Esperanto
Author: David Poulson


Esperanto in Thailand

Author: David Poulson
Published on: September 1, 2000

Introductory note for new visitors to the Esperanto Topic.

If you have only just begun to take an interest in Esperanto and wish to know some basic information about this fascinating subject, please start your reading at the first article of this series. Having already completed 67 articles, I am now at the stage of writing articles for those readers who have learned quite a lot about the Esperanto language and movement already, and who are now wanting to find out more than just the basic introductory information. To get to the beginning of this series

After you have read the first article, click on the link at the top of the page which says "Articles" to find the rest of the series, which is listed in reverse chronological order. ________________________________________________________

In July, I taught an intensive course in advanced, web-based, information retrieval at Chiang Mai University where I was obliged to use the English language and never in my life have I more sincerely regretted the fact that Esperanto is not in common usage as a global auxiliary language. Somehow, I managed to communicate sufficiently to the 28 "students" (all of whom were, I think, better academically qualified than I am) to get the job done. But it was an exhausting experience on all sides. I am deeply indebted to that wonderful group of people for their diligence, their fortitude, their hospitality and their generosity. If only we could have used Esperanto!

Unfortunately, before I left for Thailand, I was completely unable to find any trace of Esperantists in that country. But, after I came back, while researching the history of Esperanto in China - which will be the subject of my next few articles, I did come across evidence that Thai Esperantists were active at least 60 years ago. I am publishing that evidence below, pretty much exactly as I found it. To me, as you can imagine, it was especially interesting, but I hope that all of my readers will enjoy reading Kiuigi's little article: "Why did I learn Esperanto?" which was published in the August 1978 issue of El Popola Cxinio (

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Why did I learn Esperanto? For this sole reason: because I, myself, from my own experience, was able to see how Esperanto could play a real part in international relations between the nations of the world.

In 1931 I read a pamphlet written by Hujucz called An Impression of Moscow. That was where I first learned about the international language, Esperanto, which Hujucz had used when he visited the USSR to travel around and to make friends. Not long after, I visited Hujucz at the Shanghai Commercial Press and he told me that he had also travelled to other European countries, and that he had also used Esperanto there as a means of getting to know many people and making friends with them. That proved to me that Esperanto could be used as a bridge between people of different nationalities to facilitate mutual understanding and friendship. I have loved Esperanto ever since. I have never interrupted my studies of Esperanto, not even when I was in prison, during the dark rule of Chiang Kai-Shek,

In 1936, I found it mecesary to leave China and go to Thailand where I got in touch with some local Esperantists and other Chinese expatriates and, together, we formed the Thailand Esperanto Association. Esperanto classes were offered at some schools and, articles about it appeared in the journal, "Jonghua Shibau."

During the China-Japan war, we used Esperanto to help support the resistance against the invading Japanese army, and to help to collect money and supplies for the Eighth Route Army and the New Fourth Army. At the same time, we maintained contact with overseas Esperantists and some Esperanto journals (such as Vocxo el Oriento, Orienta Kuriero, etc.) which were also using Esperanto to support the struggle of the Chinese people against the Japanese occupation.

After the Second World War ended in 1945, Chiang Kai-Shek, supported by the USA, began a counter-revolutionary civil war. To support the opposition against the Kuomintang, we published, with the help of the Thai Esperantists, an Esperanto journal called, "Orienta Raporto." The purpose of this journal was to make the public aware of the plots and crimes of the Kuomintang. We also maintained friendly relations with many comrades and friends from overseas who strongly supported our efforts.

In May 1949, fortunately, I was able to return to the bosom of my own country and, after that, we Chinese Esperantists elected the respected veteran Esperantist, Comrade Hujucz, as president of the Chinese Esperanto League. The Esperanto movement in China then entered a new phase. The journal, El Popola Cxinio, was founded, published regularly, and, thanks to the friendly contacts which had been made with overseas Esperantists, it gradually became firmly established and widely read.

Esperanto classes were started in many towns and, in this way, a number of young Esperantists were brought into the movement. And I, myself, began to correspond again with my dear overseas friends, both old and new.

Unfortunately for me, those links of friendship were interrupted during the tyranny of the Gang of Four. And, during that time, I sadly missed those friendships which I had made during the common fight against fascism, for national independence, and for world peace.

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So there we are! There clearly was an active Esperanto presence in Thailand over 50 years ago and I'm only sorry that it has not thrived. The gulf between the Thai and English languages seems to be very wide indeed and, even as an apprentice language, Esperanto could have a valuable role to play in this country.

In my next article, I will begin to summarise the history of Esperanto in China from its origins almost a hundred years ago. I hope you'll re-join me then.

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