Thursday, December 31, 2009

Digest of administrative changes in 2009

This year the number of administrative changes was quite high, although in the Royal Gazette it only had a small number of the whole - just like before, most of the municipal changes are still not announced in the Gazette.
In the board meetings were lots of TAO upgrades to municipalities and other municipal changes - despite the silence at the beginning of the year which even made me suspect that this year will have less such upgrades, in fact it was a new record number of changes. I have board meeting transcript on 460 TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipalities, and two subdistrict municipalities to towns; however the DOLA statistics only list 378 as of December 15.

Happy new year... สวัสดีปีใหม่...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

DOLA municipality upgrades list, Part 2

As there are now 1841 subdistrict municipalities, compared to 1468 in December 2008, there must have been 373 upgrades, quite a lot but however less than the 460 I have found in the board meeting transcripts. And there are also some from board meetings which haven't been put on the website.

In the current local administrative data there are two files which list the upgrades in last year.
The most notable thing is the fact that the dates of becoming effective according to these two lists differ from those given in the board meeting, most of them taking place on October 27. A total of 64 upgrades I did not know before from the board meetings, fitting with my earlier assumption. On the other hand, there are about 140 upgrades which are still pending - already decided by the board but for whatever reason delayed.

Already from the case of the upgrade of Ko Samui, which was set to become a city by the board but then actually became only a town, I knew that the board does not have the final word on the municipality upgrades, but it is surprising to see so many changes taking effect on later days than the originally set date. Just sad that these final steps aren't documented on the web, so I only have the annual lists to confirm what I expect from the board meetings.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

DOLA municipality upgrades list

On December 15 the Department of Local Administration (DOLA) added the 2009 municipality statistics on their website. I noticed it a few days late since they kept the old page with extension htm and placed the new data on a new page with extension php.

Thus as of December 15 2009, there are the following numbers of local administrative units. [1.doc]
  • Provincial administrative organizations (PAO, องค์การบริหารส่วนจังหวัด): 75
  • Municipalities (Thesaban, เทศบาล): 2006
    • City (Thesaban Nakhon, เทศบาลนคร): 23
    • Town (Thesaban Mueang, เทศบาลเมือง): 142
    • Subdistrict Municipality (Thesaban Tambon, เทศบาลตำบล): 1841
  • Subdistrict administrative organization (TAO, องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล): 5770
  • Special administrative units (องค์กรปกครองท้องถิ่นรูปแบบพิเศษ): 2 (Bangkok and Pattaya)
A total of 7853 units.

The numbers for the subdistrict municipalities and the TAO differ quite a lot from those derived by the board meeting transcripts. I will give a more detailed analysis of these tomorrow by checking through the next two files from the website which list all the municipality upgrades.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Municipal decisions for October 29 2009

Meeting number 54 from October 29 2009 with one TAO and one municipality adjusting their boundaries.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Galyani Vadhana district officially created

The 878th district of Thailand and 25th district of Chiang Mai is now officially created. Published in the Royal Gazette on December 25 was the decree titled พระราชกฤษฎีกาตั้งอำเภอกัลยาณิวัฒนา จังหวัดเชียงใหม่ พ.ศ. ๒๕๕๒. The decree is divided into 5 sections.
  • Section 1 just states that the decree is named "Decree on the creation of Galyani Vadhana district, Chiang Mai province, B.E. 2552"
  • Section 2 states that the decree takes effect the day following its publication in the Royal Gazette.
  • Section 3 states that the three subdistricts Chaem Luang, Ban Chan and Mae Daet are split off from Mae Chaem district and form the district Galyani Vadhana
  • Section 4 states that the district office is to be located in Chaem Luang subdistrict, and is under the jurisdiction of Chiang Mai province.
  • Section 5 states that the Minister of Interior to act in accordance with this Royal Decree.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Administrative offices of Phetchaburi

This year I happened to stop over in Phetchaburi two times, and used the time to collect photos of the administrative offices. Which was rather easy as they are all located close to each other on Ratchawithi road, and easy to find as on Phetkasem from bangkok it's just driving straight on instead of taking the turn to the south next to Khao Wang.

When driving that way, the first place to see is the city pillar shrine (Lak Mueang), a small shrine located in a nice park with the wooden pillar covered by gold in the center. And as it has a pond within the park, one can of course by food to feed the fish inside. And also as usual with such attractions, it has several souvenir carts as well as small eateries at the parking lot.

The actual offices are located 500 meter further down the street. Starting on the northern side, it has the district office (ที่ว่าการอำเภอ) of Mueang Phetchaburi district first. As there are a few additional buildings between the office and the street I could not get the standard view of the whole office this time - and now I look at the building in Google Earth again I think I have been on the backside only and thus missed the better view on the other side - so I have to return there to check next time.

A few buildings further down the street comes the municipality office (สำนักงานเทศบาล) of the town (thesaban mueang) Phetchaburi (เทศบาลเมืองเพชรบุรี).

Now turning south to the other side of the road it has the province hall (ศาลากลางจังหวัด), the central administration for the whole province. I am not sure what were the two smaller buildings in between - maybe the PAO office is among them-, but then on the other end of the block opposite the district office it has the provincial court (ศาลจังหวัด).

View Phetchaburi administration in a larger map

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New provincial courts

There are many more provincial courts than provinces in Thailand - a complete list seems to be found at, however with expired links - and now yet another one has been created. Published in the Royal Gazette on December 18, a provincial court in Hot district was established, making it the third provincial court within Chiang Mai province.
Additionally, there's the Juvenile and Family Court in Chiang Mai (ศาลเยาวชนและครอบครัวจังหวัดเชียงใหม่) - no weblink because the site is currently spreading malware.

And it seems Hot will not be only new provincial court to be established, as along with an announcement from May 2009 on the set up of a commission to draft the law, there was another commission dealing with the creation of the provincial court Phra Pradaeng (ศาลจังหวัดพระประแดง).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Amphoe Mueang naming scheme

District office Phra Nakhon Si AyutthayaIn every province the district (Amphoe, อำเภอ) which contains the province hall is named same as the province, with the word Mueang (เมือง) added - with the exception of Ayutthaya province, where both the province and the district are named Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya (พระนครศรีอยุธยา). And of course Bangkok, which is not a province in the normal sense anyway. On the other hand, there are four districts which have that work in their name without being the capital district.

Now, these weren't the only exceptions, before the provinces Thonburi and Phra Nakhon were merged in 1972, the two capital district had no Mueang in the name either. To find more, one has to go much further into the history of this naming scheme. It was in fact adopted in 1938, with an announcement in the Royal Gazette renaming several districts. To be exact, 43 district became Mueang districts, whereas in 11 cases the word Mueang was stripped from districts which were not capital district. For example, the district Ban Don (อำเภอบ้านดอน) became Mueang Surat Thani (อำเภอเมืองสุราษฎร์ธานี), whereas Mueang Chaiya became simply Chaiya (อำเภอไชยา). Before 1938, the naming scheme was different - only those districts which date back to the provinces before the thesaphiban reforms 1892-1915 had a name with Mueang, and all other districts were named after the central subdistrict (Tambon).

District office Mueang Surat ThaniSince 1938, all newly established provinces had their central district renamed accordingly, also for those provinces temporarily abolished in 1943 the Mueang was removed. There are however two further exceptions, of the four provinces annexed during World War II both Lan Chang and Phibun Songkhram had no district named Mueang.

