I was born and raised in Soi Phiboon Wattana, just behind the Ministry of Public Relations in Ari. My mom told me that this was Thailand’s first-ever ‘moo baan’ (a housing estate). It was developed in 1956 as a residential project for the nearby government workers. That’s why military officers own so many houses around here and why my grandad was able to buy this piece of land with a 2-storey wooden Thai house. There are multiple entrances with no guard, but roads, electricity, trees, and even a flagpole!
When I was living here, if I said, “I’m going to the flagpole,” it meant “I’m looking for something to eat.” This legendary fried banana shop was there and the tastiest grilled chicken ever!
Phiboon Wattana has changed a lot. Even though it’s still dark at night, you can now see bigger, more modern houses and decent restaurants. ‘Honey Pie’ was one of the first. I’m excited to see these changes. I just moved back from the UK, and seeing Ari’s community and environmental movements makes me think there’s a glimmer of hope to be found.