Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blackberries for District Chiefs

Being a district head officer (นายอำเภอ, Nai Amphoe) seems to be a rewarding job, as both The Nation and Bangkok Post report that each received a BackBerry mobile phone.
The BlackBerry smartphones issued to 873 district chiefs nationwide were part of a marketing campaign by the distributor and were not funded by the taxpayers as the opposition claimed, Interior Minister and Bhumjaithai Party leader Chavarat Charnvirakul said on Monday.
I wonder what would be worse - the phones bought by the Ministry and given to their employees as a bonus (what for), or the company being so selfless and giving them out for free for distribution? Even I don't know anything about marketing, it does not look like a normal way to boost sales by giving away so many samples to bureaucrats. Media personalities would be the much more obvious choice. So its no wonder both the normally not quite investigative Thai media, as well as Thai political bloggers smell foul play here.

One strange fact from the news is that only 873 district officers got a phone, but there are 878 districts. What happened with remaining five district officers? Why those haven't received a phone - are these five "red" district officers, who were not rewarded for political reasons? Or is it just another example of sloppy reporting by mixing up a number? Or are there currently five district officer positions vacant maybe? Sadly I don't have a current complete list of district officers to proof at least this last explanation?


Ian said...

Hi Andy,
Just to offer a personal view on this particular topic, it may be that these are old model phones? A quick and easy way to dispose of, and to reap some small publicity from the disposal.
Blackberry is growing desperate as it has lost a great deal of market share to Apple and the iphone, as well as being squeezed by windows phone 7.

On more important matters !

I am in Phuket now, and believe I have solved the mystery of the missing Phuket City Pillar Shrine. I spoke to an archaeologist in the Fine Arts Dept here, about a few matters, one was the shrines. He told me that due to the lack of a central city, the diverse history of the island, and the changes of capital city, that there was no desire to built a large, central shrine. So much for that central government decree !

I was told that Phuket has five small shrines. I managed to find four of these, but not the fifth. In size and design they resemble the smaller district shrines I found in Isarn last year.

I posted each of these to waymarking.com. Here are the links:






I also found one government office which does not appear to be on your google map. The details are on my flickr: amphoe city of Phuket.



While talking to the archaeologist, I also copied some pages from a book he had on the history of Phuket. There are a few pages which present some info on the government struction, pgs 161 ff.


Andy said...

All very interesting things:

I only knew about the Lak Mueang listed in Google Maps, but not that were more of similar size. I will write up your findings in a blog post - I hope it's fine with you if I use a few of your photos, of course with giving credit. Hope you will be able to find the fifth as well.

That office is the district office of Mueang Phuket, and actually I have it in my maps already. As Phuket has not that many - here's the list of offices I don't have the locations: TAO Ko Kaeo, TAO Chalong, TAO Kamala, TAO Thep Krasatti, TAO Si Sunthon, TAO Pa Khlok, Ratsada municipality, Rawai municipality.

That history book looks very interesting as well, will try to get myself a copy as well, but probably not easy. Good thing - those parts you copied are already copyright-free as being written in 1906, so I can post them here without problems. Just too bad OCR won't work with the photographs.

A more general note - I'd prefer it if you'd send me findings like that by email, and keep the comments related to the posting, to keep them better readable for other followers. Unless of course the findings are directly related to the posting.