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.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Administrative and Political Structure of Chiang Mai Province

On August 12 2008 Dr. Tanet Charoenmuang (ธเนศวร์ เจริญเมือง held a talk at the Informal Northern Thai Group (INTG) on the administrative structure of Chiang Mai province. A bit late they now added a summary of this talk on their website. In fact, it was this talk which made me notice this INTG, as I stumbled on the then scheduled talk while researching about Dr. Tanets book "Thailand - a late decentralizing country". I still don't have the book however, still hesitate to buy it at the only Internet bookstore with a 50% surcharge for shipping.

The Informal Northern Thai Group is a group of mostly foreigners in Chiang Mai, who regularly convene for invited talk on various Thai topics. It is no formal club or foundation, in fact it was one before but was closed in 1975 due to various reasons like time constraints of the original panel members. They are now doing a monthly informal meeting with an invited talk, by now already over 300 talks had been held. If I were living in Chiang Mai, I would probably be a regular guest at these meetings, especially the quite unusual special topics make it very interesting.

Back to the actual talk, which coincides a lot with the topics covered in the book. As the book comprises essays and papers written by Dr. Tanet over the past two decades on the topics, it seems that the summary refers to things which had changed long time already - so it is more a summary of the book than of the talk itself. For example in the decentralization strategy the following points are listed
  1. To hold governors’ elections, starting in major provinces and later proceeding to all provinces.
  2. To abolish the PAO because it overlaps with the Tambon Council.
  3. To replace the council system of Municipality with a strong executive system in which both the mayor and councilors are directly elected by the people.
  4. To abolish the Sukapiban system and replace it with the strong executive system of Municipality.
  5. To set up a full-fledged local government agency in each Tambon. The people should decide if they prefer the council form, committee form or the strong executive form of government.
  6. To oppose the Interior Ministry’s plan to maintain the council form of municipal system.
  7. To maintain the regional administrative system for the present and gradually transfer government officials under it to operate under the authority of local government agencies.
The Sukhaphiban were already abolished in 1999, the "local government agency in each Tambon" has been created 1996-1999 with the creation of the TAO. Also, the municipal mayors and councilors are now directly elected. However, the first two points are still unchanged, the province governors are still appointed by the Ministry of Interior, the the PAO with their overlapping responsibilities with the TAO are still in place.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Collection of administrative office locations

For some time already I have added the geographical locations of the administrative into the XML files of my Tambon coding project. Now I have programmed a simple conversion of these XMLs wit locations into a KML file used in Google Earth, so I can easily display all the coordinates I have collected already.

In the map below is always the current version, which at the time of writing includes
  • Province halls (blue marker), 65 out of 75
  • District offices (green marker), 591 out of 927 (including those in Bangkok)
  • PAO offices (red marker), 10 out of 75
  • TAO (white marker), 74 out of 2105
  • Municipalities (yellow marker), 99 out of 5671

View Larger Map
The placemarks right now have no contents except the coordinates, unlike the one from an earlier experiment where I embedded photos and Wikipedia links, but for now I have concentrated on the essential things.

Quite obviously the coordinates are for from complete - for the district offices I have locations for all and only omitted those where Google Earth has no hires data yet to verify the accurate location. But especially for the municipalities and TAO these are quite difficult to find - some are from WikiMapia, for Samut Prakan Richard Barrow collected a few, rarely the website of the local government unit has a decent map which allows the identification in Google Earth.

So I can only call everyone interested to help making this collection more complete. You can send me any addition or correction by email, or if you have a lot and don't mind the XML editing you can join in the coding project and edit the XML yourself.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Provincial seal stamp series, 4th part

The 4th series of the stamps featuring the provincial seals is out since September already, and now the First Day Cover blog has featured the envelopes.
  • Posting 1: Phuket, Maha Sarakham, Mukdahan, Mae Hong Son, Yasothon
  • Posting 2: Yala, Roi Et, Ranong, Rayong, Ratchaburi
As I will buy this stamps in my next trip, the one depicted above showing the seal of Nakhon Si Thammarat is from an earlier series.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Strange Muban

While googleing for websites of the local government units, to add the weblinks into my XMLs as well as working through the village lists where I can find them, this respective list on the site of the TAO Kham Thale So (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลขามทะเลสอ), Kham Thale So district, Nakhon Ratchasima province, where I noticed something out of the normal.

