Friday, August 8, 2008

Town twinning

Town twinning or sister cities are two names for official friendships between cities is a concept popular in Europe for many years, especially after Second World War to overcome the misunderstandings. Even though it is called sister cities, also other administrative entities might develop such official friendship ties, like the Kreise (districts) in Germany. Such twinning seems this has lately become popular in Thailand as well, as someone had added a few such relationships to the Wikipedia articles. However it seems the confusion of having different entities with the same name is also seen in this attempt. According to Wikipedia, Chiang Mai Province has twinning ties with Shanghai and Yogyakarta, and Khon Kaen with Nanning. But I wonder if it is really the province which has been twinned, or the municipality with the same name.

According to the Chinese newspaper People's Daily, Shanghai has signed the twinning with the city of Chiang Mai, however the twinning was signed by Pravit Sihsobhon, the governor of the province. If the twinning is with the city, one would expect the city mayor to sign the agreement. For the twinning with Yogyakarta, the report of Chiang Mai Mail confirms it's the province with is twinned with the Indonesian province. A list of official friendships between China and Thailand only adds the province for Chiang Rai, for the other ones it is not clear if its the town or the province.
  • Beijing - Bangkok
  • Shanghai - Chiang Mai
  • Yuannan - Chiang Rai Province
  • Henan Province - Chon Bury
  • Kunming - Chiang Mai,
  • Yantai - Phuket
  • Nanning - Khon Kaen
The two-parts article Twinning in Thailand (An effective municipal partnership and Fredericton and Ubon Ratchathani) from the Canadian magazine Municipal World not only gives some insights in the twinning itself, but also explains the central and local administration system of Thailand in some details.

But can someone maybe supply me with a complete lists of friendships and twinnings between Thai entities and those of other countries? I could not find any in English yet, and one in Thai would not fall the confusion between town and province. I'd be especially curious if there'd be any such relationships between Thailand and Germany, with Google I failed to find any.


Ian said...

Reading this article reminded me that the English language wikipedia entry for Bangkok states that Perth, Australia and Bangkok are sister cities, however, the Perth City Council website makes no mention of Bangkok as a sister city of Perth.

Nor does the downloadable .pdf, which lists Perth's sister cities, and gives background to the program.

I emailed the council, but have so far not received a reply. I will check when I return to Perth, however, it is possible that the wiki entry is erroneous.

Andy said...

It seems like that list on Wikipedia contains lots of wrong entries. It also claims that Bangkok is twinned with Berlin, yet the website of Berlin does not mention a thing about it. I'll ask by email same as you did for Perth, but for the meantime will add a {{unsourced}} at all dubious entries on that page.

On the website of the Bangkok city itself I found their list of twinning, and it is much shorter than the Wikipedia list: Washington DC, Beijing, Budapest, Brisbane, Moscow, St. Petersburg (Russia), Seoul, and Chaozhou. While it may omit a few latest additions, it seems many of the entries in Wikipedia are simply wrong.