Cool China

Once considered the epitome of unhip, Chinese culture and traditions are experiencing a revival in the city

Some 20 or 30 years ago, the fact that Somchai Kwangtonpanich spoke Chinese or carried out Chinese traditions in his daily life was looked down upon.

“People believed that my lifestyle was ludicrous,” says the born-and-bred Yaowarat man, a third-generation son of rope merchants in the Chinese neighbourhood of Sampheng, now well into his 50s.

Still, Somchai didn’t let go of his cultural heritage and, over the years, became known as a “Chinatown guru”, an amateur historian giving lectures and TedTalks, offering advice to museums, and the go-to person for everything related to Sino-Thai history in Bangkok.

These days, Chinese traditions and culture, once thought as boring and old-fashioned, have been made to look more modern and cool. …read more.

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