Friday, November 28, 2008

Muban lists coming?

Google found several Excel sheets at the website of the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA), which turn out to be lists of all the villages (muban) together with their geocode. Interesting to read are the comments at the bottom, which (if I did not misunderstood them completely) ask for
  1. to check the names of the villages, mark those which are in error in red and state the reason why the name was or needs to be changed
    ตรวจสอบความถูกต้องของข้อมูลจำนวนและชื่อหมู่บ้าน โดย "หมู่บ้าน" ให้หมายถึงเฉพาะหมู่บ้านที่ยังคงมีการแต่งตั้งตำแหน่งกำนัน ผู้ใหญ่บ้าน ฯลฯ ตามกฎหมายว่าด้วยลักษณะปกครองท้องที่ ทั้งนี้ หากมีการแก้ไขเปลี่ยนแปลงชื่อหมู่บ้านให้พิมพ์เป็นตัวอักษรสีแดงพร้อมทั้งระบุเหตุผลในช่อง "หมายเหตุ" ด้วย
  2. get the coordinates of the central location of the village, usually the house of the village headmen
    พิกัดตำแหน่งของหมู่บ้าน ให้บันทึก ณ บริเวณชุมชนใหญ่ในหมู่บ้าน หรือสถานที่สำคัญของหมู่บ้านซึ่งเป็นที่รู้จักกันโดยทั่วไปในหมู่บ้าน (ยกเว้นที่ทำการผู้ใหญ่บ้าน หรือสถานที่ส่วนบุคคลซึ่งสามารถเปลี่ยนแปลงได้)
  3. provide these coordinates in the UTM coordinate system
    การบันทึกค่าพิกัด ให้บันทึกในระบบ UTM พื้นหลักฐาน Indian 1975 (แผนที่ 1 : 50,000 ชุด L 7017) โดยบันทึกค่าพิกัดตะวันออก 6 หลัก ค่าพิกัดเหนือ 7 หลัก (ยกเว้นจังหวัดภาคใต้บางจังหวัด ค่าพิกัดเหนือ 6 หลัก)
  4. list the areas covered by a municipality which can have the post of a village or subdistrict headman get annulled
    คำอธิบาย ตำบล ท หมายถึง ทั้งตำบลนั้นอยู่ในเขต ทน. หรือ ทม. หรือ ทต. ซึ่งได้มีประกาศ มท. ยกเลิกตำแหน่งกำนัน ผู้ใหญ่บ้าน แล้ว
Thus these Excel sheets have to processed and filled by the local officers in the province or district. I just hope DOPA will make the resulting sheets public as well, but already these lists are very helpful to fill the village names into my XMLs, and then be able to list the most current number of villages in the Wikipedia articles of the districts.

Google however only finds these sheets for half of the provinces, and according to the editing history stored by Office they were created within the last months. Google does list any pages which actually link to these files which might give more explanation on them, nor have I noticed anything in the announcements on the DOPA website.

I have worked through the file on Nakhon Si Thammarat already, and that gave me several name differences to those I had compiled from various sources (e.g. ThaiTambon or the Gazette announcements). Just listing those for Chulabhorn district
as it has only a few but different kinds of differences
  • Mu 2 of Ban Khuan Mut listed as Ban Nai Wang (บ้านในวัง) instead of Ban Na Mo Bun (บ้านนาหมอบุญ)
  • Mu 1 of Khuan Nong Khwa spelled บ้านสมควร instead of บ้านสมควน
  • Mu 4 of Na Mo Bun named Ban Kaho Nuea (บ้านกาโห่เหนือ) instead of Kaho (บ้านกาโห่)
  • Mu 6 of Na Mo Bun named Ban Huai Kaeo (บ้านห้วยแก้ว) newly created
  • Mu 4 of Khuan Nong Khwa named Ban Tuan Trab (บ้านควนตราบ) newly created
  • Mu 4 of Ban Cha-uat named Ban Tha Yang (บ้านท่ายาง) newly created
The last three suggest that there are also new announcements for the Royal Gazette in the pipeline, the last village creations were announced in September 2007 more than a year ago.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Confusing Thai administrative structures

It is not only me who got (and still sometimes gets) confused by the administrative structure, and especially the parallel local and central government entities. As so often, Google made me discover the short essay Civil service controls much of regional and local government, which contains several mistakes easily made when not knowing the details. I don't want to ridicule the author for his mistakes, I more like to use it as an example for the difficulties to understand the real structure. When I read that essay, I really needed the "edit" button like in Wikipedia, so I could fix the article myself...
Thailand is divided into 76 provinces (or 'changwat'), which are then grouped together into five regions for administrative purposes. [...]
The 76 provincial governors are appointed by the Ministry of the Interior from the civil service rather than elected, like the French prefect system, except in two cases. The capital city Bangkok is governed by a Metropolitan Authority, headed by an elected Governor. In 1976, the city of Pattaya was also given special administrative area status...
Actually, it's just 75 provinces, as Bangkok has a different status, which as correctly noted includes the elected governor. Yet, Bangkok is quite often miscalled a province, though it is not, it is only at the same administrative level as the other province. However Pattaya is not an exception, since it is not at provincial level, but a special kind of municipality outside the normal thesaban system.
Below this are tambon, loosely translated as communes, of which there are currently 7,254. Larger units (over 10,000 population) are known as Mueang, while other cities (over 50,000 population) are referred to as Nakhon. All of these are further sub-divided into muban (villages), currently 69,307 in number. [...] The 1994 Tambon Council and Tambon Administrative Authority Act and the 1997 constitution state the elected nature of the tambon.
Here the author totally confused the central administrative entity tambon with the municipality type thesaban tambon, and thus includes the other two municipal types thesaban mueang and thesaban nakhon with the subdistricts. And thus also the next sentence is wrong, as especially for the area covered by a thesaban nakhon there usually are no muban anymore. Also the reference to the 1997 constitution has this flaw, but here it is even more easy to get confused - at tambon level the central and local government meet, as the local government entity TAO in most cases cover exactly on tambon. And even more confusing, both the TAO with the chairman are elected, but also the administrator of the central government entity tambon, the subdistrict headman.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Tambon created twice?

For Surat Thani I am already much further into the past than for most other provinces, so I am now processing creations in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1947 a lot of subdistricts were created all over the country, including 20 in Surat Thani. This massive creation of subdistrict in itself is already interesting - anyone know for the reasons behind it - I noticed on problem there.

On page 2521 of the 1947 announcement (Volume 64, Issue 46 ง, Pages 2507-2533 published on September 30 1947), the subdistrict Thung Tao (ตำบลทุ่งเตา) in Ban Na was created by reassigning the following villages (muban).
  • หมู่ที่ 1 โอนจาก หมู่ที่ 7 ตำบลบ้านนาสาร อำเภอบ้านนาสาร (Village 1 reassigned from village 7 of Ban Na San subdistrict)
  • หมู่ที่ 2 โอนจาก หมู่ที่ 8 ตำบลบ้านนาสาร (Village 2 reassigned from village 8 of Ban Na San subdistrict)
  • หมู่ที่ 3 โอนจาก หมู่ที่ 3 ตำบลลำพูน (Village 3 reassigned from village 3 of Lamphun subdistrict)
Except that there was no subdistrict named Ban Na San - only one named Ban Na and one named Na San, there's nothing special with this one so far.

But, there's another announcement dating from 1938 (Volume 55, Issue ง, Page 3244-3245 published on December 26 1938), in which the two subdistrict Talat Chaiya and Thung Tao are created and a few villages are reassigned between subdistricts. So it's a second time Thung Tao was created, and that time it even had different more villages.
  • Village 1,2, and 10 of Tha Ruea
  • Village 7 and 9 of Ban Na
  • Village 8 of Lamphun
The only reasonable explanation for this would be that this subdistrict was created in 1938, then abolished again and recreated in 1947. But I cannot find any announcement about a abolishing of subdistricts in Surat Thani at that time yet.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Etymology of Thesaban and Thesaphiban

I am sure Rikker on his blog on the Thai language would do a better job than me, but since the simple question whether the correct romanization of the word เทศบาล in the RTGS should be thesaban or thetsaban led to a real gem of etymological discussion on my Wikipedia talk page.
The spelling of the word in Thai will usually tell you which words are pronounced this way. In words like เทศบาล, which we might transliterate (not transcribe) as {thesbal}, the ศ /s/ has a dual role: it acts as the final consonant of the first syllable เทศ (from deśa "country"), pronounced /thet/ in isolation, but ศ /s/ also gives us an implicit /a/ vowel that becomes the linking syllable /sa/ connecting with บาล /ban/ (from pāl "protect").
Thus, the word thesaban (municipality) from its Indic Sanskrit roots means something like "protection of country".

I already was about ask Rikker if the word "thesaphiban" (เทศาภิบาล), used as the common term of all the administrative reforms under Prince Damrong in his time as Interior Minister 1894-1915. The "sa" syllable in the two words is totally different, for thesaban it's a short "a" (อะ), while in thesaphiban it is a long "a" (อา). But actually, the two words are related
Another reason to keep Thesaban occurred to me -- to maintain consistency with Thesaphiban (เทศาภิบาล), from the Indic roots เทศ (deśa) + อภิ (abhi) + บาล (pāl), but due to sandhi (สนธิ) compounding rules it becomes เทศาภิบาล (deśābhipāl, with a long ā vowel), and thus in RTGS must be Thesaphiban, and never *Thetsaphiban. Personally, I'd prefer to maintain consistency between these words with the same roots.
Tej Bunnag gives the etymology of the word thesaphiban in his book "The Provincial Administration of Siam 1892-1915" as follows
The word thesaphiban is compounded from three words of Pali origin, namely thet or thesa meaning ‘country’, aphi meaning ‘in particular' or ‘special’, ban or bala meaning ‘to be in charge of something’, and can be translated literally as ‘to be in special charge of an area of the country’.

