Beyond Living and Dying: Applying a Flow Theory Perspective on Illegal Transborder Mon Labours in Thailand


Patcharin Sirasoonthorn


     Flow is an effective mental state in which an individual is so involved in an activity that time or space seem not to matter. This article investigates the “flow state” of illegal transborder Mon labours (ITMLs) from their home town in Mon State, Myanmar to Thailand during 2015-2017. The author employed qualitative research including interview in-depth and observations with thirty ITMLs. Then, the Boredom Proneness Checklist (BPC) were adopted to describe a negative experience of ITMLs. The flow state of optimal experience during their illegal transportations on AH1, Thailand revealed four motivational drivers of ITMLs. These were 1) cultural diffusion of passive, acceptance and boredom about their origin; 2) depression and inability to control their lives based on their own individual effort and creativity; 3) their personal skills of coverture equal required challenges; and 4) the holistic and joyful experience with total involvement during their journeys. For the ITMLs, the time of transportation was a motivating experience, especially for achieving their goal. The “flow” during transportation not only created self-satisfaction but also increased ability to 1) confront more challenging tasks; 2) learn to set clearer and higher goals for quality living; 3) control over individual actions; 4) forget about difficulties in time and space; and 5) establish a stronger sense of self-reliance.

Keywords: Flow Theory, ITMLs


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Research Articles


How to Cite
SIRASOONTHORN, Patcharin. Beyond Living and Dying: Applying a Flow Theory Perspective on Illegal Transborder Mon Labours in Thailand. Journal of Community Development Research (Humanities and Social Sciences), [S.l.], v. 12, n. 1, p. 36-47, mar. 2019. ISSN 2539-5521. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 31 mar. 2020. doi: