the politics of motorcycle taxis

motorcycle taxi drivers near Ploen Chit

(Motorcycle taxi drivers on Soi Ruamrudee)

New Mandala has a very interesting interview with Claudio Sopranzetti who is writing his Ph.D dissertation on the politics of motorcycle taxis in Thailand:

Many of the moto-taxis are part time farmers. Very often they are bread winners for their extended family. They are involved both in urban life and in rural life, which make both Thaksin’s urban policies for the poor and rural policies very relevant to them. It is one of the reasons why they are so interested to talk about politics. Because they are one of the few groups who really live the double dimension of this country. And not just in their lifetime, but in the course of a month, they are back and forth. So they know lifestyle differences, they know what this inequality is, they know all of it

I’m bored upon bored of Thai politics, but this was a fascinating read! I

nterestingly he talks about the link between motorsai drivers and upper-class Thai people, since most upper-class people will use their services. What I didn’t realize until I’d been here a while is you can hire motorsai drivers to do all kinds of things, and they’re conveniently everywhere: you can get them to go pay bills for you — many people have one go-to motorcycle guy whose id card they’ve photocopied and they can trust with money to run errands like paying bills, I’ve seen one big tough looking guy drafted to hold flowers for making bridal decors by a nearby florists 😛

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