Just the original question wasn't solved completely yet - it seems RTGS would suggest the spelling thetsaban, the actually pronunciation is however closer to thesaban.

I cannot recall why I did choose that spelling back then, whether I did not trust the output of the romanization tool by Wirote Aroonmanakun (see also this review in the LearningPost), or I chose the spelling from the ones I saw the web which looked most close to the way RTGS is applied to the non-Sanskrit words.

Monday, November 24, 2008

District creation statistics

Similar to the statistics for the subdistrict creations, I now also coded the same for the districts. For the statistics below I have only used the announcements since 1950, there's a bit higher chance of missing announcements before. And at least two district creations are missing, as I still could not find two announcements dating from 1978.

There were a total of 385 announcements in the Royal Gazette, in which 14 district (Amphoe) and 398 minor districts (King Amphoe). Most of the time it was just one district per announcement, the maximum number of districts per announcement was seven.

The most common number of subdistricts in a newly created district is three (154 times), the mean value is a little bit higher with 3.46. The highest number was 11, which occured at the creation of Singhanakhon district in Songkhla province. In four cases the newly created district consisted of a single subdistrict.
In almost all cases the new district consisted of subdistricts from a single parent district, only in 6 cases it was amalgamated from two districts, and just once from three - i.e. the creation of Pathum Ratchawongsa, Amnat Charoen.

And finally, not much surprising, the province with most district creations is also the province which has most districts today, Nakhon Ratchasima. A total of 19 districts were added to this province since 1950.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Origin of Surat Thani province

As I am most interested in Surat Thani province, it was this province I tried hardest to find sources on its history. But due to its more complicated history, the English sources I found are somewhat contradicting. It's especially the thesaphiban reforms and its effects on Surat Thani which I am talking about now. At first I will present the history as I right now think is most correct, hopefully I am not too far from reality.

1896 the Monthon Chumphon was created, consisting of the four provinces (Mueang) Chumphon, Lang Suan, Chaiya and Kanchanadit. The center of Kanchanadit was in fact located in Ban Don, the modern-day district Kanchanadit only covers the older location at Tha Thong Mai - the name Kanchanadit was bestowed on Tha Thong during the reign of King Rama V. In October 1899 the Mueang Kanchanadit and Chaiya were merged (Gazette), and the center set to Ban Don but the name Chaiya was retained. 1906 the monthon administration was moved to Ban Don as well. In August 1915 the province was renamed to Surat Thani, while the Monthon was renamed from Chumphon to just Surat (Gazette).

The first two sources I found while researching for the Wikipedia article on the province was the Golden Jubilee Network (Kanchanaphik), which had informative pages on the provinces. Strangely these pages went blank some years before, and apparently no webmaster ever checked and fixed this. So the text I am talking about is only available from
Later, it was divided into Chaiya, Tha Thong and Kiri Raj towns which were governed by Nakhon Si Thammarat town. In the reign of King Rama IV, Tha Thong town was moved to Ban Don (present town) and governed by Bangkok. The name Tha Thong was changed to Kanchanadit Town. Due to the change in the country administrative system, King Rama V combined Chaiya, Kanchanadit, Lang Suan and Chumporn together to be called Chumporn . In 1898, the municipal hall was built in Chumporn but it was moved to Ban Don in 1915, in the reign of King Rama VI. This place was re-named “Surat Thani”.
The second one, also not online anymore, was from a site named Goods-th
The Thong and Khiri Rat were annexed to Nakhon Si Thammarat, while Chaiya reported directly to Ayutthaya. After Ayutthaya fell to Burma in 1767, Chaiya fell under Nakhon Si Thammarat. King Rama IV moved the administration and Tha Thong to Ban Don, and renamed it "Kanchanadit". Which was to report directly to Bangkok.
King Rama V In 1896: The regional administration center was established. The so-called Monthon Chumphon looked after Kanchanadit (or Ban Don). Chaiya, and Khiri Ratthanikhom.
So both sources list Khirirat Nikhom as a third province which existed in the area of Surat Thani. However, as the Gazette announcement cited above only lists Kanchanadit and Chiaya, this must have been demoted before. This confusion probably arises due to the fact that Mueang not just named the provinces directly under the central government, but also the minor Mueang which were subordinate of another Mueang.

Even Tej Bunnags "Provincial Administration of Siam" added more confusion, as in Appendix III it lists the provinces within each monthon, and for Chumphon/Surat it says
Chumphon, and then Suratthani, Chaiya,
Kanchanadit, Langsuan
which sounds like there were three - Surat Thani, Chaiya and Kanchanadit.

Another version in Wolf Donner's Five faces of Thailand lists instead another additional Mueang, this time Khiri Wong. On page 464f. it says:
South of Chumphon we find the rather large changwat of Surat Thani with a capital that received its present name from Rama VI meaning "the town of the good people". Originally, this province was part of Nakhon Si Thammarat but it was, towards the end of the last century, separated under the name of Kanchanadit or Ban Don, with the capital of the latter name. Today the changwat encloses the old provinces of Chaiya and Kiriwong and reaches close to the west coast.
My interpretation is however backed by the Thai book "Our Surat Thani", which only talks on the histories of Chaiya and Kanchanadit.

