The Long Neck Hill Tibe

The Karen tribes been in Thai for many years as refuge status. However , they claimed that the life in Thailand is so much better than the tribes who remain in Myammar due to the poor living condition. The Padaung Karen, or long-neck Karen, so-called because of the multiple rings that elongate their necks by deforming their collarbones and pushing their shoulders down, have been described for decades as one of the closest things in Asia to a human zoo. The tribe certainly valued to Thailand as they have a very good selling point to attract the visitors. however, we feel bad that as they are like the “zoo” people who only for display rather than being themselves in real.

Huai Sua Tao is a Padaung Karen village located in Thailand’s Mae Hong Son Province, near the Burmese border. After paying entry fee, tourists find an entire village that is one huge shop, with women and children selling goods and posing for photos. There are no men to be seen. Karen in Burma traditionally live by planting and cultivating rice, gathering forest products, raising animals, and hunting as their people have done for centuries. But in the tourism villages, the Padaung Karen work as trinket vendors. Normally, the Karen would be tied to the land, but now, as salespeople, they are losing their culture. In Huai Sua Tao there are no rice fields. The Karen can make money wearing their neck rings in the camp, or they can go back to the refugee camp. They don’t have a right to stay (in Thailand). This is the compromise of the governors of this place, so the Karen can stay inside the Thai border and make some money, and the governors can get some money as well. Nothing much we can do to help them except buying some souvenirs and scalf hand made by long neck ladies.

For the Padaung Karen women, the rings around their neck may be seen as cultural shackles, but they are faced with a brutal choice:   return to Burma and risk death or remain a stateless sideshow attraction in Thailand.

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