Friday, October 24, 2008

Provincial badges of Thai Scouts

Scout emblem of Surat Thani
On the website ThaiScouting, one of the many high-quality websites made by or under supervision of Richard Barrow at the Sriwittayapaknam School in Samut Prakan, it has two pages which depict badges worn at the back of the scarfs of the scouts. Every province has its own badge (ตราผ้าผูกคอลูกเสือประจำจังหวัด), which is most cases uses the same symbol which is also present in the provincial seal. For example the one of Surat Thani shows the chedi of Wat Phra Borom That, which is also the central symbol of the provincial emblem.

The first page displays the badges of the central, south and western provinces, the second one those of the north, northeast and eastern province. Also notice that there are a total of 12 groups of badges, making up yet another regional subdivision.

There are a few cases where the badge shows a different symbol than the provincial seal - hopefully I catched them all. While for the seals I know the explanation of each symbol (thanks to yet another website of the Paknam school), I have no idea about the alternative symbols yet.
  • Phuket - the seal shows the two heroines Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Sri Sunthon, who saved the island at a Burmese invasion in 1785. The badge however shows a hill which emits light at the top.
  • Narathiwat - the seal shows a boat with a white elephant on the sail, commemorating a white elephant once caught in province. The badge shows a forest instead.
  • Ratchaburi - the seal shows royal shoes, the badge shows a hill surrounded by a snake.
  • Uthai Thani - the seal shows a pavilion at Wat Khao Sakaekrang, the badge a landscape.
Scout flag of Monthon Nakhon Si Thammarat
There were also historical flags for each regional troop. According to Flags Of The World, there was one regional troop in each Monthon, and even more interesting, in many cases the current seals of the central provinces of each Monthon followed the symbol previously used on the regional scout troop flag. For example the one of Monthon Nakhon Si Thammarat depicted shows the conch shell, which is now the symbol on the seal of Songkhla. 1896/97 the Monthon administration was located in Songkhla. To bad I cannot read enough Thai yet, as I own a book on Thai flags which also features these flags, but I cannot check if the above is confirmed by the author. But I'll investigate further and will write about it again when I have more.

1 comment:

rikker said...

Thanks for the reminder about that site -- I had forgotten it existed.

I was at the 2003 World Jamboree in สัตหีบ. One of the days I helped at the Boy Scouts of America booth, as a semi-interpreter. My Thai wasn't terribly good then. The BSA booth had several computers that visitors typed their name into (in English), and it printed out a simple certificate saying that so-and-so had visited the Boy Scouts of America booth at the World Jamboree. It was swamped all day. So mostly I just helped call out my best guess as to the correct pronunciations of the (mostly Thai) names as the certificates shot out of the printer.

Of course, the real fun of it was wandering around randomly trading scout insignia with people, a tradition of these world jamborees, so I have the scout neckerchiefs from a couple of provinces, patches from Thailand and many other countries, and such. I was armed with a pocketful of keepsake coins from some American scouting event, which were a popular item for trading purposes. :) Fun experience. Been a while since I thought about that.