Thais in Los Angeles (Images of America Series)
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Los Angeles is home to the largest Thai population outside of Thailand. With a relatively recent history of immigration to the United States dating to 1965, reports estimate that 80,000 Thais make their home in Southern California. In spite of its brief history in the United States, the Thai community in Los Angeles has already left its mark on the city. While the proliferation of Thai-owned businesses and shops has converted East Hollywood and some San Fernando Valley neighborhoods to destinations for cultural tourism, the Thai community in Los Angeles County reverberates still from global attention over the 1995 El Monte human trafficking case. The great popularity of Thai cuisine, textiles, and cultural festivals continues to preserve, enrich, and showcase one of Asia's most distinctive cultures.
with Siam during the 16th Annual Thai Cultural Day at Barnsdall Art Park in Hollywood in 2008. Pictured at the center are Anne and Alisa Chatprapachai dressed as a Thai princess and her Lady in Waiting respectively. They are both daughters of prominent Thai community member Keith Chatprapachai. Pictured are the owner and staff of the second place restaurant in the Curry King Contest at Thai CDC’s first International Curry Festival, which was held in conjunction with the 5th Annual Thai New
Boon-Long, and Public Works commissioner Cynthia Ruiz. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presents the Thai Town Formation Committee with a proclamation from the City of Los Angeles in honor of the gateway unveiling. Council president Eric Garcetti, Thai consul general Jukr Boon-Long, and emcee Todd Hansen are also pictured. This Thai Angel Apsonsi Gateway Statue overlooks Hollywood Boulevard at the intersection of Western Avenue in Thai Town. Bangkok and Los Angeles are both the “City of Angels” so it
councilman Michael Woo, who was running for mayor of Los Angeles in 1990. In 1992, Blue Rangsuebsin, Burt Charuworn, and Tim Nokham received certificates of appreciation from the City of Los Angeles for completing their internships. Chancee Martorell trained them to conduct the landmark Thai community needs assessment survey that began the Thai Town designation campaign. Today Blue is a senior financial analyst for Walt Disney Studio Controllership, Tim Nokham is a practicing attorney, and Burt
Musikawong are at the Wat Thai of Los Angeles School. Religion is central to the Thai culture, and having a wat, or a temple, to worship at was a great draw for immigrants who decided to come to Los Angeles. (Courtesy of Suthai Musikawong.) The Musikawong family is pictured with the Thai consul general, second from the left, and his family at the residence of the consul general in Hancock Park, Los Angeles, in the late 1980s. (Courtesy of Suthai Musikawong.) The mother and father of Nixon
of Thai descent, and Officer Pete Phermsangngam, who is the face of the LAPD recruitment photograph. And lastly, we thank Thai CDC’s community planner, Alexander Holsheimer, who never declined to provide additional technical support on the scanning and adjustment of the photographs. FOREWORD I want to applaud the Thai Community Development Center (Thai CDC) for taking the initiative to have a book published on the Thai community in the United States. It is a highly commendable initiative. We