Buffalo Eats Grass, What Does Cell Phone Eat?

This is a story from Koosang Koosom, from a country girl, a bit backward but very interesting, written in Thai language, Photo by Peter Whittlesey.

The majority of manufacturer workers are from out of state, mostly from the Issan region of Thailand, which have very little education, but some have bachelor degree but still work as factory workers. As for my friends, and I, we’re from Issan region and don’t get pay a lot, average income are approximately a bit over 100 Baht per day ($3) depending on seniority, those that have been there longer would get paid more. I’ve been there for about 8 years, but I’m not bragging, I get pay almost 200 Baht per day ($6.12), if I have over time, then it’s plenty for me to cover my living expenses.

Most of my friends would go out and buy cell phones, but I wrote a letter to ask my mom of what she wanted me to buy, she wrote EMS back and this was what it said,

‘Ee Lou heh, don’t buy cell phone, take your money and buy a buffalo, your uncle is selling a female buffalo for 10,000 Baht ($306.27)’

So, that year I bought my mom a buffalo, my mom was so happy that I listened to her. This was what she said,

‘We are country folks, not business people, buying a buffalo is a good investment, and cell phone can’t help you farming, not like buffaloes.’

I was speechless, how did my mom even come up with such ideas. When I returned to work, all my friends bought brand new cell phones, and were exchanging numbers, they asked to see mine, and I told them that I bought a buffalo instead. They all laughed at me and said ‘Lao Issan, so backward.’

As of today, I’m still about the same, I still buy my mom more buffaloes, we have 4 buffaloes now, and our latest addition is a calf. Buffaloes make me homesick, they make me think of my mom, dad, sisters, and relatives back home, so I would go visit them often, I don’t have to wait until Songkran Festival like most of my friends.

As for my friends, they would buy the latest trend of cell phone, their income are so little, but use expensive product such as cell phone, so most of their income would go toward paying for these bills. Some even call their parents that live in the country to take out loans to help pay off their cell phone debts for them. I see some of my friends use cell phone, and have to spend money, because cell phones eat money, unlike buffaloes that eat grass.

I’m not patenting my ideas, so if you want to buy buffaloes instead of cell phones, I think it’s a great investment.


  1. I think it’s very interesting, this lady is unique in her own way, and I believe she has what it takes to become successful in life. Most people are so pressure by their peers, but it’s obvious that she didn’t care of what her friends thought of her, and didn’t care to try to keep up with the Jones; this is the type of person I respect.

    For a Saturday, I’m doing well, Thanks. 🙂

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