Friday, January 22, 2010

Malaysian Siamese

Thailand or Siam, is our neighbor in the North. There are many Malaysian Siamese in the northern state of Malaysia which were former Siam vassal states, namely Kelantan, Kedah, Perlis and Trengganu; and also the northern states with common border with Thailand, Perak; Penang was having close trade relationship with Thailand, especially Phuket. Malaysian Siamese is a term commonly referred to Malaysians of Thai ethnicity. Politically, Malaysian Siamese are recognised as Bumiputeras and are given similar status with the Malays, Kadazan-Dusuns, Ibans and Malaccan Portuguese.

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In 2000, the national statistics cited 50,211 individuals of Thai ethnicity in Malaysia. Among these, 38,353 (or 76.4% of them) holds Malaysian citizenship.

Kedah 30,000(2007)
Kelantan 13,000(2008)
Perlis 6,000(2008)
Perak 2,000(2008)
Penang 2,000

The statistics does not include Malaysian Siamese Muslim, Patani people, as they are easily assimilated to local Malay community under Federal Constitution as Malay. Some south Thailand Malay at the border may have dual citizenship, but they are considered Malay. In a narrow defination, Thai(a modern nation identity not race identity), the Tai race is similar to Lao, are both from Lingnan(岭南) Region(Guangdong, Guangxi of modern China and Red River Delta of Northern Vietnam).In South Thailand, the Thai are Malay or Patani race, Cham race, Chinese Han race, Chinese Hui hui, Indian Muslim race(now Pakistani), Tai race etc, a mixed races.

Most Malaysian Siams lead a way of life similar to the Malays. This is evident especially among the Kelantanse Siams. One could not differentiate a Malay or a Siam if they are not heard speaking their own language. The only distinctive mark among them is their religion and language. Otherwise Malaysian Siams are like Malays as they also speak fluent local Malay dialects.

The Malaysian Siamese often get patronage from the state governments for their community well being. Often, temples are given generous fundings by the governments.

Siamese in Malayan Peninsula

The kingdom of Siam in Rattanakosin (Bangkok) period had shown obvious influence in the northern Malayan Peninsula states such as Patani, Kelantan, Perlis, Kedah, and Terengganu. The tribute of gold and silver flowers was sent again to Bangkok each two or three years as the sign of friendship and loyalty. Beside that, the coronation of the kings in those city-states except Terengganu should be confirmed by the Emperor of Siam. The confirmation letter with a certain title will be granted to kings by the central power in Bangkok. E.g of the titles granted to those city-states' kings in Rattanakosin period such as the King of Kedah was known as Phya Rithisongkhramramaphakdee Sri Sultan Kedah Rattanarathamunisurinthira Wiwongsa Phya Saiburee, and the King of Perlis is known as Phya Visedsongkhram Ramavichitvilismara Phya Palist. Kelantan King in that period was known as Phya Phipiphakdee Wilismara Phaya Kalantan.

Several Siamese officers will be localized in those city-states for local Siamese population because those city-states are their homeland too. Some of them had came down to those city-states from Southern Thai region particularly Nakhorn Sri Thammarat for fertile land to continue life and to explore new agricultural lands. As common subjects they have no interest in political matters or "the job of the kings" although we had heard the involvement of Siamese population in civil wars in Kelantan.

The attack launched by Phya Thaksin on Nakhon Sri Thammarat two years after Phaya Nakhon (Noo) declared independent kingdom of Nakhon Sri Thammarat in 1770 CE might be the factor of Siamese seeking refuge in other Southern states or permanently living there. Some of them were granted position and title by the kings of those southern states such as Tok Merah Chu Ding who was the Siamese Chief in Besut. He was granted the title of Tuk Helang Merah (Red Hawk Chief) by the King of Besut (Terengganu).