The four district which now have a name containing Mueang without being a capital district were all created relatively recently, when apparently the fixed naming scheme was not followed that strictly anymore. In detail these are Mueang Suang (1973), Mueang Pan (1981), Mueang Chan (1992) and Mueang Yang (1995).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Nakhon Pattani

The ISRA news site has a quite detailed analysis of the various proposals for a regional autonomy or a special administrative area for the three Muslim dominated provinces. It guess far beyond the vague proposal from Chavalit Yongchaiyudh earlier this year, and mentions concepts discussed in seminars at Chulalongkorn university in June and at Prince of Songkhla University earlier this month. Maybe the most important part of the article is the part where actual details on the suggested administrative structure are given
In essence, the proposed administrative model calls for the dissolution of all the existing provincial administrative organizations, the tambon administrative organizations and the municipalities on ground that they are duplicating one another and they have little access to the people.
Instead, it proposed the creation of three “nakhons” (cities) namely the Pattani City, Yala City and Narathiwat City, each with its own administrators to be elected by people in the three provinces. The three special zone cities will coordinate with the central government in Bangkok through the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre, an independent body answerable to the prime minister.
Another model, to be called “Pattani Maha Nakhon” (Greater Pattani City) which combines the three southernmost provinces plus four districts of Songkhla together under one single administrative body, has also been floated. It was further reported that a law calling for the creation of this administrative model was being drafted by Akkacha Promsoot, a member of the Political Development Assembly
Thus the first proposal is very similar to the administrative structure in Bangkok, which is well-established there, and should not pose that much legal difficulties to create it in other parts of the country as well.

The Asia Foundation survey I mentioned yesterday already suggests that further steps to decentralization are rather popular - 75% prefer to elect the provincial governor instead of having them appointed by the Ministry of Interior, 69% say more decentralization is better than keeping the current system, and even a slight majority of 48% say that further decentralization or limited autonomy can help to ease the conflict in the deep south.

However given the current political situation in Thailand with the two factions in so deep political battles I don't see any chance for steps towards more decentralization - that would give more power to the local population away from the elites and central government.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Corruption at the local government

Found in yesterday's Bangkok Post "Local officials top graft list"
Local administrative organisations top the list of state agencies embezzling public funds allocated for procurement and development schemes, a government report says.
The report, by the Office of the Permanent Secretary under the PM's Office, looked into alleged irregularities in the use of state budgets for the 2009 fiscal year, which ended Sept 30.
The office was able to conclude its investigations into 67 cases and retrieve 17 million baht. Thirty-three staff were dismissed and 30 had their salaries cut. About 40 cases have gone to the public prosecutors and the courts.
This fits with the survey published by the US-based NGO Asia Foundation in September on the opinions of Thai people to many questions regarding the constitution, the state of democracy and quality of administration. The full report is published as a 117 page PDF which can be freely downloaded. Question 12.5 targets the corruptions in local administration, which however includes both the local government as well as the local officials of the central government.
Some people say that it is often necessary to pay bribes to civil servants if you need something from the government, such as papers, permits, or documents. Others say that this is not true and that the civil servants are
honest. Which view is closer to your own? (Q77)
48% of the answers said yes, bribery is necessary, another 48% said no, and 3% had no opinion. And when asked about personal experience with bribery in the past 5 years, 26% confirmed that they at least personally know someone who had to pay bribes. The authors of the study aren't sure whether the fact that only have of those thinking that bribery is wide-spread actually have direct knowledge is due to a lower than perceived number of corrupt officials or simply due to the fact that many did not have to contact authorities recently.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bangkok birthday celebrations

Bangkok's Birthday Party
Bangkok's Birthday Party
Originally uploaded by Ian Fuller
Bangkok is celebrating its 38th birthday in this week. Anyone wondering now that the city was around way longer - you are of course right, the city was founded in 1782, when the first king of the Chakri dynasty moved the capital to its current position. So the town is 227 years old, but what was started 38 years ago is the current administrative structure of Bangkok. In December 1971 the revolutionary decrees merging the province and municipalities of Phra Nakhon and Thonburi into a single province Krung Thep were issued by the coup group around Thanom Kittikachorn. Finally on December 13 1972 the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) was established, the entity which is now celebrating.

The actual decrees were the following
  • Revolutionary decree 24, December 21 1971 - merge of the provinces Phra Nakhon and Thonburi to the province Nakhon Krung Thep Thonburi (นครหลวงกรุงเทพธนบุรี). This includes the merger of the Provincial Administrative Organizations to one new one named องค์การบริหารนครหลวงกรุงเทพธนบุรี.
  • Revolutionary decree 25, December 21 1971 - merge of the municipalities Krung Thep and Thonburi to the city Luang (เทศบาลนครหลวง).
  • Revolutionary decree 335, December 13 1972 - establishing of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (เทศบาลนครหลวง). This includes many smaller changes, like the abolishing of the muncipality, the PAO and the 11 sanitary district; also the district were renamed from Amphoe to Khet, and all of the new posts were defined.
Given the dates, the celebrations must refer to the last decree, but then it would be the 37th anniversary. Or maybe they celebrate the begin of the 38th year of the existence of BMA, which has begun on the first day of celebrations on December 14.

It was BKK Photographer who made me notice the celebrations on this anniversary, which however seem to be rather quiet, with some booths set up on the plaza in front the administration building next to the Giant Swing. For some photos see his set of flickr.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Subdistrict and Muban area demarcation

December 3 two announcements were published in the Royal Gazette, both about the boundaries of either subdistrict or administrative villages. The first one lists three subdistricts in San Sai district, Chiang Mai, and together with the list of the villages within them also defines the current boundaries. The three subdistricts are
  • San Na Meng (ตำบลสันนาเม็ง), 12 villages
  • San Phranet (ตำบลสันพระเนตร), 7 villages
  • San Sai Noi (ตำบลสันทรายน้อย), 10 villages

More interesting is the second one, titled ประกาศจังหวัดกาญจนบุรี เรื่อง การเปลี่ยนแปลงเขตท้องที่ (เขตหมู่บ้าน) - Announcement by Kanchanaburi province on local area changes (Areas of villages). In this, the areas of the two administrative villages 12 Ban Kradon Phrong (บ้านกระดอนโพรง) and 15 Ban Don Sam Lang (บ้านดอนสามหลัง) get changed. The reason for this is the fact that village 12 was partially under the jurisdiction of Phra Thaen subdistrict municipality ( เทศบาลตำบลพระแท่น), whereas the other part is under the subdistrict administrative organization (TAO) Phra Thaen (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลพระแท่น). Judging from the Muban list of the TAO, this however wasn't the only Muban shared between both, as otherwise the single male resident of village 7 Ban Kradon Phrong (บ้านกระโดนโพรง) would be very strange.

Monday, December 14, 2009

District council elections in Bangkok

Election campaign truck in Din Daeng
Another Election is Coming
Originally uploaded by Ian Fuller

As BKK Photographer spotted the first truck with election campaign posters, it reminded me that the last elections for the district councils as well as the metropolitan council were already quite some time ago. In fact, they were in 2006, so the four year term ends next year. After some more searching, I finally also found an article giving the approximate dates for the elections.

Map of the districts having council elections in first roundThus same as last time, the election will be split in to rounds. At first 14 district councils in the north and east of the city (see map) will see their end of term on April 29 2010, and therefore will have new election in June; whereas the term of other 36 district councils as well as the metropolitan council end on July 22, so the second round of elections is expected for September. I still have to research a lot on the local government of Bangkok, even the number of councillors I only just learned from the news article about their requested pay rise. As there are 357 Bangkok municipal councillors, the district councils cannot have equal sizes, and with the planned new district these numbers will change for sure.

