1. What is it about? Why did I choose this topic?
In our fourth unit “Benjarong” this year, I chose to focus on the color of the benjarong, more specifically, “How did it’s color change over time?” I was actually absent the day my group; Khing, Sid, Alex and Nond chose the topic of my presentation, so I didn’t choose the topic myself. However, I like the idea of learning more about its color because it is a topic I am interested in and have very little knowledge about.
2. 3 things I learn from my presentation
- The meaning of the term ‘Benjarong’ is ’5 colors’
- The five traditional colors (from the Ayutthaya period) of benjarongs are white, yellow, black, red and greeExpensive benjarongs are often painted gold and are used by the royals
3. 3 things I learn from my friends presentation
- The process of creating a benjarong is very labor-intensive and time consumingEach color of the benjarong are applied individuallyThe main steps to create benjarongs are Stenciling -> Painting/Glazig -> Kiln Firing
4. How Thai life and culture are reflected in my topic?
Learning about the color of the benjarong definitely relates to Thai life and culture. From my research, I had found that benjarongs were exported to other countries with different cultures and other countries experimented with its choice of colors. These moderations and additions to the choice of benjarong colors formed how it is painted today. People also use color to present the Order of Things, in this case they use real gold blended into paint to create benjarongs for the royals.
5. How does the changing world impact Thai art and crafts?
As the world changes and technologies become more developed, the popularity of benjarongs had decreased. Nowadays Thai people don’t often buy and use benjarongs in their household, instead they use it for displays. My family is an example of that. We do have a few benjarong tea cups and saucers, but benjarongs are mostly put on display in the living room. Benjarongs are often sold to foreigners instead of local Thai people. Also, as mentioned earlier, because of exporting and importing benjarongs to other countries, many elements in regards to the process of creating the benjarongs are affected.
1. What are my Benjarong designs?
I was inspired by this sculpture for my design:
My design consists of Lai Grajung-Bai-Tet around the rim of the plate, and Pra-jum-yarm inside the plate.
2. Why did I choose those designs? and 3. What would I like to communicate through those designs?
Instead of doing a cute design, I wanted to keep my benjarong looking Thai and traditional as much as possible, which is why I decided to add Thai prints and patterns into my design. Through my design, I want people to realize the beauty of Thai arts and how delicate and intricate benjarongs can be.
I felt that this unit has been a great learning experience for me, and I was able to once again learn about something I had little to almost no knowledge about. I believe that this unit should continue to be taught to other classes and future generations because not only that this unit teaches about the history of Thailand, it also teaches people about Thai culture. I think my group and I had done well on choosing resources for our presentation and made me Approach to Learning better. We used videos, books, websites and interview. However, on the presentation day, I remember we weren’t very organized, and that is something I would definitely like to improve on.
- 3 Things I learned from my presentation
Our third unit for Thai Studies is about “History During Ayudhaya and Thonburi Period“. I was partnered with Khing and we decided to do our A4 factsheet on Somdej Krom Prarajwang Borworn Maha Surasihanart (สมเด็จพรมพระราชวังบวรมหาสุรสิงหนาท). From this, I got to know more about his roles and what he had done in the history of Thailand. I got to learn that he had done service under the power of King Taksin the Great and King Yodfa Chulaloke the Great for more than 35 years. Secondly, I got to learn how Somdej Krom Prarajwang Borworn Maha Surasihanart was living during the time that Ayutthaya collapsed. During that time Thailand still have wars with other countries which influenced his life; he spent a lot of his time fighting and serving the people. Lastly, I got to learn and acknowledge the war he was most well-known from, which is the 9 Troops war, where the Siam fought against Burma. The Burma had 144,000 soldiers while Siam had only 70,000, but managed to win the war because of him.
- 3 Things I learned from my friend’s presentation
After watching all of my friends’ presentation, these are the three things I learned and found most interesting: First of all, I got to learn about the book called กำสรวลศรีปราชญ which was written by Sri Pra whilst he was traveling away from his home. I had heard about the book, but never learned about the author or who wrote it. Secondly, I learned from Sagar and Sid’s presentation that when Western people start entering Thailand, the French and Portuguese tried to convert King Narai and Thailand to Christian, in order to gain a foothold in Thailand. This fact had shocked me because if we did convert to Christianity, things would be much different in Thailand now. For example, there would be much more churches in Thailand, and temples would be hard to find. The last thing I learned about Nai Khanom Thom, and how he fought against Burmese champion boxers in an arena at Rangoon for King Mangra of Burma. He finally won and defeated 10 boxers.
