Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 20:13 | SYDNEY
Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 20:13 | SYDNEY

Blaze at the Siam Society

18 December 2009 09:50

Only because I was told by a friend from Bangkok on 16 December did I learn of the destruction by fire of the venerable Siam Society buildings in Bangkok.

Founded in 1904 and operating under royal patronage, the Siam Society has a claim to be the most most active learned society in contemporary Southeast Asia, though members of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society might dispute this. The once very active Burma Research Society has long since ceased to function, never recovering from its eclipse under the regime of Ne Win.

For scholars concerned with the humanities and social sciences in mainland Southeast Asia, and not just Thailand, the Siam Society has been a focal point with its excellent library in Soi Asoke and because of its outstanding Journal. No doubt it will literally rise from the ashes, but it's difficult not to conclude that the loss of its premises will handicap its activities for some time to come.

Meanwhile, all who have benefited from its existence as a scholarly port of call will hope that this major set-back can be rapidly overcome.

Photo by Flickr user matana, used under a Creative Commons license.