Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bueng Kan news clippings

The last few days had a few new news articles on the planned province Bueng Kan worth to present here.

Kom Chad Luek (คมชัดลึก, lit. Sharp Clear Deep), a Thai newspaper of the Nation group, has a article titled ผ่า"จังหวัดเนวิน 2"เป้าใหญ่ยึดอีสานเหนือเป้าเล็ก"กินทีละคำ"! - cut off province "Newin 2" is big objective to win northern Isaan, small objective "eat word by word". While I don't get the second part of the headline, the meaning of naming the new province "Newin 2" is clear - the plan to create this new province is pushed by the Ministry of Interior, currently led by Chaovarat Chanweerakul of the Bhum Chai Thai party. And it is an open secret that the real party leader is Newin Chidchob, who is currently banned from politics as one of the former executive members of the dissolved Thai Rak Thai party. Since the new province is quite popular for the citizens in the area, it is very likely that Bhum Chai Thai will be able to grab the seats from the province in the next national election, extending Newins power base and further weakening the Phuea Thai Party. In case anyone is wondering, province Newin One is of course Buriram, where Newin had his constituency; and also the fast rising director of DOPA Vichien Chaovalit was formerly the governor of Buriram.

While one can of course criticize Newins power plays, I don't think it is fair to include the new province into this. The proposal for it was made more than a decade ago, and if the past Phuea Thai government were smarter they should have pushed it to secure their power base in the Northeast. It is the advantage of a government to be able to do things popular to gain votes, same as they sometimes have to do unpopular things which will make them loose the next election.
Bueng Kan province and remainder Nong Khai province
The second one is a shorter article at titled "ส.ว.โวย ก.มหาดไทย ทำสับสน ชี้ บึงกาฬ เป็นจังหวัดที่ 76" - Senator (สมาชิกวุฒิสภา) complained that the Ministry of Interior created confusion whether Bueng Kan is province 76. It seems that Nakhon Ratchasima senator Sumet Siphon (สุเมธ ศรีพงษ์) is a nitpicker same as me, as he pointed out that the cabinet resolution on Bueng Kan erroneously stated that it will become the 77th province, something which then was copied by all Thai media unchecked. As I pointed out before, this is a over-simplification, as it disregards the fact that Bangkok is not a province but a special administrative area and therefore counting it as a province is at least sloppy. At least the government itself should be careful with their wording, that the generally low quality Thai media simply copied the number without any further checking was to be expected.

And to bash the Thai media more - when doing a Google image search for จังหวัดบึงกาฬ, one can find several maps based on the Wikipedia maps of Nong Khai created by myself some years ago. Not only that they copied the map without giving the source, as it would be required by the Wikipedia license, this article by INN News even shows the outline of the district Bueng Kan as being the new province. Even the official news outlet of the government mixed up the district and the province in their short English article. Another one from VoiceTV mixes up the times and declares the province is already created, though all the other parts of the article are written in future tense...

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