As I will be in Bangkok in early June, I will at least be able to take several photos of the campaigning, but since none of the 14 district is close to the areas I normally stay I probably won't be able to do real first hand election reporting. But of course will post updates here whenever I learn new details about these forthcoming elections.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Nakhon Sawan municipality office

While adding the locations of the administrative entities into my XMLs in order to have the automatically created map as full as possible, flying to Nakhon Sawan with Google Earth to my surprised showed a 3d model of the municipality office.

As I wasn't in Nakhon Sawan yet, the only photo I can show here is one by the user Love Krittaya from Wikimedia Commons, showing the front facade. One can easily see the 3d model is quite close, even though its a bit simplified - the columns are done by a photo texture, not by actual 3d modeling.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New district in Bangkok forthcoming

In petition ๐๘๕/ร the member of parliament and former Deputy Minister of Public Health Wichan Meenchaiyanant (นายวิชาญ มีนชัยนันท์), he asks for improvements in the government of Bangkok. While I don't get all which is said in the petition and in the reply by the Ministry of Interior, one part of the reply caught my attention.

กรุงเทพมหานครอยู่ระหว่างการพิจารณาดำเนินการแบ่งพื้นที่เขตของเขตบางแค ออกเป็น
๒ เขตการปกครอง ซึ่งในขณะนี้อยู่ระหว่างการดำเนินการจัดทำรายละเอียดคำบรรยายแนวพื้นที่เขต และแผนที่แนบท้ายประกาศกระทรวงมหาดไทย

Bangkok is considering to split the area of Bang Khae district to become 2 administrative districts. Currently it is at compiling the detailed boundary description and map to send to the Ministry of Interior.
Not surprising that Bang Khae is the district to be split, since it is the one with the highest population of all the 50 districts. So I suspect the boundary changes of the subdistrict in Bang Khae earlier this year were already in preparation of this split, now the Phetkasem highway could be the natural boundary of the two new districts, since it splits the current district in two approximate equal halves.

According to a news article from August 2007 in Manager, the new district is about to be named Bang Khae Nuea (เขตบางแคเหนือ, Northern Bang Khae), thus the project is already underway for quite some time; and if I can believe this report that new district will be created next year. This would make sense, as in March/April there should be the district council elections, so I expect the new district to be officially created directly before the election date.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tambon maps inaccuracy

Rarely plagiarizing blogs have some good effects, but in this case it helped me to reread an article where I missed an interesting point at first reading months ago. The Huai Hee village blog copied an article without giving any sources, and as I vaguely remembered the maps included and also doubted that this would have been an original posting I searched with Google for the original source. Thus in fact that text was taken out of a the paper Maps for participatory planning in Thailand by Oliver Puginier. Higher resolution versions of the maps can be found at the older paper Can participatory land use planning at community level in the highlands of northern Thailand use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a communication tool?. Or, in the longest form in his dissertation, which also deals with the problems with the decentralization since 1995.

Anyway, the interesting part is the following:
It is interesting to note that Pa Kaa village lies outside the Tambon boundary (in neighbouring Pai district in fact), if the data provided by NNCO are correct. To date there exist no reliable maps from the Royal Survey Department indicating Tambon boundaries and work is in progress to produce this data, yet the provincial office gives the total area of Huai Poo Ling as 37,152 ha. As far as land use planning is concerned it is important to note that there are overlapping areas claimed by adjacent villages (marked in pink), which may lead to conflicting claims over its use.
So while the contradicting maps I had run into were a different case, in the lower scales the boundaries are sometimes not yet completely defined. Maybe the announcements in the Royal Gazette I spotted last year and dubbed "Tambon area clarifications" are the result of such mapping work mentioned as being in progress in the paper.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Village headman life in the deep south

Yesterday I discovered the website deepsouthwatch featuring independent news on the three southernmost Muslim provinces troubled by the insurgency since 2004. Most welcome is of course the English section of the site. I only checked the captions yesterday however, so it was via Bangkok Pundit that I became aware of an interview with a village headman (Phu Yai Ban) showing the depressing situation these official are working in.

Dee, the leader of Ban Salo (บ้านสโลว์) village, Village 7 of Rueso subdistrict, Rueso district, Narathiwat province, became village headman in 2007 after insurgents killed his father, who was the headman before. Aged just 28 he is probably one of the youngest headmen in the whole country, but has to work under a continuous threat of loosing his life.
It is well-known that being a village head man is one of the riskiest positions. You do not have to have any statistics to prove this statement. For Leader Dee’s case, he was attacked 4 times and survived. If he were a Buddhist, he would have called it a miracle or, he might pray a thousand times to his Buddha amulet hanging around his neck. But as a Muslim, he believes that this is a test from “Allah”.
Not surprisingly he is shown in the photos wearing a bullted proof vest, and His place was surrounded by sandbags and the curtain trees; it was similar to the military camps in the three southernmost provinces. But despite the martial look, he is doing his best to return peace into his small realm.
“It’s a mess. We don’t know what’s going on. The people who are in the middle become victims of the group that intended to use violence for their own benefits.” He concluded.

Because of these reasons, after Leader Dee announced officially to fight as the village headman, he also announced that he will decrease the number of violence in this village and will protect the life of every soldier that camped in this area.
I can only recommend to read the interview completely, it gives the conflict a face which in the news reports is only numbers of dead people.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Since I am often referring to the website of the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA), I should maybe write about this government structure a bit.

DOPA (กรมการปกครอง) is one of the departments of the Ministry of Interior (MOI, กระทรวงมหาดไทย), and it has its offices located within the compound of the ministry.

Another related department of the Ministry of Interior is the Department of Local Administration (DOLA, กรมส่งเสริมการปกครองท้องถิ่น). In fact this department was split off from DOPA in 1997, when the decentralization to the local administration with municipalities and Tambon administrative organization came into the focus. This office is located near Vimanmek palace. The emblem above is the one of DOLA, but the one of DOPA and the ministry use the same lion as their emblem, but I could not find an equally clean picture on the web.

In the great graphical visualization of the 2009 budget created by Markpeak one can directly see the relative importance between DOPA and DOLA. In fact DOLA has a much larger budget than DOPA, 70% of the budget of MOI goes to DOLA, but only 12.6% to DOPA. Or in numbers (in million Baht)

Department of Local Administration (DOLA)136,152.3
Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA)24,705.1
Ministry of Interior (MOI)195,574.1

View Larger Map

Friday, December 4, 2009

Etymology of district name Hot

The origins of place names sometimes quite interesting. I have stumbled upon the one for the district Hot in Chiang Mai reading a book I did not expect to find anything on the administrative entities - Sacred Mountains Of Northern Thailand And Their Legends by Donald K. Swearer. As the title says, the book is on religious folktales, especially on the travels of Lord Buddha in northern Thailand on which he left those footprints and other relics now worshiped by the local people.
After the Buddha spent seven days at Doi Kung he came down from the mountain and journeyed north through a forest for a distance of approximately 20,000 meters to the Mae Ping river. There he met a Lawa farmer who was using a wheel to irrigate a field. When he saw the Buddha approach, the farmer unwound the turban from his head in order to wash the Buddha's feet. After he removed the turban from his head, it miraculously turned into gold. Amazed, the farmer said to the Buddha, "O, Blessed One, by your kindness please reside here in the north with us."
After the Buddha had given the Lawa the precepts, he spoke to the monks: "Before the Tathagatha came here the Lawa had to use a water wheel to irrigate their fields because this a very dry area (Thai, heang hot). Consequently, this place shall be known as Hot.
However, it seems the word Hot (ฮอด) meaning "dry, arid" is not normal Thai, as even the most complete online dictionary Longdo does not have an entry on it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Administrations who blog

Googeling the websites of the local government units - municipalities and subdistrict administrative organizations - I have come across some who are present on the blogging sites Blogspot or Wordpress. Announcing news from the administration is something where a RSS feed comes most handy, so one does not have to visit the website every now and then only to notice that something interesting was announced on short notice and is over already. While any decent content management system would allow RSS feeds to include into the website itself, as well as presenting such news on the site, only very few have such sophisticated websites using all the possibilities. The blogging websites offer a free alternative, and much easier to setup and use than a complex content management system.

