Monday, August 9, 2010

Thai numerology

From a tweet by Voranai Vanijaka, journalist at the Bangkok Post:
76 provinces. 7+6=13 Unlucky. 77 provinces. 7+7=14 Meaningless. But 1+4=5 Lucky. And that sums up the entire history of modern Thailand.
Albeit less detailed, the same is referenced in an article in Bangkok Post, in which a government spokesman denies any hidden agenda behind the creation of the province, it being solely to the benefit of the citizen.
Boonjong yesterday dismissed rumours of superstition being behind the decision to set up a 77th province, because some believe that the number 76 totals to the unlucky number of 13.
I only wonder how long it will take till any of the superstitious numerologists noticing that with this new province the inauspicious number wasn't avoided, but reached - while there 77 entities at province level, there are only 76 province and one special administrative area. But seems like everyone forgets that Bangkok is not a normal province. If anyone in government seriously based his decision on this new province on the numbers only, then the country is really doomed... Also interesting - in the Public Relations Department's version of that report, they list the area and population of Bueng Kan district as being the numbers for the province, so much for the quality of the official news outlet of the government.

What makes me more wonder is the fact that especially in the main English Thailand forum ThaiVisa most of the comments only consider the new province as being created to have more jobs in the bureaucracy, have big parts of the budget for the province hall to go into the pockets of corrupt officials, or even misunderstand the provincial court built there some years ago and think that there will be now two province halls. Whereas on ThailandQA more constructively the follow-up costs of the new province was worried. No wonder I am rarely active at ThaiVisa and prefer that forum run by Richard Barrow.


jfl said...

from Matichon, via the Bangkok Pundit's stand-in, James Harriman :

Newin’s Ongoing Political Offensive:

* Society: ...

* Interior ministry: ...Most recently, BJT as head of the interior ministry, promoted the plan to split Nong Kai into two provinces, which politically could give the party an additional two to three House seats.

* Parliament: ...opsin

Andy said...

I don't see a problem with a government doing something which the local populations wants (the new province seems to be very popular in the area), provided it is not just a populist action. And since the new province does make sense, and can be afforded in the budget, then why not? Only because it would weaken the opposition? It's how democracy works, the government has the advantage of being able to spend state money to do something the voters like, whereas the opposition can only make promises. It's how Thaksin stayed in office, spending loads of money in the previously neglected northeast. But then the government also has to do unpopular things sometimes, and after the next election it may be the opposition's turn to do things. At least that's the theory, Thai democracy is still much more murky...