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Phuket History – The legend of Wat Pranang Sang

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket History – The legend of Wat Pranang Sang | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Wat Pranang Sang is the oldest surviving temple on Phuket Island. It has a long and fascinating history, serving as an important center of Buddhism for the townspeople of Thalang for centuries.

When the Burmese invaded the island in 1785, the temple served as a rallying point for Siamese soldiers who gathered to defend the town.

The history of the temple itself is quite muddled. No one really knows how old it is exactly. Legend has it that the temple was built by Pranang Lueat-khao, a name that translates simply as the ‘White Blooded Noble Lady’.

Pranang Lueat-khao was the wife of a local ruler. She was accused of having an affair with a page. Although Pranang Lueat-khao maintained that she was innocent, no one believed her. She was sentenced to death by beheading.

Being a devout Buddhist, her final wish was to be able to travel to Sri Lanka so that she could pay her respects to the relic of the Buddha. Her wish was granted by the ruler.

On her way back from Sri Lanka, the noble lady stopped to build Buddhist temples in different towns along the route, including Thalang town where she built a temple that would later be called Wat Pranang Sang, which means the ‘Temple built by the Noble Lady’.

When she returned to her home city, she was taken to the execution ground. She insisted on her innocence until the final moment of her life. When the executioner’s blade struck her, a stream of white blood flowed from her lifeless body. The miracle, witnessed by hundreds of onlookers, was a sign that the noble lady was indeed innocent and that she had been punished for a crime for which she had been wrongly accused.

The story of Pranang Lueat-khao closely resembled a popular legend from nearby Langkawi Island. Lady Mahsuri, the wife of the prince of Langkawi, was accused of adultery by her jealous mother-in-law when her husband was absent.

Despite her plea of innocence, she was sentenced to death. In this case, too, when she was stabbed, a stream of white blood flowed from the fatal wound. With her dying breath, she cursed the island of Langkawi to seven generations of tribulation and misfortune.

The story of Lady Mahsuri is well known in Phuket as it is believed that after her death her family fled Langkawi and came to Phuket. It is however unclear how her tragic story came to be associated with Wat Pranang Sang. It is unlikely that she ever visited Thalang or built this temple. Mahsuri was Muslim and would not have asked that a Buddhist temple be built in her memory.

Phra Kru Vichit Supakarn, a resident monk at Wat Pranang Sang, said that the temple was built around five centuries ago and was originally called Wat Na Sang, or Wat Takien. According to the monk, historical records about Thalang have credited the renovation of the temple to the ruler of Nakhon-Sri-Thammarat and his wife.

The ruler of Nakhon-Sri-Thammarat was on pilgrimage to Sri Lanka when, on the way, their ship stopped at Thalang. Upon visiting the rundown temple in Thalang, the ruler ordered it to be renovated and renamed Wat Pranang Sang, in honor of his noble wife.

Wat Pranang Sang is now home to one of Phuket’s most important historical artifacts. The temple’s oldest building houses three Buddha images made entirely out of tin. They are the largest tin Buddha images in the world.

According to Phra Kru Vichit, when the Burmese invaded the island in 1785, Wat Pranang Sang was used as a rallying point for soldiers and locals who gathered to defend Thalang.

Because tin was a semi-precious metal at that time, the locals were afraid that what was then known as ‘the Three Kings’ Buddha images would be plundered by Burmese soldiers if the town fell, which then seemed very likely.

The townspeople therefore planned to hide the tin Buddha images from the enemy. They built three large, hollow Buddha images out of cement.

The plan was to hide the three precious Buddha images, the town’s most important treasures, inside the larger cement Buddha. The tin Buddha images were therefore placed in the belly of the larger images and sealed away.

Phra Kru Vichit said that the townspeople also inscribed a coded text on the outside of the cement Buddha to indicate the treasure that was contained within.

In time, the tin Buddha images were forgotten, until one day somebody managed to decode the inscription. Suspecting that there might be something inside the hollow Buddha, they made a small opening in one of the cement images. Sure enough, they found a tin Buddha in the larger Buddha’s abdomen.

The excavators could only remove the heads of the three tin Buddha images from their casing. Attempting to remove the tin images would risk permanently damaging the cement Buddha casings, which are historical artifacts in their own right.

It was decided then that the three original Buddha images would remain inside their casings. Today they are also sometimes referred to as ‘Phra-Nai-Pung’, which literally means the ‘Buddha in the Abdomen’.

Visitors are welcome to pay their respects to what may be one of Phuket’s most mystical and cherished historical artifacts.

— Anand Singh

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Technology

Paris Airshow overshadowed by Boeing’s woes

The Thaiger

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Paris Airshow overshadowed by Boeing’s woes | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The new, single-aisle Airbus A321NeoXLR, extra-long-range version

Boeing suffered more setbacks whilst Airbus launched an update to their single-aisle line up. Day one at the Paris Airshow.

Boeing’s latest creation the 777X will have to wait for General Electric’s specially-constructed new jets to arrive following another delay in testing.

