Have you ever heard about Thailand? The one first comes to your mind might be Buddhism. It is true that the major religion in Thailand is Buddha. However, what I will tell to you here is quite different. I have interviewed with a Thai, and she is a Muslim.
Her name is Hanisah Khareng from Jala, Pattani, South Thailand. She lives with her nuclear family, his mom named Aminah, Hariran- big brothers, Fatihah, Asri, Matayudin, Bahri. Most of Muslims in Pattani use Arabic name rather than Thailand name such as, Bonsak, Panana, and others.
It is not a strange for Islam is the highest percentage of religion in this province. Thai was not their native language, even they are Thai. Their native language is Jawi (Malay)- a malay language written in Arabic alphabet.
In their tradition, a house only for a nuclear family, when a child gets married, they may stay for a while in their parent house (usually at man’s parent house). Then they have to move to their own house.
Just as most Malay, she call her father whose name is Khareng as “ayah”, her mom “mama”, and her big brother as “abang”. To someone younger they only call their name. While a big sister “kakak”. Ayah, mama, abang, and kakak will not be found in Thailand vocabulary but we will found it in Indonesian language or Malay.
Hanisah is close to her mother and is open. She used to share her secrets with her mother. She told me that she really loves her mother and misses her cook. They are not accustomed to have breakfast together, but they usually have lunch and dinner together. Usually her mom cooks tomyam, padpid, and nasi goreng pataya.
The environment she lived in is densely populated. The distance between one house and other is not short. The citizens are welcome and cooperativeness like Malay. If someone held a big ceremonial feast, the family or neighbor will come to help them. They are a community self-helped.
As she told me, in fact, they do not have a certain tradition, most ritual or ceremonial are just the same in Islamic tradition. For instance, ritual on aqiqah, marrieage, death, open house at Ied day, and etc.
Hanisah’s father has passed away, he was a farmer. As the consequence her mother works outside as a seller in the traditional market to make ends meet.
Most of people there work as farmer at their own rubber plantation or as farmhand. Not many people work at government institution, it is difficult to penetrate. Pattani people have been discriminated due to their religion, language, and culture is different from the majority of Thailand.
After graduating from madrasah (Islamic school) students will be send to study abroad. Thus far, they study in Islamic country such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, and Indonesia. The subject they take also concerning in Islamic value.
Hanisah is one of the students studying in Indonesia. She took Pendidikan Bahasa Arab course. She was glad to study in Malang, Indonesia. She admits that she is not accustomed with the food yet. However, people of Indonesia (especially at UIN Maliki Malang) are nice, kind, and hospitality, makes her feels like home. It really helps her to adapt with the new environment.