Mahakan Fort Community to live on in the virtual world

national April 24, 2018 01:00

By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM
THE NATION

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THE HERITAGE of the Mahakan Fort Community will live on in digital form, as an archive of this old Bangkok quarter will be created and maintained online via crowdsourcing.



Mahakan Fort Community’s Facebook page yesterday announced the creation of an online database and invited everyone with digital files about the community to share their data. The aim is to allow people to learn about the history of the community and its heritage, and the stories of the residents’ struggle to save their habitat and identity.

After decades of fighting to save one of the last living historic quarters of Bangkok, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has successfully evicted all the residents from the area. Tomorrow will be the last day that the Mahakan Fort Community physically exists. That is when all of the remaining residents will have to move out and their antique wooden houses will be torn down to make way for the construction of a public park.

“Our community will soon become a thing of the past, and it may even be removed from the official history of Bangkok. People cannot visit and learn from our rich heritage in person, but this does not mean that we no longer existed,” a community statement reads.

Learn the lessons

“We can still be the learning hub for the community in the online world. So, we want to invite every person who has digital memories about our community to share their pictures, video clips, documents, or any kind of files with us. We believe that our existence is less important than what society can learn from our story.”

Everyone is welcome to upload their files to the page at https://goo.gl/forms/eEQCoge3nUzPxzb52.

Sudjit Sananwai, a lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture at Rangsit University, said it was very important for society to learn the lessons of Mahakan Fort Community. She said the online archive would be an assurance that these stories would not be forgotten.

“I am a member of the Association of Siamese Architects, and we have a lot of useful material available to share. I, myself, also fully support this crowdsourcing campaign to ensure that the tragedy that happened to Mahakan Fort Community will not be repeated elsewhere,” Sudjit said.

She said the information in this online database would be very significant. It would not only be an open-source resource for people to learn about this historic community, but the data would also provide vivid proof of the community’s existence. It would record events along the way of the struggle between the community members and the authorities through both academic and legal channels.

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