If you're still with me here after all these texts you can imagine how much difficult it often is to write well-researched articles on the Thai provinces or districts in Wikipedia.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Abolish and recreation of Tambon

Similar to the strange announcement on the creation of an already existing subdistrict in Sakon Nakhon, I have now found another such example, this time in Chaiyaphum in 1965. And this time there are two announcements - the first one (Volume 82, Issue 73 ง, Page 2268) which transfers three muban from Non Khun, Khon San district to Nong Khon Thai, Phu Khiao district. And together with this transfer of villages, both subdistricts get abolished (ยุบตำบล), and in the second announcement (Volume 82, Issue 73 ง, Page 2263-2267) the same two subdistricts get created again. Unlike the earlier example, this time the second announcement also includes a renumbering of the villages of Non Khun.

The first announcement also seems to include the reason for this somewhat strange action - I did not notice such a long text in the Sakon Nakhon case. If my wife understood it right, after the transfer of the villages it'd have two subdistrict headmen (Kamnan, กำนัน) as well as subdistrict doctors (แพทย์ประจำตำบล) responsible for the same area, so to get rid of them their post gets nullified by abolishing the subdistrict itself. After the recreation of the subdistricts these posts then could be filled anew. The text says that the Kamnan was also the village headman (Phu Yai Ban, ผู้ใหญ่บ้าน) of one of the three villages taken from Non Khun.

And I found another similar case, as the same happened in Roi Et in 1967 as well. Both Bueng Ngam, Nong Phok district and Nam Kham, Suwannaphum lost one village to a neighboring district. But unlike the case in Chaiyaphum, that time the source subdistricts were abolished (Gazette) and recreated (Gazette), and not the subdistricts which then would have two headmen.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

TAO classes

The Tambon (subdistrict) administrative organizations (TAO or SAO) are categorized into five classes depending on their income. I have found a list of these classes in the eBook "Planning and Implementing Local Infrastructure Works - Guidelines for Tambon Administrations" by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Class Imore than 20 million Baht78 TAO
Class II12-20 million Baht65 TAO
Class III6-12 million Baht68 TAO
Class IV3-6 million Baht298 TAO
Class Vless than 3 million Baht5788 TAO
Sadly that table is not dated, but since that book dates from 2004 it must be by now quite outdated. And since so many of the TAO have been upgraded into subdistrict municipalities in the last two years, the top classes must be totally empty by now. On the other hand inflation or increased tax revenue might have upgraded several of the lowest class TAO into higher classes in the meantime as well. Also, the monetary level might have received adjustments in the meantime.

In the original transcripts on the municipal upgrades two monetary numbers are listed, but I am not sure if one of this refers to the income as in the above table. For example in the recent one on Hat Sai Ri in Chumphon it says
รายได้จริงไม่รวมเงินอุดหนุน 26.40 ล้านบาท รายจ่ายประจำ 5.94 ล้านบาท
If I read it right, the second one means the annual expenses of the TAO, in this case 5.94 million Baht. Thus if the 26.4 million Baht is the income, it'd mean this TAO was one of the top class. But I am not sure if only class one TAO are qualified to become municipalities, as I haven't checked any other of these numbers in the transcripts.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

PAO election brochure, Part 4

The final page of the brochure published for the election of the Provincial Administration Organization (PAO) of Surat Thani, just half a year after the election was held...

However first I have to cover the last part of the previous page, since I left that one out last time, as it forms the beginning of the text on this final page. The topic is the fact that voting is compulsory and those who fail to go to cast their vote loose some of the democratic rights. Though voting is compulsory, the voters don't have to cast their vote to one of the candidates, to abstain is an available option as well.