Rattanakosin period too had witnessed the pressure of colonization by Western countries near Siam border. Siam began to lose its province such as Sipsongpanna, Sipsongchuthai, Siamreap, and Battambeang to France. Siam also had lost Kok Song in Tenasserim to British. Through Bangkok Agreement in 1909 CE, Siam had gave the tributary rights of Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, and Terengganu to British. However, there are Siamese subjects who still live in the city-states which had been transfered into British colonies and there are also oral stories about almost Siamese families in Bukit Tempurong in Besut of Terengganu returned back to Narathiwat around 1912-1915 CE.

Anglo-Siam Treaty of 1909 made the modern border between Siam and British Malaya.Satun, which was a part of Kedah, and Patani remained in Siam. And Kedah and others were belonging to British Malaya. This border was the result of political struggle between Government of Siam and British Malaya.

Most Malaysian Siams are Buddhist of the Theravada sect. Their place of worship is called the Wat. Each Wat has several monks administering it. There are some Muslim or converts.

Factors that made Siamese coming to Malayan Peninsula

Generally, the coming of Siamese to Malayan Peninsula especially in Kedah is not like the coming of other immigrants races such as Tamil Indians and Chinese. Tamil Indians and Chinese was brought systematically by British administrators in the late 19th C. The coming of Siamese to Malayan Peninsula is not planned to fulfill British colonial necessities at that time. The coming of Siamese is more like the continuation of the events that happened before in the related kingdoms (Kra Isthmus) such as war and economic crisis in South Thai region that had forced them to migrate.

In 1813, many Patani citizens had seek refuge in Perak, Kelantan, Kedah, and Perlis due to the attack launched by Rama II (1809-1824 C). The attack was launched because the ruler of Patani, Datuk Kun Pangkalan refused to proclaim loyalty to Siam empire and trying to be an independent kingdom. After defeated by Siam in the same year, patani had became a protectorate province of Siam and the ruler of Patani has to send Gold Flower to Bangkok. Patani was not only a protectorate state of Siam but also being pressured. The pressures had given bad impacts toward Muslim Siamese.

In 1813, Siamese from Songkhla and Nakhon Sri Thammarat had entered Kedah kingdom in large number. The factor that had forced them to migrate down into Kedah is because of grievious economic problem. They wanted to seek better life in Kedah. Their migration to Kedah in bundles is based from the policy executed by Rama III (1824-1851 C) in which he wanted to expand his power over the northern states of Malayan Peninsula. At that time, Kelantan and Terengganu already became apart of Siam empire but only Kedah still free from any power or influence.

Due to this policy, Siamese population began to gradually increase. There are also Siamese criminals who entered Kedah to escape from being punished by the government. This situation happened before the immigration law being executed in Kedah in 1932. However in 1940's there still Siamese who illegally entering Kedah. In April 1948, the police and Bangkok army had attacked a group of Patani subjects who were performing prayers in Dusun Nyior Benghara district. In the attack, 266 people had died and thousands more seeking refuge in Malayan Peninsula.

Beside economic crisis, the treatment of Siamese administrators toward the subjects in South Thai region, and the war that happened between Kedah and Siam, there are Siamese people known as Sam Sam. They were intentionally brought into Kedah during war. Sam Sam people are believed to be the Kedahans who were seized and brought back to Siam during the war of Kedah-Siam in 14th C. The children and the descendents of those war prisoners was sent back to Kedah in 19th C also during the time of war. Sam Sam denotes that these people had already mixed with Tai, Kedahan, Indian, and Chinese. Today, Sam Sam people are visible in Kubang Pasu, Padang Terap, Baling, and Kroh in Kedah.


Kelantan is the northeasternmost state of peninsula Malaysia. Although predominantly Malay and Muslim, Thai Buddhist account for about one percent of the state's total population. Most Thais live in ethnically homogeneous villages (baan) in the district of Tumpat along Kelantan's
northern frontier. Some Thai settlements are found further south with three extending into Trengganu's border with Kelantan.

