People in the provinces favor "playing stocks," or what is really straightforward gambling. This involves picking a two-digit number in advance of televised accounts of the gain or loss of points in the SET at noon and at again at 6:00 p.m.
The O&M report says Bangkokians touring rural villages "will probably be amazed to find" most villagers switching on their TVs twice a day to see if they won or lost in the underground numbers game based on stock market gyrations.
O&M says marketers of tractors, pesticides and daily household items should consider advertising on the two channels that carry the SET numbers at 11:55 a.m. and 5:55 p.m. Rounds are held every 15 days.
Rural Thais spend a considerable amount on gambling. O&M says many rural families set aside an amount "almost equal to their monthly installments for some products" for the state-run national lottery and an underground numbers game.
O&M teams drawn from "almost every department" in the Bangkok agency traveled to several of Thailand's 72 provinces every three months to interview principally women between the ages of 20 and 50 and teenagers of both sexes. They also check out the products in the kitchens, bathrooms and refrigerators in the homes they survey.
The study began in October, 1997 and the most recent field trip was in November 1998.
Thai rural people consider themselves poor compared to city dwellers, the survey found. This is certainly true if you consider the average income of just $82 a month from the once-yearly sale of a rice or tapioca crop. But O&M says many rural Thais have second and even third jobs which they do not mention unless specifically asked.
When the non-farm jobs are taken into account, many rural Thais actually make more than $1,300 a month--higher than the salary of a government clerk or supermarket employee in the capital.
The agency says hard-working Thai rural people put their money into the purchase of more farmland, pick-up trucks, motorcycles and electrical appliances. They define themselves as poor because they don't have money in bank accounts.
Copyright January 1999, Crain Communications Inc.