Man undecided between welding and roasting, literally

By Thai Newsroom Reporters

SOMCHAI ”JACK” THONGLO has contemplated giving up on his career as welder at a rice mill in his home district of Manorom in Chainat to concentrate more on what he has only done on his days off as a small-time job and finally turn it into a primary, lucrative one.

The young villager of Khung Sampao subdistrict has been strongly advised to devote more time and energy to roasting and vending sticky rice in bamboo tubes on daily basis instead of doing it only for two days provided as his days off from work at the rice mill in a whole month.

Earning some 17,000 baht in monthly pay at the rice mill, roughly an equivalent of over 500 baht a day, may look handsome but barely make ends meet in the eye of the humble Jack. In the meantime, he earns some 2,000 baht roasting and selling his sticky rice in bamboo tubes on each of his two days off.

After making calculations of sorts, many of his relatives and neighbours could not help wondering how much Jack would practically earn roasting and vending his sticky rice in bamboo tubes on his front yard everyday and forget about his welding career.

They would earnestly suggest that he call it quits from the rice mill once and for all and get more industrious with his small-time business of making sticky rice in bamboo tubes the recipe of which he has undoubtedly kept as a secret. Rumours in the neighbourhood have it that the secret is in the homemade coconut milk which he delicately adds to his glutinous snack.

Jack who uses burning charcoal in earthen stoves and unlidded metal drums to roast his sticky rice in bamboo tubes would not seem to care much about making more money out of such cottage industry and only spends the meager period of two free days in a whole month on it.

Jack usually makes some 200 tubes a day and sells one for 20 baht. Some are provided to regular customers on pre-order basis and others are put on a vending stall at home for interested passers-by. Anyway, all his sweet and milky tubes are always sold out in a single day.

More often than not, he tells his close relatives and neighbours that the process for the making of his homemade snack is quite an exhausting enterprise which forces him to get up at four o’clock and sweat it out over several hours until it is done for sale.

Indeed, Jack’s both ways of making a living as a welder and a roaster have one thing in common – one is roughly as heated as the other, literally.

Nonetheless, given an equal period of time to do business, he embarrassedly admits that employing oneself to roast sticky rice would almost certainly bring more earnings than being employed by others to weld metals.


Top: A welder. Photo: Per Hortlund (CC BY 2.0)

Insert: Sticky rice in bamboo tubes for sale. Photo:

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