Most Kelantanese Thais, speak the Tumpat-Tak Bai dialect of southern Thai, inaddition to standard Thai (thai baangkok) and both Kelantanese (khaek lantan) and standard Malay (khaek nangsue). The dialect of Thai spoken in Kelantan is called "Tak Bai", after the southernmost coastal town in Narathiwat, just across the Golok River from Malaysia. Tak Bai dialect differs substantially from standard southern Thai and other regional Thai dialects, and it seems certain that the Kelantan Thais are the descendants of an original enclave of Narathiwat settlers established in sparsely-populated Malay territory as long as four centuries ago.

There are 13,000 ethnic Siamese resident in Kelantan. They are recognised by the Malaysian authorities as Bumiputras--"Sons of the Soil", or indigenous Malaysians, with exactly the same rights as Muslim Malays and considerably more than such "recent" migrants as the Chinese and Indians. It is not clear how Thai people first came to settle in Kelantan, deep in the heart of Muslim Malay territory--but they have certainly been there for many centuries, and it must be remembered that Kelantan was an administrative part of Thailand until ceded to the British in 1909.

Today the Tak Bai Thais inhabit three main areas of Kelantan State - along a small bend on the south bank of the upper Golok River south-west of the border town of Rantau Panjang; on both sides of the central Lemal River, a small tributary of the Golok to the west of the railway junction of Pasir Mas; and in a wide sweep of territory between the mouth of the Golok River and the predominantly ethnic Chinese town of Wakaf Bharu, in an area centred around the coastal town of Tumpat [see map]. It is this last, Tumpat enclave which is most important - home to 75% of Kelantan's Thais, site of most of the state's twenty or so Buddhist temples, and noteworthy for its number of confident and relatively well-off Kampung Syam, or Siamese villages.

The territories of Kelantan and Patani came under Siam in the 14th century. Around 1411, Raja Kumar, the ruler of Kelantan, became independent of Siam and Kelantan became an important centre of trade by the end of the 15th century.

In 1499, Kelantan was conquered by forces of the Malacca Empire and became its vassal state. With the fall of Malacca in 1511, Kelantan was divided up and ruled by petty chieftains. With the conquest by the Siamese in 1603, most of the Kelantan chiefs became subject to Patani. Around 1760, a petty chieftain of Kubang Labu in Kelantan succeeded in unifying the territory of the present Kelantan. Soon after in 1764, Long Yunos seized the throne and proclaimed himself Raja of Kelantan. With his death, Kelantan came under the influence of Terengganu.

In 1800, Raja Muhammad declared himself as the first Sultan of Kelantan. In 1812, he broke from Terengganu's influence and became a separate tributary state of Siam.

In 1831, Siam divided up the old Malay Kingdom of Patani into 7 provinces each under a Siamese Governor. Siam played an important role in Kelantan throughout the 19th century.

In 1832, a treaty was signed between the Kelantanese and the Siamese, increasing its influence in the managing the affairs of the state. In 1902, W.A. Graham was elected as the 1st Siamese High Commission.

In the 1909 Anglo-Siamese treaty, Siam surrendered its claims over Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis in exchange with the British government for territorial claims in Siam. Kelantan thus came under the control of the British as one of the Unfederated Malay States. In line with the British colonization policy of installing an advisor in all the Malay states, J.S. Mascon was installed as the first British adviser in 1909. Kelantan was handed back to Siamese rule when Japan invaded Malaya in 1941. Similar to other Malay states, Kelantan was placed under the British Military Administration from September 1945 to early 1946.

In 1909, Kelantan was relinquished to The British with the signing of the Bangkok Agreement. In line with the British colonization policy of installing an advisor in all the Malay states, J.S. Mascon was installed as the first British adviser in 1909.

Kelantan was handed back to Siamese rule when Japan invaded Malaya in 1941.

Similar to other Malay states, Kelantan was placed under the British Military Administration from September 1945 to early 1946.

