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Chaowarin honoured with statue at Lijia

April 22, 2001

In episode two of "Indiana Jones: The Temple of Gloom", a statue is going to be erected to Chaowarin Latthasaksiri in front of the Lijia Cave, Thanong Khanthong writes.

Now that the Thai police have nabbed all the gang members who faked the US Treasury bonds, Indiana Jones Chaowarin Latthasaksiri stands to get decorations of the highest order.

The other day Plodprasob Suraswadi, the director-general of the Forestry Department, suggested a brilliant idea. He proposed that a statue of Chaowarin, clad in a safari outfit, the right hand holding a horsewhip and the left hand a riffle, be erected in front of the Lijia Cave, Kanchanaburi.

The statue will serve as a tribute to his heroic act, rising high among other pre-historic works of art collected in nearby areas of Kanchanaburi

It will symbolise Chaowarin's Last Crusade to the Jungle of the River Kwai.

Chaowarin has subdued the bond gang with his wit and kick-boxing. Forget about the Thai police: they only came in afterwards to claim the credit after the hero had sent the bad guys to the floor and tied them up.

By doing so, our Indiana Jones has also promoted the Lijia Cave as the prime tourist destination in Thailand. Almost overnight, through CNN and the BBC, the world knows about the Lijia Cave, alias the Temple of Gloom.

The Temple of Gloom has recently claimed the lives of half a dozen treasure-hunters who were suffocated to death by poisonous gas. Why? Because the greedy grubbers were not born Indiana Jones. Besides, they had no respect for the dead.

The Lijia Cave is haunted by fierce Samurai warriors whose ghosts refuse to rest. They guard the war time treasure for ever, or until the sun no longer rises first over Japan.

Chaowarin has shown his respect for the dead. In a sacred rite last week he offered coconuts and other food as a sacrifice to the guardians of the treasure in front of the Temple of Gloom. He also offered the Japanese ghosts Chang beer, seeking their blessing and permission to dig for the loot

Although the US bonds, face value US$25 billion, are fake, Thais should not abandon their dream. Dreams should be in the hearts of the Thais forever. For there are still gold and jewels buried in the main chamber of the Temple of Gloom. Shin Satellite will continue to search for the treasure until it is unearthed.

As one of Thailand's greatest senators, Chaowarin knew about the plot of the Filipino gang from the beginning. He never believed that the US Treasury bonds were real.

The gang used the bonds as bait to divert his attention from the treasure in the Temple of Gloom so that they could sneak in and steal it all.

But Chaowarin was smart. He outmanoeuvred the gang and drew first blood with his horsewhip.

This is the true story. The Thai public was treated to a different version, which gave the impression that the police were the heroes. As in many a movie, Indiana Jones Chaowarin's heroism will never be truly appreciated, although he changed the course of Thai history.

The two-day national workshop on tourism in Chiang Mai, which ended yesterday, has come up with a master plan. It revolves around the Lijia Cave, Thailand's biggest selling point. Tour packages will be sold to farang tourists but more particularly to Japanese.

Everybody will rush to visit the Temple of Gloom and experience the great adventure of Indiana Jones.

Indiana Chaowarin and The Temple of Gloom




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