Selamat Pati and Sawasdee Everyone!

I have been a member of Thai-blogs for a while, but due to my laziness, this is my first blog ever! I have been living in the UK for the past few years, and just escaped the wet winter for my project in sunny Southeast Asia.

I am a puppeteer, and “Dalang” is a Java-Malay name for what I do. A Dalang live his life by telling story from the past, the present as well as the future in order to connect people wih their roots, with one another and with their humanity. This is what I could contribute to this Thai-blogs.

When people speak of Siamese/Thai culture, they often left out its connection with the Java-Malay culture. In fact, the Java-Malay influences have embedded in Siamese/Thai culture (food, costumes, music, theatre). Dalang is also the name of the 17th century Ayudhaya literature based on the story told to two Ayudhaya princesses by a lady-in-waiting from the kingdom of Patani. For centuries the love story of Raten (Prince) Inao and Ratu (Princess) Busaba has inspired many Siamese writers, musicians as well as painters. Many Java-Malay words still exist in modern Siamese/Thai such as Bu-nga (flower), Bulan (moon), Bu-nga Rampei (potpourri) or Likey. The name of places (especially BKK and surrounding area) are also of Java-Malay origin.

The modern Thais are related to the Javanese and the Malay as much as they are to the Laotian and the Tai/Dai. Even the royalties are of no exemption. One of the wives of Rama II was a grand daughter of Sultan Sulaiman of Singora (Songkla). Sulaiman himself was a Javanese of Persian origin who fled the 16th century Javanese-Dutch war. He founded the sultanate of Singora and probably married the local Malay from Patani kingdom. His great grand daughter was Chao Chom Manda (princess mother) Riem, whose legendary Massaman Curry inspired Rama II to compose a poem for the royal barge procession. Chao Chom Manda Riem was the mother of Rama III. Her cousin, Pranang Rampei (Queen Thepsirindra) was also Rama IV’s wife and King Chulalongkorn’s mother.

This is a short introduction of myself and the story connected to my blogger name.

6 responses to “Dalang