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Mon 27 Mar 2017
Thailand's Heroines, Thao Suranari
Written by Thanapol Chadchaidee   
Sunday, 11 February 2007 16:55

During the reign of King Rama III (1824 - 1851), Prince Anuwongse or in sThao Suranarihort Prince Anu of Laos wanted to free Vientiane from subordination to Bangkok. Even though he himself got help from King Rama III in his rule of Vientiane, in 1827 he rebelled against Bangkok and took Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat), while his forward troops ransacked Sara Buri.

Suddenly to his surprise, during his return journey, he was one day attacked by the residents of these two towns whom he was taking as prisoners. Among these prisoners, there were the Deputy Governor (Phraya Palat) and his brave wife named Mo. Mo arranged her women to use their feminine charm in encouraging the Laotian troops to get drunk. They then slipped away to release the male prisoners who subsequently killed almost all of the drunken foes and set free all the prisoners. Two Thai armies went in pursuit of Prince Anu who then fled to Vietnam while the Thai armies occupied Vientiane.

In recognition of her bravery, King Rama III honoured her as Thao Suranari. To this day, she is revered by all Thai people particularly the Northeasterners who consider themselves as her grandsons and granddaughters and call her with respect as Grandma "Mo" or "Ya Mo" in Thai. Her statue stands in Korat and is worshipped by people from all walks of life daily. Every year in late March or early April a 10 - day Thao Suranari Fair is held in her honour.

Click here to see me visiting the statue during summer holidays 2002.

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This story comes from "Essays on Thailand" by Thanapol Chadchaidee. It is used here with his permission. The book contains 60 essays about Thailand written in Thai and English.