News & Updates

27.06.2021 Paper presentation at Decolonising Language, Literary, and Cultural Studies Symposium, Chiang Mai University Thailand

The film fan tourism project has grown and evolved over the years. Since the Covid-19 Pandemic with travel restrictions, film fan tourism brings us to the subject of memory of past travels mediated through online platforms. Records of past journeys filmic and otherwise resurfaced on various Facebook pages and websites. One of the things that I have been exploring further is the revival of sites connected to colonial history in Thailand, which have also been used as film locations. Hua Hin is one such town which has long been known as a seaside get-away for Bangkokian. It has grown since the start of the Southern Railway line and the constuction of the Railway Hotel. The hotel was used to film The Killing Fields (1984) and has been mentioned in various literature. 


The notion of colonial nostalgia with the revival of the hotel now run by the Central Group is something I decided to explore in the recent paper presented at 'Decolonising Language, Literary, and Cultural Studies Symposium' hosted by Chiang Mai University Thailand (abstract below). The virtual conference went well with further contacts and follow-ups on possible collaboration with colleagues in Thailand interested in the similar kind of topic.


(En)countering colonial nostalgia through film fan tourism

Wikanda Promkhuntong

Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University


This paper seeks to come to terms with remnants of colonialism as found in sites related to film fan tourism in Thailand. The paper begins by an observation of colonial nostalgia in the design and narrative of tourist venues such as The Railway Hotel (now Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin). The hotel reveals the longing of colonial past through the name of its function room and the description of the ambience with ‘colonial accents’. Contextualized within the history of the beginning of tourism in Hua Hin in the 1920s as the railway was built connecting Bangkok to Hua Hin and Hua Hin to Padang Besar, a mode of colonial engagement here is glazed with the notion of leisure time, glamour living and social class. Later used as the site of Hotel Phnom Penh in The Killing Fields (1984), the visit to the site as part of the film memory opens up the location to the process of discursive negotiation of multiple meanings existing at the same time. The paper then explores how transmedia storytelling and visual methods could provide a methodological intervention to engage with layers of memories within and besides the screens.


Keywords:

Fan tourism, film location, cultural memory, colonial nostalgia