In the early nineteen fifties the Thai government encouraged land hungry Kelantanese Thais to take up forested plots in Narathiwat's southern frontier zone for rubber and fruit tree cultivation. These land settlement schemes (nikhom) were initiated in an attempt to boost the province's agrarian economy and to inadvertently populate the deep south area with people who were deemed loyal and docile Thai Buddhists as opposed to the so-called threat of Malay Muslim insurgents and their sympathisers.5 Prior to this a number of Kelantanese Thais had already migrated to various districts in Narathiwat to purchase cheap and abundant. These communities nevertheless continued to maintain intimate social relations with their cousins in Kelantan. Networks of funerals, weddings, ordinations, and temple fairs on both sides of the Golok river are occassions where kinship ties are symbolically renewed through mutual attendance.

Written records concerning the establishment of Siamese villages in Kelantan are not readily available and the dates of their foundation still remain a matter of speculation, but oral tradition indicate that these settlements are over 100 years old. In some places Siamese villagers are known to predate their Malay neighbours. The migration of Siamese settlers from southern Thailand was a regular occurance until the turn of the century. The prevailing social and political circumstance of the period obviously facilated Siamese migration into Kelantan. Most significantly, Siamese migrants faced very little resistance from the existing Malay peasantry since the former did not compete with the latter for agricultural land (Mohamed Yusoff 1990).
The Siamese in Kelantan are descendants of settlors from the northern part of Peninsular, but there are some villages were descendants from Siam Proper, who accompanying Siamese general Phaya Pitsnulok, on a military expedition and left behind to keep the peace of Kelantan and neighboring of Sai.

Tumpat - There are many interesting Buddhist temples in Kelantan with Wat Phothivihan claiming to be the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia. It has a 40m-long reclining Buddha statue. It is located at Chabang Empat. Two other temples located in this area are Wat Kok Seraya and Wat Phikulthong.

Pasir Mas/Rantau Panjang - One of the oldest and most beautiful Thai temple in Kelantan is Wat Uttamaram at Kampung Teresek, Repek, Pasir Mas. The terraced roofs have naga serpent finials, and are coloured green and saffron. Chinese dragons wreathe the temple’s pillars and fabulous monsters stand guard.

Tanah Merah
Pasir Putih

Trengganu Siamese

Terengganu (Jawi: ترڠڬانو, formerly spelled Trengganu or Tringganu) is a sultanate and constitutive state of federal Malaysia. The state is also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Iman ("Abode of Faith"). The coastal city of Kuala Terengganu which stands at the mouth of the broad Terengganu River is both the state and royal capital as well as the largest city in Terengganu. Terengganu was called Trang-ka-nu by the Siamese when it was under their influence.

Terengganu emerged as an independent sultanate in 1724. The first Sultan was Tun Zainal Abidin, the younger brother of a former sultan of Johor, and Johor strongly influenced Terengganu politics through the 18th century. However, in the book Tuhfat al-Nafis written by Raja Ali Haji, in the year 1708, Tun Zainal Abidin was installed as the Sultan of Terengganu by Daeng Menampuk also known as Raja Tua under the rule of Sultan Sulaiman Badrul Alam Shah.

In the 19th century, Terengganu became a vassal state of Siam, and sent tribute every year to the King of Siam called bunga mas. Under Siamese rule, Terengganu prospered, and was largely left alone by the authorities in Bangkok. Siamese when they ruled Terengganu from 1843 -1845.

The terms of the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 saw power over Terengganu transferred from Siam to Great Britain. A British advisor was appointed to the sultan in 1919, and Terengganu become one of the Unfederated Malay States. The move was highly unpopular locally, and in 1928 the British used military force to suppress a popular uprising.

During World War II, Japan occupied Terengganu and transferred sovereignty over the state back to Siam, along with Kelantan, Kedah, and Perlis.

After the defeat of Japan, British control over these Malay states was reestablished. Terengganu became a member of the Federation of Malaya in 1948, and a state of independent Malaya in 1957.

