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Thread: Thai Historical Tidbits.

  1. #201
    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    not Thai; just over the border, where Cambodia also sent troops in WW1

    Foreign minister invited to France for centenary
    Sat, 12 July 2014
    Foreign Minister Hor Namhong will be in Paris on July 14 to commemorate the centenary of the First World War, the Foreign Ministry announced on Friday. Three military officers will hold Cambodian flags during a parade, which four youths will also join.
    Namhong was invited by French President FranÁois Hollande. France has invited more than 70 countries that took part in the war to attend the ceremony on Bastille Day.
    More than 1,000 Cambodians volunteered to fight in France during the First World War.

  2. #202
    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Chob's Avatar
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    Can you imagine the impact the whole affront of both the West and the Western Front had on these poor individuals ?
    Not diminishing the loss of all nationalities , but being sent to slaughter and being deigned a lesser being as they surely were so , so speaks of a life Im glad we will never know.
    Who said things arent getting any better?

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.
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  3. #203
    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    following my 'never turn down an invitation' principle, today found myself inside a Thai Army base (and of my own free will!)
    what was of most interest to me was some of the buildings; now in my 4th year in Chanthaburi and thought I knew a little about the French occupation of this province 1893-1906; well learnt a bit more today and have downgraded what i know to about 5% at most
    Inside the Tak Sin military base, seven buildings that were constructed by the French (or more likely i suppose, French design and built by forced labour) remain standing within the base grounds
    Six have been restored, and work is underway on this one, the date above the door says 1900



    Last edited by Hatari; 16th July 2014 at 20:43.
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  4. #204
    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    and examples of restored ones from the French occupation years

    excuse photo quality - had been told 'no camera' then told photos ok and only had crappy mobile phone

    1
    2
    3
    4
    5

    Pic 3 was a prison building - there is a similar French building on the coast at the river port of Laem Sing about 15km away - Tuek daeng 'Red Building'
    Last house had 1896 over the front door - maybe the commander's residence?
    Last edited by Hatari; 16th July 2014 at 22:00.
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  5. #205
    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Founding Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน PeteGill's Avatar
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    Great stuff Hatari. Very informative.

  6. #206
    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Zablive's Avatar
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    My first thought on #3 was "lock-up".
    I've seen similar in NE Victoria (OZ).
    My GGG-father was a Walloper around those areas.

  7. #207
    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Chob's Avatar
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    Cool !
    The only stuff Ive seen that is clearly European 'colonial' in Thailand is the places along the Chao Praya in Bkk.
    Of course Luang Prabang is full of fine old places , many resembling the terraces of inner city Sydney or Melbourne and giving that town a great feel.

  8. #208
    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Chob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zablive View Post
    My first thought on #3 was "lock-up".
    I've seen similar in NE Victoria (OZ).
    My GGG-father was a Walloper around those areas.
    Its very solidly built ...my first thought was that it would stand isolated and be an armoury or magazine.

  9. #209
    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hatari View Post
    Pic 3 was a prison building - there is a similar French building on the coast at the river port of Laem Sing about 15km away - Tuek daeng 'Red Building'
    Tuek Daeng


    **********

    and back to today's visit - pleased to see the buildings either already restored or being restored; quite at odds with what I have found generally when there's any mention of the French occupation which is understandably negative, every year there are ceremonies along the theme of 'never forget/never again' held here in February.
    Surprising to see how much effort has gone into preserving this piece of history.
    Almost directly across the road is the Chanthaburi Provincial Archives building which I have been told has photographs taken during the French occupation, on my one day 'to do' list.

    Only down-side of my visit - could not refuse requests and expect by now I feature on a few Facebook pages with my standard look of 'why do you want a photo with me?' accompanied by a grinning soldier . . . why indeed?
    Last edited by Hatari; 16th July 2014 at 22:22.

  10. #210
    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Zablive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hatari View Post
    Tuek Daeng


    **********

    and back to today's visit - pleased to see the buildings either already restored or being restored; quite at odds with what I have found generally when there's any mention of the French occupation which is understandably negative, every year there are ceremonies along the theme of 'never forget/never again' held here in February.
    Surprising to see how much effort has gone into preserving this piece of history.
    Almost directly across the road is the Chanthaburi Provincial Archives building which I have been told has photographs taken during the French occupation, on my one day 'to do' list.

    Only down-side of my visit - could not refuse requests and expect by now I feature on a few Facebook pages with my standard look of 'why do you want a photo with me?' accompanied by a grinning soldier . . . why indeed?

    Some would say a subtle message that this is a photo with a rare species?

    Sorry about that - I've been reading Thai Geezer for distraction from reality ...

    Oh, about the photos - I counted the first one as #1 - didn't notice the small numbers.
    Last edited by Zablive; 16th July 2014 at 22:31.

