Competing Modes Of Remembrance: Tsunami Commemoration In Takuapa, Thailand
On the morning of December 26, 2004, a massive tsunami struck the western coast of Thailand. The wave, powerful enough to carry a large fishing boat more than one kilometer inland, claimed thousands of lives and changed the landscape of Thailand's picturesque Phang Nga province forever. Drawing on ethnographic data collected in the summer of 2015 and again in December 2015, this thesis seeks to understand and make sense of the ways in which the Indian Ocean tsunami is remembered and memorialized within the Takuapa district of Phang Nga. Through the analysis of various tsunami-related sites in Takuapa - the Ban Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Park, local tsunami museums, and Buddhist temples - this thesis investigates the relationship between vernacular ways of remembrance and official modes of commemoration in Takuapa. Observations of these spaces, participation in tsunami anniversary rituals conducted at the Ban Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Park, and interviews with Takuapa citizens reveal tensions between different modes of tsunami commemoration and remembrance within Takuapa and elucidate the complicated, often overlapping, relationships between social contexts and notions of Buddhist impermanence, expressions of attachment, and processes of letting go.
M.A., Asian Studies
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis