Friday, December 8, 2017

Local government statistics updated

Normally, the Department of Local Administration updates their list of the local governments once a year at around the end of the fiscal year in October. Oddly, this year there was an update in March, but now effective December 1st there was another one. The only numbers which changed were the TAO, as Wang Nuea TAO was merged into Wang Nuea municipality, which became effective December 1 - thus the tables were updated exactly with that change.

  • Provincial administrative organizations (PAO, องค์การบริหารส่วนจังหวัด): 76
  • Municipality (Thesaban, เทศบาล): 2441
    • City (Thesaban Nakhon, เทศบาลนคร): 30
    • Town (Thesaban Mueang, เทศบาลเมือง): 178
    • Subdistrict municipality (Thesaban Tambon, เทศบาลตำบล): 2233
  • Subdistrict administrative organizations (TAO, องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล): 5333
  • Special administrative units (องค์กรปกครองส่วนท้องถิ่นรูปแบบพิเศษ): 2
Source: summary_25601201
Little nitpicking - the English website of the DLA has a very outdated list of the subdivision numbers showing values from 2014.

The Excel sheets with the detailed data were also updated. I have so far only checked for the differences in the TAO sheet, and it seems the only changes (apart from the remove of Wang Nuea of course) are corrections to the population numbers which were wrong for some entries in the March version.

One new sheet has showed up, which collects the addresses of the TAO offices. Sadly, it does not include the geographic location, and since translating a Thai address into a geographical location is almost impossible it doesn't help me in adding the locations to my data.

The sheet with the numbers by province  is now translated into XML to make it easily machine-readable, but I guess the spreadsheet with the numbers by province since 2007 compiled from all the previous DLA lists is of more interest.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

License plate graphic for Yala province

Yesterday, the background graphic for the license plates in Yala have been announced in the Royal Gazette. This is apparently the first-ever such graphic for Yala since the first such graphics were announced in 2004, at least I never saw any announcement for this province so far. The only other province which has never been assigned such a colorful background is Mae Hong Son, I can only guess that in these two provinces there was not much interest in the bidding for special license codes, as these colorful backgrounds are only available for these special codes as an additional status symbol.

The graphic shows both the hills at the border to Malaysia and the coastal landscape at the Gulf of Thailand. The two bird-cages to the left refer to the local tradition of songbird contests, the man with a blowpipe to the Negrito tribes who were originally living in the borderland to Malaysia. To the right is a postal box from the southernmost town Betong (เบตง). As it has this reference to Betong, I suspect that the graphical license plate is also used for Betong - the only district in Thailand which has its separate license plate and does not use the provincial license plate.

Though still incomplete, a lot of the graphics of the other provinces can be found in my album of the license plate backgrounds, and I also have compiled a spreadsheet showing which provinces have received a license plate in which year - as I guess most reader won't be able to read the full XML data for these announcements.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Tambon Councils

One administrative unit I very much neglected so far are the Tambon Councils (สภาตำบล), both because they were just a council consisting only of ex-officio or appointed members with a very limited power, but also because the only Royal Gazette announcements I found on them so far were the conversions into the subdistrict administrative organizations in the 1990s - the last Tambon Council ceased to exist in 2004.

Just recently a newly created page on a municipality in the Thai Wikipedia also included a reference to the initial creation of the local government unit as a Tambon Council, and by that I could now finally add the Royal Gazette announcements establishing these units.
  • Revolutionary Act 326 issued December 13 1973 gave the legal definition of the Tambon Councils, and if I understand the text right also abolished all the previously existing subdistrict administrative organizations. Not sure yet whether these were also directly converted into Tambon Councils then.
  • Creation of Tambon Councils 1973 [Gazette], containing a list of about 2000 councils created
  • Creation of Tambon Councils 1974 [Gazette], containing a list of 931 councils created
  • Creation of Tambon Councils 1975 [Gazette], creating the councils for all remaining subdistricts which are not completely within other local government units. Apparently all the subdistricts created after 1975 then got their council together automatically when they were set up.
I started to work through those two announcements with lists, and only did the province Surat Thani so far, but already there were two strange things showing up. The Tambon Council for Thung subdistrict in Chaiya was listed in both the 1973 and 1974 announcement, and I haven't seen any correction announcement to either of the two. The history page at the website of the TAO Thung, though very long, doesn't mention the administrative history, so it offers no help on which date is the correct one. The second one is a strange case which I already stumbled upon when working through the list of Tambon Council upgrades to subdistrict administrative organizations. In 1995 the Tambon Council for Bang Kung was upgraded to a TAO, and now I also found that this council was created in 1974. The strange thing - the whole area of Bang Kung belongs to Surat Thani municipality, and already did in 1974, so there shouldn't be any second local government there. Also, the TAO is never mentioned anymore, neither listed in any of the current lists, nor was it ever officially abolished. Also Google searches for สภาตำบลบางกุ้ง or องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลบางกุ้ง only give results for the same-named units in Trang and Suphanburi province, thus no indication what happened in Surat Thani- it looks like a mistake which was not noticed for many years then quietly deleted from any lists. The oldest list I found is from 2007 - mirrored by the Wayback Machine from the old DOPA website - already omits it.

Monday, November 13, 2017

WikidataCon - my résumé

The first WikidataCon was a very impressive conference which gave me quite a lot of new ideas on my small niche of topic in that vast database, but also on all the huge other possibilities and applications already done by other users in other fields. It was my first-ever Wikipedia-related conference, not counting the local meetups, so not just the topics presented impressed me, but also the spirit, the professional organization and the number of people devoted to this site.

My own small contribution was a 10 minute lightning talk on how I slowly fill the Thai administrative units into this database, which was recorded and thus anyone who wasn't at the conference can still watch it - my part starts at the 10 minute mark of the Lightning Talks 3. It was incredible how short 10 minute can be, sadly I ran into the time left for questions so couldn't get any feedback then - or was saved the humiliation of nobody asking anything :-)

There were two other talks on very similar topics - a French user who works on keeping the communal groups in France up-to-date in Wikidata and Wikipedia,  and one by a representative of the Indian company Mapbox on translating the subdivision names for multilingual maps. I couldn't attend the talks of the politics group as it overlapped with other talks, and still have to watch the recording of that, but those few things I saw already were also impressive, especially what can be done with a good visualization to make the dry data look sexy.

By coincidence, I just read one chapter in the book "The politics of (no) election in Thailand" in which the author presented an analysis of how many member of the Thai parliament have family relations with other current or former MPs. It must have been a very tedious work to compile the data for that paper, but if all the Thai MPs would be in Wikidata with their parliament terms and family relations set, all which would then be left to do is to write a relatively easy SPARQL call. I randomly added such data to Thai politicians before, but doing it systematically is beyond what I could do with my time and access to sources.