In no particular order, there are four such blogs I discovered so far, with a varying depth of content. But of course all only in Thai language.
While the above seem to be by the administrations itself, also some of the officers have personal work-related blogs. So far I only found one of this kind, written by the Financial and accounting officer of TAO Siao, Pho Si Suwan, Sisaket. Her blog is named แนะนำอบต.เสียว (Counsel TAO Siao). It's a pity I can only read these blogs with online translators like Google Translate, they could provide some interesting insights on the daily work in the local government.

There is another group of government units using blogs, however these seem to have misunderstood blogging with free webhosting. Instead of more-or-less regularily post news or stories, they have only once posted several articles with the informations on the entity, like the history, location, subdivisions. Two examples are
And some other even made it that far, they have empty blogs where only the header or the sidebar indicate that they were intended to be about the administration.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Satellite Muban

While extracting the Muban lists from TAO websites, I have come across something noteworthy again. The TAO Pang Mapha in Mae Hong Son on the data page give their subdivision as follows

องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลปางมะผ้า มีพื้นที่รับผิดชอบ จำนวน 11 หมู่บ้านและ 3 หมู่บ้านบริวาร ได้แก่
หมู่ที่ 1 บ้านแม่ละนา
หมู่ที่ 2 บ้านปางคาม หมู่บ้านบริวารบ้านน้ำจาง
หมู่ที่ 3 บ้านไม้ฮุง หมู่บ้านบริวารบ้านปางคามน้อย
หมู่ที่ 4 บ้านจ่าโบ่
หมู่ที่ 5 บ้านยาป่าแหน หมู่บ้านบริวารบ้านผาเจริญ
หมู่ที่ 6 บ้านผาแดง
หมู่ที่ 7 บ้านไม้ลัน
หมู่ที่ 8 บ้านห้วยเฮี๊ยะ
หมู่ที่ 9 บ้านลุกข้าวหลาม
หมู่ที่ 10 บ้านผาเผือก
หมู่ที่ 11 บ้านบ่อไคร้

The new thing I did not notice before elsewhere are the three Muban Boriwan (หมู่บ้านบริวาร). Boriwan (บริวาร) is the Thai word for satellite, so though I could not find any official description of the meaning of Muban Boriwan, I can guess these are the secondary settlements covered into one administrative village. When I wrote on the different types of villages I already explained that an administrative village, the central administrative unit with one elected village headman and his deputies, can consist of several settlements if they are too small to form an administrative village by themselves.

A Google search returned several websites using this term, including several TAO websites especially from the less populated areas, so I am quite certain that satellite villages are nothing but the secondary villages in an administrative village.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

More special administrative areas?

Just on Friday I mentioned an old clipping on a planned special administrative area for Laem Chabang, I found the one below at thephuketinsider posted on last Friday as well.
News out of the nation's capitol has the island of Koh Samui and Mae Sot in Tak Province as lead contenders for upgrades to Special Administration Zones. Currently in Thailand only Bangkok and Pattaya fall under this sector. One of the key benefits of falling into this category is the ability to elect senior local Government officials rather then appointments that are routinely rotated throughout the various provinces of the country.
While there seems to be some confusion caused by the fact that the two cities Pattaya and Bangkok are both called "special administrative areas", the administrative structure is totally different - Pattaya is merely a special kind of municipality, while Bangkok is both a province and a municipality. Since I already knew that a special administrative area modeled after Pattaya was discussed for Mae Sot before, this is probably not about new province-like entities similar to Bangkok.

I found one additional article in Thai already dating from September mentioning both Mae Sot and Ko Samui, naming the new administration "เมืองพิเศษ" (Mueang Phiset, special town) - yet in another government press statement from October Mae Sot is named "เขตเศรษฐกิจพิเศษ", meaning just "special economic zone", which not necessarily includes administrative changes.

What surprises me is the fact that Ko Samui is proposed to be changed as well. Just one and a half year ago Ko Samui was upgraded from subdistrict municipality to town municipality, and even at first planned to become a city municipality. But anyway, it will be interesting to see what will happen with these two, whether the government will make separate style of special administrative areas for these two, or will extend and generalize the Mueang Pattaya act to these two areas instead.

Monday, November 30, 2009

New municipalities not covered in Board Meetings transcripts

The Royal Gazette now starts with publishing the constituencies for the municipal council elections in the municipalities newly created this year. Even though so far it were only a few of them covered so far, there were already two municipalities I did not find in the board meeting transcripts.
  • Khok Lek (เทศบาลตำบลโคกเหล็ก), Huai Rat district, Buriram province (Gazette)
  • Kut Chiang Mi (เทศบาลตำบลกุดเชียงหมี), Loeng Nok Tha district, Yasothon province (Gazette)
On the site with the board meeting transcripts a few meetings are still lacking, especially number 19, 21, and 28 to 30 of board one are probably the ones which contain more municipality upgrades. And if these had the same agenda size of about 12 like the others, this would mean I still have 60 municipalities not yet in my lists.

So to get fully updated, I have to wait for the annual report from the Department of Local Administration, which should come soon - those documents from the previous years were from the months August or September, so it is in fact already overdue.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Laem Chabang as another special administrative area?

Another gem from the old news reports of the National News Bureau of Thailand. According to this one from  June 2004 the area of Laem Chabang was planned to become another special administrative area same as nearby Pattaya.

While Pattaya was made a special administrative area in 1978 in order to make the administration more able to cope with problems from the strong growth of tourism in the town, Laem Chabang is an industrial center and especially the main port of Thailand. However, this proposal obviously wasn't successful, but I haven't seen any report on why it was dropped or at least postponed.

