The event was held to commemorate the death of Khaw Sim Bi 109 years ago, on April 10, 1913, by honouring his achievements, including introducing rubber plants to Thailand.
Thailand is now the largest rubber producer in the world, producing 4.37 million metric tonnes of natural rubber in 2020, down from 5.588 million tonnes in 2019.
Khaw Sim Bee, also known in short as Phraya Rassada, was the Governor of Trang in 1890 and became the Governor of Phuket in 1902, a position he held until his death in 1913.
As Governor of “Monthon Phuket”, Khaw Sim Bi was responsible for the Southern provinces along the Andaman coast, at the time comprising the administrative areas of Phuket, Trang, Krabi, Phang Nga, Tagua Pa, Ranong, and Satun.
As he was born in Ranong, his name is often reported as Khaw Sim Bi Na Ranong. His grave is with the family plot in the hills just north of Ranong Town.
The ceremony yesterday, organised by Phuket City Municipality, was led by Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong, joined by fellow Vice Governor Anupap Rodkwan Yodrabam and Phuket City Mayor Saroj Angkhanapilas.
The ceremony included bestowing offerings of fruit and flowers and the laying of wreaths at the monument on Khao Rang to pay homage to Khaw Sim Bi.
Mayor Saroj explained that the ceremony was just one of several events planned to commemorate the city’s forefathers and their lasting legacies.
For Khaw Sim Bi, his rule was a period of sustained development which saw Phuket make its first stride away from its dependence on tin mining. It also saw the construction of major roads across the island as well as that of major tourism landmarks still standing today, such as the old Phuket Provincial Hall on Narisorn Rd and the Chartered Bank and Police Station buildings in the heart of the Phuket Old Town area.