Descendant of Lao royalty sells family jewels for charity

January 22nd, 2009 - 3:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangkok, Jan 22 (DPA) A descendant of the Lao royal family Thursday kicked off a grand sale of her treasured collection of antique silks and jewellery to raise money for scholarships for Buddhist monks in Asia.Chao Soymala In-ieum na Jampasak, 67, said proceeds from the sale of her 1,000-item century-old silks and jewellery collection would be used to help cover costs for Buddhist monks from Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal and Vietnam to pursue religious studies at Thailand’s Mahachulalongkornrajidyalaya University in Chiang Mai, 650 km north of Bangkok.

“I need to raise at least a million dollars,” Soymala said in a telephone interview.

The royal sale is to be conducted out of Soymala’s home, situated about 20 km outside Chiang Mai.

Soymala is a descendent of the royal family of Luang Prabang, the ancient capital of land-locked Laos.

When Laos opted for communist rule in 1975, Soymala fled to Thailand and took up residence in Chiang Mai, where she had studied as a young woman. She is married to a Thai university professor.

The Lao communist party ended the country’s centuries-old monarchy shortly after coming to power, and the last royal ruler, Crown Prince Savang Vattana, died in a government detention camp in 1980.

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