The table read as following:
พื้นที่ หมู่ที่ จำนวนประชากร จำนวน ครัวเรือน
ชาย หญิง รวม
หมู่ 77108181
หมู่ 78613191
The strange thing in this table is not the low population number in village 3 and 4 - this is simply because those two villages (and also number 2 and 7) are partly covered by the municipality Kham Thale So (เทศบาลตำบลขามทะเลสอ), the strange thing are those two entries titled หมู่ 77 and หมู่ 78 (Village 77 and 78), each with one household. Both have no village number, but apparently aren't part of any of the other villages either. The village detail pages including maps don't have any details on these two entities, nor are they present in the Muban list from DOPA. And the above table is the only place on the website which mentions these two entities. So I have no idea what they are about.

Though I have not much hope to ever get any answer, I tried to raise this question in the forum of the website, which apart from a few spam postings seems to be dead.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Municipal decisions for August 3 2009

Meeting number 34 of board 1 from August 3 2009 with 2 TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipalities.
  • Bua Khao, Kuchinarai district, Kalasin province, effective on July 31 2009, upgraded and renamed to Kuchinarai (เทศบาลตำบลกุฉินารายณ์), to avoid confusion with the municipality Bua Khao (เทศบาลตำบลบัวขาว). The TAO was created in 1996, covers 67 km², 16 villages and 7,979 citizen.
  • Kut Khao (เทศบาลตำบลกุดค้าว), Kuchinarai district, Kalasin province, effective July 31 2009. The TAO was created in 1996, covers 18.50 km², 8 villages and 4,155 citizen.

Friday, October 23, 2009

2nd birthday of blog

This blog now exists for two years, and again my worrying that I would run out of topics was strongly rebutted. In fact, I currently have so many topics that I have pre-written postings for two months, only leaving spaces for the current news like fresh announcements in the Royal Gazette. And of course a big number of postings thanks to the many new municipalities, in contrast to what I expected for this year, helped to enable me to write a posting every day, I even had to post some on the weekend to reduce the queue.

Whereas the Google hits have more-or-less stagnated at 650 a month in the last year, the number of readers using the RSS feed (or subscribing by email) reached a maximum of 100 subscribers according to feedburner which is way beyond what I expected before for such a technical and obscure topic. Though I guess most of my readers aren't as deep into the topic as myself, I can only repeat my invitation from the last birthday posting of using the comment function to interact, even if only to thank me for presenting something not found in the non-Thai web beforehand.

But it's of course not that I get no feedback at all, and I even got into contact with a few interesting people by this blog already, like an academic working with the Thai census data who could use the tabular data collected in the spreadsheet very well. In return, her questions let me look once again through the geocodes used in the past censuses and notice new facts I previously overlooked.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Geocities and TAO

On October 26 Yahoo will shut down their free webhosting service Geocities, which back at the beginning of the WWW was one of most popular sites. Though most of the sites hosted there won't be missed, and have been moved to other pages like facebook. So why should I care? Several of the Tambon administrative organizations (TAO), not having the funds for a real web presence with a well-designed webpage, have instead created pages on Geocities, which though often badly designed or partially broken still were a source of information about these entities. I hope I have found all the relevant already and extracted at least the Muban lists from them.

As an example I chose the TAO Wang Sai in Khlong Khlung district, Kamphaeng Phet province. Their Geocities websize ubtwangsai only contains the photos and names of all the officials and employees in the TAO, and while it has some more links these have no target page yet. Also, the counter in bottom shows a mere 540 visits since it was started in October 2006. However, unlike other TAO, Wang Sai actually moved to a separate webpage already and only forgot to close down their geocities page - but their new one at is still a broken one, for example most of the links in the menu point to a local file and probably indicate that these pages in fact haven't been written yet.

And since Geocities isn't profitable enough to be continued, I have my doubts other similar services would continue long as well. One which is also fairly popular with Thai entities is tripod.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Petition on municipality upgrade

Petitions and the replies by the authority are an interesting special kind of announcements published in the Royal Gazette. Interestingly there are only exactly two of this kind on municipalities, and even more interesting both are on the same municipality - Ban Phai (เทศบาลตำบลบ้านไผ่), Ban Phai district, Khon Kaen province.