Laem Chabang thus still is a subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตำบลแหลมฉบัง), and is somewhat special is it one of the very few municipalities which cover area from more than one district. It covers parts of subdistrict Bang Lamung in Bang Lamung district, and of Si Racha district the complete subdistricts Bueng, Sura Sak, Thung Su Khla and parts of Nong Kham. And despite the fact that it already has a high enough population and probably also enough tax income, it is still at the lowest municipality level.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

District office construction for Galyani Vadhana district

Last week the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA) issued another report on the ongoing creation of the 878th district Galyani Vadhana in Chiang Mai. While most part of the announcement is just the repetition of previously noted facts, like the name being bestowed by HM the King in July, and that the cabinet approved the creation in October. The new information is at the bottom
โดยในขณะนี้จังหวัดเชียงใหม่ ได้จัดเตรียมพื้นที่ในการก่อสร้างที่ว่าการอำเภอแห่งใหม่แล้ว บริเวณหมู่ที่ 2 ตำบลแจ่มหลวง อำเภอแม่แจ่ม จังหวัดเชียงใหม่ จำนวน 82 ไร่ 2 งาน 39 ตารางวา สำหรับที่ว่าการอำเภอชั่วคราวของอำเภอ กัลยาณิวัฒนา กำหนดให้ใช้อาคารของสภาตำบลบ้านจันทร์ หน่วยงานที่เกี่ยวข้องและหอประชุมใช้อาคารของ
ศูนย์ศิลปาชีพ ซึ่งตั้งอยู่ภายในบริเวณวัดบ้านจันทร์ หมู่ที่ 3 ตำบลบ้านจันทร์

Right now, the province Chiang Mai is preparing the area for the district office already. It will be in the area of village 2, subdistrict Chaem Luang, Mae Chaem district, Chiang Mai province and covers an area of 82 rai 2 ngam 39 tarangwa (132,156 m²). For temporary use the building of the Tambon Council Ban Chan and the auditorium of the Center of Arts, located within the temple compound of Wat Chan, in Village 3 of Ban Chan subdistrict.
Using the map on the website of TAO Chaem Luang the location of the new district office will be in the northernmost village of this subdistrict, close to the border to Ban Chan subdistrict. Sadly Google Earth/Maps has no high resolution imaginary of the whole area of the new district, but in the Thai clone PointAsia it shows. But for the exact location of the future district office I still have no idea.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

PAO elections in 2004

While reading the book Thaksin : the business of politics in Thailand on the political system of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, one short section fits into the topic of this blog. It is on the spread of party politics into the local elections. In the past, the political parties in Thailand were only active in the national elections, while in the local elections for the municipal or provincial councils it had only local groups without any official party label or affiliation.

In 2003, local teams started to use the TRT (Thai Rak Thai) party label, though the party had the policy of not running in local elections. This policy was lifted by party leader Thaksin in December 2003, so the PAO elections in early 2004 were the first to have widespread use of party labels. Also, the interest in these elections grew a lot, since the budget and tasks of the PAO was increased a lot - for example local road construction and other infrastructure development was transferred to the authority of the PAOs.

Though the party label was used in these elections, in several provinces it had more than one group using the label of the same party, the major parties did not hav a team in every province, and teams without party affiliation were also running. The results were
  • Thai Rak Thai: 47 provinces
  • Democratic Party: 13 provinces
  • Chat Thai: 5 provinces
  • Chat Phatthana: 2 provinces
  • Independent: 7 provinces
Strangely, this sums up to 74 provinces, but there are 75 PAO as Bangkok does not have one. The book also displays a map which I have redrawn, but this is also fauly - Bangkok is drawn as a TRT province despite having no PAO, and the province of Samut Songkhram is missing in the map completely. As I don't have the source data used to create that map I simply left Samut Songkhram empty same as Bangkok. For the 2008 PAO elections I don't know any results by party, except that unsurprisingly Surat Thani remained a Democratic Party stronghold.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Muban in Nan province

Published in the Royal Gazette on last Friday is the first creation of a new administrative village (Muban) since 2007. Effective September 11, Village 6 Ban Chatsan (บ้านจัดสรร) of Mueang Chang subdistrict, Phu Phiang district, Nan province is split and a new village named Ban Mongkhon Charoen Suk (บ้านมงคลเจริญสุข) with number 11 is created.

Like all the Muban creation announcements, it only contains the demarcation in words but no map. The description states that the new Muban 11 to the east borders Muban 6, so it is the western part which is split off. The website of the Tambon administrative organization has no map of its villages, so I can only approximate the location of the new village. And sadly the high resolution imaginary in Google Earth stop just at around the southern boundary of this new village.

Strangely it is just one single announcement, unlike the previous years when it always were a lot of creations in a row. For example in 2007, each time it were around 30 announcements published in the same day.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Contradicting Muban name lists

When I noticed the Excel sheets with the names of the administrative villages (Muban), I wrote that those are apparently compiled by DOPA to be checked with the local entities. I am right now slowly working through the TAO to add the URL of their website to my XML, and if they have a Muban list on it add that as well. I presume they should know the names best, yet by an automatic comparison with the DOPA list I noticed there are quite a lot of differences, though mostly minor spelling things.

I now came across one example where I even have four different names for the same Muban - in Tambon Bang Muang (ตำบลบางม่วง), Ban Yai district, Nonthaburi province.
  • In the Royal Gazette announcement on the creation of village 15 in 2004, two villages are mentioned: village 6 as the village to be split is named Ban Bang Som Phatthana (บ้านบางโสนพัฒนา) and the new village 15 is named Ban Bang Som Phatthana 2 (บ้านบางโสนพัฒนา ๒)
  • does only list the 14 villages, so dates from before 2004, and names village number 6 as Ban Bang Som (บ้านบางโสน)
  • The TAO website names village 6 as Ban Bang Som Noi (บ้านบางโสนน้อย) and 15 as Ban Khun Chen (บ้านขุนเจน).
  • And the DOPA XLS sheet has it village 6 as Ban Bang Muang (บ้านบางม่วง) and village 15 as Ban Bang Som Phatthana (บ้านบางโสนพัฒนา)
And it's not just these two villages which have different names in the different sources - while the 2004 Gazette announcement only lists those two villages (and the surrounding ones), another Gazette announcement from 1998 has another version of the names. I have put it into a table for better comparison:
Even those who cannot read Thai can see that only the villages 3, 4, 8, 10, 11 and 14 have the same name in all sources. The many differing names shows the necessity of the creation of a list with the official names, the task for which the DOPA Excel files were created.

Friday, November 20, 2009

TAO office opening video

On Youtube I found the video below, which shows the construction of the new office building for the TAO Maluan (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลมะลวน), Phunphin district, Surat Thani province. Though I cannot understand the soundtrack - my Thai is sadly still too bad - I can guess that it includes the meeting of the TAO council deciding on the new building, and I can understand that in the end it gives some background on the subdistrict itself, like listing the neighboring subdistricts and the villages.

The TAO was created in 1997 (Gazette), though actually it was already a TAO 1958-71 (Gazette). The subdistrict is much older, the oldest announcement mentioning it is from 1939. Sadly has no more information on its history either.

The subdistrict is subdivided into 9 villages, and as of 2008 it has a population of 7479. It covers an area of 77 km². The subdistrict is located in the northwestern corner of Phunphin district, neighboring subdistricts areThe name of the subdistrict originates from Ma Luang (ม้าล้วง), meaning "horse digged out", as a marble horse statue with Khmer inscription was digged out in a temple opposite the TAO office. Therefore also the seal of the TAO feature a horse as the main symbol. But no hires version available on the website to create a decent SVG version of it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How to join my Google code project

In case you want to fully use the data on the administrative entities I collected in XML, or the programming I did around that, you can download the whole thing to your computer and compile it yourself - and if you like even work in either the code or the data and then commit your changes into the global repository, so I can use them as well. The easiest way to join is to do exactly like I work, though especially if you just want to work on the XML there are other options as well. And if you just want to edit in the XML files, you don't need to be a programmer, and that can even be done with a plain text editor or on computer without Microsoft Windows. If you want to take a look first, you can do that online as well - the most interesting parts are the Royal Gazette announcements roughly sorted by topic and the data on the administrative entities, one file per province.

So to have this on your computer, first you need to download two programs - Microsoft's Visual Studio Express C# Edition which is both a quite good XML editor, as well as obviously the compiler for the program code I created. The second one is TortoiseSVN, the software which handles the download of the code from the repository and optionally the upload of your changes.

