Family and education
Dr. Puey’s family name “Ungphakorn” was obtained from that of Mr. Por, the tax farmer, who was granted the title of “Khun Raksa Akorn Kij1”. Apart from performing the duty of tax farmer, Mr. Por was also a fish pier terminal owner who gave loans to fishermen for investment and thereafter bought fishes from them following their returns from fishing at sea.
|Dr. Puey is the son of Mr. Sa who emigrated from China and assisted his brother, the tax farmer Por, in the occupation and thus assumed the same family name. Mr. Sa worked very hard to take care of his family from early morning until nightfall and mostly returned home at twenty or twenty-one o’clock (according the memoir of Dr. Puey). His health was thus deteriorated and he died when Dr. Puey was only nine years old. The burden of raising the family then fell upon his mother, Sohseng, whose Chinese family name is “Teo” and later on she adopted the Thai family name “Prasatseree”. Mrs. Sohseng took great care in looking after and bringing up her children strictly. She was very much interested in their education.|
Dr. Puey started his education at Sapan Tia School in Talat Noi Sub-district. At first his father wanted to send him for education in China at his father’s birthplace but was objected by his mother.
From his memoir, he described as follows:
Dr. Puey attended the school with admission number 7036 (ID number) and chose to take French class section. He finished high school in 1933. As an outstanding pupil, the school invited him to become a teacher upon his graduation. He took the position of full-time teacher in order to earn income for helping his mother and the family.
One year later in 1934, University of Moral and Political Sciences (thereafter ‘Thammasat’) was established. At that time there was no requirement for class attendance and the university has published lecture notes for sales at cheap prices in order to encourage the students, already having employment, to be able to further their education at their own paces. Dr. Puey saw an opportunity to gain additional knowledge for his progress in the future without having to abandon his employment in earning income to help his mother. Thus he enrolled as a student at Thammasat University.
As he had to teach class at Assumption College the whole day on week days and being unable to attend class at Thammasat, he diligently studied the course work by himself at nighttime and on weekends until he completed the education to receive the Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Politics, at that time called Thammasat Bachelor’s Degree, in 1937 after three years of study.
As he described in his memoir:
While studying at Thammasat, Dr. Puey was also very much impressed by the education through discussions and arguments among the students, he wrote in his memoir as follows:
Further education abroad
After finishing Thammasat University, Dr. Puey resigned from the position of teacher at Assumption College and took the job as interpreter for French teachers at Thammasat. During that time, he won the government scholarship for studying abroad and received the Thai government scholarship to study economics and treasury abroad. In this respect, Dr. Puey chose to further his study at the London School of Economics and Political Science (known as LSE) in University of London.
Dr. Puey had to start all over from Bachelor’s Degree level and he could finish the degree in economics in three years in 1941, receiving the first rank among the summa cum laudestudents in his class. With this distinction, he was awarded the Leverhulme Studentships for further study at Ph.D. level. However, his study came to an abruption for a period of time owing to the outbreak of World War II. Dr. Puey joined the group of Thai nationals in England and helped forming the Free Thai Movement in England in 1942 and enlisted as soldier in the British army, starting from the rank of private until attaining the rank of major upon his resignation to renew his study in 1946.
When the Thai government entered into an agreement becoming an ally with Japan in late 1941, it called for Thai nationals in U.S.A. and England to return to Thailand. However, certain groups refused to return home. The Thai group in the U.S., headed by the ambassador, M.R. Seni Pramoj, was able to negotiate with the U.S. government to accept the Free Thai Movement and the Free Thai Force in the U.S. However, the Thai group in England was unable to negotiate with the British government to accept the Free Thai Movement as the Free Thai Force in England. The British government allowed the movement but the Thais must enlist in the British army.
Dr. Puey was one of the Free Thai Movement persons in England enlisting in the British army. His first assignment was traveling by submarine from Sri Lanka to the Gulf of Thailand in order to land in Thailand. But this plan was not a success owing to being unable to receive contact signal from the receiving party in Thailand and he had to return with the submarine. Later on, Dr. Puey was sent to parachute into Thailand and landed on the paddy field near Wang Nam Khao Village, Wat Singh District in Chainat Province. The parachutes landed far from the predetermined target in the jungle. As a result of the mistake, all the three Free Thai Movement persons were arrested and taken to Bangkok. Prior to being taken to Bangkok, he was chained to a pole in one of the pavilion of Wang Nam Khao Temple. This pole has been preserved in front of Wang Nam Khao School.
Dr. Puey returned to England in December 1945.
Home and family
In early 1946, Dr. Puey married Margaret Smith who studied bachelor of sociology at LSE at the same period of time, following his completion of Free Thai Movement duties and his return to England for further Ph.D. study.
He has three sons, namely, Jonathan (Jon) who was born in London in September 1947, Peter (Maitri) who was born March 1950 in Bangkok and Giles who was also born in Bangkok in October 1953 after Dr. Puey’s return to Thailand to join the government service.
Dr. Puey and his wife took good care of their children with love and care.
Dr. Puey’s house was in Soi Aree IV, a single-floor wooden house:
Dr. Puey’s house in Soi Aree IV
It is an example of the persons who are content in their lives (both for him and his wife) and of the persons adhering to the idealism that the property must be obtained through their own efforts and in proper manner.