The first petition was filed by the member of parliament Premsak Phiayura (เปรมศักดิ์ เพียยุระ) on December 15 1997, and answered and published on March 4 1998. Also the second petition, filed on August 30 2001 and answered and published on July 30 2002 was filed by Premsak, who is a local of Ban Phai.

The main reason why both petitions were unsuccessful, and the municipality still hasn't been upgraded today is quite easy to see. In the latest population statistics from DOPA the municipality has 30,079 citizen, however one of the preconditions for the upgrade to either city or town status is 50,000 citizen.

Though especially the starting page of the website of the municipality is very overloaded, it also has a lot of informative contents. One thing I haven't seen in that quality before is the seal of the municipality (ตราประจำเทศบาล) - unlike most websites it is displayed here in a very high resolution version which would be print-worthy by itself already. With such a good template I could easily create a vector version which fixes the few layer alignment problems in the raster file. The full description of the emblem is also not that often found.

Following the description found there, the emblem shows the following elements
  • The chedi Phra That Kham Kaen (องค์พระธาตุขามแก่น), the symbol of the province Khon Kaen.
  • Three bamboo stems, the symbol of the district Ban Phai (Phai, (ไม้)ไผ่ means Bamboo). The number three symbolizes the three cornerstones of democracy - respect, harmony, wisdom.
  • The 15 leaves of the bamboo represent the 15 municipal officials sent by the Department of Local Administration to build the local administration.
  • and in the circle around the emblem it has the word "เทศบาลตำบลบ้านไผ่" (Ban Phai subdistrict municipality) at the top, and "จังหวัดขอนแก่น" (Khon Kaen province) at the bottom.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Two recent blog postings on TAO elections

Though the recent elections for the TAO did not get much news coverage, at least not in the English press, last week two blogs had interesting postings about the current state of local politics in Thailand.

In the article Local politics that ‘you can eat’ (Thai เลือกตั้ง อบต. การเมืองที่กินได้) by the web newspaper Prachatai the vote buying in a northern Thai village is described.
As Election Day drew near, the village teemed with campaign staff for candidates running for the position of TAO Chairperson, who came to visit the villagers, distributing 1.5-litre bottles of soft drinks and ice, which really pleased the young kids.
The handouts went on blatantly, but did not reach where Achara was staying. Canvassers who were local villagers themselves were well aware that it was illegal, but also that knew they would be found guilty only if someone made a complaint. The canvassers would never complain against one another as each would mind their own business. And the villagers were too happy to care who gave what.
Many villagers told Achara that vote buying was the normal practice in the village. Candidates would choose to pay those who were not their relatives to collect additional votes to win the seats; with 100 baht per vote, 10,000-20,000 baht would be enough.
Still the same muddy way of politics, not different from the cases of the 1990s described in the book Democracy, Development and Decentralization in Provincial Thailand I read earlier this year.

But not all voters see the decentralization only from the viewpoint of having more election and thus more chances to get paid for their votes. Bangkok Post assistant editor Sanitsuda Ekachai in her blog wrote that There's still hope for Thai democracy.
A decade ago, Kuanru was a miniature of today's national politics. It was ridden with vote-buying, nepotism, corruption and factional feuds along party lines. The once close-knit community became divisive through mud-slinging campaigns which left deep resentment on all sides after the elections. Relatives no longer spoke to one another. When one group initiated any programme, the rival camp vetoed it. Old problems festered while new ones emerged and kept piling up.
But then a new generation of politicians, labeled "Young Turks" after the reformist party at the end of the Ottoman Empire, was fed up with it, set up a community development plan in a public meeting of all interested citizen, allowed election losers to work with the winning team, and most of all did all with transparency and not behind closed doors. So those only doing politics for their personal gain, the ones who need to do vote buying to secure their gains, had no chance anymore. While there are several such localities where the politics matured into what democracy is supposed to be, sadly these areas are still by far the minority. At least there is hope...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Thaification of district and subdistrict names

The two premierships of Field Marshall Phibun Songkhram 1938 to 1944 and again 1948 to 1957 were marked with a strong nationalistic politics, like forcing to use the central Thai language instead of the regional dialects (or even the Yawi used in the deep south provinces), the banning of several occupations for the Chinese immigrants and so on. I first became aware of this policy with respect to the administrative subdivision via the Wikipedia article on Non Thai district in Nakhon Ratchasima province, which was renamed from Non Lao to Non Thai in 1941.

