A place for your PRIDE

Art July 01, 2016 01:00

By MANTA KLANGBOONKRONG
THE NATI

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A national archive everyone shares, The Pride of Thailand awaits your story



SINCE 1916 the National Archives has done a wonderful job of preserving the Kingdom’s invaluable documents, images and books, but now there’s a chance for everyone to add to that official history.

The Pride of Thailand – initiated by retail giant Siam Piwat in partnership with other members of the private sector, the National Identity Foundation and the Prime Minister’s Office – is a new kind of archives for the digital era. Fully democratic since everyone can contribute, it will be accessible to all as well, a searchable treasury of cultural assets shared online.

The Pride of Thailand represents the country’s first attempt to record historic and cultural events with the help of the general public. The first phase – collecting the information – is underway and will continue through September. After that, all of the submissions will be displayed on the website, and then at a gallery that’s now being built.

“The Pride of Thailand was born out of the gratitude we have for Thailand as the land where we live and make a living,” Siam Piwat chief executive Chadatip Chutrakul, the project’s founder, said as plans were unveiled earlier this month.

“We are so fortunate to be born in a country of many glories and precious things.”

Siam Piwat and Iconosiam mustered corporate and government interest in the project, touting it as an historic partnership that would encourage citizens to take pride in being Thai and show to the world that “Thailand is second to none”.

“The Pride of Thailand will truly be successful only through the participation of all Thai people,” Chadathip said. “We aim to assemble the greatest number of precious stories in history, the pride of Thais and of Thailand. We have to reach all groups of people, including the younger generation. We’ll use online channels, celebrities and thought-leaders so we can reach people in every community and get them to join the initiative to help us build a digital treasure-trove of photos, videos and stories.”

Lieutenant Dr Suvit Yodmanee said the National Identity Foundation, of which he is vice president and secretary-general, wants the project to represent the “pride, honour and dignity of Thai people”. It should also “be an encouragement for youth to follow the good paradigm of national identity so they can improve themselves and take part in developing our country by presenting the identity, civilisation, wisdom and valuable ways of Thais”.

Suvit said a key goal is to “promote morality among young people, which will help create positive energy as a contribution to developing and preserving things in Thailand. They will be a great contribution to local communities and our country.”

Aiming to offer the most comprehensive search engine on Thailand and entirely public-generated content, the archive will have room for any contribution from and about any form of culture and sub-culture.

The contributions will be arranged in nine categories. “Royal activities and learning in life with the royal initiatives”, “Important people” and “Thai cuisine” lead the list, the last covering everything from fine dining to street food and from cooks to ingredients.

“Places and architecture”, “Arts” from the traditional to the contemporary, “Crafts and handicrafts” old and new, and “Customs, culture and lifestyle” address the country’s creative and social aspects.

Finally there are “Wisdom, education and innovation” and “Sports and miscellaneous” – the latter ranging from professional sports to leisure recreation and virtually anything else that doesn’t fit into the other eight categories. People wanting to make a contribution can do so digitally or by regular mail.

In the first case, you have to upload to the website a digital photo (five megabytes or less in JPG format) or video (15MB or less) and a 200-word narrative. Posts can be imported from Facebook. Users of the Line app can make submissions directly to the project’s Line account.

Via the postal service, make the address PO Box 1, Klongchan, Bang Kapi, Bangkok 10240. Contributions can also be dropped off at any Village Health Volunteers or Boy Scouts field office across the country or with participating private firms and government offices.

Contributors retain copyright to whatever they submit. Examining each submission is a panel of experts that is helping to manage the overall presentation of the information in reflecting the Thai identity, economy, society, wisdom and valued ways of life.

The website is updated daily as submissions come in. Visitors can hover the cursor over any pin marking the provinces on the map of Thailand to see the latest contributions from there in each category. In this way the online presentation doubles as a promotion for cultural tourism, not just for Thais but also foreigners planning to visit the country.

“The Pride of Thailand should be able push forward the economy by sharing the great |and precious stories of Thailand by Thai people, be they about tourist attractions, agricultural produce, Thai dishes, Thai people themselves, the culture, the traditions or the Thainess that is so adored by foreigners,” said Kalin Sarasin.

“These stories will together form an important source of information that directly helps support tourism by creating value,” said Kalin, speaking for the tourism and private sectors’ MICE promotion efforts. “They will make the local wisdom more widely known, increasing the efficiency and competitiveness of local products and services.

“As a result, overseas tourists will be encouraged to visit and spend more time and money in Thailand. It’s a way to help increase income for local communities and elevate Thai tourism in the long term.”

The deadline for submission in the first phase is September 30.

See the project evolving |online at www.ThePrideOfThailand.com.