Posts Tagged ‘Malay’

South Thailand

March 27, 2008

Over the last few years we expect in our daily local news to hear something of the troubles in the south. There has been an insurrection of sorts going on in the southernmost three Thai provinces, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat. The reasons for the escalation of the problem I do not know, but the last two Thai governments haven’t been able to get on top of it. Maybe the new one has the answer.

 What we do know is these three provinces have a Muslim Malay majority. Overall Thailand has about 3% of its population from the Malay ethnic group according to Wikipedia although many are assimilated into Thai culture and language.

 The Malays are the only major ethnic group in Thailand that entered into what is present day Thailand from the south. The thinking at the moment is that they were an Austronesian group out of Taiwan, via the Philippines and Borneo, and into Malay peninsula.

The ancient Kingdom of Pattani controlled the three southern provinces until conquered by the Thais in the 14th. Century. Up until the 11th. century it had either a Hindu or a Buddhist culture, but after that the king converted to Islam as did his Malay subjects. It can be seen that the Malays were a fairly early group into Thailand.