Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Social Customs of LAWA

Assimilated Lawa practice many customs that the Thai people keep on special Buddhist occasions, to keep up with their Thai neighbors. Their own original customs and social events need more study, since do mush of it has been discontinued or is not practiced regularly. They are not, in any event, a great people for festivities. The more backward Lawa are people with rather unclean habits and chew betel excessively, but few of them have become addicted to opium. Those living closer to the Thai people chew betel as mush as the country Thai do themselves, and drink strong rice liquor on special occasions. There are considerable differences in the attitude that the different types of Lawa have for outsiders or visitors. On the other hand, the more civilized Lawa become the same friendly, cordial host that the Thai people are. The more remote members may at times be quite unfriendly, mostly out of ignorance, and are easily misunderstood because of their gruff language and ways. Even these, however, are not and aggressive or pugnacious people, as are their Wa counterparts. Most of them have learned and gained mush from the gentle.

In the near areas, the Lawa headman has been duly appointed by local Kamnan or through the Amphur's office. There are Lawa leaders who are themselves Kamnans and take and active part in the Amphur official activities. The remote Lawa continue to select their own nominal chiefs, usually according to the general will of the people within a given village. There are proportionately few villages with such practices today, since most Lawa circles are at least in tough with the local Kamnan. They are rather a law-abiding people who obey the Thai district officials, and there are few incidences of crime among themselves or with other tribes. Most of them understand and respect the Thai Government's laws and tent to place any complaints through proper sub-changwad channels. The uneducated Lawa might deal with their own criminals very drastically, ostracizing guilty members is a common punishment.

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