Bangkok street sellers live to fry another day

From New Internationalist Easier English Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Bangkok street sellers live to fry another day


Peter Yeung writes about the politics of street food in Bangkok. There is danger now for this informal industry from gentrification - buying and renewing houses and shops in poor areas for rich people to move into.

For many years Bangkok’s colourful and busy Khao San Road has served Thai food.

At the heart of the market many sellers work long hours for little money. They cook and sell the city’s famous street food, probably the best in the world.

But now they are fighting to save their jobs.

In August 2018, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration said they wanted Khao San Road’s 200 sellers to move away for ‘cleanliness, safety and order’. Public protests stopped this but the authorities still say that business is now only possible from 6pm to midnight.

Yada Pornpetrumpa is the president of the Khao San Road Street Vendors’ Association. He says, ‘It’s very worrying. People come here because it is different from everywhere in the city.’

Phinong has worked on Khao San Road for the past 10 years. He says, ‘If they try to make it like every other street in Bangkok, nobody will come. We’ll lose our work.’

Since 2014, about 17,000 street sellers have lost their licences across the city and there are fears this will continue. Gentrification has added to a growing discontent with the military government, which came to power in a 2014 coup, before important elections in February.

The Khao San Vendors’ Association has made protests and talked with city officials, and there have been a lot of reports in local media. Talks are continuing. ‘We will protest until the authorities listen,’ says Pornpetrumpa. For the time being, Bangkok’s street vendors will live to fry another day.


(This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed)