Author Archives: Kitjar Sukjaidee

Southern Thailand On Fire

Southern Thailand has always been a favorite holiday getaway for Malaysians in search for good food, value-for-money shopping, and sometimes instant-love. Since January 2004, the Malaysian arrivals in Southern Thailand have slipped sharply. Today, hotels in Hat Yai, Thailand’s southern commercial capital, are almost empty of Malaysian tourists.

Reason: On Jan 4, 2004, a dozen religious fundamentalists raided a Thai armory, killed four Thai soldiers and torched 18 schools. That event marked the beginning of the Southern Fire (Fai Dtai ไฟใต้ ) , which to date, resulted in more than 1,000 people losing their lives. Why are innocent civilians and even Buddhist monks losing their lives?

I have always been very comfortable traveling in Southern Thailand, especially Hat Yai and Songkhla. Being able to speak Thai, I would always arranged for a rented-vehicle and a driver to move around the south.

I love visiting all the Buddhist Temples in Southern Thailand, such as the Wat Phra Phom, Wat Matchimawat, Wat Chiang Hai, Wat Hat Yai Nai and the Shrine of Chao Meh Lim Ko Neo. My last trip to Southern Thailand was in December 2003, and since then, I have not make a return visit. It is now almost too dangerous be an independent traveler in Southern Thailand.

I am shocked to read the latest accounts of last week’s brutal murder! I am surprised how two Thai Marines, Sub-Lieutenant Winai Nagabutr and Petty Officer Kamthorn Thong-iad, were brutally stabbed by masked men and ordinary villagers at Narathiwat’s Ban Tanyonglimo (Kampung Tanjung Lima).

What have driven ordinary Thai Muslims to have such strong hatred with their Thai Buddhist counterparts? Is this the work of a select few fundamentalist groups who have totally brain-washed the Thai Muslims? I am shocked to read the developments of terrorist groups in Southern Thailand. It is most frightening where religion is sometimes distorted to serve an invalid cause.

The majority of Thai Muslims are proud to be Thai. I recalled speaking to an elderly Southern Thai Muslim in early 1996. He said, ‘Thailand is our heart and soul. I am a Thai first, and a Muslim second. I am most proud that both my son and grandsons are in the army serving His Majesty King Bhumipol.’

What happened to people like this elderly Thai Muslim gentleman? I am sure the majority of Thai Muslims bear no hatred to the Thai Kingdom. They have utmost love and respect for King Bhumipol Adulyadej, Queen Sirikit and Crown Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who all make regular visits to the southern provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala.

In fact, the royal family’s palace, the Thaksin Ratchaniwet Palace is located in the deep south of Narathiwat. Their Majesties have spearheaded numerous economic projects to boost economic growth in the south. The Southern Fire has saddened Their Majesties that they have repeatedly called for reconciliation among the Southerners.

Historically, there is little argument or basis over Southern Thailand’s self-rule or independence. Since the early 18th century, Southern Thailand has been in firmed control from Bangkok. Unlike the Malay States of Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis; Patanni, Yala and Narathiwat do not have their own Malay Sultanates in the 19th century — these provinces are controlled directly via governors sent by Bangkok.

I may not be the right person to comment on Southern Thai politics, as I am not a Thai by citizenship, but I would like to highlight my thoughts as a student of Thai History. Having researched clearly on Southern Thailand, there is no question of Thai suzerainty. Even international documents of the 19th century such as the Original Correspondence of the Far Eastern Department, Straits Settlements Original Correspondence, and the Dispatches from United States Ministers to Siam and others, have all proclaimed Siam’s suzerainty in Southern Thailand.

The current Southern Fire should not be a question of political suzerainty, but how Bangkok can win the hearts and souls of the Southern Thai Muslims. Without doubt, it is time for Bangkok to come down hard on the troublemakers, but it should do this without alienating the majority of Muslim citizens.

As days becomes months and now even years, the economic conditions of Southern Thailand have worsens considerably. These days, both Thai Buddhists and Thai Muslims cannot even walk out of their homes without worrying for their lives. Are the Southern Thais paying too-high-a-price for the Southern Fire? When can peace and tranquility return to South Thailand?

Feng Shui Colours

When I was at Impact Meung Thong Thani (อิมแพ็ค เมืองทองธาน ), in 2003, I was shocked to see a sea of violet flags….. I was thinking to myself, the Thais must really like the colour purple. But why only purple, I asked myself?

Feng Shui Colours

It was much later that I found out that purple represents Saturday, and since Her Royal Highess Crown Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn was born on Saturday, her Royal Standard is a Chakri Emblem with a violet background. Interestingly, it was at Meung Thong Thani, I got my first glance at Her Royal Higheness —- she was simply majestic…… Today, I still have her poster in my study room.

In Thailand, two more popular Royal Flags are the Yellow Royal Standard of His Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej and the Blue Royal Standard of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.

But what about colours and what do colours represent in Thai/Indian Brhamanic culture?