While this was the only district which got its non-Thai roots removed from the name, there were quite a lot of subdistrict which were equally renamed in the 1939 announcement.
  • Lao (ลาว): Non Lao to Non Thai (Nakhon Ratchasima), Phueng Lao to Phueng Ruang, Ban Lao to Thap Kwang, Salari Lao to Mueang Kao, Muang Lao to Muang Ngam (Saraburi). In Saraburi it had a lot of Vientiane Lao forcibly resettled there in 1779.
  • Chin(ese) (จีน): Ban Chin to Chalong (Satun), Nong Chin to Khok Sai (Phatthalung), Wat Sam Chin to Sam Yaek (Phra Nakhon, i.e. Bangkok), Bang Nang Chin to Thai Hat (Samut Songkhram)
  • Mon (มอญ): Ban Mon to Sam Suan (Chaiyaphum), Ban Mon to Ban Kao (Chonburi), Ku Mon to Hua Sai (Chachoengsao), Tha Mon to Khun Kaeo (Nakhon Pathom) Na Mon Nuea to Ban Na and Na Mon Tai to Khlong Cham Long (Sukhothai), Bang Mon to Ton Pho (Singburi)
  • Khmer (เขมร): Wang Khmer to Tha Dong Rang (Kanchanaburi)
And the above linked announcement isn't the only one, there was another in 1940 containing more subdistricts with Chin and Mon in their names removed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Remembering Saisith

While looking for more information on the book Provincial Administration and Local Government in Thailand, written in 1968 by William A. Sommers, instead of a table of contents or a recension Google instead found me an essay written by Mr. Sommers in the electronic journal American Diplomacy last month. As a municipal administrator Mr. Sommers worked as an adviser in several countries, including 1963 to 1969 in Thailand.

In the essay titled Remembering Saisith he recalls the meetings with Saisith Pornkaew (สายสิทธิ พรแก้ว). In 1966 on a field trip with the Director General of the Department of Locak Administration to Ubon Ratchathani, Mr. Sommers suggested his student Saisith as being the best candidate to become new district officer of Loeng Nok Tha. The incumbent was seriously wounded in an attack by insurgents and a replacement was needed.

For Saisith this was the beginning of a career in provincial administration, he later was province governor in Ubon Ratchathani, Sakon Nakhon, Chainat, Nan and Samut Prakan - at least those are the positions I could find in the governor lists I have. If I interpret this entry in the library catalog of the Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, it is the memorial book published on his cremation in 2006.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Village headman award

Published on October 6 was an announcement by the Department of provincial administration (DOPA) on an award for the subdistrict headmen, village headmen and assistant village headmen. A total of 58 officials from 20 provinces did get awarded for the month of September.

As the the title of the announcement already suggests, this award is given out several times in the year, and I have found three further ones from this year - in February 35 officials from 14 provinces, in March/April 114 officials in 23 province, and in May 40 officials from 17 provinces.

The actual list of the awardees for this time is in a separate PDF file, and since it is a scan of a document I cannot copy and paste its contents easily. So I only list the provinces which have an awardee this time - Kanchanaburi, Chanthaburi, Chiang Rai, Tak, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Nan, Phang Nga, Phetchaburi, Phrae, Roi Et, Ratchaburi, Rayong, Lopburi, Lamphun, Samut Songkhram, Sa Kaeo, Suphanburi, Surat Thani and Surin.