Most of the Siamese lived in Jertih; there are some in Kuala Trengganu.

Kedah Siamese

Kedah had controlled wider area than the current bondary, the kingdom of Kedah spread over archipelago along the western coast of Peninsula near the Phuket Island(it included Satun, Perlis). In Kedah, many people could understand and speak Thai Language.

There are two types of Thai speaking Malaysian in Kedah
(i) Samsams,who are Malay Muslim. In cessus 1911, they are the sub ethic group of Malay.
(ii) Siamese, who are Thai Theravada Buddhists.

Most of Siamese lived in Pendang district.

Most of Samsams were paddy farmers and their village concentrated in northern districts; Kubang pasu, Padang Trap, and the center district ; Kota Star ( including Pendang district in it). The population of the Samsams had 5 % of the Malay population in 1911. After independence in 1957, Samsams assimilated as Malay Muslim and become majority, Siamese remained as minority.

The existence of the temple is indispensable to the daily life of Siamese Buddhist. Siamese
villages also may exist around Thai Temples. The Siamese distribution in the census of 1911 also shows this. It may be that the largest Siamese communities were Padang Peliang, Padang Kerbau and Tekai villages.

The inhabitant made to migrate was transferred to resettlement .This resettlement camp was New Villages. This program was enforced from 1952 to 1960 years. About 400 New Villages were made nationwide. It was said the resettlers were 80% Chinese. New Villages such as Sintok in "Bandit Area", and Padang Senai and Pendang also. We find 7 Siamese villages and 4 Samsam villages.Small Siamese villages without temple near the border also resettled to New Village with the bigger village. Border crossing way at Durian Belung which was old overland route connected with Patani and Kedah was sealed off and put under the watch of the Bordor Force by the reason of the defenses.

In 1953, Malay Security Forces found the Thai temple of Lamdin on an operation. Security Forces was ordered to find the terrorist's hiding place and to destroy it.Unfortunately, Thai monks were accidentally absence. Security Forces found the rice and the kerosene oil were stored in a building of the temple. So, Malay soldiers considered this place a terrorist's storehouse, and set fire to the building . And old Thai temple, Wat Lamdin had burned down with its precious properties and manuscripts that was said kept for several hundreds years. Such similar events happened even in that neighborhood. The trouble that other Thai temples were burned down by Malay soldiers had happened frequently. Wat Chamdin temple was burned on 26 March, this Wat Lamdin temple and Wat Pakhla temple was burned on 27, and Wat Kebang Kesom temple was burned on 30 March by Security Forces. Then, the sacred book that showed the history of these old temples, and property such as image of Buddha were destroyed by fire.The Thai Buddhist society of Kedah and Perlis send a report immediately to the Consul of Siam in Penang and fixed an apology and made a claim for damages against Kedah government.

Kedah government insisted that anyone who did crop work in the applicable area against the
order for removal at the time was "terrorism- supporter". Thai Government and Thai Buddhist Society of Kedah insisted that Thai temple as terrorist hideout is an unfortunate misunderstanding, and rice storage and oil was kept as the monk's daily necessities in Thai temple. And more Thai government insisted, as for this border operation, Thai government got agreement of September, 1952 that Thai temples of the area such as Titi Akar,Pendang and Lampan were set outside of the object of the operation. Notwithstanding, this agreement weren't kept, it is insult to the Thai government. Kedah government apologized to the Thai government for this trouble, and it was settled with the thing that indemnities 8000 dollars were paid for the Siamese temple .

By this report in 1974, in Kedah ; not included in Perlis;, there were 26 Thai temple, 27
Siamese Villages, about 3500 families and 17030 persons. the largest population is gathered in
Pendang Area, and there are villages of each 1200 person in adjacent Padang Peliang and Padang
Pusing . The secondary large population is 3850 persons in Sik area and Baling area 3000
persons, and 2600 persons of the Kuala Nerang area follow them. The largest population in the
villages, there are most 2000 people in Naka village of the Kuala Nerang area. However, this
Naka village is the resettlement village with other small villages.

