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Tracing Back 15 Years of Sarakadee
Story : Kultida Samabuddhi, Vanchai Tan
Photos : Photography Staff


Click to Bigger     Kitti Bat (March 1985) - Uncle Chong, now 80 years old, was still the guide to the caves of Sai Yok National Park in Kanchanaburi Province when M.A. student Methee Yokubol decided to follow up on Surapol Duangkae's study of Kitti's hog-nosed bat done over 10 years ago. The bats were more spread out while population dropped in explored caves. Methee's thesis will be the latest academic information on these tiny bats first found in 1973 by Kitti Thonglongya.
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    Joe-Louis (November 1986) - The young man who revived the almost extinct small puppet theater is now a grandfather in a wheelchair. Joe-Louis or Sakorn Yangkiewsod has 9 children and 18 grandchildren all of whom share his passion. A fire last year destroyed over 50 puppets, the work of 30 years, but the family refused to despair. The "Joe-Louis Theater" opened in January 2000 and hosts "new generation" puppet shows (with lights and new technology) daily.
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    Job the Monkey (January 1988) - Ten years ago, the biggest star of the Dusit Zoo was the first baby orangutan born in Thailand named Job. His mother refused to feed him after two days, so he grew up under human care and the eyes of the public. Young Job had packed schedules of appearances at festivals, in parades, and even on TV. Now Job, at 15, is a graceful orangutan, grown more aggressive over the years, who still refuses to get married.
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    Stock Market (August 1989) - Ten years ago in Thailand, brokerhouses were like mines where tens of thousands came in to dig for gold. The computerized system, began on May 31, 1991, saw stock market transaction rise from a few hundred million baht a day to five thousand million. In 1997, the bubble burst and the game ended with foreign investors winning and Thai investors dying a miserable death. Millionaires became taxi drivers, vendors, or prisoner in jail.
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    Leonie Vejjajiva (August 1989) - After 16 years, the home of Leonie Vejjajiva is still refuge for unfortunate wild animals. From 20 animals 11 years ago, Leonie and her foundation now has 500 in their care. These include gibbons, chimpanzees, bears, and baby civets. Some were found in garbage cans, others saved from amphetamine addiction, bullet wounds, exotic restaurants, or other horrible conditions. The fight goes on against a problem with roots like the base of an iceberg, she says.
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    Yantara Amaro Bhikku (December 1991) - "He is a monk who does good and right...truly worthy of homage and worship." This is a typical sentiment toward Yantara monk or Vinai La-ongsuwan expressed by media and many Thais in the early 90s. Then several parties came forward with stories about him having sex, exhibiting improper behavior, and plagiarizing. Investigation ended with Vinai being disrobed. He fled the country and continues to preach in America.
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    Professor Dr. Sood Sangvichien (November 1993) - Dr. Sood wrote a Thai anatomy textbook by lamplight during WWII curfews, he woke at 2 a.m. to get baby pigs from the slaughterhouse for teaching, and he left his skeleton and organs as specimen for study when he died. Medical students now worship and pray to his skeleton before tests. This former lecturer and Head of the Department of Anatomy at Siriraj Hospital never ceased to give and teach but perhaps his students have stopped to study.
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