36-year-old company employee born in Nakhon Phanom also showed discontent about the situation, saying he had suffered discrimination for being from Isaan but could see beyond.

The man said that solving the kingdom’s discrimination problem was difficult because it’s a habit for some who have normalized mocking others because of their race or ethnicity, adding that educating children with sympathy and understanding towards other people’s differences was key to finding a solution.

A 41-year-old personal trainer from Surin also said it was necessary to educate people to respect others and their rights but expressed some optimism saying children have helped raise public awareness about discrimination.