บุคคลผู้ไม่ไปใช้สิทธิเลือกตั้ง โดยมิได้แจ้งเหตุต้องเสียสิทธิ ดังนี้ People who don't go to vote without giving reason have to be deprived the following rights
* สิทธิยื่นคำร้องคัดค้านการเลือกตั้ง สมาชิกสภาท้องถิ่น และผู้บริหารท้องถิ่น * the right to file a complaint against the election of the local councilor and administrator
* สิทธิร้องคัดค้านการเลือกกำนัน และผู้ใหญ่บ้าน ตามกฎหมายว่าด้วย ลักษณะปกครองท้องถิ่น * the right to appeal a protest again the selection of a subdistrict and village headman according to the law on local administration
* สิทธิในการรับเลือกตั้งเป็นสมาชิกสภาท้องถิ่นและผู้บริหารท้องถิ่น * the right to receive votes to become a member of a local council and as chairman of a locality
* สิทธิสมัครรับเลือกตั้งเป็นกำนัน และผู้ใหญ่บ้าน ตามกฎหมายว่าด้วยลักษณะปกครองท้องถิ่น * the right to apply as a candidate in the election as subdistrict headman or village headman according to the local administration law
* สิทธิเข้าชื่อร้องขอให้สภาท้องถิ่น พิจารณาออกข้อบัญญัติท้องถิ่น * the right to file a petition to suspend a local council legally
* สิทธิเข้าชื่อร้องขอให้ถอดถอนสมาชิก สภาท้องถิ่น หรือผู้บริหารท้องถิ่น * the right to file a petition to demote a member of a local council or a local administrator
Quite difficult to read is the text on the sign:
อย่าลืม!! ๒๐ เมษายน ๕๑ รับบัตร ๒ ใบ กา X ใบละเบอร์ Don't forget! April 20 '51 get 2 ballot cards, mark X on each
And finally the imprint with the telephone number of the organization committee of the election. In very small letters it also has the printing company for this leaflet, but I omit that one.
สมาชิกสภาองค์การบริหาร และนายก
โทร. ๐๗๗-๙๑๐๐๓๖-๔๖
Administrative center of election of PAO council and chairman of PAO

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tambon creations in the 1980s

Unless there are announcements misfiled in the Royal Gazette database, I have now completed the processing of the subdistrict creations in the 1980s.

There are a total of 566 announcements, which cover 982 newly created subdistricts, so about 100 every year. Sorted by year the subdistrict announced are as follows:
  • 1989: 104 subdistricts in 51 announcements
  • 1988: 97 subdistricts in 53 announcements
  • 1987: 80 subdistricts in 33 announcements
  • 1986: 75 subdistricts in 128 announcements
  • 1985: 72 subdistricts in 24 announcements
  • 1984: 100 subdistricts in 53 announcements
  • 1983: 100 subdistricts in 83 announcements
  • 1982: 100 subdistricts in 73 announcements
  • 1981: 101 subdistricts in 61 announcements
  • 1980: 100 subdistricts in 60 announcements
The province in which most subdistricts were created is Buri Ram with 59. The highest number of muban in a newly created subdistrict was 16, which occured three times - Pa Sang (ตำบลป่าซาง), Dok Khamtai district, Phayao province; Pa O Don Chai (ตำบลป่าอ้อดอนชัย), Mueang Chiang Rai district, Chiang Rai province; Lat Phatthana (ตำบลลาดพัฒนา), Mueang Maha Sarakham district, Maha Sarakham province. In two cases a new subdistrict consisted of just two muban - Ko Phayam (ตำบลเกาะพยาม), Mueang Ranong district, Ranong and San Na Nong Mai (ตำบลส้านนาหนองใหม่), Wiang Sa district, Nan Province. As in the 1990s, the most common number of muban in a new subdistrict was 8, which is also close to the mean value of 7.3, with a standard deviation is 0.6.

Counting the number of parent subdistricts shows that in most cases it was just a single subdistrict which was split. I already listed the 4 subdistricts with 4 parents in detail earlier.
  • 1 parent - 920 times
  • 2 parents - 49 times
  • 3 parents - 8 times
  • 4 parents - 4 times
Now I have to turn to the 1970s, for which I have 414 announcements. However 264 of that I have already processed, the remaining are almost all from the Northeast (Isan) area. The 1980s was still relatively easy to identify the subdistricts, since they were almost always created in the same order as the geocodes, but as the geocode system was introduced in the early 1980s I now cannot work chronologically anymore. Especially in case a subdistrict was renamed but the announcement on the rename isn't in the Gazette database it becomes tricky. Once I am through with the 1970s I can probably also post a list of missing rename announcements...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Municipality and province sharing the same emblem

Gable of municipal office of Talad Chaiya
When going to the office of the subdistrict municipality Talat Chaiya (เทศบาลตำบลตลาดไชยา), I did not just photograph the vision slogan on their building, but also the emblem of the municipality at the gable. What easily meets the eye when zooming into it is the fact that it shows the same chedi as the seal of the province Surat Thani, the one in Wat Phra Borom That. Quite obvious since that temple is the most historic temple in the whole province, dating back to the Srivijaya empire more than one thousand years ago.

Emblem of Talad Chaiya municipalityThe only difference between the two emblems - apart from the writing in the outer circle stating the name of the entity - are the ornamental clouds left and right of the chedi.

However - actually the temple is not located in the area of the municipality, but instead already belongs to the subdistrict Wiang west of Talad Chaiya, even checking the old announcements of the creation and area changes of the sanitary district Talad Chaiya confirms it never was located within the area of this entity. An interesting question would be at what time the municipality adopted this emblem. Were the sanitary district already eligible of having such an emblem, or only after the sanitary district was elevated to a municipality in 1999? And what happened with the TAO Talad Chaiya, which was incorporated into the municipality in 2004 - did that one have an emblem on its own?

I can only repeat the question I raised earlier when writing on these emblems the first time for more background information on these emblems...

