THE Thai community in Malaysia is a significant part of the nation’s multiracial society.
At present, an estimated 70,000 Thai-speaking Buddhists live in the west coast and east coast in the north of peninsular Malaysia.
In recognition of this community, Universiti Malaya’s Thai Studies Programme under the Department of South-East Asian Studies, is holding a photo exhibition titled “A Siamese Journey in Malaysia”.
The exhibition which ends on Nov 21 is being held at UM’s Museum of Asian Art.
Thai Studies Programme coordinator Dr Mala Rajo Sathian said the exhibition was the result of a two-year research on the Siamese community in northern Malaysia.
“The research project was fully funded by the Royal Thai Embassy,” she said.
Mala said the photos on display were taken by the researchers based on “what and how they saw their subjects”.
“These are faces and voices of the Siamese community in the country’s north.
“The exhibition shows the significance of the Siamese ethnic community, as representing another minority group within the larger multi-ethnic society of Malaysia,” said Mala at the launch of the exhibition.
She said the vibrancy and contributions of the local Thai community should be identified, researched, and celebrated.
The photos on display will be compiled and published in a book in conjunction with 60 years of Thai-Malaysia bilateral relations next year.