Another topic which I had worked on a bit, and even posted in this blog occasionally, are the officially registered monuments. By this conference I learned that the Thai monument list is about to be added into Wikidata, so to make it possible to get it there smoothly I have to add the remaining Tambon to Wikidata. Currently I am working through the already existing articles in the Thai Wikipedia, to make sure that there won't be any mix-up of e.g. same-named temples in totally different parts of the country. The great visualization by Monumental then makes it easy to e.g. see all the monuments around Surat Thani, especially showing how many still need a photographer to visit them.

Speaking of photographs - seeing all the visualizations using photos to illustrate the database items reminded me that I have to take the time to work through my big pile of unprocessed photos to upload and link them to the administrative units - have lots of district offices and local government offices in my collection - or monuments - when staying in Bangkok Noi area I walked around often and nearly covered all the monuments of that district.

The other big thing needed to get great visualizations for my data would require more mapping - if there were more boundary shapesets for the subdivisions, filling them with data would be relatively easy. But as far as I know on OpenStreetMap only the provinces have their (rough) boundaries included, and only very few smaller units in Bangkok and vicinity. The problem is of course getting both free and authoritative boundaries, only thing I know yet are the few Royal Gazette announcements which include maps, and those with the purely textual boundary definition.

And in short the tldr; summary: Where to register to attend the next WikidataCon in 2019? And: so many ideas, so few time.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Next local election before general election?

Election poster from the 2008
Surat Thani PAO election
The local election became officially suspended after the coup by the 85th and 86th NCPO announcement in July 2014, though actually the few elections scheduled for the days after the coup were also first postponed. This month the last big number of local governments have the terms of mayors and councillors end, there were only few elections after October 2013, so by now almost all local governments either have the election positions vacant or the terms of the previously elected office holders were extended indefinitely.

Already in summer this year, and now again, the government hinted that they consider to use the local elections as a precursor to the general elections, now after many delays tentatively scheduled for November 2018. Given that there's still long time till that election date, this will probably mean that all local governments would have to held their elections at the same time. In past, there were two years which had many elections - because most of the TAO were created in 1996 (2143 units) and 1997 (3637 units), and the other two years have much less. It's of course also possible that the government will start with a local election in Bangkok as the most notable local government and do the rural units in a second step - because the not-yet-filled Election Commission still has to prepare the constituencies for all of the municipalities which had any changes in the last 4 years, not counting those where an adjustment of the existing constituencies is necessary due to population changes.

As I try to fill all the mayors into my XML files, doing so for all of the 7853 local governments at once will be a big effort, doing the 2000-3000 units in the big election years already kept me busy some weeks.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Wang Nuea merge officially announced

The merger of Wang Nuea TAO with Wang Nuea municipality I mentioned three weeks ago was officially announced in the Royal Gazette last Friday. The order was signed on October 6, one month after it was discussed in the board to consider draft laws, and will become effective December 1st. Sadly, unlike other announcements on municipal area changes this time no map was included, as the new municipality still doesn't cover the whole subdistrict Wang Nuea.

A second announcement was also published last Friday, which was also in the same board meeting - the rename of the TAO Thung Fon (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลทุ่งฝน) , Udon Thani province, to Kut Kha (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลกุดค้า) [Gazette]. Though there seem to be no upgrade of the TAO to a municipality pending, the change was done to disambiguate the TAO from the neighboring Thung Fon subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตำบลทุ่งฝน). This rename took effect on the day the order was signed by the Minister of Interior, i.e. October 18.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

WikidataCon 2017

Next weekend I'll attend the first Wikidata conference in Berlin, and despite being active for 14 years on Wikipedia now its the first ever conference on Wikipedia I'll visit. It was my Wikipedia editing which made me get into this obscure topic, and since I now mostly edit on Wikidata to give the data I collected more publicity, this conference sounded like something very interesting. The reason why I mention it here - I also opted to give a talk on my experiences with sharing my data on Wikidata.

As I could only get into one of the 10 minute Lightning Talk slots, my presentation certainly can't get deep into the specialties of the administrative structure, especially as the main topic is supposed to be Wikidata. My slides are already prepared,so you are welcome to take a view before. The talk will be recorded, I will post the link to the video next week then.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

New ccaatt geocodes

Not only did the DOPA statistics page get a facelift - including a double spelling mistake "Official Statstics Registration Sytstems" - but also the geocode lists were updated a second time this year. Now the new subdistrict of Bangkok are included - funnily all the codes I added temporarily into my XML were actually the final ones - and also some further municipalities now have a code. Unlike the previous update, the codes deleted in the ccaatt table were all added again.

Central administrative codes

From ccaatt Excel sheet
Oddly, the two new subdistricts of Saphan Sung were forgotten. There are also no codes prepared for planned new districts in Yala yet.
the

Local administrative codes

From rcode Excel sheet
My usual comment to these municipal codes - the current coding scheme cannot cover all the municipalities, internally in my software I already use the one I proposed some years ago, and it works fine.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Wang Nuea TAO to be merged with Wang Nuea municipality

There hasn't been any changes to the local governments since the upgrade of Pa Sak almost exactly two years ago, maybe due to the proposed abolish of the TAO level. However, in the meeting number 44 of the board two to consider draft laws on September 9, the merge of Wang Nuea TAO (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลวังเหนือ) with Wang Nuea subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตำบลวังเหนือ) was discussed. As I still cannot access moi.go.th, I can only read indirectly through the Google cache, yet what I can find in the transcript of the meeting suggests the change is forthcoming very soon - maybe directly with end of the term of the TAO council on October 19th. Waiting for the end of the council term is somewhat strange, given that the local elections are suspended since the coup in 2014 already, but it was similar with the upgrade of Pa Sak mentioned before.

The transcript states, that due to the low population in the TAO - 1949 according to the transcript, 2167 in the latest DOPA statistics - the TAO should be abolished. A poll on whether the citizen approve this dissolution has been done, asking with which local government Wang Nuea shall be merged.
  • Wang Nuea municipality: 679 votes
  • Ban Mai municipality: 217 votes
  • Wang Sai TAO: 25 votes
  • Thung Hua TAO: 5 votes
  • Wang Tai TAO: 5 votes
The voters chose the obvious solution, to let the Wang Nuea municipality cover almost whole subdistrict Wang Nuea (Ban Mai covers a small part of the sub district as well).

