Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, 2-27-07

With colleagues from the Ongkharak Library, Louie and I visited the beautiful campus of the 100 year-old Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy. It's the Thai equivalent of West Point, and it looks like a cross between West Point and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. It trains Army officers in a 4-5 year bachelors degree program. About 2 hours outside Bangkok, it on a beautifully landscaped open plain next to mountains. There are all kinds of recreational activities and spaces available to the public as well.

We had a pleasant hour touring their library and then another half hour at their military museum. This was another initiative of the famous King Chulalonghorn, who began so many westernizations in Thailand, especially in education. One of the photos is of a replica of the first inscription of the Thai language millenia ago. Interesting.

SWU's Ongkharak Campus Library 2-26-07

I spent the day with colleagues at the Ongkharak Library of SWU (about 90 minutes outside Bangkok), starting with a tour of their fabulous garden. It was started by their custodian 10 years ago when the library was new and had no landscaping at all. It's unbelieveable - part forest, orchard, and tropical paradise. BTW, the gardener covers at circulation when the staff all have to be away!

The day was followed by dinner at a local open-air, roadside restaurant famous for salt-encrusted, grilled fish. Everything was yummy!
Happy to say, Louis has joined me here, and he's loving all of this, too.

Thailand Knowledge (TK) Park 2-24-07

This afternoon we visited the Thailand Knowledge Park (TK Park), a glitzy, upscale "public" library in a vertical shopping mall. The idea apparently came from Singapore.

It's lively, colorful, engaging. Users must pay 20 Baht/day (about 60 cents) to enter and 20 Baht to use the Internet for 1 hour. An annual pass is available for 100 Baht (about $3). Nevertheless, it made me queasy, because the National Library is obviously underfunded, and the rural areas who have libraries at all are underserved. Anyway, you can see for yourself.

National Museum, 2-24-07

Fine visit to the National Museum this morning, but my camera was acting up, and lots of rooms do not allow photos, but here are a few to give you a flavor. There are percussion instruments, a throne chair, Pimol, and a gorgeous shelter from a palace or temple.