In order to get an idea what were the achievements which made these officials receive the award, I have tried to looked into the one official from Surat Thani. Phisan Klangrak (นายพิศาล กลางรักษ์), village headman of Ban Huai Rian (บ้านห้วยเรียน), village 6 of Sawait subdistrict, Tha Chang district was awarded with the following rationale
ร่วมกับเจ้าหน้าที่ตำรวจ สภ.เสรียด ได้นำหมายศาลไปขอตรวจค้นบ้านต้องสงสัยพบของกลาง ปืนลูกชองชี่งมีไว้ในครอบครองโดยผิดกฏหนายTogether with police officer of Sawiat station brought search warrants to find illegal firearms
Not sure if I typed and translated it completely right, but the meaning should be clear.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Chiang Mai district approved by cabinet

In yesterday's cabinet meeting the proposal of creating the new district Galyani Vadhana in Chiang Mai province was approved, so the Ministry of Interior can now continue to set up the new district. The date the district will officially come into existence is not given yet.

The short article of The Nation does not give as much background.
The Cabinet Tuesday approved the establishment of a new district in Chiang Mai to honour late Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana.
The new district was named Galyani Vadhana to honour the princess.
The new district has 647.58 square kilometres of area and 10,561 populations.

With more than ten thousand populations it must be a quite crowded district, but thats obviously just broken grammar. That they omit the fact that the name was not chosen by cabinet made a blogger suspect a political angle by this name selection honoring a royal in the pro-Thaksin north of Thailand.

Therefore I list the whole text from the cabinet meeting transcript.
คณะรัฐมนตรีอนุมัติหลักการร่างพระราชกฤษฎีกาตั้งอำเภอกัลยาณิวัฒนา พ.ศ. .... ตามที่กระทรวง มหาดไทยเสนอ และให้ส่งสำนักงานคณะกรรมการกฤษฎีกาตรวจพิจารณา แล้วดำเนินการต่อไปได้
1. คณะรัฐมนตรีได้มีมติ (2 ธันวาคม 2551) เห็นชอบในหลักการการจัดตั้งอำเภอวัดจันทร์เฉลิมพระเกียรติ ของจังหวัดเชียงใหม่ เป็นกรณีพิเศษ เพื่อเทิดพระเกียรติสมเด็จพระเจ้าพี่นางเธอ เจ้าฟ้ากัลยาณิวัฒนา กรมหลวงนราธิวาสราชนครินทร์ และให้กระทรวงมหาดไทยรับไปดำเนินการในรายละเอียดต่าง ๆ ตามขั้นตอนต่อไป
2. โดยที่ตำบลบ้านจันทร์ ตำบลแม่แดด และตำบลแจ่มหลวง อำเภอแม่แจ่ม จังหวัดเชียงใหม่ มีท้องที่กว้างขวาง มีชุมชนและชุมนุมการค้า มีสภาพเจริญขึ้น สมควรแยกตำบลดังกล่าวออกจากอำเภอแม่แจ่ม จังหวัดเชียงใหม่ และรวมตั้งขึ้นเป็นอำเภอกัลยาณิวัฒนา จังหวัดเชียงใหม่ ตั้งอยู่ทางทิศตะวันตกเฉียงเหนือของจังหวัดเชียงใหม่ สภาพพื้นที่โดยทั่วไปเป็นป่าและมีภูเขาสูงชันล้อมรอบ มีเนื้อที่ประมาณ 647.58 ตารางกิโลเมตร จำนวนประชากร 10,561 คน ซึ่งได้จัดเตรียมสถานที่ที่จะใช้ในการก่อสร้างที่ว่าการอำเภอ หอประชุม และบ้านพักข้าราชการไว้เรียบร้อยแล้ว
3. ได้ขอให้สำนักเลขาธิการคณะรัฐมนตรีนำความกราบบังคมทูลพระกรุณาขอพระราชทานชื่ออำเภอดังกล่าวแล้ว ซึ่งได้ทรงพระกรุณาโปรดเกล้าฯ พระราชทานชื่ออำเภอดังกล่าวว่า “อำเภอกัลยาณิวัฒนา” ตั้งแต่วันที่ 7 กรกฎาคม 2552
ให้แยกตำบลบ้านจันทร์ ตำบลแม่แดด และตำบลแจ่มหลวง ออกจากอำเภอแม่แจ่ม จังหวัดเชียงใหม่ รวมตั้งเป็นอำเภอกัลยาณิวัฒนา จังหวัดเชียงใหม่
The transcript mostly just lists the facts for the district creation:
1. that on December 2 2008 the cabinet gave the Ministry of Interior the go ahead to set up the district as a special case under the district creation rules since the normal criteria for a new district are not met.
2. that the three subdistricts Ban Chan, Mae Daet and Chaem Luang should be split off from Mae Chaem to form new district Galyani Vadhana. The new district is in the northwest of Chiang Mai province, mostly forests and hills, covering an area of 647.58 km² and a population of 10,561. Facilities to construct the district office and to house officials are already prepared.
3. HM the King has bestowed the name Galyani Vadhana on July 7
and then in one sentence states that the district creation is approved.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Subdistrict boundary definitions

