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The Legend of Kang Sua Ten Dam

The Legend of Kang Sua Ten Dam

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Published by bennetthaynes

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Published by: bennetthaynes on Dec 03, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Legend of Kang Sua Ten Dam
By Ae
It had been more than ten years since I heard aboutthe struggle of people against a dam called Kang Sua Ten in Phrae province, Northern Thailand. This is a firsttime that I got a chance to visit one of the strongestpeople’s movements in Thailand since they have beenstruggling in 1980s. To protect their communities andthe last golden teak forest of Thailand.We got up in an early cold morning on 28 November2009 to travel by a pickup truck from Chiang Mai toKang Sua Ten in Phrae province. To join a treeordination ceremony that local people there organizefor media and people from other places to learn abouttheir struggle and their way of life. I traveled togetherwith Karen youth from Youth Training for DevelopmentProgram (YT), all of us were 11 people.
Phi Ning
is the coordinator of thisorganization and
is one of the YT staff. It was exciting for me to visit
’shome since I have known him for a long time. The young Karen also exited forvisiting another people movement besides their land and forest movement inChiang Mai. Their parents and communities also have been struggling for theircommunity rights to live and protect their forest for more than 15 years.Finally, we arrived Sa- iab community at about 11o’clock. Unfortunately we missed the tree ordination inthe morning so later on
Phi Noi 
brought us tovisit some other places around the communities. We tooka rest for lunch at the learning center of 
Takon Yom
sediment of Yom River 
) Youth Group where located rightin the middle of community. I was impressed with all of colorful flags and signs around the center andcommunity. Big signs painted with the strong words toshow their oppositions against the dam such as “Theforest alive-the people alive, build a dam-people die”,“Our River, Our Lives”. There are also several flags of other people’s movement that they have been a membersuch as Assembly of the Poor and La Via Campesina, thenational and international peasants’ movement in Thailand and other countries.
Teak tree
Takon Yom Youth
We visited some places in Mae YomNational Park together with
Kul, Phi Noi 
,a journalist and people from anotherprovince. Yom River is one of the fourmain rivers in the North flow to ChaoPraya river in central plateau. Kang Sua Tem dam was planed since 1985 forirrigation propose which will create a bigreservoir and flood over the whole 10communities in Sa-iab in Song district and some other communities in Chiang Muandistrict in Payao province. Due to the local people movements as well as otheralliances throughout the country and other countries, this project has been pendingamidst the controversial debates in Thai society for more than decade. Particularlythe issue of last golden teak forest in Thailand that people have been protectingafter the cancel of concession in 1995. The concerns beside environmental andsocial impacts from flooding are also about the risk of earth quake in the area.
took care of us in his community for the whole trip. He and his wife,
, worktogether for an active environmentalorganization called Living River Siam, theyare also a part of our Northern ActivistCommunity in Chiang Mai.
havebeen working for their community about tenyears ago. They were strong leaders of Takon Yom youth group since they were younger.
is now a member of AmnestyInternational (AI) and he also helps onsupporting the Karen youth and other youthmovements in Thailand. There are also otheryoung people from Takon Yom that become activists or development workers thathave been supporting other people andenvironmental movements throughout countrymore than 10 people.
, sisterand brother work for EarthRights International,are also have been successfully support theyouth in Mekong region.
Teak logs are reused for new housebuilding that will last long for
 Teak forest will be flooded under theWater and herbs are used forliquor production as their main This paddy field will be under

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