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Dr. Sawai Boonma Receives Prince Narathip Award

Congratulations to our friend Dr. Sawai Boonma (ไสว บุญมา), who was awarded the 2022-23 Narathip Award (รางวัลนราธิปพงศ์ประพันธ์) from the Writer’s Association of Thailand. The Narathip Award is delivered to senior writers whose works have been widely praised. The award was delivered to him by Thanpuying Wiwan Worawan Sreshthaputra, an heir of Prince Narathip Praphanphong (1861-1931), who was a son of King Mongkut, the 4th monarch of Siam.

Dr. Sawai is a former economist at the World Bank and a prolific author, writing books such as The Furry of the 4 Elements (ธาตุ 4 พิโรธ), The End of Civilization (หายนะฤาสิ้นอารยะธรรม), and Letters from Ban Na (จดหมายจากบ้านนา), a memoir of his rural upbringing in the village of Ban Na — Nakhon Nayok province, central Thailand. Unfortunately, none of these books are available in English. However, you can read his English articles for the Bangkok Post, an archive of which can be found HERE.

Dr. Sawai Boonma considers his most valuable work to be his book on King Bhumibol the Great’s Sufficiency Economy theory (เศรษฐกิจพอเพียง ฉบับส่งเสด็จ). Over the years, Dr. Sawai has been one of the country’s most vocal advocates for integrating Sufficiency Economy principles into the management of the Thai economy and government programs.


Dr. Sawai Boonma hands a copy of his Sufficiency Economy (Royal Edition) book to Thanpuying Wiwan Worawan Sreshthaputra at the Narathip Awards Ceremony


In short, Sufficiency Economy is a philosophy that emphasizes five elements: knowledge, morality, moderation, reasonableness, and immunity from shocks. In Boonma’s book he discusses the theory in depth and how these principles can be used to underpin the Thai government’s development policies and programs. He handed a copy to Thanpuying Wiwan during the awards ceremony.

The Narathip Award was established in 2001, on the 110th anniversary of Prince Narathip Praphanphong’s birth and the 10th anniversary of him being officially recognized by UNESCO has an important cultural World figure. Prince Narathip is credited with inventing the Thai Lyric Drama (with supporting chorus) during the reign of King Chulalongkorn (1868-1910). Prince Narathip created this new type of drama by combining elements of Western opera and ancient dramas with the Thai dance dramas known as Lakorn Duek Damban which became popular during the 19th century.

Prince Narathip is also known as the Father of Cha-am, a lovely seaside community in Thailand. Prince Narathip was instrumental in developing the community, and each year a Prince Narathip Festival is held in his honor.


David Alan