This essay is about Urak Lawoi, an indigenous people in the Andaman Sea outside the West Coast of Thailand. The study shows what has happened to them when being deprived of their territory and forced to abandon their culture, lifestyle and traditional economic subsistence. Urak Lawoi have until recently maintained a culture, language and life style set apart from that of the rest of Thai society. During the last one and a half decades, rapid tourist development, with large-scale hotels and bungalow resorts, has impacted significantly on the nomadic life style of the Urak Lawoi. They have been pushed farther from the shore and into unproductive areas. Powerful global forces linked to the world market economy result in a situation that is not favorable to the Urak Lawoi and their ecosystem.
My intention is to find out how the Urak Lawoi act in response to a rapid change of life style, increasing contacts with outsiders, forced relocation due to the establishment of national parks and integration into the global market economy. My essay will also show how the inferiority complex of an ethnic community increases under circumstances of social, political and economic pressure. I have focused on the situation of the Urak Lawoi in Ko Lanta, an island outside the West Coast of Thailand.