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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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Mind the Gap

Mind the Gap

(En)countering the West and the Making of Thai Identities on Film

(p.93) 4 Mind the Gap
The Ambiguous Allure of the West

Rachel Harrison

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter examines travellers' tales through the ages, from the accounts of the first Siamese diplomatic missions to Europe in the seventeenth century, to the novels inspired by visits to the West by Thailand's twentieth-century novelists. It then describes Thai encounters with the world beyond its borders from the perspective of films either set in the West, or more broadly produced in the space of negotiation between the construction of Thai identities and the acknowledgement of “Otherness.” Focusing on the notion of travel to the West in the Thai popular imagination, the chapter analyzes popular films from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, including romantic melodramas such as Rao sorng (We Two, 1988) and Phiang rao...mi rao (We Have Only Each Other, 1992). These films are the first examples of filming in overseas settings, capitalizing on the cachet of the foreign locale.

Keywords:   travellers, diplomatic missions, Thailand, Thai identities, travel, We Two, overseas settings

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