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Saai Sanithawong (สาย สนิทวงศ์)

Thai. Name of a Siamese Prince, who was a contemporary of King Rama V (fig.), to whom he was for a while court physician. He was born on 25 February 1845 and passed away on 13 September 1912. He held the rank of Navy Vice-Admiral and from 1887 to 1890, he was the first deputy chief of naval operations, until he in that same year received the concessions to dig the first irrigation canal of Siam, a canal to be dug North of Rattanakosin, connecting the Chao Phraya River in Pathum Thani with Nakhon Nayok in the East. The project became his personal endeavor and legacy, which he carried out under the name Siam Canal and Irrigation Company, and with the aid of his son Momratchawong Suwaphan Sanithawong (fig.), who –as a physician educated in Scotland– assisted his father both in the field of medicine and in this company. Construction took 14 years and by royal decree, the canal was officially named Khlong Rangsit Prayoonsak (fig.), after Rangsit Prayoonsak (fig.), the the 52nd child of King Chulalongkorn, who was also known as the Prince of Chainat. However, as the team in charge of the project, a statue of Saai Sanithawong and his son Suwaphan (fig.) today stands in a Buddhist temple located along the canal, in close proximity to the Northern Bangkok University, and though the canal is in short often referred to as the Rangsit Canal, the local populace usually refer to it as Khlong Chao Saai (คลองเจ้าสาย), i.e. the ‘Prince Saai Canal’. His full name and title are Phra Worawong The Phra Ong Saai Sanithawong (พระวรวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้าสายสนิทวงศ์). See MAP.