The musical the King and I is based on a real, 19th century, king and a real country. The country is Siam, which is an old name for Thailand. The king is the king of Thailand in the mid 19th-century: King Mongkut. I am currently visiting the Bangkok university named after him: King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi. This is in west Bangkok, west of the main Chao Praya river which flows through Bangkok. I think Bangkok basically grew up on the banks of this river but now the greater Bangkok region has 12 million Thais so it is a bit of a sprawl. Still it is 20 C warmer than Britain in November and the food is great so I am not complaining.
I am here to visit an academic here, Piyapong Asanithi, who did his PhD in Surrey, partially with me. He has been an academic here in Thailand for a couple of years now, and it is great to see that he is doing so well. It is very satisfying, and maybe a little scary, to see a student you have helped teach is now the boss of PhD, masters and undergraduate students.
Anyway, we are planning doing some research together which we think could be very interesting. Between Surrey and King Mongkut’s, we should have just the right combination of skills to make it work. I think there are some good questions we could try and answer, and I think I am getting hooked on the food, so a return trip would be good.
PS Date at the top is a slight lie. It was written at about 3 am Thailand time (jetlag + exciting science ideas = can’t sleep) Weds 20th Nov, but as the blog is on UK time it claim it was written yesterday, if you see what I mean.