February 20, 2008

Fives Years in Siam from 1891 to 1896

The Siam Sentinel has been posting a series of excerpts from H. Warington Smyth's book Five Years in Siam from 1891 to 1896, originally published in two volumes in 1898. The title page of the book states that Smyth was once the director of Thailand's Department of Mines.

So far there have been four excerpts:
As quoted in the post about Pak Nam:
From the sunset on to dawn the little isle lies a blaze of brightness in the great dark river; the crowded boats come and go into the ring of light, and the long-peaked yards of the fishermen stand inky against the glare. The deep bass of the monks intoning in the high-roofed Bawt swings across the water, with the subdued mirth and chatter of the never-ending stream of people circling round the pagoda.
Volume one of this book can be downloaded from Google Books (within the United States). In fact, Google Books has four different versions of the first volume from various libraries, all of which can be downloaded, but no downloadable version of volume two. So it goes.

While obviously much has changed, one of the running themes that you'll notice in these posts is similarities between Siam of 1892 and Thailand of today. Well worth a visit. Take a look!

[Cover image from University of California, via Google Books.]

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