Today Thais, especially of Chinese descent have a very strong believe for Feng Shui Colours (The Science of the Wind and Water), and each day is attributed to a certain colour as well as an auspicious planet.

Sunday Phra Arthit (Sun God) อาทิตย์ Red แดง
Monday Phra Jan (Moon God) จันทร์ Yellow แกลือง
Tuesday Phra Angkarn (Mars) อังคาร Pink ชมพู
Wednesday Phra Phut (Mercury) พุธ Green เบ๊ยว
Thursday Phra Pareuhat (Jupiter) พฦหัส Orange ส้ม
Friday Phra Suk (Venus) ศุกร์ Sky Blue พ้า
Saturday Phra Sao (Saturn) เสาร์ Violet ม่วง

Well, if you are born on Sunday, your lucky colour is Red. Thus, whenever, you have a special event, such as a new job interview, first date, etc etc, you wear the colour red. Seriously, it need not be a red suit, but a merely small token such a red pen, a red handkerchief, or even a set of red ear-rings.

Colour Feng Shui is now among the newest trend in the West, but it seems the Thais have long discovered how to use colours to enhance one’s luck. Well, if you are on a holiday to Thailand, you would notice how important colours to the Thais are. For example in Phra Tinang Vimarnmek, you would see an abundance of the colour pink. That’s because His Majesty King Rama V Chulalongkorn was born on a Tuesday.

If you note the colour black is missing from the Thai colour palette. For the uninitiated, the colour black represents the ‘middle night’ of Wednesday, when Phra Rahu (The God of Eclipses) edges out his brother Phra Arthit and Phra Jahn to rule the cosmos….. Thus, on Wednesdays it seems, there are always less parties in Krungthep Maha Nakorn.

There are special ways to harness Colour Feng Shui to one’s benefit. However, I reckon, it is best to consult a Thai Brahmin or a Thai Monk on how to best used Feng Shui Colour. Generally, the lucky colour depends on the day and time one person is born. And also the best day to make merit is on one’s day of birth, of if that is not possible, wear your birth colour when making merit!

Nonetheless of all colours, Thais have a penchant for red. There is this popular saying

Ja tuk reuh peang
Whether cheap or expensive

ao deng wai gon
Take anything red first

PS Acharn Richard wrote a similar posting earlier, I hope I have not ‘infringed’ on his earlier writings

Bangkok: Here I Come!

It is amazing how sometimes wishes do come true!

It was only last week that I was praying to make a return trip to Bangkok aka Krungthep Maha Nakorn. Well, I got into office this morning, and I was surprised to be assigned for an appointment / meeting next week in Bangkok.

However, this is not going to be a holiday in Bangkok, but one of those lightning fast trips — I would be arriving in Bangkok at about 22.30 on Wed, Sep 7, 2005, and I have to fly back to KL on 1500 Thur, Sep 7, 2005.

Geez, that leaves me with less than 14 hours to be in Bangkok. Minus all the meeting of people, the checking-in at the airport and all the nitty-gritty, I have less than 1 1/2 hour for my own leisure!!!!!!

Hey, how come my office overseas assignments are becoming like perpetual wait periods at the airports? Perhaps if I do not sleep at my room at Royal Orchid Sheraton, I would be able to see a little bit of Bangkok after dark?

Any Bangkokians bloggers wanna meet up for a late night supper? Or perhaps, a few Bangkokians to show me what’s Bangkok between 0000 and 0700??

Long Live Her Majesty The Queen

Next week marks Queen Sirikit of Thailand’s 73rd birthday. I would like to use this blog as an official platform to offer my sincere congratulations and birthday wishes to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand (สมเด็็จพระนางเจ้้าสิริกิตต์พระบรมราชินีนาถ Somdech Pra Nang Chao Sirigit Pra Boromma Rachineenat)

Song Phra Charoen Pa Ya Ka
Long Live Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand

Without doubt, Phra Rachanee (Her Majesty)’s birth date on August 12, 1932 marks one of Thailand’s most auspicious dates in her long history. Born of noble rank, Mom Rajawongse (M.R.) Sirikit Kitiyakara first met His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (พระบาทสมเด็็จพระเจ้ายูู่หัวภูมพลอดุลยเดชมหาราช Prabat Somdech Prajaoyoohua Poomipon Adonyadayt Maharat) at a car manufacturing plant in France in the mid 1940s

Their Majesties meeting were love at first sight, and it marks the beginning of a very successful union between Their Majesties. Surely, Her Majesty’s greatness for the Thai people was noted from an early age. Nai Luang (His Majesty’s) mother, Her Royal Highness The Princess Mother Somdech Ya once described Her Majesty as a cheerful, polite and sometimes, timid personality.

When, Nai Luang (His Majesty) was involved in a road accident in Lausanne, Switzerland, it was Phra Rachinee (Her Majesty) that was the first person to come to Nai Luang (His Majesty) bedside. It was Phra Rachinee (Her Majesty’s) heart of gold that blossomed into the Royal Wedding of April 28, 1950.

