Manusya, Journal of Humanities


Punnee Bualek

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In this article the writer attempts to provide the answers to two questions. These are: 1) Why did the Chinese Hokkien people come to practice orchard gardening in Bang Kho Laem? 2) How were these Chinese Hokkien people able to create these praiseworthy orchards? The researcher surveyed the total number of orchards belonging to the Chinese Hokkien people in this area and conducted in-depth interviews with five households of Chinese Hokkien orchard gardeners. The results were: the Chinese Hokkien people, who came to practice orchard gardening in Bang Kho Laem from the beginning of the King RamaV period (1868) to 1967, had done it in China before migrating to Thailand. These groups of people, therefore, were good at fruit tree growing and enjoyed doing it. When they moved to Thailand, the relationships among them were both as Chinese Hokkien people and as members of the same Chinese clan. These relationships strengthened and facilitated the idea of undertaking gardening in this area. The majority of these orchard gardeners were from "Sae Tan or Sae Tang (chenshi) and Sae Sim (shenshi). When they moved to this area, they found out that it was fertile and suitable for fruit growing. Since these Chinese Hokkien people's life skills were working as orchard gardeners, they excelled in looking after the fruit trees continuously all year round. The qualities that these Chinese Hokkien people possessed were their hard work and perseverance, working, in fact, as hard as other Chinese coolies. The fact that they were keen on saving money and establishing good relationships with their Thai neighbors, both land owners and those who lived there, enabled them to live happily until they were confronted by modern progress and development, which changed their way of living and, thus, their careers as orchard gardeners came to an end.

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