FORGOTTEN IN THAILAND’S TROUBLED DEEP SOUTH, STANDS A DILAPIDATED WOODEN PALACE ONCE HOME TO A MALAY RULER, THE LAST OF HIS DYNASTY
Locals call it the “House of the Raja”, a place suffused with loss and solitude, laden with the region’s glorious past and tragic present. Intrigued by this demonised, yet little-known borderland, Xavier Comas chanced upon this mysterious house. Crossing the doorway, he fell under its spell and felt compelled to delve into its past. The caretaker, a Muslim shaman who held rituals inside, invited the authorto stay and initiated him into its hidden dimensions. As he builds a bond of trust with the inhabitants of the house, the missing pieces of its history gently fall into place, revealing an ancient culture long hidden and the building’s ties to the centuries-old struggles in this contested region. Comas’ evocative black-and-white photographs take us into a realm of hauntings, mystic powers and fading memories. His first-hand account enthralls the reader with vivid descriptions in which the real and the magical entwine. The House of the Raja provides a missing key to controversial issues of legacy, belief and identity in Thailand’s Muslim South.