On Friday, a total of five announcements were published which each contain the definitions of the boundaries of one or more subdistricts, and most interesting for my XMLs also a list of the administrative villages in these subdistricts.
1 The link points to their website, but somehow they managed to make it completely 404. The Google cache still has a little bit of its former contents.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Districts with only municipalities

Before the recent massive upgrades of subdistrict administrative organizations (TAO) to municipalities, there were only very few districts which only had municipalities and no TAO at all, interesting both island districts.
  • Ko Samui, Surat Thani - sanitary district upgraded in 1999, sanitary district covered whole district since 1973 when Ko Pha Ngan was split off.
  • Ko Sichang, Chonburi, since 2004 when TAO Tha Thewawong (ท่าเทววงษ์) was merged into municipality.
But as since 2007 a lot of the TAO get upgraded to municipalities, the number of such districts with only municipalities increased increased significantly as well. All of them just "lost" their last TAO this year, and interestingly the province Lampang has three of its southern district in this group.
  • Nong Sung, Mukdahan, with five subdistrict municipalities.
  • Nong Hin, Roi Et, with four subdistrict municipalities.
  • Thoen, Lampang, with eight subdistrict municipalities.
  • Mae Phrik, Lampang, with four subdistrict municipalities.
  • Soem Ngam, Lampang, with five subdistrict municipalities.
  • Srinagarindra, Phatthalung, with four subdistrict municipalities.
  • Mueang Suang, Roi Et, with four subdistrict municipalities.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Municipal decisions from July 21 2009

Meeting number 29 from July 21 2009 with one TAO and municipality changing their area.
  • TAO Bueng Khong Long (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลบึงโขงหลง), Bueng Khong Long district, Nong Khai province, transferring four administrative villages to the subdistrict municipality Bueng Khong Long (เทศบาลตำบลบึงโขงหลง). The villages are
    • Village 9 - Ban Sa Kaeo (หมู่ที่ ๙ บ้านสระแก้ว)
    • Village 11 - Ban Non Sawang (หมู่ที่ ๑๑ บ้านโนนสว่าง)
    • Village 12 - Ban Bueng Khong Long (หมู่ที่ ๑๒ บ้านบึงโขงหลง)
    • Village 17 - Ban Sai Thong (หมู่ที่ ๑๗ บ้านทรายทอง)

Friday, October 9, 2009

My Thai administrative entities spreadsheet

Since I linked my spreadsheet in the sidebar of this blog it gets a fair amount of downloads, but I might give it a bit more boost by actively promoting it, as well as answer the most common question around it.

The spreadsheet is a ODS file, the file format used by OpenOffice. Microsoft started to support it with Office 2007 Service Pack 2, for older versions one have to install a plugin. But due to the common demand I have added the Excel (XLS) version as well, but that will get updated much less regularly.

I started with this spreadsheet many years ago to collect the various data on the Thai provinces while slowly creating all the articles on Wikipedia. It has since grown a lot, from just two sheets with the provinces and the provinces sorted by population, area and population density, to now 24 sheets. I am only listing the most important ones here, so if you are looking for any of the following information on all the entities you have now found what you were looking for.
  • Districts (Amphoe, อำเภอ) - Population in census 1990 and 2000, area, date of creation, geocode in TIS1099, Census 1990 and 2000, (main) Postal code
  • Subdistricts (Tambon, ตำบล) - date of creation and upgrade (from Royal Gazette), geocode in TIS1099, subdistricts from which it was split off
  • Municipalities (Thesaban, เทศบาล) - dates of creation or upgrade for all five municipal levels (TAO, Sukhaphiban, Thesaban Tambon, Thesaban Mueang, Thesaban Nakhon), geocodes both by DOLA and TIS1099
  • TAO (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล) - date of creation, DOLA code, corresponding Tambon; list includes all the former TAO either abolished or upgraded to municipalities as well
The other sheets contain sometimes incomplete data, like the abolished local government units, renaming of entities, strange geocodes in the DOPA geocode list, the Sakha Tambon (still don't know what these were in fact), as well as a few source tables like the full postcodes with all exceptions. Some of these auxiliary sheets I haven't updated in the spreadsheet anymore once I started with using the XMLs of my coding project, for example the many name and spelling changes.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Upgrade of Samrong Tai subdistrict municipality to a town

