2. The Annexation of Local Powers
In Thailand, Bangkok, the country’s capital city, extended its control to provinces from the latter half of the 19th century in tandem with the colonization of neighboring countries. Local men of influence, as represented by the local kings, were crushed one after another as if leveled by bulldozers.
The Chiangmai royal family, once the biggest of the local rulers, was no exception. Cao Phong-In (1905-1989), a descendent from the main branch of the Chiangmai royal family, studied at a secondary school in the capital and then in Britain for about 10 years beginning in 1920. He joined a central government ministry in January 1931, but the starting pay of 145 baht was less than the average accorded to those who had studied overseas. He soon quit his job and took on the management of the family assets. However, he gradually wore down the family assets, and passed away in frustration in May 1989.