Surasak Saeyang, chairman of the Dawei National Development Association (DNDA), said most migrant workers from Dawei who work in Thailand are not well-educated.
“However, they want to learn everything regarding their work here in Thailand, as well as develop their work skills during their time in the country,” he said.
Surasak said that every job that Dawei workers experienced in Thailand would be invaluable experience and benefit them when returning to work in their home region.
They will then be able to help develop Dawei, as the working cultures of Dawei and Thailand are quite similar, he added.
“I believe that the establishment of the newly elected government in Myanmar will lead to a better investment climate in the country. And, within the next six months, all government agencies will be systematically established to run the country,” he said.
“I personally believe that the political system in Myanmar will be better and more sustainable than that in Thailand in the future,” said the 39-year-old.
Surasak has been in Thailand for almost 30 years, starting off in the Kingdom as a construction worker.
He now owns a van to provide a travel service within the Kingdom, as well as to and from Myanmar.
Migrant workers from Dawei formed the DNDA about one and a half year ago with the mission to help underprivileged people and local society in general.
“The DNDA also helps Dawei people that face problems while working in Thailand,” he said, adding, “We also want to preserve Dawei culture and tradition, which have been eroded for 60-plus years since the end of World War II.”
“Dawei itself had been administrated by 52 generations of kings. It is one of the major ethnic groups in Myanmar, similar to the Mon, Bagan and Yakai,” he explained.
Myanmar has 135 ethnic groups, of which nine are major ones.
With more than 3,000 members in Thailand, similar branches of the association have also been set up in other neighbouring countries, including Malaysia and Singapore. In Thailand, the DNDA has offices in Kanchanaburi and Samut Sakhon.
The major problem Dawei workers face while staying in Thailand is being cheated by their employers, as well as by the individual brokers that bring them into the country, Surasak said.
Many employers commit to giving their workers a full salary and benefits, but the actual payment received is generally much lower than what has been promised, he said, pointing out that the migrant workers have to pay a great deal of money to get their work documents in order, and for their work visit to Thailand.
“Dawei workers would like to have a temporary visa, which lasts for three months to one year, so that they are not discriminated against in terms of their human rights and have the freedom to travel and find a job anywhere within the Kingdom,” the DNDA chairman said.
Saichan, an ethnic Mon worker in Samut Sakhon, said there were more than 20 groups of Mon workers in Samut Sakhon province alone, including those at Wat Thep Norarat, Wat Kok, Wat Sirimongkol, Wat Pa Tha Sai and Wat Pom Wichian Chotikaram.
Each Mon group has its own leader, while they keep in contact with each other via telephone and the Line social app on a number of important issues, especially religious matters and daily living, as well as on the preservation of Mon culture and identity, he said.
“We are of Mon nationality, with our own religious belief, language, way of dress and identity,” Saichan stressed.
He added that the groups also joined together for any religious ceremonies, and when Mon abbots were invited over from Myanmar to give Dhamma talks, and to lead prayer and meditation.
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By : KWANCHAI RUNGFAPAISARN THE NA