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SEMINAR: Asian Studies Seminar

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Today's date is Friday, October 30, 2020
Asian Studies Seminar : Kra Isthmus and Canal Scheming Other events...
Thailand’s Isthmus of Kra is a narrow stretch of land connecting the Malay Peninsula to the Asian Continent. The Isthmus has been a source of constant speculation since the middle of the nineteenth century around the feasibility of constructing a shipping canal which would connect the Gulf of Thailand and countries to the East with the Andaman Sea and Indian Ocean. The issue of a Kra shipping canal was something of a thorn in the side of British colonial interests on the Malay Peninsula from the mid nineteenth century and continued to be a subject of annoyance even as they retreated from Malaya after World War Two. In the post-colonial period speculation about a Kra Canal has continued with routine predictability. The threat of a canal has been of continuing consternation particularly for Singapore which for almost two centuries has been the region’s principal maritime hub. The post-colonial government of Singapore has worked hard to diversify the island state’s economy, nonetheless, the port continues to play a major role in the economy and the state has invested heavily in port infrastructure and development. A shipping canal development on the Thai/Malaysian Peninsula would change significantly the way in which shipping in the Southeast Asian region is done and it would no doubt seriously impinge on the maritime commercial activities of one of the world’s most important port cities – Singapore.

This seminar will examine some of the factors which have continued to nurture the idea of a Kra canal since the mid-nineteenth century. It will also provide an historical account of various canal proposals since the initial canal frenzy that began in the mid-nineteenth century. The paper will also discuss why, despite seemingly constant speculation, no shipping canal proposal has progressed much beyond some preliminary investigations, surveys and more recently, in Thailand at least, endless committees with some official recognition devoted to promoting the idea of a canal or other isthmus routes.
Speaker(s) Associate Professor Stephen Dobbs
Location Seminar room G.25, Gr. Floor, Social Sciences Nth
Contact Laura Dales <[email protected]>
Start Fri, 21 Sep 2012 14:30
End Fri, 21 Sep 2012 16:00
Submitted by Karen Eichorn <[email protected]>
Last Updated Mon, 17 Sep 2012 10:37
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