11 July 2024

While Thainess is not the official theme of APEC 2022, it has been omnipresent in hundreds of APEC meetings that Thailand has hosted since December. This unique Thai touch will especially be felt at APEC Economic Leaders’ Week, which runs from November 14 to 19.

APEC 2022 logo

The logo, conceived to depict the ubiquitous Thai bamboo basket, will be featured at every APEC 2022 meeting. Designed by a Thai university student, the “chalom” symbol inspired by a basket made from interwoven strips of bamboo, is a perfect representation of Thainess.

The interweaving also symbolizes the strength, resilience and cooperation between the 21 member nations of the regional bloc, as well as trade and commerce carried on between them.

Made from environmentally friendly bamboo, the chalom also resonates with idea of balance in the APEC 2022 theme, “Open. Connect. Balance”.

Mementos of Thainess

The seven souvenirs created for APEC leaders and their spouses are also environmentally friendly and instilled with the Thai touch.

Among them is a 30cm-by-60cm souvenir plate made from recycled metal and embossed with an image of the Grand Palace and the APEC logo. Also in the summit goody bag is a jewelry box with a lid fashioned from recycled metal and emblazoned with the chalom symbol. Both items were produced by the renowned craftspeople of Wat Sri Suphan community in Chiang Mai.

The government also commissioned a set of handmade naturally dyed silk products for APEC leaders. The set comprises a necktie, scarf, handkerchief, and a mask. Made in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Pak Thong Chai district, it comes adorned with Thai patterns and the APEC logo.

The National Identity Office has prepared two special directories – one featuring silk manufacturers of Thailand and the other of silk retailers in the country.

The Treasury Department, meanwhile, has come up with a commemorative 20-baht coin featuring an image of King Rama X on one side and “APEC 2022 Thailand” with the logo embossed on the other side.

The Support Foundation of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit will deliver two more souvenirs at the end of the summit. A 13x18cm silver niello photo frame with a shot of the respective APEC leader during their royal audience will be accompanied by a silver-edged vanity box made from Yan Lipao grass, also known as Lygodium or climbing fern.

“We have gone into detail to ensure our souvenirs embody precious Thainess and Thai stories while also adhering to the government’s BCG [bio-circular-green] economic model,” government spokesman Anucha Buraphachaisri said.

Arts of the Kingdom

On November 18, the wife of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Assoc Prof Naraporn Chan-o-cha, will escort the spouses of APEC leaders to the Arts of the Kingdom Museum in Ayutthaya province for an introduction to traditional Thai art and craftsmanship.

Presided over by the Foundation for the Promotion of Supplementary Occupation and Related Techniques, the museum features a vast art collection of pieces with unique cultural heritage and stories. Among the highlights are the glittering golden models of the Suphannabhetra and the Sri Suphannahongse Royal Barge.

It took 73 artisans one year and five months to craft the Suphannabhetra or “Golden Sampan” with gold nielloware. The ship’s mast is damascened with an inlay of hair-fine gold and silver wire and topped with enameled golden flags. The sails are perforated gold sheets carrying wildlife and vine motifs, while the deck of the ship is made from woven strips of gold. The bow of the ship is crafted with embossed gold, while the foredeck is a flat area flanked by bejeweled naga heads that complete the dazzling and fearsome design.

The Sri Suphannahongse Royal Barge model, meanwhile, is a spectacular piece of silver crafted with gold niello. The majestic head of the mythical golden swan is enameled and has diamond eyes and fangs. Its beak holds a long, ornate golden tassel decorated with diamonds. Perforated gold designs are embellished with strips of beetle wings and an enameled tail. It took 108 artisans two years and nine months to craft this creation.

By Thai PBS World