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History close to home


About Talk

Somchai Kwangtongpanich is an owner of a shop that sells ropes and nets in Sam Pheng. Out of curiosity, he has done a lot of research on Chinese new year festivals, Sam Pheng’s history and geography, and the way of life in Sam Pheng and Yaowarat. He is dubbed as an amateur historian of the local community. Somchai found that Yaowarat is not simply Chinatown, it played a crucial part in Rattanakosin era. In the past, Yaowarat was an open area that attracted people from various backgrounds, embracing them as a part of the community. Somchai’s time spent conducting research has assured us that this side of history is something we can all relate to. He often compares it to a tree. Trees stand strong because of its past expanding roots, and its blossoming leaves look ahead to a promising future.

Chalakorn Panyashom

Somchai Kwangtongpanich

– Currently a third-generation shop owner of Kueng Heng Seng, which sells ropes and nets in Sam Pheng
– Travelled through every corner of the streets to find old local maps to thoroughly understand Yaowarat; he even found out that his house appeared in the old version of the 20 baht banknote!
– A committee and consultant to many organizations and museums. These include Bangkok Arts Gallery, Yaowarat, Samphanthawong Museum, the working group for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Tourism of the Yaowarat and Related Areas, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University, and Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Center at Trimitr Witthayaram Temple