In the Joy Luck Club of the Cabochon Hotel, many tales are spurn; some are tall. Here is one that I overheard while munching aromatic sai-grog (sausages, from north-eastern Thailand) washed down by Thai Beer. Yummy. Some guests were animatedly discussing the origin of the name of the hotel and its building, the Walpole, which I have been wondering about as well. With ears pricked, I heard an amazing story.
Eugene, the builder of the Walpole Building has been a quiet admirer (over some 30-odd years) of an old Shanghainese gentleman who immigrated to Thailand in the twenties with his family and who made his fortune in timber and later in the gemstone and lapidary industries. His businesses were centred in that golden triangle of the border regions of Thailand, Laos and Burma. As a young รฉmigrรฉ he quickly achieved substantial success, which was propelled by a driving ambition. That businessman had refined taste and class, no doubt some of the chic and sophistication of that great city rubbed off onto him.