Thursday, 9 June 2011

Creative Communities Contributing to Thailand’s Creative Economy

Ban Dong Bang Organic  Village
Three communities have been cited as examples of creative communities that have contributed to Thailand’s creative economy, according to a report published by the Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University.

The three communities include Amphawa Floating Market in Amphawa district, Samut Songkhram province, Baan Tawai Handicraft Village in Hang Dong district, Chiang Mai province, and Ban Dong Bang Organic Agriculture Village in Mueang district, Prachin Buri province.

The report says that many communities in Thailand are classified as creative communities in accordance with their local cultural bases. There are two aspects of creative communities: “area-based, or place-based,” and “product-based.”

The area-based community is mainly in the form of craftsmanship, or a cultural market, with historical and cultural capital. Among the examples of this aspect are Amphawa Floating Market and Baan Tawai Handicraft Village.

Amphawa Floating Mark
Amphawa Floating Market, one of the famous attractions of Samut Songkhram, is an afternoon market held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, until 10:00 p.m. Visitors may walk around to experience the traditional lifestyle of local residents and join a boat trip to observe fireflies at night. There are numerous products on sale, such as Thai desserts and sweets, seafood, crispy vermicelli, and many other delicacies, as well as hand-made souvenirs. The area possesses fertile soil, thus enabling local orchards to yield several kinds of fruits, such as pomelo, lychee, coconut, and mango, all year round.

Baan Tawai Handicraft Village
As for Baan Tawai, this village of wood-carving handicrafts has been promoted as a creative village by the Ministry of Commerce. Recognized as a major cultural attraction of Chiang Mai, Baan Tawai is best known for its wood sculptures and woodcarvings, because the handicraft products of this village are meticulously hand-made by skilled craftsmen. It was also selected as a suitable site to be developed into a major trading center, because its characteristics meet the criteria set by the Ministry of Commerce.

Regarding the product-based aspect, a community of this aspect usually offers unique products or services, with an emphasis on local wisdom and expertise. An example for this creative community aspect is Ban Dong Bang, about 16 kilometers from the Chao Phraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital, a major hospital in Prachin Buri famous for herbal products and traditional Thai medicine. The Organic Agriculture Group at Ban Dong Bang is engaged in contract farming with the hospital. A number of local residents grow medical herbs and sell them to the hospital in the form of dried materials, which will be made into herbal products by the hospital.

All these creative communities have played an increasingly vital role in helping create economic value for the country based on their talent and cultural resources.

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