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.

Scan of undated photo of Auntie K. (courtesy of our cousins)

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.

One thought on “Dr. Jit-Kasem Sibunruang

  1. Dear Sir / Madam,

    My name is Jose Silveirinha. I am an electrical engineer by profession, and a writer by vocation, married, 53 years old, with 3 children. I am Portuguese, I live in Macau China since 1983.

    My address
    Alameda Dr Carlos D´Assumpçao, 258, Ed. Kin Heng Long, 12 floor, M, Macau
    Tel : (853) 28 700489
    Mobile : (853) 66686898

    I am kindly approaching you to ask for your help and inquire you how can I approach the heirs of Mrs. Dr. J.Kasem Sibunruang ( because I do not know their contacts) in order to request them authorization to the copyright for an electronic book publication in Portuguese of the book Thai Folk-Tales by Mrs. Dr. J.Kasem Sibunruang, I hope you can help me and reply by email.

    I intend to launch my own books website soon in January 2015 with all my books in ebook format, and wish to ask permission to publish the Thai Folk Tales in Portuguese, ebook format.

    There is a story behind this translation which I would like you to read, hope you have some time to read:

    On 1985 I bought a book in Bangkok, Thai Folk-Tales by Mrs. Dr. J.Kasem Sibunruang, which was published in English within the framework of the Institute of Asian Studies, at the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University.
    I read it, and loved it so much that I translated it into Portuguese.
    On 1985, I went again to Bangkok, I tried to approach Mrs Sibunruang through the Institute of Asian Studies in order to receive authorization to publish the book in Portuguese.
    She was not available to meet me, but a gentleman whose name I forgot, from the Institute of the Asian Studies, kindly met me, helped me to contact her, and after few days, informed me that she would grant me the rights for a symbolic amount of 50 Bath.
    I do not remember if I paid it or not, if I paid it, I do not find the receipt anyway. However, I did not publish the book until now because, meanwhile, I stopped my literary activity, and I even forgot and lost the Portuguese draft of the translation.
    On the last 4 years I restarted my literary work, I have been active with writing and editing my 12 books, none has been published yet, written along my life, since I was 15 years old, poetry, essays, philosophy, political thoughts, fiction, documentaries, romances.
    2 Years ago I found the manuscript with that translation of Thai Folk Tales, by luck, in Portugal, and I together with a Portuguese text editor and a graphical designer have finished all the preparation work for its publication : typing into Word, reviewing, editing, and graphical preparation for publishing.
    I am deeply affectionate to Buddhism, and I am now translating into Portuguese The Udana – The Word of Buddha, a translation from Pali to Spanish by Mrs Carmen Dragonetti.

    Your assistance on this matter is kindly appreciated.
    Many thanks
    Best regards
    Jose Silveirinha

    13 February 2015

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