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  1. #1
    Melting Snowflakes

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    “Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that was never colonized. . .”

    http://leminhkhai.wordpress.com/2013...ver-colonized/

    That statement, or some variation of it, gets repeated over and over. Several months ago I was in Thailand and saw some advertisement that was encouraging students from other countries to study in Thailand, and one of the “selling points” that it listed was that “Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that was never colonized. . .” And how exactly does that make studying there attractive/better?

    I was reminded of that statement the other day when I came across an article in The Straits Times (22 November 1924, pg. 3) about the government of Siam’s hiring of a new “financial advisor” in 1924. This is what it said:

    “The appointment of Sir Edward Cook as Financial Adviser to the Government of Siam is in accordance with the established policy of that Government to look to Great Britain for some of its most important advisory officers, says the Pioneer [a newspaper in British-controlled India].

    “Americans, French and Danish officers are also to be found in the Siamese Service. Thus Danish instructors train the provincial gendarmerie and there is an American Adviser in Foreign Affairs. In addition, a British Judicial Adviser and a French Legislative Adviser, with legal advisers of different nationalities, are developing the administration of justice in the Siamese Courts. British Forest officers are largely employed in the forests and English is the language of commerce, while the Siamese State Bank which was formerly managed by a German, is now managed by an Englishman.”



    Ok, so Siam/Thailand may not have experienced “direct” colonial rule, but with foreigners managing the state bank. . . is it really accurate to say that “Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that was never colonized”?

    Add to this the fact that all of those foreigners and the subjects of their colonial empires enjoyed extraterritoriality (i.e., they were not tried in Siamese courts for crimes committed in Siam), and it becomes even harder to say that “Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that was never colonized.”

    Yes, Siam/Thailand was never “directly” colonized, but it also wasn’t exactly “sovereign” either. It was something else. And that something else is fascinating to study and think about.

    Does this somehow make it an attractive place to study? Former colonies like Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines all use aspects of the colonial legacy (namely the English language) to attract foreign students. They do it in a subtle way that emphasizes a perceived “advantage” that has been gained from colonization without talking about the actual fact of colonization.

    In promoting international education in Thailand by saying that “Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that was never colonized,” where are people saying that Thailand has gotten its “advantage” from? That’s not clear, just as Thailand’s “non-colonized” past is not very clear either.
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  2. #2
    Gone with the Wind

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    not a smart come-on
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  3. #3
    Killing Delusions

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              Ethnicity:   Issan & Brao
    Laos Thailand Cambodia

    It's a nationalistic propaganda since the name change of Siam to Thailand, "Land of the Free". While it wasn't officially colonized, it was under threat consonantly from France and Great Britain, if the World Wars had not happened, it would have surely been colonized. It was the battleground between the French and British control, France was taking piece by piece of the greatest extent of the Siamese Empire, it lost Laos, and Western Cambodia. It lost the Shan areas to Burma under the British direction, along with some Malaysian provinces. Due to the onset of the World Wars, Britain and France redirected their resources back to Europe.

    While the French didn't control Siam, it had sway over judicial matters relating to French colonials who stayed in Thailand, France set up courts and military tribunals. Also Siam, had the private sectors of Britain operating firms there like what you posted above. The situation was akin to the colonization and annexation of Hawaii, how the American private sector slowly took over Hawaii's agriculture sector, and import and exporting, and they wanted more power, and ended forcing the monarchy of Hawaii to abdicate, and set up a Republic controlled by American businessmen. However this didn't happen due to the two World Wars.
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  4. #4
    Melting Snowflakes

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    I only copied and pasted btw. The original post wasn't written by me.
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  5. #5
    Killing Delusions

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              Ethnicity:   Issan & Brao
    Laos Thailand Cambodia

    ^^I figured, I'm just referring to what was posted. During World War II, Thailand took on the side of the Japanese, which had subdued the French control over Indochina, so they could remain in control, and it was able to take back Cambodia. On the condition for Thailand to join the United Nations, it had to give back parts of Cambodia back to France under various treaties it had with France dating back to the late 1800s.
    Last edited by Sanaeha; 03-10-2014 at 12:54 PM.
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  6. #6
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    So right now who is in control of Thailand? Cause with all the fighting between yellows and reds, its seems foreigners control everything and don't really care about Thailand
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  7. #7
    Master