In 1985 , there is the list of the Thai temple by the Malaysian Thai Buddhism society
exists [ WatBodhiyarram 1985]. The number of Thai temples of the whole Malaysian country
shows that, too. In this list, there were 37 temples in Kedah. This is the largest number of Thai temples in Malaysia

Since the Malaya Communist Party gave up an armament fight in 1990, the public order of
the border area improves and various limitations are being deregulated. And, the progress of the permeation of Malay education and Islamization brought a considerable change to the life of
Thai-speakers. The people called " the Samsam " before got Malay identity, and came to have a
favor caught economically by becoming Malaysian Majority ethnic group . On the other hand,
they became estranged with the Siamese in the neighborhood , and there very few opportunities
to play the public entertainments which it thought about with non-Islam. The younger
generations who can understand Thai are decreasing year by year.

For the Siamese here, the serious problem is that the advantages for the Siamese of Kedah to
learn Thai language were decreasing. The understanding of the Thai character is difficult for
younger generations, and it is said that the chance to use Thai Language have been decreasing
more by the results of the permeation of Malay education. From there, A Thai television program
can be picked up, and it is said that it can be hardly understood in this area in the house which' has a television about the word being spoken to the character though it is enjoying the
broadcasting of MuoiThai. Monk who comes from Bangkok is worry about the Siamese here
became loss of Thai (language) identity.

(extract from the article, "The Siamese in Kedah under nation-state making")

Relation between Kedah Kingdom and Siam Empire

The non-stoppable war between Burma and Siam had began again in 1785 in the northern part of Kedah Kingdom which is bordered by Trang and assumed by Siam as apart of Siam province. Sultan Abdullah (1760-1797 CE) who was the King of Kedah had tried his best to avoid the kingdom from falling into the conflicts and also trying to save his kingdom from destructed by the war but he also had no capacity to do those things. Both sides which were Siam and Burma had pressured him to proclaim loyalty to each other.

The war continued for more than 100 years, and in that period too, Phuket (Junk Ceylon) was attacked by Burmese for not least than three times.

In the first attack of the year 1785, Burma had the intention to put Kedah kingdom and the whole Kra Isthmus into their dominance. Fortunately, the mainland of Kedah kingdom managed to survive from the attack and expelling Burmese out under a woman leadership. The woman leader is a Kedahan and she is the wife of the Governor of Phuket who had just passed away.The people in Phuket too had fiercely opposing Burmese army. In January 1786, Burmese had to retreat because the food supply had gone empty. In the same year too, the King of Burma Bodawpaya (1781-1819 CE) had threatened to attack Siam again thus King Rama I (1782-1809 CE) had sent an order to Sultan Abdullah of Kedah to protect Phuket from falling to Burma.

But till 1802 there is no Burmese attack. In 1802 Burmese came again but they still failed to occupy Phuket. Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin of Kedah (1804-1843 CE) was ordered to provide army, boats, and food supply for Siamese army when Burmese came again in the near future. In 1810, Burma finally managed to occupy Phuket, but a year later the army from Kedah came and attack them.

The third attack from Burma over Phuket happened again in 1818. This time, Siam had earlier prepared 10,000 Siamese soldiers and assisted by 2,500 Kedahan soldiers. They had successfully defeating Burma and Burma had to retreat again. The King of Kedah, Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin was granted the title Chao Phaya by the Emperor of Siam as the sign of gratitute for the assistance provided.

Unfortunately, Siam had later attacked Kedah because the King of Kedah had internal problems in the Kedah Royal Court. He can't fulfill the demands from Siam which never seem to cease. Kedah King too had made a mistake by believing the promise made by Francis Light to help him setting his kingdom free from Siam empire while Francis Light never helped him but had betrayed him with several dirty tricks. Kedah was attacked by Siam overlord in 1821 and was divided into 4 parts. They are Kubang Pasu, Satun, Perlis, and Kedah. Each part was administrated by different rulers.