Published on October 1st was the official announcement on the upgrade of the subdistrict municipality Samrong Tai (เทศบาลตำบลสำโรงใต้) to a town municipality (thesaban mueang, เทศบาลเมือง).

This upgrade was just decided in the board meeting of June 24, the announcement was signed on August 20. However the announcement does not state the date the upgrade is taking effect, it only says "ทั้งนี้ ตั้งแต่บัคนี้เป็นต้นไป" which means "effective after this announcement is published". In the board meeting however it was set to be effective on August 7.

As the upgrade was done quite recently, the website of the municipality still shows the term "thesaban tambon" (เทศบาลตำบล) in many places, it seems that so far only the page footer has been changed to "thesaban mueang" (เทศบาลเมือง) already.

Interestingly this upgrade was the latest of the newly created town municipalities, there are still several similar upgrades already decided in the board meetings which however haven't made it into the Royal Gazette - the last similar announcement dates from 2007, so all those upgrades decided in 2008 and 2009 are not yet officially announced.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Urban and rural sanitary districts

I knew that back at the beginning of the sanitary districts in Thailand, there were two kinds of these districts created. At first the urban sanitary districts (สุขาภิบาลเมือง, Sukhaphiban Mueang) in the urban areas, and the rural sanitary districts (สุขาภิบาลตำบล, Sukhaphiban Tambon), both officially codified in law by the 1914 Local Administration Act. As an example, the first rural sanitary district was Tha Chalom, the precursor of the modern day municipality Samut Sakhon, whereas the first urban sanitary district was located within Bangkok. In 1935 all 35 sanitary districts were upgraded to municipalities (Gazette), and for the new sanitary districts created since 1950 I never knew about any distinction between those entities.

But now I found in one section of the book The Management of Secondary Cities in Southeast Asia on the Urban Areas in Nakhon Ratchasima province a list of the various kinds of municipal areas, which includes 17 town (urban) and 20 rural sanitary districts. This book is from 1996, so just few years before the sanitary districts again were all upgraded to full municipalities. Thus these two levels must have been in existence for the second generation of sanitary districts as well, probably this act wasn't amended ever since on this issue. However, all the announcements on the creation of sanitary districts only use the word Sukhaphiban (สุขาภิบาล) without specifying the level, for example the 1956 creation of sanitary district Khanom (Gazette). Thus the thing I need to find now is a list of the 980 sanitary districts with the information of whether they are urban or rural sanitary districts.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mayor elections in Chiang Mai

Courts disqualifying politicians becomes quite a regular thing in Thailand, not only members of parliament, senators or whole parties are disqualified in Bangkok, also local government leaders now often get removed from office in that way. Of those reported here it was the governor of Bangkok who resigned just after his re-election and before court could issue such a demand or the PAO chairman in Surat Thani who then stumbled upwards to become a member of parliament.

