Jon Jandai is a popular farmer.
He is the founder of Pun Pun Center for Self-Reliance and he is also an author, speaker and YouTuber.
Jon Jandai was born in a poor remote village in Yasothon province in northeastern Thailand.
At a young age, he did rice farming.
Jon wasn’t a bright student at school and used to get poor grades.
While growing up, Jon observed that his villagers were very self-reliant as they possessed many skills and they were capable of building houses, growing and cooking food and making tools and materials and self-healing.
At that time, the barter system was prevalent in his village rather than money.
Jon’s villagers used to live a laid-back life and they used to just work for a couple of hours for two months a year.
In one month, they used to plant rice and then harvest it the next month.
His villagers loved farming and used to have a free time of ten months per year in which they used to enjoy their life and were fully content.
Realising their poverty-
When Jon was 12, his village got electrified and people started buying televisions.
As the villagers started watching televisions, they were made to realise that they were poor as they didn’t have cars and big houses.
Prior to this, Jon’s villagers never even used the word poor, they used to only use the word suffering to refer to their unsolvable problems.
Thanks to the television, their peaceful and happy lives were disturbed and they started worrying about money and hating their misfortune.
Soon, the villagers realised that they had to move to Bangkok and work hard to earn money and succeed in life.
So, most of Jon’s villagers started moving to Bangkok mainly to work and some to study.
Jon moves to Bangkok-
Eventually, at 18, Jon too moved to Bangkok and started working.
Life in the city wasn’t easy for him as he wasn’t earning enough even after working for more than eight hours per day without taking a day off for many years.
Also, Jon faced other struggles in Bangkok, like living in a small confined room which was not only very hot and uncomfortable but was shared with many other people.
And he was surviving either on a bowl of noodles or fried rice because this was all he was able to afford.
In Bangkok Jon worked in several jobs like as a factory worker, construction worker and a security guard.
Introspection & realisation-
After working hard in Bangkok for seven years, Jon started thinking of why his life is so hard and even after restlessly working hard for many years why isn’t he earning enough and not able to feed himself well.
After introspection, he found that his way of life to be faulty but people around him differed with him as they opined that his way of life is perfectly normal as most of the urbanites were living like him.
Then, Jon remembered his childhood days and realised that his villagers were very happy even though they worked for a few hours for only a couple of months per year and also, they were able to feed themselves very well.
But he in Bangkok was struggling to feed himself even after toiling for more than eight hours per day for many years and thanks to this realisation, he started disliking the city life.
Jon also realised that humans should make progress to make their lives easier but not hard.
He was also worried thinking that if he continued living his life like this, his next generation would have to work even harder and this would ruin their health.
Dropping out from university & returning to his village-
In order to better understand the modern way of living and study law, Jon joined Ramkhamhaeng University in Bangkok.
Soon, he lost interest in studying at the university.
Jon also realised that education mainly taught destructive environmental practices and complicated life.
Thanks to all these, he dropped out from university and quit his job and returned to his native village.
Living the simple village life-
After returning back to his village, Jon decided to lead a simple life.
Thanks to his childhood memories, he was confident that he could lead a comfortable life despite not working for long hours and he would suffice with good food to eat and he knew that growing his food shouldn’t take much of his time.
So, Jon became a rice farmer.
He worked for just a couple of months a year and got four tons of rice.
This rice was plentiful for Jon to feed his whole family consisting of six people as they used to consume less than half a ton of rice per year.
So, he sold the remaining rice.
Jon also dug a couple of fish ponds and this ensured that he and his family had fish to eat all-round the year.
As the rice farming wasn’t very profitable, he started growing a small garden in less than half an acre of land.
Jon started spending just 15 minutes per day taking care of his garden and thanks to this, he had grown around 50 varieties of vegetables.
And as these were more than enough to feed his family, he started selling the remaining vegetables in his village market and started to earn more than that of minimum wage.
Jon also learnt making soap, sauces, shampoo, tools for himself and he also learnt self-healing.
Thanks to all these successes, his village life was far better than his life in Bangkok.
Also, unlike living in Bangkok, living in the village enabled Jon to spend time with his family and become self-reliant and more confident.
While working in Bangkok, as Jon was earning very less, he didn’t have any savings but thanks to farming, he was earning three times the minimum wage.
Apart from his labour, as he wasn’t investing anything in farming, all his earnings were net profits.
While Jon was working in Bangkok, his mother used to work hard and earn ฿3,000 to feed his family but thanks to his farming, there was no longer a need for his mother to worry about food and so, she started depositing her income.
Earthen building & seed saving-
Once Jon visited New Mexico in the United States and saw an earthen building there and was very impressed by it and started learning about it.
And after returning to Thailand, he decided to build the first earthen building in Thailand.
Jon started working on his house just a couple of hours per day and within three months, he built his house.
And later, he built many earthen houses and they gained popularity in Thailand and in 2002, he started teaching people to build earthen buildings.
Then, Jon started focusing on seed saving as he felt that the seeds of many plant species weren’t being saved and as many plant species were going extinct, they posed a risk to food security.
So, in July 2003, he along with his wife, Peggy Reents co-founded Pun Pun center in Chiang Mai, Thailand to focus on seed saving.
Later, Pun Pun grew into a learning centre for self-reliance, simple living and homeschooling.
Peggy Reents hails from Colorado, United States and this couple has a son.
In 2018, Jon founded Pun Pun Isaan and this focuses on sustainable farming.
A famous speaker & YouTuber-
Jon is a famous speaker.
On 3 August 2011, he delivered a TEDx Talk titled- Life is easy. Why do we make it so hard? And as of June 2022, this speech on YouTube has garnered 12 million views.
Jon’s other videos on YouTube are also quite popular and he also spoke at many forums.
On 22 August 2019, he started his YouTube channel by the name Jon Jandai Life is Easy and as of June 2022, he has 147K subscribers.
Jon also has a website.
He authored many books which are as follows-
So, how are you inspired by his success Jon Jandai?
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