Penang Heritage Trust TalksTalks

Penang Heritage Trust Talk: Penang in Thai Documents

Penang Heritage Trust Talk: Penang in Thai Documents by Prapassorn Posrithong

Date: 22nd December 2016 (Thursday)

Time: 5pm- 7pm

Venue: Penang Heritage Trust, 26 Church Street

Donations: RM10 (members)/ RM 25 (non-members)

RSVP: / tel: +604 264 2631

About the Talk:

Penang Island was traditionally called KohHmak or island of Areca, in Thai. After the former capital of Ayutthaya was destroyed and Siam, former name of Thailand, lost power over the ports in lower Myanmar, Penang became important port to acquire foreign goods for Siamese royal court in Bangkok.

The late 18th to mid 19th century royal letters give ideas of how Siamese traded via Penang and also details of goods and Penang based commissioner. After European businesses opened in Bangkok, trade with Penang still continued mostly with the southern provinces. Documents found under the roof of Phuket city hall show letters, receipts, tickets etc. from Siamese Consulate, British Government, stores  and companies in Penang.

Many records were also made by Siamese royalties who visited Penang in many occasions. After Siamese coup d’état of 1932 Thai royalties and politicians chose Penang for their Political Asylum. Their lives in Penang were described through letters , books and photographs. These documents also include current events in Penang such as the difficulties during Japanese occupation, their relations with local friends, places they visited for instances.

About the Speaker:

PRAPASSORN POSRITHONG is an independent scholar of Indo-Thai cultural and historical relations. She studied art history at Silpakorn University, Bangkok, and earned an MA in museology from Maharaja Sayajorao University, Baroda, India. She has been a curator at the National Museum, Bangkok, and director of the National Museum, Phuket. From 2004-2007, she was a lecturer for the post-graduate programme in museum studies at Mahidol University, Thailand. In 2013 she was an assistant director at Princess Sirindhorn Anthropology Center in Bangkok.

She began to research the relationship between Thailand and Penang relations about ten years ago, while working in Phuket. Her main research now is on Indian textiles for the Thai market which has been gradually expanding to ancient maritime trade in Indian Ocean focusing on Thailand’s relations with India and neighbouring countries.