  11. #211
    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Chob's Avatar
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    Yeh , on second thoughts Ive never seen a magazine with 'cellar' like windows.
    I guess a magazine should be cave like and at least half buried ....

  12. #212
    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    one more for Chanthaburi - this cathedral was completed in 1909 and is on the site of the first (established 1711) Roman Catholic church in the Chantaboon district of Chanthaburi
    Construction would have started in the years Chan was under French occupation so I am guessing that is the reason for the gothic style
    The steeples/spires (?) were removed in WWII and only put back on in 2009.
    There are five Catholic churches within 20min of us, plus two junior and three senior/high schools
    In a generally flat landscape it's a handy landmark for me, if lost (it happens)



    Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Chanthaburi city
    Last edited by Hatari; 25th July 2014 at 13:41.

  13. #213
    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Zablive's Avatar
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    Is there still an active Catholic congregation there.
    I guess that is supplemented by your vietnamese origin citizens?

  14. #214
    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Chob's Avatar
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    The church is very reminiscent of those in French colonies , with its tall double spires and louvered bellfries , particularly Quebec. Im really happy to see the Thais value this sort of thing when its not Buddhist and its not Thai - and its old...555
    Heres the Saigon variety
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Chob; 25th July 2014 at 17:32.
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  15. #215
    Cadet
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    Thanks, great post. I never knew this bit of history.

  16. #216
    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zablive View Post
    Is there still an active Catholic congregation there.
    I guess that is supplemented by your vietnamese origin citizens?
    Yes; found one article stating the Cathedral had a congregation of 8300, and the Chanthaburi diocese 38,900 in total
    and yes again, began with Vietnamese Catholics but of course over 300 years a lot of intermingling has gone on; there's a church and junior/high schools in our town, we get Easter/Xmas parades etc.
    The most recent group of straight from Vietnam people was not far back in time - a refugee camp on the Chan coast 1976-1981 at Koh Proert, fleeing the Communists.
    They were fortunate to be there and not on Koh Kra, 80 kilometres from Nakhon Si Thammarat, which is a ghastly story of what happened to the refugees there - does not make for pleasant reading
    Koh Kra: "Hell on Earth"
    Massacres at Sea: "Koh Kra island"

    Interesting read here re United Nations field officer Ted Schweitzer


    The engraving on the plaque reads:
    "In honor of the thousands of Vietnamese refugees who were marooned, abused, tortured, and even murdered here on Koh Kra island. May their suffering never be forgotten. With heartfelt thanks to Mr. Ted Schweitzer, who was instrumental in saving thousands of marooned refugees."
    Last edited by Hatari; 25th July 2014 at 19:49.

  17. #217
    ประเทศไทยเพื่อน Founding Member Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน PeteGill's Avatar
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    ^^ Sad reading, thanks for the links....

  18. #218
    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    a little more to add to post #201

    note: 'more expendable than Europeans'

    Quote Originally Posted by Hatari View Post
    not Thai; just over the border, where Cambodia also sent troops in WW1

    Foreign minister invited to France for centenary
    Sat, 12 July 2014
    Foreign Minister Hor Namhong will be in Paris on July 14 to commemorate the centenary of the First World War, the Foreign Ministry announced on Friday. Three military officers will hold Cambodian flags during a parade, which four youths will also join.
    Their names have long been forgotten and the stories of Cambodia’s involvement in the Great War are now relegated to the pages of a few history books and the shelves of colonial archives. But last month, a small group of Cambodian youth, officials and soldiers joined a Bastille Day march in Paris to commemorate the centenary of the war.

    While the war was credited with blood-bonding the friendship between French and Khmer, and Cambodians undoubtedly held their own on the battlefields, some believe it was less patriotic fervour for the protectorate, and more a spirit of adventure, that drew young Khmers to serve.

    Huy Kanthoul, who interviewed veterans and later became prime minister in 1951, puts it down to the determined curiosity of men who had heard so much, for so long, about the land from which those who ran their country had come.

    “They wished to travel, to cross the seas, see France,” he wrote in his unpublished memoirs.

    ***************

    At the height of World War I, 2,000 Cambodian volunteers were sent to the fields of France to support their colonial rulers. Many did not return.

    March 1916. As artillery shells pounded the battlefields of eastern France, Sen Sak, a Cambodian widow, pleaded with the head of the French administration in Phnom Penh to allow her only child, Sen Sam, to leave the army before he was sent to fight in Europe’s distant war.

    Scribbled on the same letter – buried in Cambodia’s National Archives – is Baudoin’s reply. Faded to the point of illegibility, it is unclear if he accepted her request. It is also unknown if Sam deserted anyway or dutifully donned his uniform and boarded a steamer to the port of Marseille like approximately 2,000 other Cambodians eventually did by war’s end in 1918.