Today, after more than 55 years on the Throne of the White Elephant, Phra Rachinee (Her Majesty) is internationally acknowledged for her great beauty, graceful benevolence and dedication to her subjects. It is Her Majesty’s economic projects such as silk weaving, handicraft and various royal-sponsored projects that brought economic prosperity to the 76 provinces of Thailand.

It is Her Majesty’s personal sacrifice in spurning personal comforts and her willingness to share His Majesty’s heavy burdens that have set her path worthy of a national role model. From the deepest of my heart, I salute Your Majesty Phra Rachinee, Pa Ya Ka!

With the on-going violence in Thailand’s southern provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala, it is Their Majesties great benevolence that bonds together the Thai Buddhists and Thai Muslims together. It is this month also that Phra Rachinee (Her Majesty) would be at her Southern retreat of Thaksin Rachinawet Palace. May Her Majesty brings peace to the Deep South of Thailand. May Southern Thailand return to normalcy and of great economic prosperity.

Although I am neither a Thai citizen nor a Thai resident but I am a Thai Wannabe Lost in Malaysia , I have the highest respects for the Royal Family of Thailand. Their Majesties King Bhumipol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit have done a lot for the well-being of their Thai subjects. It is Their Majesties’ collective karmic virtues that make Thailand into a successful nation today.

Besides Nai Luang and Phra Rachinee, my greatest affinity to the Thai Royal Family is His Late Majesty King Rama V Chulalongkorn (พระบาทสมเด็็จพระจุลจอมเกล้้า เจ้าอยู่หัวมหาราช Prabat Somdech Phra Chulachomklao Chayuhua Maharat). He has been my patron saint for a very long time. Each time, I am in Bangkok, King Rama V’s Shrine at Dusit would be my focal point of pilgrimage.

Today, even in the heart of Bangsar, Phra Chulachomklao and Their Majesties figure prominently in my life. Thank you Your Majesties for your continuous showers of blessings.

Long Live The Chakri Dynasty of Thailand.
Long Live Their Majesties King Bhumipol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit

My Learning Thai Experience

My Learning Thai Experience

Every Monday night is my night out with Kru Da (Teacher Da) and my wonderful Thai friends. Surely, this is the only day of the week, when I can indulge in speaking, reading and writing Thai.

I have been learning Thai since 2003, and since then, I have learnt to speak Thai with a Bangkok (Krungthep Maha Nakorn) accent. You will not believe it, but when I was in Krungthep about two months ago, only a few people suspected I was not a Thai. In fact, I spoke Thai to almost anyone on the bus, taxi, song thaew and even the express boat.

At times, I was so tempted to take advantage of my language advantage, for instance of not paying entrance fees at Wat Pho, Vimarnmek Palace or even at Muang Boran (Ancient City at Samut Prakan). But, then, I was with my parents, and we were like tourists, with my knapsack and my totting camera. Seriously, I felt bad about cheating a Buddhist Temple, or even the Royal Household Bureau —- it will eat up on my karmic points, which I may not have enough!

But why learn Thai? I have been asked this question many times before. A lot of things with me, begins with an academic interest. Besides my official career, I have taken a keen interest on Southern Thai Studies. Currently, I am in the process of writing and completing my dissertation on an economic project in Southern Thailand. Of course, this have meant, research stints in Bangkok. Isn’t it only useful to learn to know the local language?

Yet, sometimes it takes much more to learn a completely new language. I have been fascinated with Thailand for a long time. I feel, Thailand and her people are very captivating.

But deep down, there is also the other driving force —a friendship with Vaninda, a Thai-Chinese girl from Assumption University. We first met in 2002 in Krungthep during a business event, but Vanida was so unlike other Thai people, she was well read, highly cultured and surprisingly appreciative of the arts. We have kept in touch, and when I am in Krungthep, I will try to make time for Vanida. Surely, the dinner and movie date with Vanida at Siam Square would be forever edged in my mind.

Well, in order to communicate with Vanida, I pushed myself to learn Thai harder. Although she could speak English and Teochiu rather fluently, nothing beats the way to a girl’s heart by speaking and understanding her own language, right? On my subsequent visits to Krungthep, she was surprise on my ability to speak Thai. But, somehow life is not always a bed of roses. How sad……………

Today, I see my ability to speak Thai as something unique. For sure, other than my Thai group of friends, I would have little chances to speak Thai in Kuala Lumpur. Sometimes, there is the need to speak Thai at Wat Chetawan or at a Thai restaurant in Malaysia, but that’s about it.

Perhaps, I can be a little optimistic. Who knows a Vanida or any other Thai girl, with her charming eyes, a good heart and of mutual academic qualities will come my way. Can I afford to be a little hopeful in life? Maybe I should, right? Chaiyo

PS: Please also check out for a complete version of this post.