Monday, April 26, 2010

Chumchon geocodes

Municipalities are subdivided into communities (chumchon), a subdivision I know hardly anything about. But since it roughly corresponds to the villages (muban), I had anticipated that they should have numerical codes similar to the villages.

Now I just tried to google for the Thai word "รหัสชุมชน" (Chumchon code), and to my surprise I found quite a lot of hits. Among the first was a forum entry at the website of Ang Thong town municipality (เทศบาลเมืองอ่างทอง),
ชุมชนศาลเจ้าพ่อกวนอูเป็นชุมชนใหม่เกิดขึ้นตามประกาศเทศบาลเมืองอ่างทอง เรื่อง การกำหนดพื้นที่ชุมชน ณ วันที่ 19 พฤษภาคม 2552
มีจำนวนครัวเรือน 255 ครัวเรือน
ประชากร 513 คน
รหัสชุมชน 15990014
It says, that on May 19 2009 the new community "San Chao Pho Kwan U" was established, having 255 households and 513 citizen, and the geocode 15990014. Exactly the kind of code I was expecting, since Ang Thong municipality has the code 1599, and to get to the same hierarchical level as the villages two zeros are added between the chumchon number and the municipality code. The forum entry then continues with a short description of the boundary.

Now continuing with this code, as well as with the code for Chumchon 13, I then found two Excel sheets, both from the SML program, the fund to support the Muban and chumchon originally started by the populist Thaksin government.

The first named Angthong.xls dates from August 2008, and contains only the codes 1 to 13 for Ang Thong town. The second, named chumchon.xls is from August 2009 and lists 4421 chumchon from all over the country. For Ang Thong it has 22 chumchon, including the one mentioned above. Thus it seems Ang Thong created 9 new chumchon in 2009, however only one is mentioned in the forum. Sadly, this chumchon.xls is definitely not a complete list, those few municipalities where I added chumchon to the XML files before are all not covered there. I have no idea how many chumchon it has altogether, none of the annual statistics I know of lists them. Only the news report I linked above for the SML program says there are 3414 in 2008.


Eli said...

If you are interested in the history of Chumchon check out the edited volume: Tai Lands andd Thailand: Community and State in Southeast Asia. There are a number of articles there, but there is good review of the Chomchon concept by Craig Reynolds there.

Andy said...

I had seen about this book at the New Mandala blog before, and it's already on the list of the books I plan to read. However, I guess same as for the Muban there are several uses for the same word. Whereas in the book it is about the traditional communities, those Chumchon I am talking about are a purely administrative subdivision of municipalities, more like boroughs.

Eli said...

Right, I think there is a relationship between the cultural notion of Chumchon (that Reynolds describes) and the administrative distinction. In my understanding of it, a Chumchon is self organized and must apply to a Thesabaan in order to become registered and eligible for SML (later called Paw Piang) money. I am still unsure of when the Chumchon became an official administrative designation though. Any ideas?

Andy said...

I have to admit - I have no idea. Almost all I know about these Chumchon is that they are a subdivision of the municipalities and take part in the SML project. So even that they are self-organized and only need to be registered at the thesaban (and not by MOI like the Muban) was new to me.

There is one odd mention of the word Chumchon in the history of Hat Yai as its status before becoming a sanitary district in 1928, though I more believe this refers to the informal community and not a real administrative title.