Jul 19, 2012|
How long have you worked as a chopping block vendor?
I’ve done this job for around 20 years, on and off, as periodically I head back to work on the farm in my hometown of Roi Et. Before this I used to be a laborer and construction worker.
Where do you source your products?
I buy them all in Bangmod district, but they’re all manufactured in Isaan, mostly Roi Et. The chopping blocks are made from tamarind wood, which most people probably don’t realize is really strong and durable.
What should you look for in a good chopping block?
With a tamarind wood chopping block, the odd small surface crack is normal and if you see a black or brown mark in the center you know you have found a strong piece of wood. If you regularly clean your chopping block it will last forever.
What’s a typical day for you?
As I live in Charoen Krung, at about 5am I generally begin walking from Wangburapa to Khlong Toei, passing through the Yaowarat area. I usually have around 10 chopping blocks in my cart and unless I sell them all then my day ends at about 10pm. It’s a lot harder to sell my products these days compared to, say, 10 years ago. With all the economic and political uncertainty, people just aren’t willing to spend any more.
What do you like most about your job?
It’s not complicated. And sometimes big-hearted people are happy to pay me a little over the going rate for my chopping blocks. For example, I’ll quote them B200 but they’ll give me B300 as they see the great effort I must go to every day. Despite the fact every family needs a chopping block, my occupation is a lot less competitive than that of other vendors.
Can you see yourself in another line of work?
I am happy to carry on like this till I can’t take it anymore. I don’t have a wife so I’m happy to help out my younger sister and her children back in my hometown. I also look after my nephew who lives in Bangkok with me. He works as a gas station attendant and studies in non-formal education.
What do you think of the young generation’s work ethic?
When I was in grade 7, I was able to transplant rice seedlings and feed the buffalos to help my parents, unlike this new generation who are already smoking in grade 10. I suppose there are too many poor role models around on TV and in movies. Some kids may have a high IQ but they lack patience, are stubborn and naive. They need to listen to their teachers and parents more.