The story of Thai-American conjoined twin brothers whose condition and birthplace became the basis for the term “Siamese twins” over nearly two centuries ago will be celebrated at event in their birthplace of Samut Songkhram province to mark the 200th anniversary of Thai-American relations.
The twins’ fourth-generation descendants and the Department of American and South Pacific Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) will co-host the event that will be held at the In-Chan Siamese Twins Memorial Park in Muang district.
On Tuesday, Samut Songkhram Provincial Administrative Organisation president Pisit Suasaming and Sa-ngad Jaiphrom, 90, who designed the In-Chan Monument, welcomed to the twins’ hometown a 10-person team of MFA officials led by Thai diplomats Boonyarit Vichienpuntu and Sirintara Atthakorn. They were there to launch the event, which will be held sometime next year.
The department first had discussed with officials in the Central province last December about the American proposal to establish a “sister cities” agreement between Samut Songkhram and Mount Airy in North Carolina, where an In-Chan Siamese Twins monument would also be built.
Chang (Chan) and Eng (In), who were linked at the sternum, were born on May 11, 1811 to a Chinese fisherman and his Thai wife. A Scottish merchant named Robert Hunter took them on a world tour in 1829 to exhibit them as curiosities.
After their contract with Hunter expired, the twins went into business for themselves. In 1839, they purchased a 110-acre farm in North Carolina to settle down.
Using their adopted name “Bunker”, they married local women in 1843. Chang and his wife Adelaide Yates had 11 children, while Eng and Yates’s sister, Sarah Anne, had 10 children. The twins also became naturalised American citizens. Chan died on January 11, 1874 and Eng died two hours later.
The twins’ descendants now number about 4,000.
Every year, they gather at Mount Airy on the last Saturday of July to commemorate the twins.