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Tai Dam Cultural Center, Ban Wang Yuak  
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Tai Dam Cultural Center, Ban Wang Yuak
By: (1127) | Date: December 13, 2016


          “… many offices have visited our Tai Dam Cultural Center, mostly to learn about the glorious past and history of our people which have remained to be seen in our temples, our school.
 
          “We want our children to learn the art of basketry, and about our traditional costume. Small children here wear Tai Dam clothes to school, once a week.”
 
          Headman Cha-lerm Thongpaeng told a story about how the locals had intended to have a Tai Dam cultural center and how they had been able to get support from some local government offices. “I was appointed headman on 10 October 2010.  We got the fund in 2011. The center was designed to be like the Si Kak Nong Noen Center, by the Provincial Cultural Office.  The construction began in 2014 and took 5-6 months … The display was the job of the Ban Kaeng Tambon Administration Organization, by President Phi-tak Tangtaeng. But the basketry things were from us.”
 
          The headman had more to say about how the center was made use of as a place where anyone could come to learn more about the Tai Dam culture.  The school also benefited. For example, during class in summer the school children could seek refuge from the hot weather in this air-conditioned place. The center also was a venue for some social gatherings, including meetings of the village folks. Some outside government offices and the police held their meetings here as well. So it is a convenient place for common use.
 
          The Tai Dam culture was presented in 2 aspects. First was the Tai Dam House itself, with its typical tortoise shell-shaped roof.  The usual wood posts were changed to concrete ones, for more strength and less maintenance cost. The construction was done by local workers.  Regarding the significance of the house,
 
          “We wish to portray our very simple way of life, in a simple wooden house, with just one bedroom, and a spirit room where we worship our deceased ancestors.  The rest of the house is almost empty.  When this house was finished, we had a house-warming ceremony and a spirit veneration rite.
 
          “… the house just had a new roof, around New Year’s time. It cost about 20,000 baht – the Center’s money, from our annual cultural fair.
 
             The Tai Dam letters in here – this’s our attempt to teach our own language to the children.  They have class here. But so far the class hasn’t been very successful.”
 
          The second zone comprised 2 sections. One was dedicated to the history with emphasis on the major characteristics of the ethnic group – the origin, the costume, the traditional house, and some folk plays (“for our children to see.”)  Headman Cha-lerm kept repeating this, while showing us around. The other section showcased basketry items donated by the people. To encourage contributions, they made use of the village’s “News Tower.”
 
          When asked about the basketry so much associated with the Tai Dam people, Headman Cha-lerm replied, “Kids just love to ask us – what’s this thing, what’s that thing called – things like the lob, the e-ab (fishing gears).  So we decide to put up some information boards which explain what the things are, for ones who can read.  These showpieces were collected by us. But we still have got more things yet to be put in here.”
 
          An interesting basketry thing was the ka-leb. The headman pointed to one which was quite large and skillfully made. Because it was large enough to put clothes in, “it was often put on a cow’s or buffalo’s back when people had to move to a new house. And this thing is called ka-lom.  We put food in it, sometimes money.”  The headman told his stories vividly. He, unfortunately, also remarked that we did not get to see these things any more because they were no longer used in the houses.
 
          The other important thing that Headman Cha-lerm mentioned was about the annual local fair scheduled on 16 April.  The fair is an important social gathering of the people.
 
          “We didn’t do big things in order to bring us together. Just passing around the words that it would take place at this house, that house. But after the establishment of the Tai Dam Cultural Center, at this Ko Kaeo temple, we really do much bigger things. The F.M. radio station helps to promote the fair to the provincial level. We also have some money from the Ban Kaeng Tambon Administration Office – 65,000 baht a year, and 100,000 from the Province, for the expenses.  Some years, we might get less.  Any money left is saved to pay for the Center’s maintenance including our water and electricity bills.”
 
          Headman Cha-lerm did a good job in presenting to us many interesting aspects of the Center, especially its development and contents, and how it serves to conserve for the younger generation their heritage and make the past seem alive again – through the things that are exhibited.  Although just a small place, the Center obviously reflects the goodwill and good intention of the staff and the local folks, proud to do their best to sustain their ethnic traditional culture.

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  Tai Dam Cultural Center, Ban Wang Yuak  
: Moo2, Ban Keang, Mueang, Nakhonsawan 60000
: 086 205 6664 นายเฉลิม ทองแพง ผู้ใหญ่บ้านหมู่ที่ 2
: -
: please contact in advance
: admission free
: -
: -
: 2011
: bamboo basketry, replica of a Tai Dam house, livelihood tools, annual April 6th celebration
Management : community
Story : local wisdom
Status : Open
Update Oct 11, 2018
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