Chedi of Wat Phra Borom That ChaiyaJust sad that the TAO Wiang does not show their emblem on their website, it'd be interesting to see if that one also features the same chedi. I even think I passed the TAO office building but missed to ask for a stop there to take a photo. At least a building which looked like that office is on highway 4011 between the temple and the main highway, right where Google Maps places the name Wiang, but we drove too fast for me to read the sign...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Strange Tambon creation announcement

I came across a very strange Royal Gazette announcement while processing the subdistrict creations of Maha Sarakham province. The announcement, titled and written in absolutely the same style as the normal subdistrict announcements, seems to announce simply the status quo.

Published on October 26 1971 (Volume 88, Issue 113 ง, Page 3000-3003), the announcement seems to be on the creation of subdistrict Ku Thong (ตำบลกู่ทอง), Chiang Yuen district, Maha Sarakham. But, when seeing the table of muban which are set to comprise this subdistrict the strange fact shows. The table lists 10 muban and each line read
  • หมู่ที่ # โอนจาก หมู่ที่ # ตำบลกู่ทอง (เดิม)
Each of the 10 muban of the new subdistrict is taken from the old (เดิม) subdistrict with the same name. But that in fact means simply that the old subdistrict and the new one are literally the same.

The only thing which might explain this announcement is a second announcement with several new subdistrict, including two which take some territory from Ku Thong, effective one month before this announcement. So I can only guess that this announcement was about to clarify the boundaries of Ku Thong.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Same procedure as last month

Today Bangkok governor Apirak Kosayodhin, just reelected one month ago, resigned because the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) decided yesterday that he is guilty in the fire truck case and provided his case to the court.

The ludicrous thing - as far as I know the only thing Apirak did in this case was to follow the contract with the Austrian company who delivered the trucks. He inherited this contract from his predecessor Samak, and simply paid the allegedly overpriced contract, as it included the money spend on bribery. So in any normal case, the only one who should get problems would be Samak who signed that contract - if Apirak chose not fulfill the contract then the city administration would get sued as well.

The only good thing is that this sets an example on how the politicians should act when they get involved in corruption cases or other legal problems, not sticking to their post since they get removed by a court decision (see prime minister Samak earlier this year). So we will see a second gubernatorial election soon, the second (Prapat Chongsa-nguan) and third (Chuwit Kamolvisit) of the previous one already announced they will run again. According to MCOT, the new election has to be held within 90 days after the resignation take effect, thus before February 18 2009. I wouldn't be surprised that if the court follows logic and clears Apirak we will see him again in politics, maybe even be able to run for the same post again if the court works fast enough.

So just another piece in the big tragic theater of current Thai politics, making another part of the administration unable to work. Or is this an attempt to stop the economic downturn by making the politician spend money on elections campaigns every two month?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Municipal decisions from October 16 2008

Meeting number 78 from October 16 2008 with 1 TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipalities, and two entities being renamed.
  • Hat Sai Ri (เทศบาลตำบลหาดทรายรี), Mueang Chumphon district, Chumphon province, effective January 19 2009. The TAO was created in 1997, covers 30 km², 7 villages and 3,940 citizen.
  • Rename of subdistrict municipality Sing (เทศบาลตำบลสิงห์), Bang Rachan district, Singburi province, to Bang Rachan (เทศบาลตำบลบางระจัน))
  • Rename of TAO Sing (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลบ้านโฮ่ง), Ban Hong district, Lamphun province, to Wiang Kan (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลเวียงกานต์))

Monday, November 10, 2008

Provincial emblem stamp series and the Royal Gazette

It's funny what to find what is announced in the Royal Gazette additional to those things I normally process. I was checking for announcements on the emblems, either the provincial or the municipal, but all I found were emblems of the judiciary areas, and those of the land registration office in various provinces. But - I also found was an announcement titled ประกาศกระทรวงเทคโนโลยีสารสนเทศและการสื่อสาร เรื่อง สร้างและจำหน่ายตราไปรษณียากรชุดตราประจำจังหวัด (Volume 124 Issue 101 ง, Page 63-67, published on November 22 2007). That title translates to "Announcement of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology about create and sell of group of stamps [with] emblems of provinces". And there's also a second one, Volume 125, Issue 61 ง, Pages 33-35 published on May 29 2008. These correspond to the first and second series of these stamps published in October 2007 and April 2008 as already featured here.The third series, which was apparently published last month, wasn't announced in the Gazette yet, but since the earlier series were also announced nearly two months after publication this does not mean anything.

By the way, the first day covers of the 3rd series are now online in the FDC blog - Pattani - Phayao, Phichit - Phrae.

Update: The announcement on the 3rd series is now published as well.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Monthon Pattani Scout Flag

Flag of the Monthon Pattani scoutin region
15 of the Monthon had a flag of the regional troop of the scouts, which are interesting since they first use symbols which later got used in the provincial seals. As the first of these flags I now feature the one of Monthon Pattani, the administrative entity which covered the area of the three southernmost muslim provinces - though at that times it still were four provinces: Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala and Saiburi.

