The district where this most famous of Bangkok landmarks (created to mark conquest over territories in Indochina that have since been returned ) proposed building a museum and pedestrian tunnels underneath it, but it was stalled because nobody knows who owns it!
A historian expressed surprise that no government agency has claimed Bangkok’s most iconic war memorial. But he also notes that ownership of a historical site has always been something everyone took for granted.
“We never asked ourselves this question before,” Thamrongsak Petchlertanan said in an interview. “Because we always knew it was government property. We never observed who actually owns it.”
The monument was built in 1941 to celebrate Thailand’s victory in its conquest of French colonies in Indochina. Inspired by modernist aesthetics at the time, it features an obelisk rising from a base guarded by five hulking statues representing the four branches of the armed forces and civilian volunteers.
The victory it marks did not last. After the end of World War II, Thailand – who joined the Axis powers following Japanese invasion in December 1941 – was forced to return the territories to the French government.
So, I guess it’s settled then – it should be auctioned off to the highest bidder, who can turn it into another Bangkok shopping mall (underground!!).