Once you installed both, you need to download the data first. Open the Explorer, go to the folder My Documents\Visual Studio 2008\Projects and do a right click on the mouse. In the popup menu select "SVN Checkout"

To download the project anonymously, you have to use the URL
You will then get all the files into the folder you just selected.

If you plan to submit changes into the repository as well, you'll need to download the project with the URL
(note the https instead of the http), and then when prompted enter your Google user name and the password you find at this Google code page.

However to really submit changes you made, you also need to email me and give me your Google account name, as I have to manually add you to the list of project members.

To update your local files with those in the repository, open the popup menu on the project folder and choose "SVN update". If you have done any changes in the local files which you want to share, then you can choose "SVN Commit", choose the files you want to submit, enter a good comment on what you changes, and provided you have write access it will then be available to everyone.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chumchon and Muban Part 2

In an earlier example, I showed one subdistrict municipality where the boroughs (Chumchon, ชุมชน) and the administrative villages (Muban, หมู่บ้าน) coincide one-to-one. Now I have come across another different case, this time it has villages split into several chumchon, thus the local administration is giving the subdistrict more subdivisions than it has in the central administration.

The subdistrict municipality is Phum Riang (เทศบาลตำบลพุมเรียง), which covers the whole same-named subdistrict in the east of Chiaya district, Surat Thani province. The central town is most famous for its silk production.

According to the municipality website, the subdivisions are as follows.
1.บ้านนอกนา1from behind Wat Mai till Muban boundary
2.บ้านกลาง1from front of Wat Mai till Soi Sawang Net
3.บ้านล่าง1from east of Soi Sawang Net till Muban boundary
4.บ้านหัวโอ2from east of Soi Osen Optam till Muban boundary
5.บ้านบ่อเดื่อ2from road next to Wanna shop till old Wat Suan Mokh
6.บ้านเหนือ3complete Muban
7.บ้านเหนือน้ำ4complete Muban
8.บ้านแหลมโพธิ์5from foot of Laem Pho bridge till Kubo boundary
9.บ้านแหลมทราย5from Kubo boundary till Muban boundary
Sadly no map on the website to illustrate these divisions, and I have no other resources to create one myself.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

All local government leaders have unlimited terms now

Last week I wrote on the sixth amendment of the Tambon Council and Tambon Administrative Organization act, removing the limit of two consecutive terms for the TAO chairman. Now amendments for the acts covering the other local administrative units have been published in the Royal Gazette, all replacing previous regulations with the simple statement that the term of the chairman is four years starting from election day.

In detail, the following announcements were made
The only remaining local government unit is the city of Bangkok. According to Wikipedia, the governor also has only two consecutive terms, but it seems this will not get changed now - the announcement on the creation of a committee to discuss the amendments published in January does not mention the BMA.

Monday, November 16, 2009

DOLA geocodes - strange cases

When I worked through the DOLA geocodes for the local administrative units (LGUs), there were several cases where the code lists contains outright mistakes, or even more interesting cases where the numbers don't follow the logical system otherwise used. Especially these deviations from the system would be worth some further research, these might point to some interesting things still hidden. But it seems I would only be able to find out more by getting into contact with someone who actually worked on the creation of these numbers.

What follows is the quite lengthy list of all the strange or erroneous cases. To fully get the reasons why these cases are strange better check back the old posting giving the system for the codes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New bishop of Udon Thani appointed

Since I covered the other changes in the Catholic church of Thailand, I now also mention the last of the bishops beyond the retirement age has found a successor. Bishop George Yod Phimphisan (ยอร์ช ยอด พิมพิสาร) was bishop of Udon Thani since 1975. Now aged 76 and therefore before the normal retirement age of 75 according to Canon 401 § 1, he now was the oldest bishop in Thailand and the only one beyond retirement age. The next oldest one is Archbishop Louis Chamniern Santisukniram of Thare and Nonseng at age 67, so this would be last such announcement for at least the next 8 years.

On November 14 2009, the Pope accepted the resignation and appointed Father Joseph Luechai Thatwisai (บาทหลวงดร.ลือชัย ธาตุวิสัย) as his successor. The bishop-elect was born in Phonsung, Udon Thani diocese and prior to his appointment was a member of the clergy in Udon Thani diocese. Sadly the website of the diocese of Udon Thani does not show the coat of arms of the bishop emeritus in any reasonable resolution, so I cannot show a vector drawing of that one this time.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Calligraphic letter municipal emblem

Again I noticed an emblem of a local government unit which uses Thai letters distorted so they are hardly anymore recognizable. If you look at the emblem, one needs to use quite some imagination to notice that those two white shapes in top are in fact the Thai letters Ko Kai (ก) and Wo Waen (ว).

The emblem is from the subdistrict municipality Krawan (เทศบาลตำบลกระหวัน), Khun Han district, Sisaket province. However the URL ( still originates from the time before the TAO Krawan was upgraded to a municipality in July 2008. In fact, the colored version of the emblem I found in a PDF linked from the website, and in this the emblem of the TAO is still used. But actually the two version of the emblem only differ in the text in the bordure, which changed from "อบต.กระหวัน" to "เทศบาลตำบลกระหวัน".

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tambon Council and TAO act, amendment 6

Published in the Royal Gazette on November 6 was the 6th amendment of the Tambon council and Tambon administrative organization act (พระราชบัญญัติสภาตำบลและองค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล ฉบับที่ ๖). Since only one point in the long legal text was changed I tried to translate it and document the change here.

Section 58/2 now reads as follows
“มาตรา ๕๘/๒ ให้นายกองค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลดำรงตำแหน่งนับตั้งแต่วันเลือกตั้ง
which means
Section 58/2 let TAO chairman take office on day of election and have a term in office of four years after election.

In the previous amendment number 5 from 2003 this section was somewhat longer
ให้นายกองค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลดำรงตำแหน่งนับแต่วันเลือกตั้งและมีวาระอยู่ในตำแหน่งคราวละสี่ปี นับแต่วันเลือกตั้ง แต่จะดำรงตำแหน่งติดต่อกันเกินสองวาระไม่ได้
ในกรณีนายกองค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลดำรงตำแหน่งไม่ครบระยะเวลาสี่ปีก็ให้ถือว่าเป็นหนึ่งวาระ และเมื่อได้ดำรงตำแหน่งสองวาระติดต่อกันแล้วจะดำรงตำแหน่งได้อีกเมื่อพ้นระยะเวลาสี่ปีนับแต่วันที่พ้นจากตำแหน่ง
The part removed with this amendment is the limit of serving only two consecutive terms, thus a maximum of eight years since each time between two election is considered a term, even if the term was then shorter than four years.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Muban area with several exclaves

While looking for the list of administrative villages (Muban) on the website of the TAO Na Roek (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลนาเริก), Amphoe Phanat Nikhom, Chonburi province, I instead found the maps of the Muban. At first look nothing special, but once I checked the map of Mu 12 (Ban Ko Klang) a strange thing showed. This Muban consists of 5 areas not connected with each other, or if one considers the largest of these areas as the main one this Muban has four exclaves.