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Fun with flags

On September 28th the Thai flag celebrated its centennial, which coincides with the timing of the latest Royal Gazette announcement on the Thai flag published yesterday, clarifying the Thai flag act of 1979 with the exact definition of the colors of the flag in the CIELAB color space.

ColourL*a*b*ΔE
Red36.455.4725.42Not exceeding 1.5
White96.61-0.15-1.48Not exceeding 1.5
Blue18.637.89-19.45Not exceeding 1.5

And it seems I am not the only one who is constantly monitoring the Royal Gazette announcements, as the Wikipedia article on the Flag of Thailand was already updated yesterday accordingly by Paul012.

And since the Wikipedia article also linked an unofficial translation of the flag act, its notable that this act does not mention anything about the flags for each province, the obscure flags I never saw anywhere but seem to exist - yet many other flags are defined in the act, even obscure one like the Boy Scout provincial flags.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Province governor reshuffle

With the end of the fiscal year, its traditionally also the date on which the province governors get transferred to new provinces, or to other posts within the Ministry of Interior, as well as deputy governors getting promoted to governors and assigned their first province.

The first part of this annual reshuffle has already been announced in the Royal Gazette on September 15, a total of 24 officials being reassigned to new posts. Out of these, there are four governors transferred to other positions within the ministry, 16 governors being transferred to new provinces, and one transferred from a post within the MOI to become province governor - the other three are transfers from and to other posts only. All of the transfers are effective October 1.

Due to lack of time I don't write up the full list here, you can find it either in the Gazette announcement, or translated into XML in my data collection. The second part of the reshuffle, the promotion of deputy governors, isn't published in the Gazette yet, but was already published in the press - I'll add it as soon as I see the announcement. And as usual, sadly the names of those governors who will retire is not listed anywhere, so can only guess them from the posts which get assigned a new name without any transfer of the previous incumbent.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Statistical yearbook 1923

Google books has scanned many very old reference books, but they are all only visible in the snippit mode, teasing enough to make sure its the resource one would need but still making it impossible to use them. It is quite annoying to have valuable information so near and still so far. When I last week again tried in vain to check the old yearbooks in the online library of the NSO - the scans there stop after a few pages - and then looked Google Books, I noticed that there actually is a form to ask for a book to be fully available. Without much hope I entered it for the 1923 yearbook, stating that by Thai law works from juristic persons have a copyright term of 50 years after publication and it thus should be long freely available. And to my total surprise - just one week later I received an email that the review is done, and the book is now fully readable.

Though they just changed access to this one year edition - after this success I'll do the same request for the other years as well later - it gives access quite a lot of interesting tables. The number of administrative units in 1922 for each of the 18 Monthon - totally there were 80 provinces, 421 districts and 5061 subdistricts. And most useful - and the reason why I chose this edition in my request - are the population numbers for each of the provinces from the 1919 census. The 1952 yearbook strangely had lot of nonsense numbers for this year. Also, especially the 1952 yearbook hide the fact that there were more provinces in 1919, and quietly added them to those provinces into which these were integrated in 1932.

There are some notable data points for some provinces. Phra Nakhon and  Phuket had far more male than female citizen, the ratio was over 130% for these. Though the numbers by nationality are only listed at Monthon level, these two Monthon have far less Siamese than others, and instead lots of Chinese - indicating there were many single male workers who could not bring a Chinese wife. Even more striking are the numbers for Monthon Pattani - only 15% of the population is listed as Siamese, the majority are Malay. The table is titled by "nationality", and not ethnic group, hence it seems that these were not considered full citizens back then. 100 years later the lack of integration of these people is still and unresolved problem...

Apart from the rather unusual way the province names were romanized in this edition of the yearbook, there are two province where a different name is listed than the one I expected - Lampang and Nan both are preceded by the word "Nakhon". While I had read about it for Lampang before, I have to investigate these further - at least there seems to be no official Royal Gazette announcement removing the "Nakhon" from these province names.

Anyway, now the census 1919 XML has been updated with all the data, the numbers of subdivisions are in a Yearbook1923.XML, and I will also soon update my big spreadsheet to show these province population numbers as well. And for those who prefer spreadsheets over XML, there's also a spreadsheet with the 1923 data I picked from the book. Next projects now should be to get the 1909 and the 1929 census data from yearbooks as well.

Friday, September 1, 2017

180 Khwaeng in Bangkok

It seems the number of subdistricts (Khwaeng, แขวง) in Bangkok has just or will very soon be increased from 169 to 180. The Thai Wikipedia Potapt, who is very active in keeping the articles on the subdivisions up-to-date in the Thai Wikipedia, has just updated all the relevant articles both in the Thai and in the English Wikipedia. I haven't yet seen any announcement in the Royal Gazette, but as he is always quite conservative in adding things, I trust he has very good sources that these changes are indeed forthcoming - but will wait till I have the official announcement to update Wikidata and the German Wikipedia then.

The new subdistricts will end the oddity of districts with just a single subdistrict. Its sad that the latest list of the ccaatt codes was just published, so it will be a guessing game which numbers are to be assigned to the new districts.

  • Phra Khanong district: Bang Chak subdistrict split to create Phra Khanong Tai subdistrict (แขวงพระโขนงใต้). District will have 2 subdistricts now, new subdistrict probably receiving the code 100910 as the next free code.
  • Phaya Thai district: Sam Sen Nai subdistrict split to create Phaya Thai subdistrict (แขวงพญาไท). District will have 2 subdistricts now, new subdistrict probably receiving the code 101406. The original subdistricts having the name Phaya Thai in their name were split off to Ratchathewi district in 1989.
  • Din Daeng district: Din Daeng subdistrict split to create Ratchadaphisek subdistrict (แขวงรัชดาภิเษก). District will have 2 subdistricts now, new subdistrict probably receiving the code 102602.
  • Suan Luang district: Suan Luang subdistrict split to create On Nut and Phatthanakan subdistricts (แขวงอ่อนนุช, แขวงพัฒนาการ). District will have 3 subdistricts now.
  • Saphan Sung district: Saphan Sung subdistrict split to create Rat Phatthana and Thap Chang subdistricts (แขวงราษฎร์พัฒนา, แขวงทับช้าง). District will have 3 subdistricts now.
  • Bang Na district: Bang Na subdistrict split into two new subdistrict named Bang Na Nuea (แขวงบางนาเหนือ) and Bang Na Tai (แขวงบางนาใต้). It remains to be seen if this will be done by abolishing the previous subdistrict and creating two new subdistricts, or by renaming it and creating one new ones.
  • Bang Bon district: Bang Bon subdistrict split into four new subdistrict named Bang Bon Nuea (แขวงบางบอนเหนือ), Bang Bon Tai (แขวงบางบอนใต้), Khlong Bang Phran (แขวคลองบางพราน) and Khlong Bang Bon (แขวงคลองบางบอน). It remains to be seen if this will be done by abolishing the previous subdistrict and creating four new ones, or by renaming it and creating three new ones.