Kubang Pasu/Jitra
Sungai Petani(Wat Kalai) - Sitting majestically in a meditation pose against the blue sky, is the 70 feet tall Buddha statue of the 200-year-old Siamese temple, Wat Kalai in Jeneri, Sik. It is the biggest stone and clay painted Buddha statue in Kedah state, sitting on a decorated lotus plinth base and was built in 1984. The four concrete walls of the base are crafted and rich with details of 64 smaller statues.This architectural marvel of the solid sculpture is located in Kampung Kalai (Kalai Village) and is about 50 km from Sungai Petani town.

Perlis Siamese
Perlis was called Palit (Thai: ปะลิส) by the Siamese. Perlis is intrinsically linked with Kedah and was part of Kedah until the Siamese conquest in 1821.

Perak Siamese

Kampung Tasek

Pengkalan Hulu

Penang Siamese

Siamese in Penang included the early local Siamese community,Siamese brides(normally from North Thailand), Siamese Chinese(from Phuket and South Thailand, which traditionally having trade and family relationship with Penang Chinese), Siamese students(Han Chiang High School and some private colleges),Thai workers etc

Almost all of the local Siamese community here can trace their ancestry over the past few centuries to Penang or Kedah.

When Francis Light founded Penang, he adopted an open-door policy to make Penang a conducive place for different communities to co-exist. As a result, within George Town are enclaves of diverse communities including the Armenians, Acheenese, Chulia, Malabaris, Burmese as well as the Thai. In 1845, the Thai community sought a piece of land. As a gesture to promote trading relations with Siam, Queen Victoria granted a five-acre piece in Pulau Tikus to them. The land grant was presented by the Governor of Penang, W.L. Butterworth to four women trustees, on 22 July 1845.

Wat Chaiyamangkalaram, also written Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram, is the largest Thai Buddhist temple in Penang. It is often called the Temple of the Reclining Buddha of Penang, on account of the magnificent reclining Buddha image house in the vihara. The image of Phra Chaiya Mongkol measures 33 meters (108 ft) from end to end. However, the statue was only built in 1958, in conjunction with the 2500th anniversary of the birth of Buddha, at a cost of M$100,000
The Buddha image is actually columbarium housing niches for urns of the cremated. There is a crematorium within the temple complex in addition to the gilded prang (pagoda), another magnificent sight at Wat Chaiyamangkalaram. A small Thai community still live within the complex. There is also a Thai cemetery.

Siamese Temples in Penang Island
1. Wat Chayamangkalaram - The Sleeping Buddha Temple,Burma Lane, Pulau Tikus
2. Wat Pingban Onn - Green Lane
3. Buppharam Thai Buddhist Temple(Flower Temple) - 8, Perak Road

Penanti - The Rajchaphohong temple, Penanti, built in 1931 by the Siamese community's forefathers. The Siamese village next to it is built on the temple's land. There are 38 families living there.