To better show the issue I have worked some time with Inkscape and created a vector map of the Muban in this subdistrict. Since I haven't found the Muban names in a table, I confirmed the names from the DOPA Excel sheet with those names on the map.
1บ้านดอนไร่Ban Don Rai
2บ้านเนินสำโรงBan Noen Samrong
3บ้านหนองกะพงBan Nong Kaphong
4บ้านเนินBan Noen
5บ้านหนองผักปอดBan Nong Phak Pot
6บ้านยางBan Yang
7บ้านเนินฆ่วงBan Noen Khwong1
8บ้านดอนกอดBan Don Kot
9บ้านเนินไทรBan Noen Sai
10บ้านเนินแร่Ban Noen Rae
11บ้านหนองปลาไหลBan Nong Pla Lai
12บ้านเกาะกลางBan Ko Klang
13บ้านหนองโมกข์Ban Nong Mok
14บ้านหนองโคลนBan Nong Khlon
15บ้านหนองแกBan Nong Kae
1 The DOPA table has Mu 7 named Ban Noen Kha (บ้านเนินค้า) instead.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Geocodes for new Bangkok subdistricts

Last week the geocode list from the Department of Provincial Administration was updated to include the nine new subdistricts created in Bangkok in July. The new codes are as follows
102705นวลจันทร์Nuan Chan
102902วงศ์สว่างWong Sawang
103604ดอนเมืองDon Mueang
103605สนามบินSanam Bin
104302รามอินทราRam Intra
104502สะพานสองSaphan Song
104503คลองเจ้าคุณสิงห์Khlong Chai Khun Sing
In those districts where only one new subdistrict was created the new code was of course evident, but funnily also for the other districts they followed the same order which they were originally entered on the Thai Wikipedia.

However, only these subdistrict codes were added - the new codes which will be necessary with the forthcoming creation of Galyani Vadhana district are not yet included. Don't know if they wait till the district is actually created, or it means that the creation will still take some more time.

Monday, November 9, 2009

District levels

In a German blog I found the reference to the new Google Guru, which is only available in Thai (and now also in Arabic). I took a look for questions concerning Tambon or Amphoe, and among several questions "How many Amphoe in Province XYZ", one question around Amphoe was really interesting.
อำเภอในประเทศไทยมีกี่ชั้น แต่ละชั้นใช้เกณฑ์อะไรในการแบ่งชั้น
How many levels of Amphoe in Thailand, and what are the criteria for each level?
While I heard about the different levels of the Subdistrict Administrative Offices (TAO), I did not know about the district having different levels - except the minor districts (King Amphoe), which until they were all upgraded in 2007 were a lower class of districts.

So naturally I tried to find a list of the levels and which Amphoe belong to which level. However it seems there's hardly anything online on these levels, the only tabular thing I found was a PowerPoint presentation from 2004, in which it has the following table
  • Special districts (อำเภอชั้นพิเศษ): 17 districts
  • Level 1 districts (อำเภอชั้น 1): 161 districts
  • Level 2 districts (อำเภอชั้น 2): 229 districts, 1 minor district
  • Level 3 districts (อำเภอชั้น 3): 220 districts, 6 minor districts
  • Level 4 districts (อำเภอชั้น 4): 167 districts, 74 minor districts
Though two slides later it lists the criteria, I don't understand them as it only says something about "raw score" and can only guess that its some kind of economic score which is used as the basis for the district level. Only thing I can understand is that the Mueang districts are always either level 1 or special level.

And for the special districts I could find a list in a document which looks like the answer sheet to a entrance test for officers in the local administration. According to that file, the special districts are the following:
Mueang Khon Kaen, Mueang Chonburi, Mueang Chiang Mai, Mueang Nakhon Pathom, Mueang Nakhon Ratchasima, Mueang Nakhon Si Thammarat, Mueang Nonthaburi, Mueang Phitsanulok, Mueang Phuket, Mueang Rayong, Mueang Lampang Mueang Samut Prakan, Mueang Surat Thani, Mueang Udon Thani, Mueang Ubon Ratchathani and Hat Yai.
So yet another posting without a complete answer, anyone who can help me to a more complete one is welcome...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Municipal decisions from August 26

Meeting number 40 of board 1 from August 26 2009 with one TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipalities.
  • Phaisan (เทศบาลตำบลไพศาล), Thawat Buri district, Roi Et province, effective July 30 2009. The TAO was created in 1997, covers 3.79 km², 9 villages and 3,963 citizen.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Contradicting district histories

When I recently added references to the Wikipedia article on Wiang Pa Pao district in Chiang Rai province, I had problems matching the history as taken from with the Royal Gazette announcements. writes
"เมืองป่าเป้า" ต่อมาได้ขนานนามใหม่เป็น "เวียงป่าเป้า" จัดตั้งเป็นกิ่งอำเภอ
เมื่อปี พ.ศ.2450 โดยขึ้นกับ อ.แม่พริก (ปัจจุบันคือ อ.แม่สรวย) และยกฐานะ
กิ่งอำเภอเป็น อ.เวียงป่าเป่า เมื่อปี พ.ศ.2475 จนถึงปัจจุบัน
which back in 2007 I translated as
The minor district (King Amphoe) was created in 1907 as a subordinate of Mae Prik district, the present-day district Mae Suai. It was upgraded to a full district in 1932.
However the Royal Gazette announcements dealing with Wiang Pa Pao suggest a totally different turn of events. At first, in 1905 Khwaeng Mueang Wiang Pa Pao (แขวงเมืองเวียงป่าเป้า) and Khwaeng Mueang Phong (แขวงเมืองพง) get merged to Khwaeng Mae Suai (แขวงแม่ซวย) - at that time the districts in northern Siam were called Khwaeng, the name Amphoe was introduced country-wide later. In 1907 King Khwaeng Wiang Pa Pao (กิ่งแขวงเวียงเป้า) was upgraded to a Khwaeng. Those few announcements between 1907 and 1932 never again use word "King" to designate it being a minor district.

However this all about the early history of Wiang Pa Pao I was able to find in the gazette, so I can only presume that the minor district existed already in 1905 and was another case where it had a minor district for the central part of a district. I really wonder how came to their version of the history, the only thing which seems to be correct is the year 1907, but not as the creation of a minor district but the creation of a full district. Also, I have no source suggesting that Mae Suai was named Mae Phrik in past, there's only a subdistrict named Mae Phrik right next to Mae Suai. The only change about the name of Mae Suai was the spelling, in the announcement on its creation it was spelled แม่ซวย, but already in 1917 the modern spelling แม่สรวย was used.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pattani autonomy in discussion again

The idea of solving the problem with the insurgency in three southern-most Muslim-dominated provinces by giving the area some kind of autonomy has made it into the main news again this week, after opposition leader Chavalit Yongchaiyudh publicly proposed this approach.
Puea Thai Party chairman Chavalit Yongchaiyudh is proposing the establishment of a special administrative area comprising the three troubled provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.
The former prime minister said he would put forward the idea at meetings with local leaders during his trip to the far South, which begins tomorrow.
He was proposing the three provinces form a self-administration area. As in other special administrative areas, legislation would have to be passed to enable it, he said.
Bangkok Post, November 2 2009, Chavalit pushing special zone for South

When this idea was first picked up by a leading politician in January 2008, it was quickly denied. Interestingly in June this year prime Minister Abhisit himself proposed some kind of autonomy without going into any details, but now the idea was brought up by the opposition he has to deny it.

However as usual the articles around this issue fail to deliver to tell what is actualy meant by this "autonomy", which responsibilities of the central administration should be transferred to the newly created body. It somehow seems that since some of the articles call about a "Pattani city" it means something modeled after the central administrative zone Bangkok, where the elected administration has many of the responsibilities otherwise in the hands of the centrally appointed provincial administration. A small quote from another article indicates that Chavalit thinks about more decentralization
On Tuesday, Gen Chavalit defended his "Pattani City" model, saying that all he meant was a form of local government not an independent Pattani state, as it was being interpreted by the government. (Bangkok Post, November 4)
I don't know whether the decentralization of the second half of the 1990s with the creation of the TAO, new tasks for the PAO, upgrade of the sanitary districts to municipalities did fulfill the expectations, but continuing the decentralization at province level only in the deep south does not make sense for me, why shouldn't the other parts of the country not deserve elected province governors or a really powerful provincial parliament instead of the weak PAO.