Friday, August 25, 2017

ccaatt lists of 2017

Earlier this month, DOPA uploaded a new version of their geocode lists, this time changing the format to XLS files. Whereas the rcode file (containing codes for the municipalities) shows no changes compared to the list from last year, there is only one changes in the ccaatt list - it now only contains the Tambon, all the provinces, districts as well as the subdistricts in Bangkok were removed. I have no idea ifr this was intentionally, or a mistake when changing to the XLS format. When comparing it my list of tambon, only two spelling variants show up:
  • Ba Rue Si (บุฤๅษี) wrongly spelled บุฤาษี
  • Su-ngai Kolok (สุไหงโกลก) spelled with hyphen as สุไหงโก-ลก
and I noticed I myself had two misspellings in my spreadsheet, copied from some old erroneous lists and long corrected in the XML version.

Thus the only thing interesting at these new files is what they don't contain - no numbers yet for the two districts in planning in Yala province. As I haven't found anything official about them for quite some time, it seems it still needs quite some time till those get created.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Census 1937 district data

The 1937 census reports include the male and female population numbers for each district (Amphoe), a table covering 30 pages in the publication. I have now completed to convert these numbers into a spreadsheet, as well as my XML format, of all the 408 districts covered by the report. While I have no idea how much these numbers differed from the real numbers back then due to shortcomings in the way the census was conducted, but the numbers in the report all sum up perfectly except two or three obvious number errors - e.g. for Lang Suan the female population was given as 21893 instead of 12893.

As this table includes a column with the ratio between male and female population, there are some interesting strange cases. While for most district the ratio is between 87% and  130%, there are a few district where the male population is very dominant. Bannang Sata in Yala has more than the double number of men than women (4994 vs. 2427), also Samphanthawong in Bangkok (then Phra Nakhon province) has 42200 men compared to 27760 women. The later case is easy to explain - this district covers Chinatown, which at that time had many unmarried male Chinese workers. This can also be seen in the percentage of Thai vs. non-Thai citizen - Phra Nakhon had 29.7% of non-Thai citizen, Yala 13.4%, also Phuket and Ranong had more than 10%. These two provinces also had quite some Chinese workers, at that time the tin mining was still a big part of the local economy.

Though this table only included the full district and counted the minor districts (King Amphoe) together with the district which supervised it, it also made a good cross-check of whether my district data is complete. From all the districts which exist today, and where I had the dates of when they became full districts, only the district Thung Yai in Nakhon Si Thammarat - then named Tha Yang (กิ่งอำเภอท่ายาง) - was missing, because its upgrade to a full district sometime between 1941 and 1948 apparently wasn't published in the Royal Gazette. The only other special cases are three districts in Bangkok which were abolished later - Bang Sue, Bang Phlat, Bukkhalo and Nang Loeng were abolished in 1938, the first two were created again in 1989. While these districts are included in the data, interestingly the districts already uses the names changed in 1938, which among other changes gave the capital districts the Amphoe Mueang names.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tambon of Krabi in 1940

The Local Directory of 1940 (ทำเนียบท้องที่ พุทธศักราช 2483) - one of the books I was able to scan from the Pridi Library - gives the number of administrative villages for every subdistrict, thus it gives me a complete list of all the Tambon in that year. As I suspect that not all the Tambon creations and dissolvements have been recording in the Royal Gazette, and the creation of more than 1000 Tambon in one year always has been very suspicious, this list should be great to consolidate my Tambon data.

Working through all 300 pages will take me several months,  yet as a proof of concept I have processed the Tambon list of Krabi, simply as that province is listed first as being the first in Thai alphabet. And with 534 Tambon today its a relatively small province.

In 1940, Krabi had 39 Tambon and 283 Muban in four districts, compared with 8 district, 53 Tambon and 389 Muban today. All of the Tambon listed in 1940 could be directly matched to a present-day one with the same name, so none was dissolved in the meantime. Only Na Nuea (ตำบลนาเหนือ) in Ao Luek isn't found directly, as it is listed as Pak Lao (ตำบลปากลาว) in the book - but corrected as Na Nuea in the appendix. Actually, the Tambon was renamed in 1940 while the book was compiled [Gazette].

Checking the other way round, there is only one Tambon not present in the 1940 list which has no Royal Gazette announcement on it being created - Sai Thai (ตำบลไสไทย) in Mueang district. It was mentioned in a Gazette announcement in 1952, so it was apparently created sometime in the 1940s. And since the 1937 census included a book with the population for each Tambon (more on that later), there is one more Tambon which changed in these years - Khao Din was renamed from Yan Sao, while it was reassigned from Surat Thani in 1937 it is already included in Krabi.

Krabi was an easy pick as a first step to work through that list, the XML with the data will slowly grow later. Sadly, there were none of the 1000 Tambon in this province, so it doesn't answer yet what was that announcement all about. Also, there were no difficulties like dissolved or renamed Tambon without any official records I could find so far. When I am running into such problems I'll certainly write about them


Monday, August 7, 2017

Census 1929

The 1937 census report was published in five parts, which I was able to look into at the Pridi library last month. I scanned a lot of pages of those books, though only a small subset of the whole books - all those will keep me occupied for quite some time to work through and type into Excel sheets and my XML files. But one first part I could finish already last weekend. One of the parts lists the population development from the previous census in 1929. The 1952 yearbook I found earlier also included that data, but strangely there the numbers did not add up, only the numbers for the south matched.

Now the new scans allowed me to get all the population numbers for each province, with the exception that the provinces abolished in 1932 are not listed separately but are included with those provinces into which they were merged then - for example Lang Suan province (จังหวัดหลังสวน) which was added to Chumphon in 1932. Thus now my data sheet contains all the censuses since 1929, as well as the corresponding XML file. As far as I know no other online resource has this data so far, even the great statoids start at 1947, and has wrong numbers for the early census. It turned out that some more provinces had valid numbers in the 1952 yearbook, but its of course strange how the sometimes quite different values could come up. What is also strange in the tables from the census - the numbers for 1937 are not those in the other parts of the report, e.g. the male/female numbers for each province. It looks as if this part of the report was prepared on preliminary numbers before the final numbers had been compiled. I hope the other parts won't show any other inconsistencies.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Two Muban renamed

Two administrative villages were renamed yesterday by publishing the announcements in the Royal Gazette.
  • Ban Thung Phatthana (บ้านทุ่งพัฒนา), Mae Yen subdistrict, Phan district, Chiang Rai, renamed to Ban Mae Yen Klang (บ้านแม่เย็นกลาง) [Gazette]
  • Ban Nong Masang (บ้านหนองมะสัง), Suk Ruethai subdistrict, Huai Khot district, Uthai Thani, renamed to Ban Thung Sali (บ้านทุ่งสาลี) [Gazette]
Both name changes were approved in this years first meeting of the board to consider name changes on April 28 - sadly the agenda or transcript of this meeting isn't available online.

