Just Enough, A Journey into Thailand’s Troubled South
By Mira Manickam
Published 2013 by Silkworm Press
Also available for purchase through the University of Washington Press and in Kindle edition.
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Just Enough travels inside the conflict zone of Thailand’s southernmost provinces and gets under the surface of traditional Malay Muslim culture. Mira Lee Manickam, an adventurous American researcher, takes us with her as she settles into a small fishing village in troubled Pattani Province. Stepping uncertainly into this deeply traditional world, she gains privileged access to a side of Malay Muslim society rarely seen by outsiders and obscured by the violence featured in Thai newspapers.
In a style that is humorous, honest, and moving, Manickam charts the southern Thai conflict through her travels in the region and tells the stories of her friends in the village: a gang of wild-haired teenage boys who observe conservative religious protocol by day and listen to heavy metal in back-street teashops by night; a group of young women too educated to find husbands in the village but too traditional to leave; an impoverished fisherman with a Zen-like stance on impermanence; and a dropout who immerses himself in Western culture as a star rock-climber in a nearby beach resort. These stories illustrate the tension between the values of a traditional Malay Muslim community and the demands of an increasingly modern Thai society.
Just Enough is a personal journey of growth, loss, and friendship, and reveals the colors of daily life that lie beneath the black and white of newspaper headlines.
“The author offers an informed and engaged perspective on the impact of the hundred- year-old conflict in southern Thailand. It focuses on the lives of the common people in the areas of education, economy, and religious development, and their effect on the present and the future of the country. In a warm, affectionate style it highlights the cultural diversities in Thailand as a whole and also in its widespread Muslim community.”
—Dr. Imtiyaz Yusuf, Assumption University, Bangkok
Just Enough in the Press
In the Chronicle of Higher Education