Friday, April 1, 2011

Montone Puket - Part I

When my reader Ian explored Phuket recently, one of the locals he talked with showed him a book with some historical texts on Phuket. That book was "Old Phuket", published in 1986 by the Siam Society. While long out of print, luckily my friend hdamm already had one copy which he borrowed me - a physical book is much more comfortable to read than the photos Ian did for me.

The book is in fact a reprint of several articles published in the Journal of the Siam Society 1905 and 1906. The article I will cite is titled Montone Puket (Siam) Malay Peninsula by the missionary John Carrington, which contains a nice description of the provinces within the Monthon Phuket, including a etymology of their names.
It does not lie within the purpose of this paper to discuss the ancient history of this Montone, but to write of it more as it is at the present time, and as observed by the writer during five tours through this region.
This is a portion of Siam, Malay Peninsula, the "Tanah Malayu", or Malay Land. At Kra, กระ, or Kraburee is is about 45 miles wide, and at a line through Junkceylon and Nakhon it is about 200 miles in width.
It will be in place here to name the provinces into which Puket Montone is divided. We begin with the most northerly one and name them on down in their order of location.
1. Ranong - ระนอง - formerly Ranong and Kra. Ranong is said to signify a place of much water; and indeed this is true in the rainy season.
2. Takuapa - ตะ กั่ว ป่า - the place, or wilderness, of lead; named thus, perhaps, because the first tin discovered there was supposed to be lead.
3. Phangnga - พังงา - formerly Takuathoong (lead field) and Phangnga. พังงา undoubtedly means, in this connection, very beautiful, as it will be seen that this province of great beauty - and not Elephant tusk, as some Siamese think.
4. Puket, or Thalang, or Junkceylon. It may be the word puket is the Malay word bukit for hill or mountain. I am not satisfied by this definition. This is a large island separated from the mainland by a very narrow passage of water, and lies south of Phannga. The main town is Tongka - thoongkha - ทุ่งคา, field of grass, or grass field.
5. Krabee - very incorrectly called Gerbee. The Siamese word is กระ บี่ meaning a sword. This is a good Siamese word for that weapon, a lower word being dap, ดาบ, the high word being พระ แสง.
6. Trang, formerly Trang and some other small states. Trang ตรัง is said to mean "adhere" or "joined to." The application I am at loss to discover at the present. It may be that this territory was acquired by the Siamese later than that adjoining it in the North or East, and so was called "joined", that is joined to what they already possessed. This is merely conjecture on my part, and I do not insist.

1 comment:

Michael Brückner said...

Ich bin zur Zeit - immer mal wieder - an der Aufbereitung der Wirtschaftsgeschichte Thailands. Deshalb würde mich der Artikel von van der Heide in JSS 1906 interessieren. Ist der zufällig in den Reprints enthalten?