The Phuket News Premier League predictions The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News
The Phuket News Phuket Culture
The Phuket News Arts | Community | Culture | Dining | Education | Phuket Entertainment | Environment | Health | People | Technology | Travel | World Entertainment XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Ajarn Pranee is a living repository of Phuket’s Baba culture and history

Few people in the world understand Phuket’s unique culture better than Assistant Professor Pranee Sakulpipatana, known to a huge circle of friends and admirers simply as “Ajarn” (teacher) Pranee.


Baz Daniel

Saturday 30 September 2017, 09:00AM


Although she is by training and profession a historian and teacher, Ajarn Pranee is also a living part of the Baba culture, which is a quintessential element of Phuket and she is widely recognised as a leading expert on the history and genesis of her people.

Ajarn Pranee was born on Thalang Rd in the heart of Phuket Old Town into a Chinese immigrant family – the original expats of Phuket – who settled here during the great Phuket tin-mining boom about 150 years ago.

Ajarn Pranee now has a lovely house in the leafy Land & Houses Park gated community close to Wat Chalong, and it was here in her living room brimming with Chinese vases and icons that I enjoyed a delightful traditional lunch with her and her husband.

“I am so glad that I was born in an old-fashioned era. It was so beautiful when people were so kind and lived without technology. Old-fashioned people spoke nicely. Nothing like this age, when people are rushing and can be so selfish,” Ajarn Pranee told me.

She had insisted on preparing us a delightful lunch at her home and as she served me she said, “I cook with two very essential ingredients… time and love. These qualities are vital for fine food and for human life, yet we seem to live in an age where they are becoming increasingly threatened, particularly here in Phuket.

“I grew up in Old Phuket Town during an era when many families had lived on the island for generations, so there was a sense of ownership and responsibility towards our lovely home. Now Phuket is flooded with temporary workers and people who are not from here, who treat the island with a complete disregard for its future and sustainability.”

Ajarn Pranee’s first language was the Phuket dialect of Thai, while her second was the traditional Hokkien Chinese of her forebears and she also speaks the central Thai dialect and English. She received her Thai name in 1956, when she was just nine years old, when the then-Prime Minister Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsong­khram was the country’s leader.

BCIS Education Center Phuket

Ajarn Pranee’s family wasn’t the only one to adopt a new Thai name at this time, as anti-communist sentiments were rising in the ’50s both in Thailand and the US. It’s perhaps ironic then, that the present threat to Phuket’s survival comes from an unbridled capitalist tumult which pays scant regard to the niceties of conservation and sustainability.

Dining with Ajarn Pranee, I felt that I was in the presence of Phuket’s living history and that she represented a kinder, gentler, more civilised version of the Phuket than the one we know today. Certainly, Ajarn Pranee underscored this feeling when she spoke of the way in which vital local traditions are being lost.

“Both my Hokkien cultural roots and those of local Theravada Buddhism make great play of the debt we humans owe to the land that nurtures us. If we derive water, food and sustenance from the land, then these philosophies teach that we should pay the land back by acts of preservation and nurturing of the environment that has blessed us.

“In Phuket, our once-stunning natural environment also provides the touristic attractions that draw visitors from all over the world and thereby underpins our total economy. And yet we pay this bounteous land back with a savage disregard for its survival and its future. It is both a great cultural tragedy and a great environmental one and I increasingly find I want to withdraw back into my own culture.”

Ajarn Pranee is still extremely active within Phuket as the Honorary Consul to Phuket for Nepal; Phuket Community Foundation President and Thai Peranakan Association Vice President. She continues to dedicate herself to caring for her husband and their two children and to preserving and teaching about Phuket’s Baba culture.

As I walked back from the charming lunch I’d shared with Ajarn Pranee and her husband, I felt highly privileged to have gained an insight into the history and traditions of a more civilised time on our island. Equally, I couldn’t help but feel a cloak of sadness descend upon me as I contemplated where Phuket’s callous head-long rush is taking us.

 

 

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:

Comments Left: Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail: (No Hotmail, Live, MSN and Outlook accepted at this time)
Security:
   => Forget password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments


Untreated wastewater at Patong Bay takes its toll on soft corals

This will not be corrected until the hundreds of guesthouses and restaurants in Patong are actually connected to the sewage system. Currently, they a...(Read More)


Phuket wastewater-treatment plant to empty into Nai Harn Lake

You can write the future headlines now: "Accidental discharge closes lake" - "Oops, we did it again" - "Governor promises qui...(Read More)


Are businesses in Phuket national parks legal?

Foreigners should in Thailand do as the thai, don't take difference between legal and illegal as something serious. It is a mixture, all in the w...(Read More)


New Phuket coastal property development under investigation

What is it with thai authorities that never before constructions but just after building they pop up to 'investigate'? Are this departments w...(Read More)


It's a crime: Foreigners marrying Thais now subject to fingerprints taken for criminal background

How can it be discriminatory? As the article states, "...marrying just to get a marriage visa." which means other benefits that are not norm...(Read More)


Alcohol sales banned on Makha Bucha Day

Sales seems to be the issue. No problem The day before then I get my stock whisky, gin, wine, beer Cheers! What is actually the problem with buyin...(Read More)


It's a crime: Foreigners marrying Thais now subject to fingerprints taken for criminal background

"There is no marriage visa!" Nonsense! I had one myself! Banning someone for recommending to leave{ tourists or expats}this place if someon...(Read More)


New Phuket coastal property development under investigation

Whether land is owned or not its time to stop stripping the hills of trees and turning them into eyesores. Pure greed. In the Western world planning ...(Read More)


Phuket Opinion: Avoiding the road to ruin

When I went many years ago nobody was allowed on the beach. One could only swim and snorkel from the boat thereby keeping the beach in a beautiful pri...(Read More)


It's a crime: Foreigners marrying Thais now subject to fingerprints taken for criminal background

I mentioned Bohol, great place. If they have criminal records, how are they getting in the country, why isn't immigration getting them as they co...(Read More)

The Phuket News
PHUKET NEWS
Phuket
Thailand
World
Business
Q A
Weird World
ARCHIVE
POLL
CURRENCY
WEATHER
PHUKET TIDE TABLE
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
World Entertainment
Photo Galleries
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket
Thailand
World
SURF REPORT
PREDICTIONS
The Phuket News PHUKET CLASSIFIEDS
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
SEARCH CLASSIFIEDS
POST CLASSIFIED
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
POST EVENT
The Phuket News PHUKET DIRECTORY
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
POST LISTING
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Subscribe
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
CONTESTS
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
 
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2018 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.