When Phuket Celebrates Women of Valor

As you know if you read my most recent post, I totally fell in love with Phuket Town when I was there on vacation last month. I believe I even called it “darling.” My orientation roommate lives there as a social studies teacher (or at least she will for the next few months), so I was really excited to visit her in the little town she’s been raving about. 

Phuket Town is housed within Phuket at large, a popular tourist destination island in southern Thailand. From what I could tell, most people head to Patong Beach on Phuket’s west coast and never even think to experience Phuket Town in the southeast. I could ramble on about how they’re missing out on SO. MUCH. but, instead, I want to talk about something else.

Phuket’s women of valor.

When we passed a statue of them on our way to Surin Beach, my friend told us their story with great pride. (After living there for a year, you can’t blame her for having “hometown” pride, you know what I’m saying?) I found an excellent version recounted here, and I’ll paste it for you below: 
” . . . Perhaps the most important and well known historical event in Phuket took place in 1785 when a Burmese invasion was repelled by local residents, led by a woman named Than Phu Ying Jan and her sister Mook. Legend has it that they persuaded the island’s women to pose as male warriors, to frighten the Burmese away thinking that they were outnumbered and stood little chance. The Burmese were eventually defeated, not least by hunger and starvation, and the month long siege ended on March 13. The two women quite rightly became local heroes and were bestowed honorary titles by King Rama I. Today, they are still highly respected in Phuket, and a fitting monument to them has been erected at the Tha Ruea intersection about 12 kilometres north of Phuket Town . . .”

Seriously, just one more reason to fall in love with Phuket. Eshet chayil, Than Phu Ying Jan and Mook! Eshet chayil! 

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