Daily Archives: August 19, 2008

Back in Endearing Bangkok

Image075 by you.

The above image is quintessentially Thai for me. The desire to import a lotus from a lake, a pond or a water-body close to the river; and put it in a container in the courtyard or terrace, is the most serene effort to bring the heavens home. Not much of a traveller myself, I was delighted to land in Bangkok along with my consort in the sleek geodesic airport of Suvarnabhumi, which resembles the Paris Airport quite a lot. On the way to the city I passed through Ramindra Road ( The Central Ramindra is very conspicuous), Chaengwattana Road (The Siam Jusco is closed and deserted) and the much-fly-overed Laksi Intersection. The twin-cubes of Laksi Plaza, however, are still there. It is now called the IT Plaza.

Strange how familiar places attract us. With excellent hospitality all around, it has been the best time I have spent in my life along with my wife. The very first day me and my wife moved over to MBK where I showed the familiar places that I used to frequent in 1989. The same ambiance, the same food courts and virtually the same shops. The light, the glitter and the movement of people continues to be as enchanting. The same place in the ground floor has the artist making sketches. The only change seemed to be the parking lot by the Hotel Pratmuan Princess. Yes, I had come back to where I once belonged, with my better-half around with me. So to say, there won’t be any homesickness, like it was in 1989. I sign off by posting another beautiful photograph, snapped from a branch of Tesco Lotus.

Image076 by you.

National Science Day in Thailand

In 1868, H.M. King Rama IV invited Sir Harry Ord, the Governor of the British Straits Setllements, as well as a party of French astronomers, and scientists, to observe a total solar eclipse, which he predicted would be on 18th August at 12:13 p.m. He also calculated the precise location in Thailand where it would be best to observe. The party travelled to Wa Ko, a small village in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, about 300 kms south of Bangkok, for the event, where the King’s calculations proved to be correct. This was just another example that showed both his loyal subjects and foreign dignitaries how much of an intellectual he really was. Even more impressive was the fact that he had predicted this eclipse himself two years before it actually happened. It is unfortunate that King Rama IV is more known to the modern world as the dancing and singing king in the Broadway stage production and the movie “The King and I”.

Tragically, during the expedition, King Rama IV and H.R.H. Prince Chulalongkorn both contracted malaria. The kind died the following month in Bangkok. In 1982, the Thai government designated King Rama IV as the “Father of Science in Thailand”. In addition, they declared that henceforth, August 18th would be known as National Science Day. In 1989, the King Mongkut Memorial Park of Science and Technology was established to commemorate King Rama IV. The park is located at Km.335 of Highway No. 4, about 12 kilometres from Prachuap Khiri Khan and 4 kilometres along a branch road.

Main source: Century of Growth: The First Hundred years of Siam Commercial Bank