At the turn of the century Siam, the kingdom that preceded the twentieth century state of Thailand, was pressured by French colonial ambitions on its eastern flank and British colonial ambitions in the northwest and south. The "delicate Siamese" sitting next to Stephen in the libary, reading "a handbook of strategy," perhaps has plans to become his nation's Ho Chi Minh.

JH 2012

Encroachments on Siamese national territory in late 1800s and early 1900s. Source: Wikimedia Commons.