The disappearing heritage

Chinpracha House sChinpracha Resident used to be a glory of Phuket for its owner, the late Prapitak Chinpracha – a successful Chinese clan – built it gloriously to meet the prospering ‘Chino-Portugese’ fashion which during those days represented the heyday of the tin-mining town. But now the house, lived and upkept single-handedly by the 4th generation Aunty Dang, is on the brink of being consumed by a construction that is threatening its very being. 

Located right on Krabi Road, which is the center of Phuket Town, Chinpracha Resident made headlines last few years when the three of the four owners (4 siblings who co-inherited the heirloom) decided to sell the front lawn space to a local businessman who, so tastefully, decided to built 2 rows of shophouses which will eventually destroy the house itself. Now the front row of the shophouse is done and they are working day and night to begin the second row which, according to the drawn-up construction plan, will cut right pass the front door of the precious Chinpracha home and many huge trees are in the lawn, including the ancient lamud tree the late owners used to climb to play.

The Chinpracha home is 106 years old. It was built back in 1903 and the house was once received a royal reception for the King Rama 6. This is the first ‘Angmor Lounge’ – a style of a Chino-Portugese resident in Phuket and still it is the place filled with histories of Phuket and a perfect place for those loving the ancient cultures for the furnitures in there are all the real pieces the late owners used and left behind. This is such a sad situation that reflects larger image of how we just value the old and beautiful things less and less and less. It also bewildered me to imagine why the three owners decided to sell it at the first place.. and they sold it for practically nothing, too!

The construction of the shophouse has already destroyed a precious historical heritage of Phuket. On the first day that the crane came, the first thing they did was knocking off the ancient, elaborate wall that surrounded the house! It was then that the whole thing began to raised attentions from some locals and now a lawsuit has been filed for ‘destroying the invaluable historical piece.’ But for all of us who know how most of Thailand works, let’s wait and see how this case is going to end.

Pa Daeng, the wife of the late Khun Pracha who was the only one among the four siblings (3 others wanted to sell off the house & land) is now pleading for help. All she wants is someone strong enough to be able to keep this place for the next generations to come. The home is for public view daily (with small entrance fee) or you can call to ask for details at T: 076-211-281. More pictures of the house can be viewed at Tae’s flickr.

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