The Phuket News Premier League predictions The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
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

Culture: Luk Kreung – a key ingredient in Thailand’s cultural melting pot

Many cultural theorists have explored the relationship between farang and Thai national identity or “Thainess”. They posit that since the 1950s and the beginning of the 21st century, foreign influences have played an increasing role in how modern Thai identity is made. The mixed-race children of Thai and foreigners or luk kreung, as they are know here, have become a popular symbol of how Thai and Western cultures interact in the modern world.


Sirinya Pakditawan

Saturday 24 September 2016, 02:00PM


These Thai-Western unions, and luk kreung, have been known since the Ayutthaya period. However, it is only in post-Vietnam War era that they have become a widespread social phenomenon and been woven into the cultural fabric of Thailand.

Prior to the later decades of the 20th century, interracial marriages were generally limited to small groups of people. These marriages were most often between people who were at the forefront of cultural contact, such as Christian and Chinese-Thai folk, who worked closely with Europeans.

Nevertheless, there were some rare cases of Thais marrying foreigners which occurred among royals or the elite. For instance, Prince Chakrabongse Bhuvanath (Prince of Bisnulok) married his Ukranian wife Ekaterina “Katya” Desnitskaya and the union produced their son Prince Chula Chakrabongse.

Another prominent example is the marriage between Prince Rangsit Prayurasakdi and the German lady Elisabeth Scharnberger. They had three children, two sons and a daughter called Princess Charulaksana Kalyani Rangsit.

In fact, there were a few Thai men of royal descent who married Western women at the beginning of the 20th century. For instance, there was Lady Ludmilla Ivanovna Barsukova from Russia who was married to General Mhomjao Thongtekhayu Thongyai. They had four children together and stayed in Hua Hin. Lady Ludmilla, who is probably of Russian royal lineage, lived in Thailand until she died in 1980 at the age of 90, her Thai name was Mhom Mali.

Among common folk, Thai-farang relationships started becoming more common in the 1960s when American GIs were stationed at the US military bases in upcountry Thailand. Some of these American soldiers formed relationships with Thai women most of whom came from poor rural areas. There was often a social stigma attached to these relationships and as a result luk kreung from the Vietnam War era were not regarded as desirable.

Despite the often negative perceptions of luk krueng in the 1970s and 80s, it now seems that Thailand has re-invented them as representatives of a modern form of Thainess. For example, the movie The Siam Renaissance (2004) starring Thai-French actress Florence Faivre, deals with how modern Thai identity has been in some ways been subsumed by the influence of powerful Western culture.

The Thai fascination with luk kreung has only increased and it is now common to see them as characters in novels, movies and television series. A fascinating book which touches on this subject, The Ambiguous Allure of the West. Traces of the Colonial in Thailand (2010), charts the rise of luk krueng as television and advertising stars and suggests that they provide a way for Thais to reassess how they see “their cultural selves on the world stage”.

In this way, luk krueng are often presented as being more cosmopolitan, globalised and modern than their Thai contemporaries. This trend towards adopting Western culture is often described as originating in the late 19th century with the Siamese people’s rapid adoption of siwalai or “civilised” things.

The present popularity of Western-Thai luk kreung in soap operas, advertising and the media in general, makes it clear that they play an important role in the construction of the modern Thai national identity.

Sirinya Pakditawan is a ‘luk kreung’, or half-Thai, born and raised in Hamburg, Germany. She enjoys writing about Thailand, with a focus on culture, art, history, tradition and on the people, as well as a mix of topics concerning Thai popular culture, travelogues and articles about Thai food.

Sirinya’s aim is not only to entertain you but to provide you with information and facts about Thailand, its culture and history that may not be generally known, in particular to the Western world. She has a PhD in American Studies from the University of Hamburg.
To read the original story, and many more, be sure to check out Sirinya’s blog:  www.sirinyas thailand.de

 

 

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:
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:
    Forget your 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


Patong Police to call in Bangla bar, club owners over late-trading hours

8 years been travelling to Phuket I have seen a decline in tourism so I believe the necessity for venues to operate longer hours Bangla road is a grea...(Read More)


Thai wife confesses to murdering German husband in Phuket

Of course it would never happen in a peace and harmony loving country as yours,where one cares so much about each other and where they have such an ex...(Read More)


Thai wife confesses to murdering German husband in Phuket

Amazing how in Thailand, losing your temper and striking out with violence with no rational thought and a complete absence of self control is an excus...(Read More)


Pacific corals in 'worrying' state: researchers

Want to know why the current US President is ignoring this issue? Because he knows it's too late, and has likely been for decades. He simply want...(Read More)


Phuket’s Eva Beach appeal earns demolition reprieve, says Rawai Mayor

It appears some people attempting to post comments here may not be aware that the following increased enforcement of our comments policy already in fo...(Read More)


11 held in crackdown on foreign crime

It appears some people attempting to post comments here may not be aware that the following increased enforcement of our comments policy already in fo...(Read More)


CIB tackles illegal drone flight threat

It appears some people attempting to post comments here may not be aware that the following increased enforcement of our comments policy already in fo...(Read More)


Phuket lifeguards confirm Oct 1 strike

Is this some sort of Blackmail? Horst...(Read More)


Phuket lifeguards confirm Oct 1 strike

Shame on the PPAO, deaths that will surely occur can be directly attributed to those who undervalue lifeguards. Public safety for locals and touri...(Read More)


CIB tackles illegal drone flight threat

Article made me thinking: Why is the Army not patrolling in the Deep South with drones instead with unprotected pick up trucks, ripped apart like sar...(Read More)

The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
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
COLOURING BOOK
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 © 2017 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.