As the announcement were signed by the province governors, the second announcement made me notice that the governor of Uthai Thani had changed recently. On March 4, the governors of Uthai Thani and Samut Sakhon were exchanged with each other [Gazette] outside the normal annual reshuffle usually done in October. But since I didn't notice that exchange till now, my XML were still showing the old assignments.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Library requests

In preparation for my forthcoming annual visit to Thailand, I have checked with some of the online library catalogues whether there are any of the reference works I could use available in one of the libraries I could easily reach while I am in Bangkok. The Pridi Banomyong library of Thammasat University, located right next to Wat Phra Kaeo, has the full reports of the census 1947 and 1937, as well as a few issues of the Local Directory (ทำเนียบท้องที่ พุทธศักราช), most interestingly the 1940 issue. However all these are in the rare book section, so hope I can get access to them.

A bit less interesting are the older issues of the Statistical Yearbook, which are more wide common in university libraries in Thailand. Though not the complete series, the Mahidol Central Library in Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, has several of the older issues, so I hopefully can further complete the data series with the number of subdivisions.

But even if I can get access to all the works I looked up, and have enough time to scan all the relevant pages to process when back home, there are still more issues of the yearbook or the even older census reports which would be great to have - and there are also some books or thesis which are impossible to get when having access to the academic sources. Thus I have compiled a list of the library requests and made it a static page, so hopefully someone who has the chance to provide me scan of any of these I would be very grateful. I will update that page whenever I stumble onto something new which I could need, or of course once I can get one of the requested data.

Friday, June 30, 2017

@Amphoe 3/2060 available

The 3rd issue of the @Amphoe magazine was just published online earlier today, right on time that I will be able to pick the paper version this one together with the other issues from the past 12 months when I will be traveling to Thailand next month.

The English language content features an interview with Boonlue Thamtaranurak (บุญลือ ธรรมรานุรักษ์), the chief district office of Galyani Vadhana district in Chiang Mai. Another part is on a new division within the Department of Provincial Administration responsible for the Hajj Affairs of the Thai Muslims, following the 3rd amendment of the Hajj Affairs Advancement Act (พระราชบัญญัติส่งเสริมกิจการฮัจย์ (ฉบับที่ ๓) พ.ศ. ๒๕๕๙) which took effect December last year.

Also, as in every issue, one province with its touristic highlights is features, this time Chanthaburi in the east of Thailand - hence the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on the title page of the magazine - one of the few beautiful Roman Catholic churches in Thailand.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Number of Tambon in 1947

Table A15 - Population for Urban
and rural size group, 1947
Another interesting table found in the 1952 Statistical Yearbook are A15 and A16, which list the number of Tambon for each province, including a grouping by the population number. According to that table, in 1947 there were 3650 subdistricts, split into several categories according to the population number.

ClassNumberPopulationPercent
All365017442689100.00
Urban26951584512590.85
>20,000298387264.81
10,000-19,999250312537817.92
5,000-9,999960658232037.74
2,500-4,9991456529870130.38
Rural95515975649.15
1,000-2,49981815079348.64
<1,00013789,6300.51
Table A16 then gives the number of Tambon for each province, split into the urban and rural Tambon. While these numbers arer interesting by themselves - though would be even better if have numbers to compare from other censuses - for me the most important one is the absolute number, as I intend to have a complete overview when which subdistrict was created. Calculating back from the current number of subdistrict and all the subdistrict creations published in the Royal Gazette, I get to a number of 4581 in 1950 - or maybe a few more as my algorithm doesn't handle the abolished entities correctly yet. This leaves about 1000 Tambon missing - though there is the strange 1947 Royal Gazette announcement on the creation of 674 Tambon.

I have two other very old Tambon numbers, the 1964 Statistical Yearbook lists 4893 for the reference date February 17 (my algorithm says 4889 for January 1st), and more interesting the 1917 Yearbook gives a number of 5052. Thus it seems it were not just the Monthon and some provinces which were abolished in the 1930s, but also many subdistricts, and these unlike the higher administrative units were never announced in the Royal Gazette.

It seems the only way to find more information to resolve these number issues will be old issues of the Loyal Directory book (ทำเนียบท้องที่), something which can only be done in a few libraries in Thailand. The Pridi Banomyong Library at the Thammasat University has the 1940 (2483) issue - I hope I will find chance to visit there during my forthcoming vacation in Thailand, and hope I will be allowed to photograph all the relevant pages to compile a digital list later. The book is in the rare book collection, and given its age probably must be handled with lot of care. It would be just great if this whole book series would get scanned and made publicly available - even Google Books hasn't scanned any of them yet, though even there it would probably be inaccessible.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Census 1947 and 1937

After I had found an online resource with the census reports starting in 1960, I was trying to find the older data as well. However, the online library of the National Statistics Office does not have the earlier census reports, and those few issues of the Statistical Yearbook in there have only few pages available - the recent issues which are completely available don't give any details on older censuses other than the regional aggregates. If I were in Thailand, I could of course visit some of the university libraries in Bangkok which have such old printed books - but since I am only there for vacation annually, I never made it yet to find such a book in a library.

