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The Ambiguous Allure of the WestTraces of the Colonial in Thailand$
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Rachel V. Harrison and Peter A. Jackson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9789622091214

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622091214.001.0001

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Competitive Colonialisms: Siam and the Malay Muslim South

Competitive Colonialisms: Siam and the Malay Muslim South

(p.75) 3 Competitive Colonialisms: Siam and the Malay Muslim South
The Ambiguous Allure of the West

Tamara Loos

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter examines how Siam's modernity developed in relation to areas on the Malay Peninsula, focusing on the role played by King Chulalongkorn and his closest advisors. The catalyst for Bangkok's centralization of control over territory was nineteenth-century European imperialism. Siam's leaders felt that the country's autonomy was under siege by imperial Britain and France, so they centralized and strengthened its provincial administration. The chapter argues that the decision by Siam's rulers to incorporate certain territories on the Malay Peninsula but not others, and the particular reforms pursued, were imbued with motives that went far beyond the original concern for Siam's independence, let alone survival. It entailed the direct administration of autonomously ruled Malay Muslim states and involved several other measures that appear characteristically imperial.

Keywords:   Siam, Malay Peninsula, King Chulalongkorn, Bangkok, European imperialism, Malay Muslim

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