headline.gif (38015 bytes)

by Kittisak Khamthong

The story of "The Kingdom’s Royal Army", the light and sound show venerating His Royal Majesty King Taksin during the Pattaya Annual Festival, 12-19 April, 1999, had more than one purpose.King Taksin the Great

Aside from revealing pictures and words, the story articulated King Taksin’s struggle to maintain the kingdom’s freedom and keep the people from becoming Burmese slaves during the war with Burma in the year B.E. 2310 , 232 years ago. It also instilled reverence and a sense of nationalism for new generations to honor and love the country and the Royal Family. In addition, the story portrayed to visiting tourists the history behind what it means to be Thai, which stands for not being anyone’s slave.

The story began with two young boys, one Chinese and the other Thai, quarrelling and hitting each other with pillows, each accusing the other of starting the fight. A wise old man entered and broke up the quarrel, compelling the boys to listen to his story.

He began from the Sri Ayudthya period when King Naresuan regained the kingdom’s independence after a battle on elephants against the Burmese King, from Hong Sawadii, at Don Chedi in Suphanburi. The weapons and fighting ability of King Naresuan’s army were enough to drive off the Burmese. Thereafter, the King declared that the Kingdom of Sri Ayudthaya would never be a colony belonging to Hong Sawadii again.

The Sri Ayudthaya Kingdom maintained its independence with the people living a happy and prosperous life for the next 417 years, during which 33 kings sat on the throne.

However, during King Ekathad’s reign as king, which was the last in the Sri Ayudthaya period, the kingdom was administered poorly. The king was more interested in women than in the affairs of the country. The Burmese throne became aware of this and in the Buddhist Year of 2310, the Burmese Army surrounded the city of Ayudthaya. The siege lasted five months, with the Burmese eventually taking the city. Many temples, religious shrines and structures were destroyed. People’s homes were burned, looted and a large portion of the population was taken prisoner.

King Taksin the Great, whose original name was Sin, was the son of a Chinese man named Hai Hong. His mother was a Thai woman named Nok Iang. Seven days after being born, a huge snake was found coiled up and sleeping with the baby in his crib. The parents feared something unforeseen was happening, and therefore put the child in the care of Buddhist monks, who gave the child the auspicious name of Sin. Thereafter the child was trained in the art of warfare and weaponry.

Taksin was in the priesthood at the same time as a man named Thong Duang. One day while they were out collecting alms the two monks met a Chinese soothsayer who greeted them by saying "in the future these two monks will rule the entire territory." This greatly surprised both young monks. For Sin was only a mere two years older that Thong Duang, how could it be possible for two persons to rule the land? But later, as it turned out, Sin became King Taksin ruling the city of Thonburi. Thong Duang became King Phra BuddhaYod Faa Chula Lok, ruling the city of Ratanakosin, the first of the Chakri Dynasty.

Sin’s abilities in war were noted and he become a favorite of King Ekathad. He was eventually appointed as Assistant Administrator of the city of Tak. King Ekathad later appointed Sin as the Head Administrator of Tak after the former Head Administrator’s death.

Two soldiers under Sin, named Phra Phi Chai and Mek, were instrumental in his future. Sin was appointed ruler of the city of Kam Phaeng Phet at the same time the Burmese forces were attacking the city of Sri Ayudhya and the surrounding kingdom. As the ruler of Kam Phaeng Phet,o Phra Ya Tak Sin placed his trustworthy friend Mek in charge of Tak City and took his army along with Phra Ya Phi Chai to assist the Royal Forces against the Burmese attacking the city of Sri Ayudthaya.

Phra Ya Tak Sin was able to get his army to the battle front but was restricted in his attempt to end the battle because King Ekathad had issued orders not to use the big canons, fearing that the loud noise would disturb his wives. Phra Ya Tak Sin pondered the situation and concluded that he would have to retreat and regroup before he could defeat the Burmese. He assembled 500 of his bravest soldiers and broke through the Burmese lines heading in a south-eastern direction. With Burmese forces in pursuit, he passed through the cities of Sri Maha Pho, Nakhornayok, Paedriew, and Bang Pla Soi, ending up in Banglamung where he rested his army in what is today called Pattaya/Naklua. In this location he concentrated his modest army and went on to attack the city of Rayong and Chanthaburi.

Before attacking Chanthaburi his forces were ordered to eat their last meal and discard their eating utensils. It was either victory or die in the fight. However, Chanthaburi was taken and became the stronghold for the resistance forces.

After Sri Ayudthaya was lost, the Burmese Army appointed "Suki Phanaikong" as the Commander in Charge of the area at Pho Sam Ton Camp. Suki created much havoc for the area inhabitants, who were then prisoners of war. The Thai women were abused and ravaged. A Thai named Thong In sold out to the Burmese and was put in charge of the prisoners of war, and coerced many into assisting the Burmese army.

When Tak Sin finally assembled a larger army at Chanthaburi he mounted an attack on the Pho Sam Ton Camp. The attack was successful and both Suki and Thong In were killed during the battle, which finished at the end of the year 2310 B.E. The many who did not die or manage to escape back to Burma were taken prisoner.

At the end of the war, Tak Sin established the city of Thonburi as the capital instead of Ayudthaya, and ascended the throne through conquest taking the name "King Taksin". He later assumed the title of His Majesty King Taksin the Great.

King Taksin’s victory over Chanburi was crucial in his campaign to defeat the Burmese in Ayudhya.

The Thai people have lived in a comfortable and easy style from that day to the present, referring to this great man as His Royal Majesty King Taksin the Great.

Since that time Thailand has never fallen under another power. The people have now been living in a gentle manner for nine dynasties covering a span of 232 years to date.

The reenactment of this story at the Pattaya Festival was brilliant. Aside from the historical aspect, the actors created reverence, nationalism, and love for the country, which is stronger than the love they have for themselves, for Thais of all generations.

When Mek and Miss Chaba, husband and wife in the story, did not permit their love for each other to be greater than that for their country, it was the same as when Phra Ya Tak uttered the words prior to attacking the Burmese: "It’s better to die so the country can live on".

When Mr. Mek went off to die in battle, the feeling built to a crescendo, especially when his wife went looking for him and found him dead on the battlefield.

The prestigious acting kudosgo to all: Khun Ithiphon Khunpleum, and Khun Paramed Ngamiches as Phra Ya Tak. Khun Adisorn Ponlook in as King Naresuan. Also, actors from the YWCA Bangkok - Pattaya, Pattaya Lions Club, Banglamung Red Cross, Banglamung Women and Wives Development Group, Chonburi Provincial Ladies Association, teachers, professors, and students from Phothi Samphan Phitayakhan School in Pattaya, the Chonburi Physical Training College, and hundreds of others who participated. The performance given each evening was the main event during the Pattaya Festival of 1999.

Back to Fetures

Copyright 1998 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.
370/7-8 Pattaya Second Road, Pattaya City, Chonburi 20260, Thailand 
Tel.66-38 411 240-1, 413 240-1, Fax:66-38 427 596; e-mail: [email protected]
Created by Andy Gombaz, assisted by Chinnaporn Sangwanlek.

Back to home.