We are mourning one of our aunts who passed last week. Dr. Jit-Kasem Sibunruang was part of a generation of great women from a large and very complex family that spans three continents.
She was among the first Thai women to earn a doctorate from the University of Paris. Auntie K (also known in the family as Dr. Kasem) was a lecturer in Thai literature at the Sorbonne from 1951-1954. She left Paris for a few years, returning to serve as Officer-in-Charge at headquarters, Southeast Asian projects at UNESCO.
Auntie K was a professor at Chulalongkorn, one of Thailand’s leading universities, and an author best known for her work on Thai folk tales. Auntie K tutored the children of the Thai royal family in the French language. In 1968, she was decorated by the French government in 1968 as an Officier de l’Ordre des Palmes Academique.
[More about her life is in a 1971 issue of the Sydney Morning Herald.]
Her many works include:Wessandorn, the Charitable Prince, Contes et légendes de Thaïlande, Children’s literature in Thailand, Culture of Thailand Today, The role of tradition or religion in literature for ASEAN understanding, Coutumes de la vie siamoise d’après le poème populaire Khun Chang, Khun Phèn and others.
She was also a woman who knew where to get a good steak. We will miss her! Our condolences to her family.