Prince Abhakara Kiartiwongse, the 28th children of H.M. King Rama V, was born in December 1880 and passed away on 19 May 1923 at the young age of 44. His original name may not be familiar to many of us. But the mention any of his other names : Sadej Tia ("Royal Father") or Doctor Phon or Prince of Jumborn, will command deep respect from Thai people from navy officers to rural villagers.
The life of Prince of Jumborn was multi-faceted. His early
years were spent studying Naval Science in England. Upon the
completion of his education abroad, he returned to Siam to serve in the
Royal Siamese Navy and contributed significantly to the advancement and
modernization of the navy. In honor of his contributions, the Prince
was proclaimed "The Father of Royal Thai Navy".
In addition to his career in navy, Prince of Jumborn studied
medicine. He was particularly interested in the use of herbal medicine
in treating his patients. As "Doctor Phon", he provided medical
treatment to people of all classes and races.
The Prince was also well recognized in the field of supernatural
arts. His reputation on magic was such that he has been regarded as
one of the "108 deities in heavens". Many worshippers proclaim
themselves to be his "children" or followers and pray to him for
fulfillment of their wishes. Thus, in many people's perception, Prince
of Jumborn did not expire from this world. Like other holy deities, he
is still "around" listening to people's grievances and helping them
achieve their desired goals.
Prince of Jumborn's mythical status is demonstrated by the
existence of numerous published books with such titles as The Miracles
of Prince Jumborn and Sadej Tia the Magician, as well as over 200
shrines and statues of the Prince around the country.
Sran Tongpan of Muang Boran Journal, having spent one year
researching, tells the story of how a Royal Prince became a mythical