The small iron elephant

A dedication to Thailands greatest king

When Rizal was in Singapore, he wrote about the palace of the Rajah of Siam where an “iron elephant” can be found. The Rizal scholar Ambeth Ocampo tried to locate this but was unable to do so because he went to the present day Thailand embassy in Orchard Rd. The elephant statue actually was a commemoration of the English speaking Siam King, Chulalongkorn’s visit to Singapur. The Thai leader, said to have been a modernist is credited with advancing the education of his nation, abolishing slavery and is the first Siam monarch to ever leave Thailand to travel. Like Rizal, he enjoyed traveling but I’m not sure if he had the same passion towards women like the brown superhero, who in his diary went to ask about the presence of women in Singapore, he’s left to wonder why he could hardly find any [most stayed in their homes during those days]. The present location of this iron elephant could’ve not been the monarch’s residence because it’s the old Parliament house. Rizal was wrong in identifying the building as “the palace of Rajah of Siam”, he was human of course – he does commit errors from time to time [tao lang po].

December 2009


4 responses to “The small iron elephant

  • Anonymous

    How would you know if the iron elephant has not been transferred through the years? Hold your horses, you may be wrong in saying that JP rizal was wrong.

    • De AnDA

      How would I know if you’re even a real person! LOL But let me take this opportunity to cite some sources.

      Anyway, last time I checked, Rizal is still human. And yes, I believe he’s wrong. That statue was never moved since 1871. And one more thing, the ‘iron elephant’ was a gift from the King of Siam, why would they put it in their consulate building?

      “The statue was a foreign king’s gift to Singapore to commemorate his visit in March 1871 and was erected on June 25, 1872 in front of the Town Hall” – Singapore Landmarks: Past and Present by S.Ramachandra

      A fun read but packed with historical tidbits about the island, “Singapore at Random”, edited by Didier Millet: “[Chulalingkorn] bronze statue of an elephant in front of the Arts House (formerly Parliament House) was a gift from King Chulalongkorn of Siam who visited Singapore in 1871…”

      There’s actually dozens of ‘tourism’ books that mentions this ‘iron elephant’, so save yourself a visit to the National Library 🙂

  • De AnDA

    hey bro, hope youre having a great time in the queen city! Merry xmas to you and your wife.

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