6 June 2024

#ClubhouseToxic remained a top-trending hashtag on Thai Twitter over the weekend after a group of users began an online discussion discriminating against “Isaan” people, referring to those born in the north-eastern region of Thailand.

The discussion caused massive uproar on Twitter, after a group of Clubhouse users listed allegedly stereotypical characteristics of native Isaan, such as teenage pregnancies, have dark skin and generally criticising their style.

At one point, BLACKPINK member, Lalisa Manoban, who was born in Buri Ram province, was also mentioned, with one of the users saying “If Isaan is that great, Lisa would’ve come home. Lisa living there [South Korea] is much better than living in Isaan”.

Although the mother of a 17-year-old, who was one of the main critics in the Clubhouse discussion, has apologised publicly, the uproar has not died down. It has also prompted many users born in the northeast, including public figures, to express their pride in their hometowns.

The Isaan Record tweeted “The Clubhouse group insulting Isaan people and turning into #ClubhouseToxic reflects people’s lack of understanding of differences and that people still look down on others.”

One Twitter user tweeted “I’m proud of my hometown. No matter where you live, you’re still human, you eat rice like everyone else, you walk on the road like everyone else and you have 24 hours like everyone else. #ClubhouseToxic”

Another Twitter user said “I’m a Bangkokian who loves Isaan culture. No matter that you are from Isaan or Bangkok, we are all equal. #ClubhouseToxic”

https://twitter.com/nooray_p/status/1457151053426675713?s=20

Similarly, a Twitter user said “As an Isaan native, I don’t how you were raised to make you think this way. I’ve been raised pretty well, my family taught me to have good manners, to be respectful of others and never to discriminate against other people. What about you? Has anyone ever taught you that? #ClubhouseToxic”

https://twitter.com/baozizizi_/status/1456523287245180928?s=20

Meanwhile, an independent academic Kittitouch Chaiprasith posted on his Facebook saying that the discrimination against Isaan people are nothing new, and it is often used for political benefits.

The most common method is to incite hatred between two different groups of people, such as people in the north verus the south, or Isaan people versus people in Bangkok, by creating a page or an identity to attack or defame a person or group, to urge the media and academics to analyse the situation indicating that there’s discrimination in society, resulting from the government’s actions.

Such Clubhouse discussions, aiming to insult and criticise Isaan people, still persists. With many discussion topics, such as “Isaan people’s only job is harvesting rice for people in Bangkok” or “Isaan people are zombies in real life”, many Isaan natives and others are questioning what these users really want from them.