Friday, May 27, 2011

Sister cities of Bangkok

Partner cities of Aachen, Germany
If one believes Wikipedia, then Bangkok has quite an impressive long list of partner cities from all over the world - a total of 28 at the time of writing this article. While its of course possible that a major city like Bangkok does have relationships with so many other cities, it is a bit surprising that there are three cities in Australia in the list. Some of the entries even have references to news articles, so I had no reason so far to doubt that list.

But again kudos to my reader Ian, who spotted his hometown Perth on the list, and since he not heard about the twinning before checked with the website of the city council of Perth where he found it to be not listed. Alerted by him, I found Berlin to be on the list as well, and again the city website of Berlin does not mention it either. So after some searching I finally found the corresponding listing on the website of the Bangkok city council (BMA). According to that page, Bangkok has just 14 sister cities, in Thai เมืองพี่เมืองน้อง, just half of those listed in Wikipedia.
  • Washington DC, USA, started in 1962 [Details]
  • Beijing, China, started in 1993 [Details]
  • Budapest, Hungary, started in 1997 [Details]
  • Brisbane, Australia, started in 1997 [Details]
  • Moscow, Russia, started in 1997 [Details]
  • St. Petersburg, Russia, started in 1997 [Details]
  • Manila, Philippines, started in 1997 [Details]
  • Jakarta, Indonesia, started in 2002 [Details]
  • Hanoi, Vietnam, started in 2004 [Details]
  • Vientiane, Laos, started in 2004 [Details]
  • Astana, Kasachstan, started in 2004 [Details]
  • Fukuoka, Japan, started in 2006 [Details]
  • Seoul, South Korea, started in 2006 [Details]
  • Chaozhou, China, started in 2005 [Details]
But what about the other 14? As on Wikipedia there is no central fact checking, it is always possible that wrong information can be added - either intentionally as a kind of vandalism, or because of misunderstanding the facts by good faith editors. Or it is of course also possible that the list on the BMA website is out of date, and new sister cities like Ragunda in Sweden, which according to the reference on Wikipedia by a Swedish news article was started in 2005, might be simply not yet listed.

So I have added several {{Citation needed}} tags to the Wikipedia article to at least warn the reader that the information might be wrong. I somehow doubt whether asking anyone at BMA by email would give any result. Here in Germany its popular to have a sign listing the twin towns at the main road entering the town, like the one I photographed for Aachen and placed into this article, but never noticed any such in Thailand.

On the other hand, I found one Thai news from earlier this year that the governor of Bangkok has just signed a Letter of Intent with the Korean city Busan to start a partnership, this not listed on either lists. So it seems Bangkok is still collecting more sister cities.

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