1946 was a tumultuous year for Thailand.

World War II had ended only a year ago, leaving the country with a damaged infrastructure and economy, its people in distress. 

A sense of jubilation over the return of the young King Ananda Mahidol in late 1945, quickly turned into a tragedy after he was found dead in his bed with a bullet wound to the head, in June 1946.

Against the political turmoil, economic hardship and post-war scarcity, an English-language daily, aiming to serve as a ‘’real’’ newspaper, was born on August 1, 1946

The Bangkok Post.


Population: 17 million
GDP: 31 billion baht 
Tourist Arrivals: 20,965
Life Expectancy (Male/Female): 40.2/43.5
Price of the Bangkok Post: 1 baht
Number of pages: 4
(Source: Chronicle of Thailand: Headline News Since 1946)

First Edition

A Bangkok Post founder Alexander MacDonald, 1908-2000

The birth of a newspaper is always a difficult task and that of the Bangkok Post was no different.

The newspaper was founded shortly after the end of World War II by Alexander MacDonald. The former US Office of Strategic Services officer had a journalism degree from Boston University and had worked for more than a decade as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Hawaii.

He recognised a void: the only English-language newspaper in Thailand before then was the Bangkok Times, which closed during the war.

MacDonald took his idea to Prasit Lulitanond and Thawee Tavedikul, and together they explored the possibility of setting up a new English-language newspaper.

Everything was in short supply in the post-war years. Finding printing equipment was their most challenging task. They first went to the old publishing house of the Bangkok Times on Hong Kong Bank Lane, New Road, only to find there was nothing left.

The founders had to look elsewhere and subsequently stumbled on a Japanese printing house in the Saphan Khao area that published Kao Parb newspaper, a photo news daily that featured the war activities of the Japanese occupation force. The house was abandoned after the war and placed under the Enemy Property Office.

The founders discovered that the printing machine was still in good condition, although some printing typefaces were missing. No English printing type was then available in the country but it could be ordered from abroad.

The next move was to approach the American embassy and request permission to purchase the printing house. The application was approved and the founders’ plan began to take shape.

Another piece of luck was that the Japanese printing machine they had acquired was a rotary press — the most advanced of its kind at the time. The founders dule ordered English printing type for their Japanese press from overseas.

Alexander MacDonald and Prasit Lulitanond with the Bangkok Post team in the early days. 

MacDonald even managed to convince the US embassy to allow two Japanese prisoners of war who knew how to operate, maintain and repair the press to help him.

Today that original press takes pride of place in the lobby of the newspaper’s headquarters, complete with the small wooden boxes that held the individual letters used to make the original four-page newspaper.

Four months later, Post Publishing Company Ltd was registered, with MacDonald as the first managing director.

With a staff of 25, including delivery boys and typesetters, the 500 copies of the first issue of the Bangkok Post rolled off the press on August 1, 1946.

In the first month there were only 200 subscribers. Their homes became the first in Thailand to have newspaper boxes hanging outside the gate as the Bangkok Post was the first to start this practice.

After two years, circulation had increased ten-fold to 2,000. Today, the figure stands at around 40,000.

For decades Khun Theh was known for his access to and interviews with prominent government figures in Thailand and across the region. He was named the 1977 Mitsui Fellow for “his three decades of journalistic work in Thailand”.

(Excerpted from ‘’A Difficult Birth’’ by Sriwipa Siripunyawit and Kateprapa Buranakanonda, Bangkok Post, August 1, 2016, and ‘’A Man of Vision” by Alan Dawson, Bangkok Post, August 1, 2016.)

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