via Thai PBS World, 02 July 2020: Here’s to hoping that the recent demolition of the Bombay Burmah Trading Company building in Phrae sparks more robust enforcement of arhitectural conservation in Thailand.
Torn down despite its 127-year history, Phrae province’s historic Bombay Burmah Trading Co building may be gone for now. But hope is growing that it will be restored to its colonial-era glory and set a badly needed precedent for architectural conservation in Thailand.
Bit by bit, the Fine Arts Department is now rebuilding the old teak trading post, a legacy of Phrae’s 19th-century status as a major logging centre. Reconstruction began late last week after the demolition triggered uproar among locals and became a national issue.
“Response to the demolition, both legally and in terms of the restoration, is now heading in a positive direction,” said Pattana Saengriang of the Phrae Old Town Conservation Network last week, after the government engaged his network in the process to investigate the scandal and to restore the heritage building.
Even Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha commented on the demolition, vowing that wrongdoers would be punished and the trading post restored.
“This is a historical building with cultural roots. You can’t just bring it down,” the PM said last week.