People from Thailand's Mahidol University and China's Hanshan Normal University in Chaozhou pose for a group photo at Mahidol University's Salaya Campus in western Bangkok, Thailand, June 19, 2019. Thailand's Mahidol University and China's Hanshan Normal University in Chaozhou on Wednesday announced the establishment of an institute to promote the research on Southeast Asian Chinese of Teochew origin in Bangkok. (Xinhua)
BANGKOK, June 20 (Xinhua) -- A pair of Thai and Chinese universities on Wednesday announced the establishment of an institute to promote the research on Southeast Asian Chinese of Teochew origin in Bangkok.
Thailand's Mahidol University and China's Hanshan Normal University in Chaozhou on Wednesday jointly held the inauguration ceremony of the Thai-Sino Institute for Southeast Asian Chinese (Teochew) Studies at Mahidol University's Salaya Campus in western Bangkok.
Banchong Mahaisavariya, the acting president of Mahidol University, said that he is proud of being a Teochew descendant and believes the cooperation to set up the institute would promote communication between Teochew descendants in different countries and contribute to regional development.
Leuchai Sringernyuang, the dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of Mahidol University said Thailand has the largest Teochew population outside of China so it is the best place to study Teochew descendants.
He added that the institute would start a project to study leaders of Chinese Thai from the late 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, the Teochew letters, etc., in the first three years.
Secretary of Party Committee of Hanshan Normal University Xin Xiaotao said during the ceremony that his university set up a Thai study center in 2015 to teach the Thai language and carry out researches on the Buddhism culture in Thailand and the Chinese Thai culture.
Xin agreed with the Thai side that the new institute will serve as a model of cooperation between the two universities.
After the inauguration ceremony, Banchong and Xin granted appointment letters to Dean Leuchai and Chen Haizhong, the dean of College for Teochew Studies at Hanshan Normal University, as joint directors of the new institute.
Teochew, or Chaozhou in Mandarin Chinese, refers to the historical Chaozhou prefecture in China's southern Guangdong province, which is home to many Southeast Asia Chinese's forefathers.
The overseas Teochews adhered to their traditional values and kept their strong affinity for home. They used to send a portion of income from working in Southeast Asia along with a letter to awaiting family members in China, which is known as the Teochew Letters, or "Qiaopi" in Mandarin.