    ***************
    France, like Britain, turned to its empire.

    It was initially thought that hundreds of thousands could be raised in Indochina, but the figure was later limited to 50,000, according to Tully. Of that, the overwhelming majority were Vietnamese, but Cambodia was asked to provide 2,500 tirailleurs (light infantry) and workers to serve in the trenches, garrisons and factories of France.

    After three months, only 2,295 people had volunteered to serve as soldiers, of which 508 were sent home after it became apparent they had been coerced to join by local authorities. Of those remaining, 1,008 were deemed appropriate for military service. Of that number, 20 died during training and 340 more deserted.

    As he reported a batch of just 28 new recruits from Kampong Cham and Kratie provinces in May 1916, War Minister Chakrey Ponn attributed slow recruitment “not to a hostile sentiment towards the protectorate, but to the fact that Cambodians are very attached to their homes and do not like to go abroad. Having a far from belligerent character, they content themselves with their farms.”

    ***************
    Many served as garrison troops in France and Macedonia. But others saw action in Vietnamese-Cambodian frontline units on the Western Front – at the ferocious Battle of Verdun, in the Vosges mountains of Alsace and the Chemins des Dames in Aisne. Cambodians also fought on the Balkans front.

    Indochinese troops were said to be especially brave during patrols towards enemy trenches, Tully writes, although given that tirailleurs were often used in this manner, “the unavoidable conclusion is that they were seen as being more expendable than Europeans.”

    ***************

    For those who never returned a memorial was built.

    A commemorative monument called "To those who died for France" to be dedicated to the French, Cambodians and Asian residents of Cambodia who died for the French cause.

    Seven years after the end of the war, on Feb 14, 1925, the monument was finally inaugurated, and the memory of those who died could live on - but unfortunately not for eternity.

    And what remains of this monument that was located on the large traffic island in front of the current French Embassy? Apparently it was torn down during the Khmer Rouge period and the large bronze elephants that flanked either side of the monument can now be found at the entrance of the National Museum.

    Nothing else remains in Cambodia to remind us of infantryman Nuon* and his fellow countrymen who died in Europe's trenches in support of their colonial masters.

    *The Croix de Guerre was awarded to this brave soldier, volunteer infantryman Nuon, and was sent to his family to be kept as a sign of honor. His corpse was laid to rest in the cemetery of the village Stossweier in Alsace.
    'A courageous, infantryman who remained bravely at his observation post under extremely heavy shelling. Killed while carrying out his duties.'
    Last edited by Hatari; 3rd August 2014 at 14:11.
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  19. #219
    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    talking Catholic churches a few posts back . . .

    First Thai-Vatican stamp
    The Nation August 17, 2014



    Thailand Post on Friday launched the stamp which marks the 350th anniversary of the relations of the Kingdom and the Vatican.

    Marking the first cooperation with the Vatican, the stamps recalled the introduction of Christianity in the Thai kingdon, when a French mission landed during King Narai the Greatís reign.

    The Kingdomís first Catholic church was established in the Portuguese settlement in Ayutthaya.

    The stamp shows a painting of the mission. The original painting is now in France.

  20. #220
    Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Hatari's Avatar
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    Relics in Krabi, WWII ship off Chumphon
    The Nation August 19, 2014



    ANCIENT HUMAN bones have been unearthed along with clay pots believed to be up to 5,000 years old in Khao Na Wang Mi in Krabi's Muang district.

    News of the discovery came as the Fine Arts Department yesterday dispatched divers to inspect a sunken ship, possibly from World War II, about a kilometre off the coast of Chumphon's Lang Suan district.

    Following the discovery of the bones in a cliff area in tambon Thab Prik, the Phuket-based 15th Archaeology Office director Riam Phumpongphaet said the office would register the area as an ancient site to prevent further damage to the site.

    The state gave a private firm permission to carry out blasting but would no longer allow explosions.

    Riam said the belief that an area must be registered before being granted protection was incorrect.

    When an ancient-object is discovered and confirmed by the Fine Arts Department, the significance of the find is sufficient for the area to receive protection status, she said. The establishment of a grid system for archaeological excavations and surveys would take at least five days.

    Meanwhile, Fine Arts Department archaeologist Siri Ploymukda led divers to investigate the shipwreck at Ao Thong Kho in tambon Bang Nam Jeud.

    The team found the 50m by 8m ship on a shallow seabed. Siri said an initial inspection to determine the metal-hauled boat's origins would take three days and then there would be a week-long investigation.

    Villager Sawat Hinthian, 74, said Japanese soldiers landed at Chumphon during World War II and camped at Ao Thong Kho. He said the boat was damaged in a battle with Allied forces and sunk while being towed to Chumphon. Some villagers had removed parts of the ship and authorities needed to protect it, he said.
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