Thursday, May 20, 2010

Province halls destroyed

While more and more details show up on what has been called "Bangkok's 9/11", it's still a bit difficult to get a better image on what happened in the provinces yesterday. Even for the province halls (city halls) torched, I am still not sure how many and how badly were affected. What is quite clear is those in Udon and Ubon have been completely destroyed, as one can see from the photos in GuideUbon, Isaan Style and UdonMap. For Khon Kaen I found a video on youtube where the fire still seems controllable; according to the Bangkok Post also the one in Mukdahan was burning. According to that article, in Khon Kaen only the historical province hall was destroyed, while the new concrete building was only damaged. Yet to my perspective the loss of an historical building is even worse, as these modern province hall buildings all look similar anyway and can be rebuilt.

I have no idea what happened at the other two province halls originally mentioned in this tweet, I read nothing about Nakhon Ratchasima at all and only a bit about a standoff in front of Nonthaburi province hall due to its proximity to the ThaiCom station.

While this massive arson attack was of course something never happened before in Thailand, it wasn't the first time a province hall was destroyed. The province hall of Surat Thani suffered that fate twice, at first it burned down on December 8 1941 as it caught fire during the Japanese invasion, and a second time on March 19 1982 it was damaged beyond repair by a bomb placed by insurgents. The place where this old province hall was located now contains the city pillar shrine.

I wonder if this was the only case in history any of these buildings suffered such a fate before. I don't know about any other such terrorist act, nor haven't read about similar things happening at the other landing sites of the Japanese. But there might have been accidental fires destroying or badly damaging such a building, so anybody who can point me to more case is welcome.

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