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    thailand was actually ally of japan in world war 2...

    thailand has a unique culture.. i was wish i we could kept our own

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  8. #8
    Baby Cyber

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    Quote Quote
    is it really accurate to say that “Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that was never colonized”?
    More like a half-truth. It would be more fair to say that Thailand had great diplomatic leveraging with colonial powers. Keep in mind that just a couple centuries before France and the British seized territory from Siam, the Burmese had defeated Siam through war. But they were able to make a great comeback and that is something other nations should all admire.
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  9. #9
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    Did thailand even oppose european colonizers?
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  10. #10
    Colonizing a foreign country costs money to a colonizing power. Thailand probably didn't have anything that they wanted back then, either in natural resources or in its functioning as a strategic location.

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  11. #11
    Baby Cyber

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              Ethnicity:   Chinese
    Thailand

    Quote Originally Posted by cocoloto View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Colonizing a foreign country costs money to a colonizing power. Thailand probably didn't have anything that they wanted back then, either in natural resources or in its functioning as a strategic location.
    My advise -- read other people's comment before posting.

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  12. #12
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    Interesting.

    It's like the opposite of what happened in Japan. The Portuguese told the world Japan was a colony but in practice they never controlled or had any power in japan. the biggest influence the Portuguese had on Japan was Catholicism though at one time almost all the catholic converts got slaughtered.

    Japan wasn't colonized until the end of WW2 when the Americans took over the country.


    Back to Thai history, wasn't Thailand colonized or ruled by a rival Asian group in the past?
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  13. #13
    ໃຈຂີ້ຂ້າ

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              Ethnicity:   Yellow Chinese
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    ^ yes plenty of time by the Hongsawadee (Burmese) Kingdom. If it wasn't for a civil war that broke out in Hongsawadee, Ayutthaya would've been colonized still.
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  14. #14
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    ^So Burma and Thailand have gone to war many times I take it? i guess It's like the Japanese and Koreans.

    Was it back and forth or one sided?
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  15. #15
    ໃຈຂີ້ຂ້າ

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              Ethnicity:   Yellow Chinese
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    Not sure if it was both way, from my knowledge, it was just the Burmese who came into attack.

    Burmese were the aggressor majority of the time trying to conquered all the Tai civilization kingdoms which they could vassalage Lan Na and Ayutthaya. Only kingdom that were able to resist the Burmese was Lan Xang. Lan Xang fell to Burmese was because there was no king and a civil war broke out. The King of Lan Na/Lan Xang disappeared after an expedition to Longvek to get access to sea ports. Even when Burmese took over Lan Xang, their power didnt stretch far outside the realm of Vientiane unlike Ayutthaya and Lan Na which was pretty much the whole kingdom.
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  16. #16
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    ^ So Burma was like a powerful kingdom back then? Strange how the tides turn, today everyone in the world knows Thailand but no one knows Burma.
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  17. #17
    ໃຈຂີ້ຂ້າ

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    ^ during Bayinnaung reign, Burma was the most powerful kingdom in MSEA
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  18. #18
    Oompa Loompa

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    It's good that Thailand protected their independence.

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  19. #19
    ໃຈຂີ້ຂ້າ

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              Ethnicity:   Yellow Chinese
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    forgot to post this but this what the Burmese kingdom map after it captured all Tai-Lao Kingdoms during the reign of Bayinnaung

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  20. #20
    Melting Snowflakes

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    ^ That map is just way inaccurate. They're merely tracing boundary of modern states (laziness in part of the author). The Northeastern province Huaphan of Laos were part of Vietnam at that time and was only returned to Laos in the 19th century, and I'm sure border with Cambodia and Malaysia didn't lie up nicely with modern boundaries either.

    There's no record of Burmese encroachment on Vietnamese-controlled territory in the 16th century, no conflict or battle between Burmese and Vietnamese occurred, so wherever their territory extended, it should not overlap with Vietnamese-controlled territory, or else hell would have broken out in recorded history heh.
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