Peeriya Pongsarigun; John Viano on translating Cha-um Panchaphan

Peeriya Pongsarigun; John Viano

on translating Cha-um Panchaphan

In 1959, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child to promote equal rights of children of all races and religions to be educated and protected. The Royal Thai government wanted to celebrate Children’s Day and organize an annual Children’s Day Fair to promote children’s rights. The Royal Thai Government also wanted to localize the concept of Children’s Day to fit Thai culture. So, Cha-um Phanchaphan wrote “Children’s Duties” as a set of principles for children to follow, and Euah Sunthornsanan composed the music. Later, the Suntaraporn Band started playing it, and it has become a song played on Children’s Day in Thailand since 1959. The song has had a strong influence on Thai children’s literature — the third value mentioned in the song, ‘listen to your parents and teachers’, has become a prominent theme of many Thai children’s books.

about the author

Cha-um Panchaphan, also known as Cha-um Yaem-ngam, is a Thai author, poet, novelist, and songwriter. She started working at the Prime Minister’s Office Department of Public Relations and was in charge of writing press releases for the Royal Thai Government. In her free time, she wrote song lyrics regarding love, patriotism, the monarchy, and nature. She composed more than one hundred songs. In 2003, the Thai Writers Association gave her the Narathip Award to honor her great work and contribution to Thai literature. Cha-um Panchaphan took part in organizing the 1959 Children’s Day Fair. The Royal Thai Government wanted her to write “Children’s Duties” as the theme song for Children’s Day and to remind Thai children of their filial duties.

about the translator

John Viano and Peeriya Pongsarigun are authors and translators who excel in creating English language rhyme schemes which echo that of their sources, while accurately communicating the author’s message. They co-founded InterThaiMedia LLC to create media that brings people together across languages and cultures. InterThaiMedia’s first project was Can You Carry Me?, a children’s book about sibling rivalry. The second project was Calm by Cheewan Wisasa, an IBBY honor list book which helps children manage their feelings. InterThaiMedia also produces audiobooks and in 2022 and 2023 produced almost fifty children’s audiobooks for the Royal Thai Ministry of Public Health and Thai Health Promotion Foundation. John and Peeriya have translated over one-hundred-fifty children’s books. They last published with DoubleSpeak in Spring 2022.