Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bangkok - Jim Thompson Silk House

Shopping date: 28th May 2013

Anne and I couldn't wait to visit Jim Thompson Silk House as soon as we arrived in Bangkok. Our first destination after having lunch at Tesco Lotus, nearby the hotel and a quick meeting with the tour agent to arrange our transport to the famous Floating Market on following day, we walked to the nearest shop not far from the hotel to the Jim Thompson's outlet. 

Jim Thompson house and museum is located at No. 6, Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama 1 Road, Bangkok but the 1 nearest to our hotel is a 4 storey building where there's an outlet for the factory sales. Everybody knows Jim Thompson in Bangkok, thus, getting a direction to reach the outlet was far easy than what we thought. I recorded Anne's gwiyomi's expression on our arrival at the Factory Sales in the above photo.

Jim Thompson or James Harrison Wilson Thompson was an Architect by profession. He was born in Greenville, Delaware in 1906 and attended a family university in Princeton University from 1924 to 1928. He study architecture at the University of Pennsylvania and was a practicing architect in New York until 1940. Thereafter, he volunteered to join US Army, being a forerunner for the CIA. His assignment took him far to Africa, Europe and Asia. When the war ended, he was en route to Bangkok.

Jim Thompson was confident with the peace restored after the war and becoming actively involved with promoting a leisure travel to the Far East including gotten himself involved in the reorganization of the old Oriental Hotel, a former palace overlooking the Chao Phraya River. He had developed a certain fondness for the country and its people. He thought of settling down as Thailand permanent resident, then he left to States in late 1946 to get his discharge officially.

Soon after his return to Bangkok from the States, he turned his attention to silk. He gained worldwide recognition for his success in rebuilding the industry, generating international demand for Thai Silk and for contributing the silk industry growth.

During the Easter weekend in 1967, Jim Thompson disappeared while on holiday with friends in Cameron Highland, one of the famous holiday resort in Malaysia. Despite an extensive and extended search, his whereabouts or body never being found. Some says that he was eaten by the Tiger. By then, he had been in Thailand for nearly 22 years. He had accomplished more than most men in a full life. He built a major industry in a country whose language he could not speak and became the landmarks in Bangkok. His name is becoming a landmark himself with a simple addressed "Jim Thompson".

Anne was excited to shop in Jim Thompson as she was first introduced to "Jim Thompson" in 2002 when the designer of Istana Melawati (Melawati Palace), Yang Mulia Raja Datuk Kamarul Bahrin, a principle architect of Senibahri Arkitek binded a specification of Jim Thompson fabrics for the ID (internal decoration) works of the palace. She was involved with the palace project which was built in Putrajaya, Precinct 1, serves as a resort retreat to the Malaysia Monarch King. 

We bought many pieces of cloth materials for us and as souvenirs to a love one. For information, Malaysian traditional cloth, baju kebaya, a tight clad blouse with sarong, is slightly similar to the Thai's traditional costume. We both are extremely pleased with our purchase of which we intend to make the Malaysian traditional cloth. After we have done paying, we saw a sign that there will be a sale from 31st May till 2nd June 2013. Our train is departing on 30th May, just a day apart. Sigh!

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