There’s a village about as far northwest as you can go in Thailand before you hit the fortified frontier with Myanmar. Its name is Ban Rak Thai, which translates as “Thai-Loving People”. There’s a story in how it came to be. That village with its signs written in Mandarin and its slopes lined with oolong tea shrubs was founded by Kuomintang soldiers, themselves escaping Mao’s Communists across the hills from Yunnan Province in 1949. While the mainstay of Chinese nationalists fighting under warlord Chiang Kai Shek fled to Taiwan, this faction of history’s losers found sanctuary in Thailand where they brought a little taste of home with them.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
(P.B. Shelley, Ozymandias, 1818)