But finally, Google and some luck helped to locate a scanned version of the 1952 Statistical Yearbook at archive.org. Google Books would have many more issues, but all of them only in snippet view, so totally unusable. And in that 1952 issue, several tables show at least partial data from the early censuses.
  • Table A3 - Population by Sex by Changwat, 1929, 1937 and 1947
  • Table A4 - Percentual changes of population by region and changwat, 1929, 1937 and 1947
  • Table A5 - Population per square km by changwat, 1937 and 1947
  • Table A6 - Population and area of Thai Changwats, 1947
  • Table A7 - Population and area of Thai Changwats, by Size, 1947
  • Table A17 - Population of  Municipalities, 1947
Despite the table title, A4 also included the census 1919 - however the data for 1919 and 1929 is rather inconsistent - the numbers don't sum up, out of the provinces abolished in 1933 only Sukhothai/Sawankhalok is considered, Si Sa Ket is left out though it was not newly created but renamed in 1939, thus for now I have to leave out these numbers. But for 1937 and 1947, I could now extract the numbers for each province including the numbers for each gender as well as the municipal population. I certainly would still love to get the census reports itself in my hands, especially if those go down to district levels like the later census reports, but now I already have more and better data than e.g. statoids. Of course, I already uploaded the new data to Wikidata as well as added the numbers to my spreadsheet and the corresponding XML files.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Translations of Thai laws on Wikisource

Royal decree creation Galyani Vadhana district
One of the lesser known sites within the Wikipedia universe is Wikisource, which aims to collect and translate source texts which have their copyright expired or are in the public domain already - similar with the Project Gutenberg but with a wider scope, as it is not limited to books. By the Thai copyright act, Thai laws like all documents produced by government directly, are not protected by copyright, thus everyone is free to reproduce these texts.

Thanks to one diligent user, there not just the Thai texts of several laws or acts online there, but also really good English translations  - much better than the English translation of the municipality act I bought as a book several years ago, and still haven't made it to write up the slating review. Those interesting law texts concerning the subdivisions available in English are the following:
Especially as the laws for the creation and upgrade of districts are worded very similar, it'd be relatively easy to add more, but sadly my time is limited so I haven't been active on these myself. Besides, more interesting would be translations of acts like the municipality act, which give the legal background on how the various subdivisions are supposed to work. However, the amendments of the Bangkok Meltropolitan Administration Act are the only ones in this class.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Residence of Phraya Anuman Rajadhon

As its very quiet in the Royal Gazette regarding the administrative subdivision, I'd like to report the announcement of a new historical monument (เขตที่ดินโบราณสถาน) - the former residence of Phraya Anuman Rajadhon (บ้านพระยาอนุมานราชธน) in Bang Rak district, Bangkok.

Phraya Anuman (1888–1969) was a very notable anthropologist, who researched and wrote a lot about Thai culture, though sadly most of his works were never translated and thus remain behind the language barrier. He worked for the renowned Royal Institute, and even made it to become president of the Siam Society shortly before his death.

Map of the historical site
His residence in Soi 2 of Narathiwat road in Bang Rak district, not far from Chong Nonsi BTS station, has now been registered as a national historical site. The whole plot of the residence, an area of 1076 m² (2 งาน 69 ตารางวา) has been included as can be seen on the map which has been included with the announcement. The map also includes a list of nine numbered locations within the compound, not sure whether these are listed for orientation or whether these are actually notable parts of the monument.
  1. บ้านพระยาอนุมานราชธน (Residence)
  2. บ้านหลังเล็ก (Side house)
  3. อาคารที่พัก (Staff house)
  4. ศาลาแปดเหลี่ยม (Octogon pavillion)
  5. ห้องน้ำ (Toilet)
  6. ซุ้มไม้ระแนง (Pergola)
  7. สระน้ำ (Pool)
  8. ปั๊มน้ำ (Water pump)
  9. รูปแกะสลักสิงห์ (Stone lions)
I have added this new site to the list on the Thai Wikipedia - oddly this was a totally new site, not one of the many sites which were already listed by the Fine Arts Department but not announced officially in the Royal Gazette. Sadly the GIS site of the finearts department no longer allows to link the individual sites anymore - but even on the map this new site isn't listed yet, so this site apparently has no official Fine Arts ID number yet. I have also added an item in Wikidata, which (if all the sites were added someday) would allow to create a GIS map with a relatively simple query like my map of monuments in Bangkok Noi district. And since I also collect the monuments on my XML data files, here's the diff which added this site and the corresponding announcement.

From what the building looks like in Streetview, it seems this will be a difficult target to take a photo for the forthcoming next round of Wiki Loves Monument in September, unless someone knows the present owners. I probably get to that area in my forthcoming next holiday visit in Thailand, so I will at least be able to take a street view photo myself.

Monday, May 22, 2017

@Amphoe issue 2/2017

This years second edition of the @amphoe magazine has been made available as a PDF file (almost 50MB size), not sure whether it was this time uploaded before it gets available in the province halls and other locations. As usual, there is some limited amount of content in both Thai and English.
  • An interview with Ms. Phumarin Khongpiantham (น.ส. ภูมารินทร์ คงเพียรธรรม), the chief district officer of Na Haeo district in Loei on the specific problems of this very remote district at the boundary to Laos.
  • The touristic highlights of Phrae province. 
  • The number of administrative units, using the graphic I also used in my coverage of that data.
  • An article on the Civil Service Day (วันข้าราชการพลเรือน) on April 1st, which includes a very short summary of the administrative reforms of Prince Damrong and King Chulalongkorn.
This summary is worth a closer look, though sadly a lot is lost in translation.
As for regional administration, mueangs were divided into mueang and amphoe monthons with samuhathesaphibans, governors and sheriffs as the leaders to oversee the well-being of the people in their respective districts. Village headmen and chiefs existed to assist the tambon- and village-level operations. [...] As for local administration, the king had the idea to have the people participate by electing village headmen and chiefs instead of having these positions [appointed].
With my limited Thai and the knowledge from Tej Bunnag's book, it seems what was meant to be said is that as the Thesaphiban reforms, the country was divided into Monthon, Mueang and Amphoe, which have a commissioner (สมุหเทศาภิบาล, Samuha Thesaphiban), province governor (ผู้ว่าราชการเมือง) and chief district office (นายอำเภอ, here translated "sheriff") as the head of their administration respectively; and the Tambon and Muban as the most local divisions with the village headman and subdistrict headman (กำนัน, Kamnan, here translated as "chief") as their leader.

The Mueang became the present day provinces (จังหวัด, Changwat), the term changed in 1915, whereas the Monthon were abolished in 1933, replaced by regional administrations with much less power.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Constitutional System of Thailand: A Contextual Analysis

The book "The Constitutional System of Thailand: A Contextual Analysis" by Andrew Harding and Peter Leyland is on the list of books I intend to buy for some time already, yet both its relatively high price and my backlog of unread books kept me from buying it yet - somehow hoping for an updated second edition, as obviously the just recently promulgated constitution isn't covered in it yet.

Luckily, Google Books over to preview many pages of the book, not just the snippet view it has for most, so it is possible to have a look into it. As I stumbled into it when looking for the term "Thesaban" in Google Books, the section on the local governments had caught my attention - but sadly I quickly found several mistakes or inaccuracies in that part. If there'd be second edition, I hope these can be fixed.Though the local government isn't the prime focus of the book, discovering these inaccuracies make me now hesitate to invest into this book.

