top of page
  • Writer's pictureKirk

Life of a Thai Production Worker

Her day begins at 6:00 am. She knows she cannot be late. That is frowned upon. For someone who has no other skill, she knows she must keep the only one she is qualified for. Jobs are scarce in this rural area of Thailand. Of course she could move to the city. Bangkok and Chiang Mai have more jobs, but her family and her life are here.

So, she begins her 12 hour shift behind the silk weaver. The monotony of the job doesn't bother her anymore. She has been doing this for so long now it is the same as breathing, it just comes natural. By now, if she didn't have this to occupy her time, she would not know what to do with her life. Back and forth with the weave of silk.

It's all about family to her. Although she gets to spend so little time after her 12 hour shift, there is always the 2 days off she gets each month. She always looks forward to that. But the most important thing is the steady paycheck she earns. This will keep her family fed in rice and give her the ability to offer her family a modest living, They don't need much.

Her cheating husband ran off with a younger woman years ago. Leaving her with the two young children who are teenagers now. The kids have grown up without both parents for the most part. The mother so rarely at home. But, it takes a village to raise a family here and that is what they did. The grandmother and neighbors helped to look after the children when they were younger, but now they can look after themselves. You must grow up fast here.

The hard work and years of worry have taken a toll on her haggard face. Although she is only 34 years old, she has the look of a late 40's woman to a Western observer. It will not get better either. Not only does she look older, but she actually is older. The body conforms to the outward appearance and her physical condition has advanced beyond her 34 years. This is what a hard life does to you.

Her only friends work beside her. They are a close group and they share their life stories during the two ten minutes breaks and 30 minute lunch time. But their stories are always the same, a single working mother to care for the children the husband has left behind. Although they still dream of romance and a husband, they all know the reality of their future, a life of solitude after the children leave. Sure they will likely live nearby and there is always the grandkids to care for, but there is always that something missing. That love that they always wanted from a faithful husband. But, this is Thailand, the land of smiling faces hiding the harsh reality of cheating husbands.

There are no enforceable laws to protect them financially. The husband is free to leave without ever supporting his family and the women know this harsh reality. It is their responsibility now to care for the young. A mother’s innate instinct to do so that seems absent in Thai men.

She will finish her long shift today and go home tired to her children. They will want her attention for the few hours left before bed and she does her best to give it to them. But sleep will come early. Tomorrow is another day…..


This is another fictional story with real overtones. I do not know the actual story of this woman, but the story that I relayed is a common story throughout this area of Asia.

7 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
Mike Wells
Mike Wells
May 24
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

It is sad that the women actually get left behind. In America we give to a lot of women some use it as a stepping stone to get onto there feet some accept it as there lifestyle never to get off the system. It would be nice if the Thai women were able to get a bit of assistance to help get the on there feet.

May 24
Replying to

Enforced Protection laws for women there would be nice

bottom of page