TOM YAM KUNG STUDIES: LESSON (UN)LEARNED

MUSEUM SIAM’S EXHIBITION, ‘TYK CRISIS 1997’ ENCOURAGES THAI PEOPLE TO LEARN FROM HISTORY AND BE A PART OF SUSTAINABLE SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Tom Yum Kung Crisis that brought the Thai economy to pieces before developing into one of Asia’s biggest financial crises. To remember the Tom Yam Kung Crisis, Museum Siam is preparing to launch the exhibition ‘TYK Crisis 1997,” which will be held in March of 2017. The objective of the exhibition is to encourage Thai people to learn from history and be a part of our sustainable social development through the portrayal of, and reflection upon, past failures and destruction caused by excessive consumption.

Before getting to the actual exhibition, a talk was held as an appetizer. ‘Tom Yam Kung Crisis 1997’ took place at Sathorn Unique Tower (the symbol of the TYK Crisis) and had Pitch Pongsawas as its enthusiastic facilitator. Pansit Torsuwan, the owner of Sathorn Unique Tower recalled the obstacles encountered such as the protocols of the governmental sector that ultimately resulted in the building’s inability to recover. Siriwat Worawetwuttikhun, known to most as the ‘Siriwat Sandwich guy,’ one of the most renowned ‘survivors’ of the TYK crisis, shared his own story where greed led to the accumulation of a massive amount of debt. Sarunee Ashawananthakul, a former bank employee told the audience how pre-1997 was a time when the Thai baht was considered almost a ‘constant’ used in equations for calculating investment risks. When the currency dropped to almost half of its value, everything began to crumble and reached a disastrous stage that left every financial institution in awe. Closing the talk was Pinyo Traisuriyathamma who, as with other speakers, made the depressive conclusion that a new crisis is imminent and will primarily affect people of middle and lower income levels as destruction will take place at the bottom and move up to the top before everything finally comes crashing down.

Images courtesy of Museum Siam

TEXT: SUPITCHA TOVIVICH
www.musuemsiam.org

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