British-Siamese boundary stone (Pinang Tunggal),

Significant Malaysian Siamese people

* Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah of Terengganu(His mother was a Thai Muslim convert, Cik Maimunah binti Abdullah. In full, Almarhum Sultan Sir Ismail Nasiruddin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Zainal Abidin III KCMG (died September 20, 1979) was the fourth Yang di-Pertuan Agong (roughly equivalent to King) of Malaysia, and the fifteenth Sultan of Terengganu.
* Tunku Abdul Rahman - Malaysia's first prime minister and Bapa Malaysia(Founder of Malaysia)(half Siamese, his mother was a Paduka Seri Cik Menjalara, was the Sultan's sixth wife and the daughter of a Siamese nobleman, Luang Naraborirak (Kleb), a Thai district officer (Nonthaburi Province) during the reign of King Rama V of Thailand.)
* Lady Meriam - Tunku Abdul Rahman's first wife. Lady Meriam Chong Abdullah, also known as Chong Ah Mei or Mariam Abdullah, was the first wife of Sir Tunku Abdul Rahman, who later became the founding father and the first Prime Minister of Malaysia. Lady Meriam was the daughter of a tin mining tycoon, Chong Ah Yong, in Thailand. She was of Thai Chinese heritage but converted to Islam upon marriage to Tunku in 1933.
* Samransak Kram - Malaysian national footballer
* Manopsak Kram - Malaysian national footballer
* Adrien Jurad Chamrong - Malaysian footballer
* Pradisth a/l Fun Pon - Malaysian national swimmer
* Dato’ Sawai @ Boon Chock - Pengarah, Special Project di ICLIF, Bank Negara
* Siri Neng Buah - Pengarah Bahagian, Jabatan Warisan Negara
* Kasim Cha Tong Ratnawongse - Lawyer[11]
* Nai Allief Pickering @ Mr Daun - Press photographer
* Jacqueline Ann Surin - Journalist
* Opat Rattanachot - Journalist, Utusan Malaysia newspaper
* Manit a/l See Nam - Information Officer, Information Department of Malaysia
* Surin Suksuwan - Chief Technical Officer, WWF Malaysia
* Datuk Siw Chun a/p Eam - Senator
* Derani A/P Tan Bun Bang - Pegawai Unit Penilaian Tahap Kompetensi di Jabatan Pelajaran Negeri Pulau Pinang ]]
* Aanont Wathanasin - Radio DJ and Television Game Show Host
* Som khiat charensuk-Singer New Star Will Born The Star 5
* Nai Khan Ari, a factory manager who became the first ever Malaysian Siamese to contest in an election. Penanti by-election candidates in 2009
* Boon Laer Aroonratana works at the Penang Port Commission. He is the chairman of the religious bureau of the Malaysian Siamese Association (Penang Branch) and assistant secretary of the Thai Temple Wat Chaiya Mangalaram in Pulau Tikus. The son of Nai Wan Dee Aroonratana, he comes from a family with a strong tradition of Menora performance.

NGOs of Malaysian Siamese
1. The Malaysian Siamese Association

2. Kelantan Siamese Association(Persatuan Masyarakat Siam Kelantan)

14 April 2006
venue : Tumpat, Kelantan
organiser : Kelantan Siamese Association/Kelantan State Tourism Action
Council/Tourism Malaysia
tel : 09-741 2400/747 7554/019-921 8882
fax : 09-744 6672
Kelantan Siamese Society Association
Pikulthong Temple, Kg. Terbak
Tel: 019-9218882

3. Perlis Siamese Association

13 April 2006
venue : Vicinity of SooGuan Boarding House, Perlis
organiser : Malaysian Siamese Association, Perlis Branch
tel : 04-976 0898

d/a: Pusat Kebudayaan Masyarakat Siam,
Kg. Wat Padang Peliang, 06750 Pendang, Kedah Darul Aman.

Tel/Fax: 04-7418675 (Pusat) atau Fax: 04-7710977 (Pejabat)
Hp: 019-5697868 (Manit a/l See Nam)

Thailand Consulate
Royal Thai Consulate-General in Penang
No. 1, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, 10350 Penang, Malaysia

Related websites/articles:
1. Persatuan Kebudayaan Masyarakat Siam Negeri Kedah (PEKEMAS),
2. Penanti’s Siamese gem, by Syed Jaymal Zahiid,
3. The Siamese in Kedah under nation-state making, by Keiko Kuroda (Kagoshima University)
4. Movement and Identity Construction Amongst Kelantan's Thai Community, by Irving Johnson, Harvard University,
5. Siam in Malay Peninsular(1902), by R. D. DAVIES, published by Fraser and Neave Limited,Singapore.
7. The Tak Bai Thai of Kelantan, by Andrew Forbes / CPA 2001,

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