Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Yasothon Pappayon - Yasothon, Thailand

Wise are the old when they're not senile. Without them we'd have to depend solely on the young, who don't care much for things that are old. Finding this little theater was made possible by an older gentleman with his faculties as full as the young are full of shite. Prior to him, a dozen questioned people still in the prime of life could offer no clues, only misinformation about a cinema scene that's slipped through the cracks of memory. Drenched behind the ears, those young 'uns are. And let me tell ya, it takes one to know one. Low and behold, on the dingier side of town, stands about the most unassuming theater that I've come across to date - the Yasothon Pappayon.

The Yasothon Pappayon - an old neighborhood theater

My keen minded friend dated the old theater to the early 1960's, when as a strapping lad he himself would cram in with hundreds of his Yasothonian kin to catch the latest moving picture. 16 mm with live dubbing, in those days. These days it's a private residence, and a fading memory in the town it's named for.

Fading name

Adding to the Yasothon Pappayon's worn mystique is the neighborhood it's in. This is the older part of town, two-thirds wooden shack, looking on the verge of collapse, to one-third sino-colonial shop house. It's the section of the city that was born from riparian trade, a near extinct means of commerce which, in Isan, was once oriented to the east, towards the Mekong and the domain of the Lao. Before roads and trains redirected Isan's economy towards Bangkok, river trade along the west-to-east-flowing Chi and Mun rivers meant that the region's cultural affinity was stronger with the Lao principalities than with the Thai capitol. In more recent times, Bangkok has devoured the resources of Isan without giving much in return besides some nationalist rhetoric.

And that, in a nutshell, is my own abridged take on the origins of the Bangkok bloodshed this past weekend; grievances which go back much farther than the overthrow of Thaksin and his cronies. Take it or leave it.

Streetscape perspective

Peddicab driver stopped for a moment in front of the old Yasothon Pappayon to pick some herbs from a nearby potted plant.


  1. What a small theater!

  2. Yes, it is pretty small. I wasn't able to get any much information on it, though, so I couldn't tell you just how small it is.