Archive | December 2021

Dr Phil Video Featuring Moi

I was very pleased to go for a short trek around Lower Pierce Reservoir in Singapore with my long-time friend Phil Towndrow and to participate in his on-going video blog project.

Check that out here:

This was totally extemporaneous so some of my explanations are a bit garbled. Here’s some more info:

The white guy who had a planation nearby was none other than John Turnbull Thomson, and he did indeed build a bridge or at least improve an existing bridge.

There were actually numerous bridges in the area and they may hold they clue to the name Ang Mo Kio…however, the colonial district name of Amokiah appears on maps in the early 1840s and thus predates Thomson’s planation.

Here’s one from 1842 from National Archives of Singapore:

The official National Heritage Board trail guide for AMK, written a decade ago by the excellent researcher and writer (and my friend) Tan Chui Hua, has this to say:

So, like, next time I go on a walk with Phil, maybe I should script it a bit first!

Siam Society Raquez Talk on Youtube

If you missed my talk for the Siam Society on Alfred Raquez’s visit to Bangkok for King Chulalongkorn’s jubilee in 1903, you can catch the recording on the Society’s Youtube page here:

In 1903, French journalist and explorer Alfred Raquez visited Bangkok to cover the jubilee of King Chulalongkorn for the Hanoi-based newspaper L’Avenir du Tonkin, leaving one of the most detailed accounts of the pageantry of the celebrations, which has unfortunately been all but forgotten. However vivid his descriptions, they must also be read against the background of French-Siamese political tensions of the time, tensions that continue to have an impact on Thailand’s relations with its neighbors of former Indochina. This presentation will discuss Raquez’s coverage of King Chulalongkorn’s jubilee as 1) a historical artifact of French colonial posturing at the fin-de-siècle; 2) a descriptive travelogue that offers a vivid portrait of the event; 3) a source for traces of biographical information about the elusive Raquez himself.


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