The central point of the very recommended book Tearing apart the land : Islam and legitimacy in Southern Thailand by Duncan McCargo is that the insurgency is mostly caused by a lack of legitimacy of the administration, so a decentralization may help. But why the previous steps of decentralization did not prevent the violence to erupt after many years of relative peace.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Different types of Muban

While adding some of the administrative villages into my XML files from the websites of the Tambon administrative organizations (TAO), in some cases I noticed that the lists include some kind of village status or type. Sadly I don't know the details for any of these, but they all seem to be centered around development funding to improve the infrastructure.

Don Sai subdistrict (ตำบลดอนทราย), Khuan Khanun district, Phatthalung province on the data page adds either a (กม. - KM) or a (อพป. - OPB) behind the village name. Six of the villages are labeled KM, another 5 with OPB. I could find that OPB stands for อาสาพัฒนาและป้องกันตนเอง, which translates to village development committee. For KM i found คณะกรรมการ(กลาง)หมู่บ้าน - village (center) committee, not sure whether the กลาง belongs into it or not.

Completely different however are the categories I first found at Mae Phrik (ตำบลแม่พริก), Mae Suai district, Chiang Rai province, where the village list includes หมู่บ้านเร่งรัดพัฒนาอันดับ 2 and 3 (village accelerated development level 2 or 3). Also a level one is used, see the village list of Mae Khaeo (ตำบลแม่ข้าวต้ม), Mueang Chiang Rai district, this has Muban in all three levels.

The third level I already mentioned here earlier as one of the many acronyms used in the Thai administration - SML originally meaning "Small, Medium, Large". As an example, here is a Excel sheet with the 45 villages in Samoeng district, Chiang Mai province and their status in this scheme, either S, M or L.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Panda license plate

Announced yesterday were two new car license plate backgrounds, one for Chiang Mai province and one for Nakhon Ratchasima. Both provinces had a picture license plate before.

The most interesting is the one for Chiang Mai. Sadly the 2004 announcement of the original design does not contain the graphic, but on Wikipedia it has a photo of one. The new graphic now features three instead of two Pandas, of course referring to the birth of the Panda baby in May which created a real Panda hype in Thailand, now even a TV channel completely devoted to that Panda. Also added to the plate design was the city wall, not present in the previous version, whereas the painted umbrellas were already present in 2004.

A funny note showing the quality of journalism in Thailand - via ThaiPhotoBlogs I found a photo from the tabloid newspaper DailyXpress, which allegedly shows an official showing the new license plate. But comparing it with the one show above it is obvious that the official shows the old version with only two Pandas.

For Nakhon Ratchasima previously the graphic only showed Phimai temple, which in the now announced version was made smaller and supplemented with some hills (probably those of Khao Yai national park) and the Chumphon gate (ประตูชุมพล) in Nakhon Ratchasima city.

These colorful license plates are only available for plates sold at a public auction, featuring auspicious numbers or letter combinations. For a report on such an auction, Phuket Gazette wrote on the one held in September.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Table with all TAO and their levels

When I wrote about the reduction of the TAO levels from five to three, maybe the main thing I did not find was a list of all the TAO with their respective level. Now by a Google search for something else I found a PDF with exactly this data at the website of the Ministry Of Interior.

This 191 page PDF has all the TAO as of October 4 2006, including the status (ขนาด), the year of creation, the area and the population (male, female and total). Sadly it seems there is only the PDF, and not a Excel file with the same data, which would be the much more natural way to share such a big table. So it took me quite some work to find a free PDF2Text converter to extract the text, and then make it into a spreadsheet myself. I don't know whether it was something going wrong during this conversion, but neither the area nor the population columns add up to the total values given in the PDF. And also for the three levels there are a few problems, because for 5 entries no level column is left blank, instead of 6272 small (เล็ก) TAO it only has 6271, and instead of 71 large (ใหญ่) only 67, only the 274 of middle (กลาง) level are all present. So one of the following five TAO must be a small one, while the other four must be large.

NameDistrictProvinceYearArea (km²)Population
Ban Naบ้านนาMueang ChumphonChumphon1996162.147551
Laem SaiแหลมทรายLang SuanChumphon199720.833268
Pak SongปากทรงPhathoChumphon1997270.384212
Ron Phibunร่อนพิบูลย์Ron PhibunNakhon Si Thammarat199696.0219070
Ban Khokบ้านโคกBan KhokUttaradit1995135.551927
Whereas Pak Song has already been upgraded to a municipality and therefore probably was a large one, the last entry is the most strange one. At first, in the table it is actually listed as "สภาตําบลบ้านโคก" (Branch Subdistrict Ban Khok), and secondly in my TAO table it only has three TAO in the Ban Khok district - since most area of the subdistrict Ban Khok belonged to the municipality Ban Khok the Tambon Council for the remaining area was abolished in 2004 and added to the municipality. So there simply is no such entity.

But even with these problems, that file is a good source of data, next thing to analyze is which level were the TAO upgraded since the creation of that document, does it have any large or middle TAO left at all?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Municipal decisions for August 13 2009

Meeting number 36 from August 13 2009 with one TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipalities.
  • Saphan Hin (เทศบาลตำบลสะพานหิน), Nong Mamong district, Chainat province, effective July 30 2009. The TAO was created in 1995, covers 86.92 km², 10 villages and 5,168 citizen.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Lao Mueang administration

The article Administrative reforms and national intergration: The case of the northeast by Paitoon Mikusol (ไพฑูรย์ มีกุศล) (in: Regions and national integration in Thailand, 1892-1992) gives an interesting view on the two different styles of administration in the mueang before around 1900 and the changes during the thesaphiban reforms.

In northeastern Siam, the mueang had two different systems of their internal administration, one in use for the Lao mueang and another one for those under more Siamese control. The Lao system was introduced by the first chao mueang (governor) of mueang Tung, the precursor of present-day Suwannaphum district in southern Roi Et province. Several mueang were grouped into one principality named hua mueang (หัวเมือง, lit. head town), either for group of mueang of a specific ethnic group, or for one major mueang with its subordinate mueang.

The internal administration of each mueang was headed by the chao mueang (เจ้าเมือง), which can be translated as governor or lord. This post, though it was to be appointed by the King in Bangkok, was in fact an hereditary post of the local nobility. Usually the chao mueang had the rank of a Phra (พระ) or Phraya (พระยา). The second post was the uparat (อุปราช), normally the son or younger brother of the chao mueang, and the heir when the chao mueang died. Two further posts are the ratchawong (ราชวงศ์) and ratchabut (ราชบุตร), with the whole group of four posts named aya si (อาญาสี่). All three lower posts were appointed from the court in Bangkok, and were not under control of the chao mueang. Also the capital punishment was not in the authority of the chao mueang, but in many other fields he was quite independent in his administrative decisions.

This system ceased to exist with the thesaphiban reforms during which the local nobility was replaced by paid officials sent from the capital. At least this was the case in those parts which stayed under Siamese rule, what happened in the areas east of the Mekong which were included into French Indochina I have no idea.

The Siamese style of mueang administration will be the topic of a later post.