(left) Pra Rama and Princess Srida (right) Thotsakan
Date of Issue: 3rd August 2005
Designs: Illustrates Thai version of the drama Ramayana
(left) Hanuman (right) Pra Rama’s battle with Thotsakan
The mask play or khon drama is one of the oldest forms of Thai dramatics. Many of the khon dramas originated in the Ayutthaya Era. The play and costume designs are influenced by the traditional play “Chuck Nark”. The fighting style is inspired by Thai sword play and traditional musical plays. Most of the actors wear masks unless their roles are angels, humans, queens, princesses, or giants. The two most-played khon dramas are the Ramakien and Unarrud. The above stamps illustrate characters from the Ramakien.
I have seen extracts from the Ramakien and other masked drama plays at various locations. For example, at my school and at funerals (see picture above). The people attending this cremation actually encoraged me to take pictures and enjoy a front row seat. Plays and other performances are not unusual at funerals. More about this another day.
I’ve been greatly encouraged by the comments of Guest Thaifanfan’s comment on my blog, “Thailand’s Cultural Excellence”. Prior to Columbus there have been many cultural encounters and exchanges. Julius Caeser conquered Britain in 55 BC and there was interaction with the Celts.
The long drawn Persian war brought about a confrontation of large proportions ending perhaps with the battle of Salamis. I agree with Thaifanfan’s statement.
My views of Columbus as a starting point is limited to the birth of the nascent discipline of the American School of Anthropology and the Britidh School of Social Anthropology,leading to extensive field work and ethnography.Bronislaw Malinowski became a cult figure in the study of culture through his field work in the Trobriand islands. All this has led to a genuine respect for other cultures.
Apart from war, trade and commerce; religion also has played a significant role in cultural assimilation. In case of Buddhism, there has been a seamless integration of south east Asia.
Fah Hien and Hiuen Tsang from China have visited India and recorded their observations on Indian culture, so has Megasthenes from Greece. In case of Thailand, it would be interesting to know early cultural interactions with China and other countries from fellow-bloggers.
Is this English or metric or some type of patent pending idea? With just the thought that Thailand one day will be the super emperor of the world where one makes, sets, and changes rules? Or the forefront of some fascinating new concept?
We booked a tour to northern Thailand via interne from USA, paid in full up front including on night in Bangkok before tour departing. As you all know…any airlines from the USA always landed in BKK around 11-12 pm. We know we will be arriving in the last hour of Dec 24… and won’t get to our hotel until 1:00 am and this would be Dec. 25 already. So we told our tour company to book the room on Dec. 25 (ahh…one night in Bangkok!, before the tour departing).
The hotel limo picked and dropped us off at the hotel at around 2:00 am.
Well..guess what!! When we’re trying to check-in, the front desk said our booking is for tomorrow!!
WE SAID: no!..”It is for today!”
FRONT DESK: no!…tomorrow! sir and mam
WE SAID: Let me ask you. What time is it? And what date?
FRONT DESK: 2 am…Dec 25
WE SAID: What date is our booking for… on your paper?
FRONT DESK: Dec. 25
WE SAID: right now is Dec. 25. isn’t it?
FRONT DESK: Yes
WE SAID: Why can’t we check-in then? If this is the day we’d booked?
FRONT DESK: because in Thailand …our new day doesn’t start until 6:00 am!
WE SAID: what system is your time here? English or metric or something else
FRONT DESK: international..I quesssss…
WE SAID: Don’t you know that according to the international rule vol.1, page 1, paragraph 1… states that “ the next calendar day shall be the starting of new day on this earth & always begin at 12:01 am?”
FRONT DESK: Yeh.. but in Thailand is always at 6:00!!!!
Sigh…sigh… and sigh again! We gave up! So what should we do? Right now we’re in Bangkok and it’s dark, very humid, and we’re very fatigued and hungry after 18 hours flight. So we asked for any available room and paid for it right there. We got the room and the next morning we called our tour company and yelled at them over the phone (sorry guys..I know the Thai golden rule “Don’t ask why…Don’t ask too many questions..Just accept things as they are”) At the end our tour company paid half of the first night cost, cause it’s their mistake!)
I always think we’re very darn smart couple. Each trip is always well thought, researched, and planed out carefully so nothing is amiss.
Ahh…But this is Thailand!!