Reconsidering the interpretation of WWII shared-heritage in Thailand
Sirisrisak, T. 2015. Reconsidering the interpretation of WWII shared-heritage in Thailand. Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development 5(1): pp.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to find a different perspective of interpreting a Second World War shared-heritage based on the case in Thailand. Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative study was conducted at the Second World War sites in Thailand. The paper employed observation and interview of the local residents and other stakeholders at the site. Findings – Conventional interpretation of the Second World War sites in Thailand predominantly focusses on two approaches with a little involvement of the local residents. One emphasizes cruelty, loss, torture, or inhumanity with strong influence of the Australian approach. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, such interpretation could point out the culprit and gives audiences enmity against the loser of the war. Another politically underscores a strong connection between Thailand and Japan by presenting romanticized stories of wartime. The paper suggests that the way to bring Second World War shared-heritage site to life is to put an emphasis on the voice of the local residents rather than focussing on political agenda. Practical implications – The argument and recommendation raised in this paper will be particularly useful for the local residents and those who are involved in heritage management field. It would contribute to the better understanding and respect among people with different cultural backgrounds. Originality/value – The paper is the first study of a different view of the interpretation of Second World War shared-heritage. The argument raised in the paper would lead to a wider discussion among heritage professionals.