In Thai it is called a chedi.
A type of stupa, it is a reliquary for Buddhist objects, perhaps the remains or belongings of a saint.
It is installed in a neighborhood park in the Sta. Ana district of Manila. The park is called the “Philippines-Thailand Friendship Park”. That is why this chedi is here.
Sitting on the cherub park bench (photo in the post below), I pondered whether the significance of the chedi as a Buddhist icon or an architectural artifact would be noticed and comprehended by passersby. Would they even care what it is, much less what it connotes?
And if the chedi channels Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and all points Thai, does the cherub park bench symbolize the Philippines and its majority adherence to the Catholic faith with its putti and other artists’ renditions of angels?
How deep are the semiotic levels in this park? Were the elements decorating it chosen merely for their iconic status or to convey other, subtle, meanings?
Communication, as my professors preach incessantly, consists of shared meaning. Where is the shared meaning here if people do not know what a chedi is, where it comes from, what it stands for?
Sitting on the cherub park bench, I decided that whether or not people understand the signification of the park’s architectural elements, the park provides places to sit and rest and interesting things to look at. And that functionality, for the people of this neighborhood, is what counts.