- How Thai history during Ayudhaya or Thonburi period reflect beliefs, culture or Thai lives at present?
In the present, we can still see the different things that had existed during Ayudhaya/Thonburi period. For example, the different monuments that were built in honor of the key players in Thailand, such as Somdej Pra Pratom Baromahachanok’s (Somdej Krom Prarajwang Borworn Maha Surasihanart father) monument at Uthaiathani, or Somdej Krom Prarajwang Borworn Maha Surasihanart’s monument at Mahartart temple at Bangkok. Based on Naomi and Tricia’s poster, clothing in Ayudhaya period depends on which social class each person belongs in. There were three classes during that time; the commoners (including the slaves), the nobles, and the royal family. Although clothing nowadays are much more indistinguishable, the royal family still wear different clothing from the citizens. The royal family often wears ﬁne silk with beautiful designs.
- During Ayudhaya or Thonburi period, who are the famous key persons and what role do they do for the country?
One of the important key persons in Thailand is Somdej Krom Prarajwang Borworn Maha Surasihanart which I had studied and inquired into in this unit. Under power of King Taksin, Somdej Krom Prarajwang Borworn Maha Surasihanart was assigned as a high ranked police, and was responsible of controlling and put down protesters who gathered after Ayutthaya has fallen. He had joined battle for more than 24 times and fought to save and redeem independence and stability of the kingdom. He was known for his ﬁghting, which was why his nickname was “Sua” which lead him to be assigned many times as the army leader. Without him, we also could have lost the war against Burma, which could cause us to be overpowered by the Burmas today.
- I felt that from this unit, I had a wider range of understanding about Thai history, and main key events and players in the period. I think this unit is the most important out of the rest units we had studied this year, because without these events and players in Thai history, Thai wouldn’t be what it is today.
- I believe more people should study or at least have some knowledge about Thai history, because it helps us understand the foundation and basis of Thai people.
- In this unit, I think I had done a good job in researching. Information on the web about Somdej Krom Prarajwang Borworn Maha Surasihanart is very minimal, but Khing and I was able to find accurate information despite this issue. We also had to do a few analysis as well, when we had to write about how Somdej Krom Prarajwang Borworn Maha Surasihanart is important.
- If I were to re-do this project, I would like to make sure I get a chance to rehearse and go through my presentation with Khing at least once before the real presentation. I felt that Khing and I did well on the presentation, but it could’ve been carried out more smoothly. In the future, I would definitely like to allocate more time in this step.
Click here to view my poster
“Something Very Thai” is the name of our second Thai Studies unit. The ask assigned for the each person in the class was to choose three topics they think is something very Thai, research about it and make a blog post written specifically about the topic.
After we’re done with our presentation, we have to present our slides to the class. I am a Thai person, myself, so I expected that there won’t be a lot o f new things I would learn after the assignment and presentations, but I was wrong.
3 New Things I learned From My Own Presentation:
- Fried Insects can be used as a supplementary food for malnourished infants and preschool students, according to the Ministry of Health in 1987.
- Fried Banana is made from coconut slices.
- Warm/hot beer exist.
3 New Things I learned From My Friend’s Blogs:
- Muay Thai is a type of combat sport.
- Tom Yum Koong is called Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup in English.
- Silk is a natural fibre.
I personally choose Beer Shakes, Fried Banana and Fried Insects for the topics of my presentation. I choose the topics I choose because it is something that is very familiar and I have known since I was young. I think even in things that people don’t expect Thai culture to exist, there is always a hint of Thai culture reflected in everything. For example, Fried Bananas represents Thai people and shows how Thai people can be delicate when it comes to making snacks. Kluay Kaek also shows what Thai people have been eating and the types of food and methods of preparation Thai people have invented and been practicing for a very long time. It also shows how peoples lives where like back then. People usually eat things that can be easily found in the wilds and in nature. We still do that today, however in today and my own values we tend to buy products that are pre-made and already manufactured. Beer shakes represents how Thai people can adjust a foreign drink into a type of fusion food that Thai people can enjoy even more. This lifestyle couldn’t be found in old times because back then beer, blenders and ice wasn’t widely available in Thailand, but today we can see how the people of Thailand are always adapting food and things, sometimes from foreigners like beer shakes, into something edible.