Starting on page 125, it lists the numbers of the municipalities. Oddly, it says are 25 cities - a number valid in 2010 - and a total number of 1456 Thesaban, which was correct in 2008. The book was published in 2011, but apparently the numbers from various years have been mixed up together. It also states that cities have 50,000 citizens, towns 10,000 (or being a provincial capital) and subdistrict municipalities at least 5,000. Though these numbers are defined in the municipality act, it doesn't mean all the municipalities today have these numbers. Especially the sanitary districts upgraded in 1999, but also several of the TAO upgraded more recently have a smaller population but were still granted that municipal status.

The coverage of the rural-based local governments is much more misleading, especially the Provincial Administrative Organizations (PAO)
Other than in Bangkok and Pattaya, the Provincial Administrative Organization (PAO) administers local government at the provincial level. This comprises two bodies:
i) an administrative body headed by the provincial governor; and
ii) an assembly of 24-48 members elected for a four-year term.
The Provincial Governor, renamed Chief Executive Officer (CEO), is elected from the council and is no longer appointed directly by the MOI. Provinces are divided administratively into a number of districts, headed by district officers who report to the CEO.
This completely mixes up the province as the central government unit, and the PAO. The province governor is still appointed by the MOI, and always has been, and it wasn't renamed to be CEO, but was only supposed to act in the more business style when Thaksin was prime minister. The PAO mayor however is directly elected since 2004, only before was elected by the council. Also the mention of Pattaya is a bit misleading, as it suggests that Pattaya is a special province like Bangkok - but in fact the citizen of Pattaya also elect the Chonburi PAO mayor and council.

A similar mixup happens at the subdistrict level.
[...] bit in rural areas 7,255 Tambon Administrative Organizations (TAOs) provide local government at the sub-district level. These TAOs govern an area with a relatively small population. Each one is headed by a sub-district chief (Kamnan). [...]
There was never a TAO for every Tambon, and only at the very beginning the Kamnan served as TAO chairman ex officio, then the chairman was elected by the council, and since 2004 the position was renamed to mayor and since then elected directly. But the Kamnan as the central administrative position remains as well in parallel, but also there never was a Kamnan in every Tambon.

As the final rural government structure the "Sukhapiban" or sanitary committee are mentioned - though the law governing them is still in effect, all of them were upgraded in 1999, but this isn't mentioned in the book.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Local governments Small-Medium-Large

It took a bit longer than expected to work through the Excel sheets published by DOLA recently to extract the data from there and compile it to be used in my XML files. There were quite a lot of local governments misspelled in the Excel sheets, in some cases an already announced name change wasn't included in them, and also in several cases the district was wrong, so it took some time to match all the data rows from the Excel sheets with the corresponding item in my syntax. The result is a bit lengthy in XML however...


I now have the area value, the DOLA code (which sadly isn't stable like the codes from DOPA) and the Small-Medium-Large assignment for each of the local governments. Though it'd be most interesting to compare these SML assignments over time, an overview of the current numbers is also interesting.
TypeSmallMediumLargeUnknown
TAO5120177352
Thesaban Tambon1875341134
Thesaban Mueang17135260
Thesaban Nakhon02550

A bit strange are the six local governments where the Excel sheets left the SML level empty. As these level are about the economic power of the local government, those in the Large category (ขนาดใหญ่) are the prime candidates to get upgraded to a higher municipal level. It'd be interesting to compare with an older table to see whether this guess matches with reality. I have saved the Excel sheet from DOLA since 2010, so its just the time which is the limiting factor in creating such a statistics.

Fun fact - when looking for an image to add to this post, most of the results for ขนาดใหญ่ ขนาดกลาง ขนาดเล็ก where anal plugs...

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Chue Ban Nam Mueang

I started this blog almost 10 years ago when I found a eBook which gave th romanized names for all provinces, districts and subdistricts, but was unable to contact anyone to get the obvious mistakes fixed for an eventual second edition. The only thing which happened was that later Excel sheets were added to the PDF files, making it a bit easier to go through the lists. As the original files are lost after various website relaunches, my copy of the files seems to be the only online source left.

It was an edit by the Thai Wikipedia Potapt  changing the spelling of Chang Chawa subdistrict to Chang Chwa in contrast to the recommended spelling. It turned out, that the word จว้า is from Northern Thai, and the syllable Chwa isn't found in Central Thai which makes the romanization look odd, and also might explain why it was romanized differently in 2006. The Royal Institute has reworked the recommended romanizations lately, and created a mobile app named Chue Ban Nam Mueang (Google AppStore). From the app description:
as well as 1,500 names of all provinces, Amphurs, Tambons, and special administrative regions in Thailand
Its already strange that the description uses the wrong romanization for the term "Amphoe", also 1500 would mean there are almost no Tambon in the data. Even worse is the German description in the AppStore, which is ludicrous Google Translate gibberish without any meaning, almost like the deadly joke. For those who don't speak German I added an English version.
Die Akademie der Mobil: mehr als fünfhundert lokalen Prioritäten Landnutzung, wie zum Beispiel, wie man schreibt. Es Fingerspitzen
The academy of mobile: more than five hundred local priorities land use, for example, how to spell. It fingertips
While a paper book is somewhat out of fashion now, a mobile app is an interesting way to make this issue more accessible - but the large drawback is that in fact it makes it even more difficult to get through the spellings in a systematic way than with the PDF from 2006. It seems the Royal Institute has not published the new list in any other ways, so it is almost impossible for me to check through the 7000+ names this way. And according to Potapt, even some of the old mistakes are still present.

I really wish the Thai authorities would be more accessible to feedback, it is really frustrating to see that in the last 10 years nobody in charge of that list ever looked online...

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Change of area of Muban in Ubon Ratchathani

Today, the Royal Gazette contained an announcement which changes the boundaries of Ban Na Chumchon (บ้านนาชุมชน), Mu 8 of Sai Mun subdistrict, Phibun Mangsahan district, Ubon Ratchathani. The actual boundary change is probably just minor, the announcement doesn't mention the change and just lists the new boundary. What is interesting however is that the announcement refers to the old boundaries by mentioning that the administrative village was established on May 2 2001 - shortly before the Muban creations were published in the Royal Gazette. Thus this village is now one of the very few where I know the date of its creation indirectly. Sadly none of the ministerial orders on the creation of Muban, especially none so old, are available online, those would give a lot more data to add to my XMLs.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Local government data updated by DOLA

The Department of Local Administration has updated their list of the local administrations, now being as of March 31 2017. The actual numbers haven't changed since the last update, as the last municipal change was the upgrade of Pa Sak TAO in November 2015.
  • Provincial administrative organizations (PAO, องค์การบริหารส่วนจังหวัด): 76
  • Municipality (Thesaban, เทศบาล): 2441
    • City (Thesaban Nakhon, เทศบาลนคร): 30
    • Town (Thesaban Mueang, เทศบาลเมือง): 178
    • Subdistrict municipality (Thesaban Tambon, เทศบาลตำบล): 2233
  • Subdistrict administrative organizations (TAO, องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล): 5334
  • Special administrative units (องค์กรปกครองส่วนท้องถิ่นรูปแบบพิเศษ): 2
Source: summary_25600331

The other files updated are more interesting, as these Excel sheets include the area, population, and the sub-level (Small, Medium, Large). There is one file for the municipalities and one for the TAO.