Another one I just noticed today was the mayor of Chiang Mai city municipality (เทศบาลนครเชียงใหม่) when reading the results of the election help on October 4. The previous mayor, Duantemduang na Chiang Mai, had to resign after in April a court ruled that she wasn't eligible for election in 2007 because she did not reside long enough in the city. Actually, she did reside there, but the court interpreted the law in such a way that she was required to own a house, the tax receipts were not enough to proof her residence. After some confusion the new elections were finally held last Sunday, and Duantemduang did run again for the post - but not successfully, she only got on 3rd position with just 11.8% of the valid non-abstain votes. The official results as of October 6 are as follows:
1ร้อยเอกหญิงเดือนเต็มดวง ณ เชียงใหม่Duantemduang na Chiang Mai6958 11.8%
2นายทัศนัย บูรณุปกรณ์Tassanai Buranupakorn2438441.4%
3นายเพทาย เตโชฬารPetai Techolan17473.0%
4นายวัลลภ แซ่เตี๋ยวWanlop Saetiao54659.3%
5นายวิชัย วงศ์ไชยWichai Wongchai13542.3%
6นายพรชัย จิตรนวเสถียรPhonchai Chitnawasathian55249.4%
7นางวิภาวัลย์ วรพุฒิพงค์Wipawan Woraputthipong1319722.4%
8นางอารีย์ อุดมศิริธำรงAri Udomsirithamrong610.1%
9นายบารมี พจนามธุรสBarami Photchana540.1%
10นายเทพโยธินฐ ไชยรัตน์Thepyothin Chairat1490.3%

Monday, October 5, 2009

Paying for jobs

The following quote I found in the 1976 book Modern Thai politics in the introduction to the chapter on national politics.
In recent years, for example, the former Deputy Prime Minister Marshal Prapat had control over the hiring, firing and transferring of provincial governors and district officers. In addition, he controlled hundreds of bureaucratic positions in the Ministry of the Interior. As such, throughout the Kingdom, there were literally thousands of bureaucrats who owed their job to Prapat and who were accountable to him. These persons sent monetary gifts to Prapat and to their more immediate patrons as a sign of gratitude and as insurance that their jobs would remain secure.
Google Books
Praphat Jarusathien (ประภาส จารุเสถียร, 1912-1997) was Ministry of Interior from 1957 till 1973. I don't know whether the described corrupt system was continued after the 1973 revolution, or it was limited to the rule of Praphat as Interior Minister. But it's interested to see that just recently for the 2009 province governor reshuffle such allegations surfaced again.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

One Tambon One Photo

Last month an old fellow from the Thai forums contacted me to discuss his idea of creating a Thailand offspring of Geograph. Geograph is a Web 2.0 project which aims to collect representative photographs and information on every square kilometer of Great Britain and Ireland. The project is very successful, as one can see in the map to the right many areas a fully red, the color chosen for squares having at least one photo. A German offspring has been launched already as well, but there the map is still green almost everywhere - I did not heard about that one before, but now already uploaded some of my photo stock from my home country.

But this blog is on Thailand, and it is just a natural idea to extend this project to more countries, so he had this idea but not the ability to set up and host such a big site. Besides, to make a Geograph Thailand really work it must be bilingual, most Thai would be too shy to contribute on an English only website, and without Thai contributors it will be hard to get much content. So in order to promote this idea and find more co-workers, he instead now started a blog titled "One Tambon One Photo", to collect and present a representative photo for each of the 7255 subdistricts (Tambon). With a daily posting, this blog can run for 19 years without repeating itself, though quite clearly it will get more difficult once the touristic hotspots have been covered. Yet I am sure there are many potential non-Thai contributors who'd like to present their photos from remote places, so this blog could become a fun collaborative project as well as just interesting to read.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Subdistrict area change in Bang Khae, Bangkok

Among the creations of new subdistricts in Bangkok was one announcement which only changed the outline of the subdistricts without splitting off a new one. In Bang Khae district (บางแค) the boundaries of the three subdistricts were adjusted. The (Gazette) announcement includes a map with the new boundaries, and at the creation of Bang Khae in 1997 the subdistricts boundaries were also defined and displayed on a map (Gazette), so it is possible to compare the two maps and see the changes. I have done an approximate map with Google Maps - whereas the new boundaries are easy as the follow the main roads Phetkasem and Kanchanaphisek and the Khlong Bang Waek, the old boundary of Lak Song subdistrict was not that easy to identify and therefore my map is probably not fully accurate.

The change of boundaries is actually the change of outline of this subdistrict Lak Song, which previously covered the southwestern corner of Bang Khae. The area north of Phetkasem came to Bang Khae Nuea, whereas the area west of Kanchanaphisek road previously belonging to Bang Khae came to Lak Song.

View Khwaeng Bang Khae 2009 in a larger map

As that 1997 map is the oldest I don't know if or how the outline of the subdistricts was changed at that time, the Wikipedia article suggests there were changes at that time as well.