The long delay is a blow to Boeing, already struggling to cope with the crisis in its single-aisle 737 MAX jet program. It will likely postpone the new 777’s entry into service, planned for the middle of next year, and will hit both Boeing’s airline customers and the downstream supply chain.

GE Aviation say they’ve found unexpected wear in a component for the new GE9X engine it is making for Boeing’s latest version of the 777, the world’s largest twin-engined jet, forcing a delay of several months while it redesigns and tests the part.

Boeing commercial airplanes boss Kevin McAllister told Reuters it was premature to predict any delays to the 777X program. The planemaker says they’re still targeting a maiden flight this year and entry into service the next.

This year’s Paris Airshow, usually a slug-fest between the US and European plane manufacturers, is being over-shadowed this year by the problems the US Seattle-based company is facing, on many fronts.

Meanwhile, Airbus has used the show to launch a long-range version of its A321neo jet, which will allow airlines to carve out new routes with smaller planes.

The Airbus chief salesman Christian Scherer says the new single-aisle A321 variant will be able to economically fly “from north-eastern Asia into south Asia, from the Middle East to Bali or from Japan deep into Australia, and so on”.

The new A321 variant is a direct competitor to the troubled Boeing 737 make-over, the MAX 8 & 9 series, which has become embroiled in controversy since the crash of two of the new planes, in October last year and March this year. The model remains grounded around the world as airlines moot cancellations of orders and court cases are being mounted by families of the dead passengers from the two disasters.

Sources at the Paris Airshow says Airbus was trying to assemble close to 200 orders or conversions to the new A321 model as it chases deals with carriers including American Airlines, JetBlue, Cebu Air and Frontier Airlines owner Indigo Partners.

Paris Airshow overshadowed by Boeing's woes | News by The Thaiger

The new Boeing 777X model is facing further delays with an announcement that GE have to do further testing of the jet’s new engines.

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Bangkok

Chinese move their purchase power away from Bangkok condo market

The Thaiger

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Chinese move their purchase power away from Bangkok condo market | The Thaiger

Chinese condo buyers are veering their purchase power away from the Bangkok property market citing the strong Thai currency, overpricing and a supply glut.

  • 2015 – 5.8 Yuan to the Thai Baht
  • 2019 – 4.4 Yuan to the Thai Baht

Chinese move their purchase power away from Bangkok condo market | News by The Thaiger

The rise of the baht and the weakening of the Chinese Yuan over the past four years, have culminated in a 25% softening in Chinese investment power in the Thai property market (chart from xe.com)

Property consultants say that Chinese buyers are now containing their investment risk by buying into the lower-end 2-6 million baht condo market instead of the 5-10 million baht condos they were previously purchasing.

At the same time the annual returns for Bangkok condominiums is reported to have dropped from 6-7% five years ago to only 3-4% in some locations in the current market.

Speaking to the Bangkok Post, Simon Lee, President of property brokerage Angel Real Estate Consultancy, says overall sales volume of Bangkok condos bought by Chinese buyers will shrink by half in 2019.

He also notes that the current Thai government crackdown on investors renting out condos on daily or weekly leases, has scared a lot of new investment into the sector away  as the ‘law’ appears to be applied in a haphazard manner.

The Chinese investors are also expressing disappointment when they buy into a development at one cost, only to find that locals pick up the balance of the stock at a lower price as the developers clears the stock.

Bangkok’s soaring land prices, which should see the value of condos rise, is being balanced out with the sheer glut of stock available, pushing down values. Rental returns are also being pushed down by the volume of stock available to the rental market.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Here’s another report about signs of weakness emerging in the Bangkok condo market from The Thaiger.

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Business

‘Fast and Furious 9’ to be partly filmed in southern Thailand, including Phuket

The Thaiger

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‘Fast and Furious 9’ to be partly filmed in southern Thailand, including Phuket | The Thaiger

The latest sequel of the ‘Fast and Furious’ movie franchise will partly be filmed in Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi and Surat Thani next month.

Yesterday Piya Petonji, the film’s production manager, met with Krabi Governor M.L. Kitibadee Prawit at the Krabi City Hall before the cast arrives and filming begins.

The filming will be from July 1-27 in locations around Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi and Surat Thani. It is estimated the production will bring a 340 million baht benefit to Thailand and the local film industry.

'Fast and Furious 9' to be partly filmed in southern Thailand, including Phuket | News by The Thaiger

The Krabi Governor says this is a good opportunity for Thailand to present its beautiful nature, culture and history to the world through the film. There has been no announcement of when filming may be taking place around Phuket’s roads.

The Thaiger recommends the plot of the film as a race between a visa-run passenger van and a Chinese Tour Bus to the Malaysian border, with a feature muay thai face-off on Maya Bay beach between Vin Diesel and Leonardo DiCaprio (though the 45 year old might have to get some training in before returning to ‘The Beach’).

Here’s our Top Ten movies made around Phuket and Thailand.

'Fast and Furious 9' to be partly filmed in southern Thailand, including Phuket | News by The Thaiger

Leonardo in Phuket last year during a quick break

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