A huge number of construction workers here in Bangkok are from far provinces in Thailand. Many of these workers come from Isaan, somewhere near Cambodian and Lao borders. Some of them comes from Cambodia too and Myanmar. This is an interview about a local Thai construction worker trying to survive day-to-day life here in Bangkok.
Khun Suppachai or Khun Toto as his fellow co-workers call him was eager enough to be interviewed by Bangkok Nightlife for Faces of Bangkok.
Where are you from?
I’m from Northeast Thailand.
How long have you been here in Bangkok?
So you’ve been working as a construction worker for 5 years?
Do you go home to your hometown? How often?
Yes. Once a year.
Do you have wife and kids?
No wife. But I have a son. I send money for his education.
How does it affect your relationship with your son?
My son is not really used to see me, so when I go home it takes a while before he comes to me.
What do you want your son to be when he grows up?
I don’t really know yet. I haven’t thought about that, as he is very young. Maybe when he grows a little bit older.
What do you do in a construction site?
I can do many things. I can be a carpenter, electrician, operator, and mason. Where they need people on the site I can be of help.
Is it physically difficult what you do?
Yes it is, but once you get used to it, it’s okay. After all you have to work hard before you earn money.
How it is inside a construction site?
It is very busy. You have to concentrate on what you do and make no mistakes. Not only your life is in danger at times but also the people around you. It is very important that all the workers understand that.
Have you ever hurt yourself inside the site?
Yes of course, but not major ones, which I’m very thankful for. I’ve seen some of my co-workers in a very painful accident and it is very hard to concentrate after that.
Where do you stay here in Bangkok?
I stay in the dorms provided by the company. Our salary is not big so we cannot afford a place specially here in Bangkok. Every time there is a project they provide us a place to stay until the job is finish. Then we move to a different location when a new site is going to be built.
How do you travel to the dorms?
I walk. I walk with my co-workers. Most of the times it is close to where the site is being built.
What is the situation on the dorms provided?
For me it is okay. For some of the construction workers with kids I don’t think it is good for them to live in a place like that. But of course it is better to be with your family than be far away with them like me.
How do you spend a day after work?
Most nights we have beer together with some of my co-workers, one or two bottles each. We sit outside the dorm areas or some small street food area nearby where we can have a drink and share our stories.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to stay in Bangkok a little longer to earn money to send to my family back home. I want to work harder to be a good father to my son.