Lastly, Fried insects is considered something very Thai because it is well-known across the country and is like a symbol for Thailand. When we ask a foreigner about fried insects, it is very likely that they will think of Thailand. Fried insects in my own values me is also like a ‘cultural divide’, because according to my research, the Northeast region were the original consumers of fried insects, however later on many northeastern citizens moved to other cities like Bangkok and spread fried insects across the country, therefore, I think it is also acceptable to say that fried insects also shows the effect it has on rural and urban areas, and shows a part of how Thailand is the way it is today. Fried insects is also similar to Kluay Kaek in ways that Thai eats food that can be found naturally in the wilds.
After this project I felt like I have expanded my knowledge about things around me, as well as deepened my understanding about Thai things. In this project, I think I have done well in researching as I used at least a variety of 3 different sources for each topic. In the future, if I had a chance to, I would like to do something other than a blog post for my research.
Image Source: Bloggang
Beer shake or เบียร์ปั่น is a beverage in Thailand that can be found sold in restaurants, bars and can be simply made at home. Beer shake is usually served cold, but can also be served hot/warm. Beer shake can be made using the following ingredients:
- 3 parts beer
- 1.5 parts tequila
- 0.5 parts lime juice
- 1.5parts sugar syrup
- Ice cubes
Image Source: Plazathai
Although beer shakes may not be invented or founded in Thailand, beer shakes are very common here. It is also something new to me because I never knew beet shake exist until about a year ago. I found this topic very interesting thus I decided to choose it to represent something very Thai.
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Buachoom, Singtong. Personal interview. 26 Nov. 2012.
Belsky, Gail. The list 100 ways to shake up your life. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press, 2008. Print.
Beer Shake. YouTube, n.d. Web.
Image Source: Eduzone.com
Fried insects can be found in various places in Thailand, most commonly in markets, along the street vendors and in temple fairs. Fried Insects was first eaten as a snack for the impoverished farmers from the Northeast and later on became a staple snack among urbanites and other regions. Fried insects can come in many types; ants, grasshopper, baby birds, beetles, grubs, scorpions, etc., and can also come in many stages of life, for example, ant eggs, ant grubs and full-grown ants. Although the fried insects may not appear very appealing, it can actually be used as a supplementary food for malnourished infants and preschool students, according to the Ministry of Health in 1987.
Image Source: Fortuner-Source
Fried insects is considered something very Thai because it is well-known across the country and is like a symbol for Thailand. When we ask a foreigner about fried insects, it is very likely that they will think of Thailand. Fried insects to me is also like a ‘cultural divide’ as the Northeast region were the original consumers of fried insects, however later on many northeastern citizens moved to other cities like Bangkok and spread fried insects across the country, therefore, I think it is also acceptable to say that fried insects also shows the effect it has on rural and urban areas, and shows a part of how Thailand is the way it is today.
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Smith, Philip, and John Goss. Very Thai. Bangkok: River, 2004. Print.
“กินแมลงทอดมีอันตรายไหม ..ระวังอย่างไร ?” Women – Thaiza. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2012.
Image Source: Noknoi
Kluay Kaek (กล้วยแขก) is a deep fried Thai snack that can be found in various places around Thailand, commonly around street vendors or even inside department stores. Kluay Kaek is prepared using banana slices, preferably cultivated banana/kluay naam waah. The banana slices are then tumbled in a flour mixture made from flour, coconut slices, sesame, sugar, coconut water then fried using oil in a frying pan until golden brown. Kluay Kaek is commonly known as Kluay Tord (กล้วยทอด), meaning fried banana. Kluay Kaek is normally served out of a paper bag and eaten with a bamboo skewer. Another a great way to serve them at home is with ice cream.
Image Source: Noknoi
Kluay Kaek is considered something very Thai for me because it is a Thai snack that have been around ever since I was born. In my opinion, Kluay Kaek also represents Thai people and shows how Thai people can be delicate when it comes to making snacks. Kluay Kaek also shows what Thai people have been eating and the types of food and methods of preparation Thai people have invented and been practicing for a very long time.
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“กล้วยแขก หรือกล้วยทอด .” Awesome Thai Food. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2012. <www.awesomethaifood.com/th/deep-fried-banana-gluay-khek-or-gluay-tod/>.
“มาชิม..กล้วยแขก..ที่อร่อยที่สุด..(ในโลก).” OK Nation. N.p., 14 Apr. 2012. Web. 27 Nov. 2012.
กล้วยทอด – ผสมแป้งทำกล้วยทอด. <http://youtu.be/ohKNgRTJKuw> YouTube, n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2012.