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Tea Leaves

Thai lessons in cultural appreciation

Pad thai noodles and tuk-tuks highlight influences from around the world

Traditional Thai costumes also have Victorian and Indian influences. (All photos by Andrew Benfield)

Recent visitors to Bangkok's Museum Siam were greeted by a giant electronic screen displaying some of Thailand's best-known cultural icons beneath a banner headline asking: "But are they really Thai?" Given that national museums normally focus on emphasizing -- as opposed to questioning -- their nation's uniqueness, I felt the exhibition warranted a closer look.

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