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A Teacher Role Of Anna Leonowens In The Siamese Court

686 words - 3 pages

In 1999, Anna and the King movie was banned in Thailand because of historical inaccuracies. While outside of Thailand’s boundary, the stories of Anna and the King of Siam, either in form of novel, film or TV series, is interested by some foreigners and entertain them so much. The circumstance of movie ban might be a trail of negative attitude of Thais towards her story. Most of Thais believe that Mrs.Leonowens was just an English teacher who wrote lies about Siamese court and also insults the king. This displeasure conceals her teacher role and covers up what she did for Siam. Charnvit suggested that the historical role of Anna Leonowens should be re-examined as he said:
"Leonowens might not be merely the intrusive English teacher who wrote lies about the Siamese court as most people believe…”(Nithinand)
In fact, her teaching---which usually ignored---is very important for Siam.
Anna Leonowens is an Indian-born British. Her teaching career started in Singapore, where she opened the school for the children of British officers, but it was not successful (“Anna”). Although her school in Singapore ended in failure, her new opportunity in Siam was coming. King Mongkut recognized the necessity to prepare the Siamese, especially royal and noble children, to deal with the West. So, he hired the foreign teachers to educate them (M.C.Ricklefs 230). Anna Leonowens was one of teachers who come to Siam to teach western knowledge for the king’s children and wives. This was the beginning step of Mrs.Leonowens’ teaching in Siam and first step of Siam’s development.
A fundamental wisdom weapon that equipped to Siamese elites by Mrs.Leonowens to deal with the westerners is English language. King Mongkut of Siam wanted her to teach the knowledge of English language, science, and literature (Anna VI). The language is basically essential for communication, negotiation, or even protecting interests. If the Siamese understand English, it will help them to develop the country to cope with...

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