Quoting the description of this flag from the book ธงไทย เล่ม ๑ (Thai flags volume 1)
พื้นธงสีเขียวใบไม้ ขอบสีเหลือง กลางธงมีรูปปืนนางพญาตานี ซึ่งเป็นปืนที่พระยาตานีนำมาถวายโดยความจงรักภักดีต่อพระมหากษัตริย์ในราชวงศ์จักรี ทั้งนี้เพื่อให้ลูกเสือในมณฑลนั้นได้ระลึกถึงความจงรักภักดีของพระยาตานีไว้เป็นตัวอย่างอยู่เสมอ พระบาทสมเด็จพระมงกุฎเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัวได้พระราชทานเมื่อวันที่ ๑๓ มิถุนายน พ.ศ. ๒๔๕๘ ในคราวเสด็จพระราชดำเนินประพาสปักษ์ใต้

The ground of the flag is leaf green, the border yellow. In the middle is a picture of the cannon Phaya Tani, which is the cannon the ruler of Tani presented for show allegiance with the great King of the Chakri dynasty. Thus the scouts of this monthon can keep the memory of the loyalty the ruler of Tani as a constant example. King Rama VI (Vajiravudh) give on January 13 1916 on occasion of a royal journey to southern Thailand.
Emblem of Pattani province
The emblems of the provinces were announced in the Royal Gazette in in 2004, though this wasn't on the original adoption of these emblems. Nevertheless, the short description of the Pattani emblem reads as follows.
รูปปืนใหญ่ หมายถึง ปืนพญาตาณี ที่มีขนาดใหญ่ที่ศุค (ขนาดยาว 3 วา ศอกคืบสองนิ้วครึ่ง กระสุน 11 นิ้ว) ซึ่งเป็นปืนใหญ่ กระบอกสำคัญที่ใช้ป้องกันเมืองปัตตานีตลอดมา ชาวเมืองจึงถือว่าเป็นคู่บ้านคู่เมืองมาแต่สมัยโบราณ

The picture of the cannon is Phaya Thani, which is the largest cannon (length of 3 wa, volume 1 palm leaf 2 and a half inch, bullet 11 inch). It is an important cannon used to protect Pattani long time. The citizen thus consider it as respectable from old times.

Phaya Tani cannonThe cannon is a very important item from the history of Pattani. Phaya Tani is the Thai name, locally it is however know as Seri Pattani. It was cast in the early 17th century, and in 1785 it came to Bangkok as booty after Pattani was put under Thai suzerainty again. It is now located in front of the Defense Ministry, close to the Grand Palace. I had taken that photo some years ago, however I am not fully sure it actually depicts this cannon or its Thai copy Narai Sanghan - I haven't come to that part of the town for quite some time to update my photo. By the way, now the cannons no longer point towards the Grand Palace, they were turned to point north and south in 2004.

A bit strange - the first source spells the cannon as พญาตานี, while the second one พญาตาณี - yet both spelling have the same pronunciation.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tambon creation from more than one parent Tambon

Another statistical fun with the subdistrict creations made possible with the processing of the Royal Gazette announcements into XML. In most cases, a newly created subdistrict (tambon) is created by splitting one subdistrict, so some of the muban of the parent subdistrict get reassigned to the new subdistrict. However, more rarely muban from two subdistricts are placed together to form the new subdistrict. The highest number of parent subdistricts I came across so far is four. In fact, the numbers are as follows:
  • 1 parent: 1887 times
  • 2 parents: 128 times
  • 3 parents: 32 times
  • 4 parents: 6 times
All of these five special cases originate from before 1990, and as it's just so few I list them in detail as well.
  1. Ku Santarat (ตำบลกู่สันตรัตน์), Na Dun district, Maha Sarakham province. Was created on August 10 1989 with one muban from Dong Bang, four from Nong Phai, three from Na Dun and one from Dong Yang. (Gazette)
  2. Ban Bua (ตำบลบ้านบัว), Kaset Sombun district, Chaiyaphum province. Was created on August 1 1986 with two muban from Sa Phon Thong, three from Nong Kha, two from Non Kok and one from Ban Yang. (Gazette)
  3. Nikhom Phatthana (ตำบลนิคมพัฒนา), Khukhan district, Si Sa Ket province. Was created on September 30 1985 with two muban from Prue Yai, one from Huai Nuea, three from Ta Ut and two from Huai Tai. (Gazette)
  4. Kham Wa (ตำบลคำหว้า), Tan Sum district, Ubon Ratchathani province. Was created on May 1 1981 with two muban from Tan Sum, one from Na Khai, two from Nong Kung and one from Samrong. (Gazette)
  5. Dan Chang (ตำบลด่านช้าง), Banphot Phisai district, Nakhon Sawan province. Was created on September 1 1970 with four muban from Ta Sang, one one from three from Bang Ta Ngai, Nong Krot and Nong Ta Ngu. (Gazette)
  6. Thai Nam (ตำบลท้ายน้ำ), Pho Thale district, Phichit province. Was created on March 13 1967 with two muban from Pho Thale, and one from Bang Lai, Bueng Na Rang and Thanong. (Gazette)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Rang Wai municipality announced

Published in the Royal Gazette today (Volume 125, Issue พิเศษ 173 ง, Page 18) is the announcement on the upgrade of TAO Rang Wai (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลรางหวาย), Phanom Thuan district, Kanchanaburi Province, to a subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตำบลรางหวาย).

