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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture File: Thailand series at ThaiPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring interesting facts that you must know about Thailand, Thai Culture and Thai People. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 25: Mongkut
King Mongkut, or พระบาทสมเด็จพระจอมเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัว
, also known as Rama IV, lived from 1804 until 1868. He was one of the most loved kings of Siam, now Thailand, and he was the ruler portrayed in the musical “The King and I”, or in Thai แอนนากับพระเจ้ากรุงสยาม.
The biggest issue Siam had to deal with during King Mongkut's reign was the attitude of expansionism held by Western cultures. Rama IV was known for his embrace of Western technology and culture, and he was often referred to by the people as the Father of Science and Technology, or in Thai, พระบิดาแห่งวิทยาศาสตร์ไทย.
One of the ideas brought into the country during Rama IV's reign was the idea that the Earth, or โลก, was actually round rather than flat, which was an idea introduced by western science. The round Earth presented a major problem to proponents of Buddhism, which specifically outlined that the earth was flat. This led Buddhist scholars to the understanding that their scriptures were meant only to be taken literally in cases that referred to spiritual matters.
During Rama IV’s reign, there was also an increase in the number of missionaries from Great Britain and the United States, hired by Rama IV to teach English to Thai princes.
But while embracing Western technology and science, Rama IV also had to adeptly deal in international affairs, for the first time in the history of Thailand. It was during his reign that emissaries from Great Britain, or สหราชอาณาจักร , came to Siam with a treaty, paving the way for more open foreign trade.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting about Rama IV?
Leave a comment telling us at ThaiPod101.com! Thank you for listening, and we’ll see you in another series.