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Living on Phuket I'm always on the lookout for reading material about our island, particularly about it's history and culture.  Unfortunately, apart from the weekly Phuket Gazette newspaper, English-language material is fairly scarce.

So I was delighted to stumble across the premier issue of Phuketscape, a quarterly magazine published by the Old Phuket Foundation.  The Foundation's mission statement gives a good indication about the scope of this publication:

  • To develop, restore, revitalize, and preserve the way of life, the art, and the architecture of the old buildings in the historical conservation area under the Designated Area and Environment Act of 1997, from the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment.
  • To create an awareness of the importance of Old Town preservation to residents living in the historic conservation area and to the people of Phuket.
  • To promote culture affairs.
  • To promote democratic administration with the Kind as head of state, without financially or nonfinancially supporting any politicians or political parties.
Among the articles in Vol. 1 No. 1 (March-May 2007) are reports of the Poontay Fair and Old Phuket Town Festival (both of which helped raise awareness of the early Phuket way of life), information about the port of Jungcylon (the first name Westerners gave to the island), and the story of The Sharks — a local group popular in the mid-1960's.

Many of the articles are bilingual, Thai and English, and well-illustrated with color and black & white photos.  It's really nicely done and I look forward to future issues.  My only real complaint is that not ALL of the articles are translated into English.  It's a bit frustrating at being "denied" a few interesting-appearing stories given my inability to read the Thai language (I am beginning to learn, however).