To make it more confusing, there was a subdistrict municipality Rang Wai until recently, but that was renamed to Talat Khet (เทศบาลตำบลตลาดเขต) - though this rename was apparently not yet published in the Gazette. Talat Khet covers the central part of the subdistrict, dating back to a sanitary district, while the new municipality covers the outlying areas of the subdistrict, thus encapsulating the other municipality. So there are in fact two municipalities within the subdistrict Rang Wai.

The rename of the central municipality was decided in meeting 42/2008 on June 8, while the upgrade of the TAO was done in the meeting 54 (July 11). According to the meeting transcript, the TAO was created in 1996, covers 54.21 km², 20 villages and 6,920 citizen. The subdistrict itself must be much older, ThaiTambon sadly does not include any historical informations on it, and I have not found any corresponding announcement on its creation.

Apparently the website belongs to the new municipality, Google still has a cached version where the same website is titled Rangwai subdistrict administration. But as there is no real contents on that site yet it doesn't matter much...

What is strange is the fact that while this municipal upgrade was announce just few months after it was decided, there are still many more older ones pending. And unlike most of the net yet announced status changes there was no announcement on the constituencies in this specific municipality for the municipal council elections yet.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Preconditions for municipal status changes

Back when I still did not understand the difference between Tambon and Thesaban Tambon, I had run across a report titled "Urban Problems of the Chiangmai City" by Somsak Upapan, which amoung other things listed the necessary proconditions for an area to become a municipality of one of the three levels. Sadly, that website if no longer available, but luckily has the old version.

According to that report, the requirements for the different municipal levels are
  • Thesaban Nakhon:
    • A population of 50,000 or more
    • A population density of 3,000 per km² or higher
    • Adequate amount of income to operate as a City Municipality according to the law
  • Thesaban Mueang:
    • A population of 10,000 or more
    • A population density of 3,000 per km² or higher
    • Adequate amount of income to operate as a Town Municipality according to the law
    • Or be the municipality which contains the provincial court (or maybe it means provincial hall?)
  • Thesaban Tambon:
    • A population of 7,000 or more
    • A population density of 1,500 per km² or higher
    • Revenue at least 12 million Baht
    • Approval of the citizen by a referendum
As I remembered only this from that text, this led to the confusion on whether Ko Samui conforms with the requirements to become a city, as it definitely does not has the population density required as of the above. Also, many of the TAO which have been upgraded to municipalities in the last two years don't pass that requirement, especially those in the mountainous areas have population densities much lower - for example That, Chiang Khan, Loei province has only 60 per km². This already led me to the conclusion that the population density requirement must have been dropped in the meantime, but I could not find any written proof of this so far.

When I now read that source again, I noticed one sentence which explains the same in another way:
  • There is no law specifying the number or density of population of an area to be upgraded as a Tambon Municipality except a broad outline saying it has to...
  • So all the above criteria are not fixed by law, but simply rules given to the committee deciding on the municipal changes, and thus it was easy to change them to allow upgrading the TAO which won't ever pass the population density criteria due to their size and type of landscape.

    The above source dates back to 1998, so even before the upgrade of all the sanitary districts - off which most did not conform with those requirements either. So it's not too much surprising that a more recent source gives partially different requirements. The paper Recentralising while Decentralising: Centre-Local Relations and CEO Governors in Thailand in table 1 lists the same as above, only the population density for the subdistrict municipalities has decreased to 500 per km². The same number is also quoted in a very recent dissertation comparing the regional development in Satun and Perlis (Malaysia).

    Monday, November 3, 2008

    Most subdistricts created in one province in a year?

    Still working through the many subdistrict creation announcements, another notable peculiarity showed up. In 1975 a total of 15 subdistricts were created in Lopburi province, and another 8 the following year, while normally especially in such a rather small province only one or two subdistricts got created in one year. Even more striking is the fact that these subdistricts 15 were created in the single district Chai Badan, which at that time covered the whole northeastern part of the province - Lam Sonthi and Tha Luang were split off in 1978 and 1989 respectively. In fact all of the subdistricts which were split off when creating Tha Luang were created in these two years. In 1974 Chai Badan just had 8 subdistricts, in 1976 the number has increased to nearly the threefold. And another 3 subdistricts just date back to 1970, another one to 1971. So taking these in account as well, the number of subdistrict multiplied to the sixfold within 6 years.

    However I have no idea what was the reason behind this big increase of subdistrict numbers in those years, it cannot be the improved irrigation possibilities after the construction of the Pasak Jolasit Reservoir, as that was initiated in 1989.