As DOLA has no unique and stable identifier code for each local administrative unit, and even the one they use isn't included into these sheets, I have to finally do the long-planned programming to be able to convert the data in these sheets into something which fits my XMLs, especially to be able to compare the current data with the previous sheets, for example to see how many for the local governments had changed their sub-level.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Triangulation pillars

While the Thai news - at least in my filter bubble - is full of coverage and speculation of the disappearance of a brass plaque in Bangkok, I'd like to feature a kind of plaques which can be found all over the kingdom, though I so far had only stumbled upon two of them.

The one displayed in the posting is found in Wat Amarin (วัดอมรินทรารามวรวิหาร), an old temple right next to the Siriraj Hospital. Sadly most of the temple ground is used as parking lot for the hospital, but the temple buildings are still a nice view. I went there last year to photograph a lot, as the site is listed as a historic landmark by the Fine Arts Department, however not yet officially registered by a publication in the Royal Gazette. And as last year the Wiki Loves Monuments only covered the published sites, the photos are still unprocessed on my hard disc. So while strolling around the temple ground, I noticed that not really spectacular marker stone - in fact very similar to those found at the province halls in all(?) provinces.


As the plaque is bilingual, its easy to recognize that these kinds of pillars are triangulation points used for mapping purposes. These pillars are erected by the Department of Lands, a subdivision of the Ministry of Interior. Named "Survey Mark" or หมุดหลักฐานแผนที่ (Mut Lak Than Phaen Thi - Major Mapping Pin), all I was able to find about them in Google was the guideline on how these pillars are to be built, also in the Royal Gazette there's only the 1936 law on the survey marks and its amendment in 1958. While for example for the UK some enthusiasts collected the location of all the trig points, I haven't noticed anything like that for Thailand during my short web search. If anyone wants to start such a collection, I'd certainly share my two points...

Friday, April 21, 2017

Population growth since the 1960s

As I am almost through processing the annual population numbers based on the registration data - whoever needs the data in a machine-readable format can either look at my XML files or the spreadsheet, I could now extend the graph first created with the 2014 population data to cover almost 30 more years.
The population grew from about 30 million in 1966 to 65 million in 2016, and already visibly in this graph the curve has become less steep recently. Included as red dots are the numbers from the census, which interestingly were lower than the registration numbers till 2000, and only after the registration number drop in 2004 the census numbers have become larger than the registration numbers. Its not surprising that census and registration have different numbers - the reference date is different, yet the largest effect is due to the fact that many Thai don't live where they are registered. Maybe those living abroad were included in the registration data till 2004 to explain the drop by 1.1 million in 2004?

Looking at the annual change of population, the slowdown of the growth is much more visible than  in the first graph.While in the 1960 an annual growth of 4% was normal, it is at about 0.5% since around the year 2000.

While the above analysis is done only using the total population number, the data goes down to the provincial level for 1966 till 1992 and to subdistrict level since then - and the census data I have goes down to district level. The data is available in machine readable form now, so its now easy to do regional population development statistics like the one I did for 2016. I am curious whether someone could use my data collection for any interesting analysis, or even a scientific publication...

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Headman terms to be shortened?

In a kind of a deja-vu, there was an organized protest of village and subdistrict headmen in several provinces this week as the National Reform Steering Assembly has proposed to make an election every five year mandatory [The Nation, Bangkok Post]. The only difference this time is the agency which proposed the change, everything else sounds totally same as in 2012 when a similar proposal was under consideration by the Yingluck government - even the discussed compromise of allowing the currently elected headmen to stay in office till retirement age and only make the reelection mandatory for newly filled positions.

Yet one detail I haven't seen in any of the reports on the protests now - that the lifetime term was re-introduced in 2008, between 1999 and 2008 every headman had to stand reelection every five years. It remains to be seen if the current proposal is supported by the government, as it still needs to be approved by the cabinet and then parliament, before any such amendment to the Local Administration Act becomes effective.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Province governor transfer

With the 20th announcement by the military junta of this year, and using the absolute power of article 44 of the interim constitution, on April 4th ten officials were reassigned to new posts effective immediately.
  • Sak Somboonto (ศักดิ์ สมบุญโต), province governor in Kanchanaburi, transferred to a post in the Ministry of Interior.
  • Natthapat Suwanprateep (ณัฐภัทร สุวรรณประทีป), province governor in Kalasin, transferred to a post in the Ministry of Interior.
  • Boonsong Techamaneesathit (บุญส่ง เตชะมณีสถิตย์), province governor in Chiang Rai, transferred to a post in the Ministry of Interior.
  • Chockchai Dejamornthan (โชคชัย เดชอมรธัญ), province governor in Phuket, transferred to a post in the Ministry of Interior.
  • Surapol Sawaengsak (สุรพล แสวงศักดิ์), province governor in Ratchaburi, transferred to a post in the Ministry of Interior.
  • Pasin Komolwit (พศิน โกมลวิชญ์), province governor in Singburi, transferred to a post in the Ministry of Interior.
  • Suwit Khamdee (สุวิทย์ คําดี) becoming new province governor of Kalasin.
  • Narongsak Osatthanakorn (ณรงศักดิ์ โอสถธนากร) becoming new province governor of Chiang Rai.
  • Nopparat Plongthong (นรภัทร ปลอดทอง) becoming new province governor of Phuket.
  • Chaiwat Chuenkum (ชัยวัฒน์ ชื่นโกสุม) becoming new province governor of Ratchaburi.
Reporting on this transfer, neither Bangkok Post, Phuket Gazette or The Nation give any reason for these unusual transfers - normally province governors are transferred at the end of the fiscal year on October 1st only. To my knowledge, the transfer to unspecific posts in the Ministry is usually a punitive action for under-performing governors, but since the Prime Minister didn't give any reasons for the transfer nor did the press report anything, this only speculation by myself.