Friday, July 30, 2010

Twentieth century impressions of Siam

The 1908 book "Twentieth century impressions of Siam", edited by Arnold Wright and published in 1908 was recently scanned and made online by The section about the administrative system, which by that year had the thesaphiban reforms implemented all over the country, reads as following
In 1894 the internal administration was reorganised, and the whole of the country placed under the administration of the Ministry of the Interior with the exception of the capital and the surrounding provinces. An Act similar to the British Act applying to Burma has been adopted for the government of the great mass of the people in the provinces of the interior. Each hamlet, consisting of about ten houses, has its elected elder. The elders in their turn elect a headman for the village, a village consisting of ten hamlets. The Government appoints an "amphur" with petty magisterial powers who has jurisdiction over a group of villages. "Muangs," or provinces, are each in the charge of a governor, and the governors are in their turn directly responsible to the High Commissioners, who are at the head of the thirteen monthons, or circles, into which the country is divided.

The Commissioners meet once a year at the Ministry of Justice, and, under the presidency of the Minister of the Interior, report upon the work that has been accomplished and discuss the future programme. Gradually this assembly of the High Commissioners is becoming quite an important feature in the government of the country.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Outstanding district officer award 2010

Today the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA) announced the 12 finalists for the 2010 outstanding district officer award (นายอำเภอที่มีผลงานดีเด่นระดับเขต ประจำปี 2553).

The finalists per area are the following. Note that since I only have the names in Thai, the romanized names follow the RTGS transcription, however it is quite possible the officers in real use a different spelling.
  • Area 1 (Chiang Mai, Tak, Mae Hong Son, Lampang, Lamphun): Udom Chantamai (นายอุดม จันตาใหม่), district officer of Mueang Pan, Lampang.
  • Area 2 (Chiang Rai, Nan, Phrae, Sukhothai, Uttaradit): Songri Kaeosut (นายทรงฤทธิ์ แก้วสุทธิ), district officer of Rong Kwang, Phrae.
  • Area 3 (Kamphaeng Phet, Nakhon Sawan, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phetchabun, Charat Simun): Phibun Hattagitgoson (นายจรัส ศรีมูล), district officer of Sai Thong Watthana, Kamphaeng Phet.
  • Area 4 (Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Pathum Thani, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Samut Songkhram, Samut Sakhon, Ang Thong): Rewat Amphawanon (นายเรวัต อัมพวานนท์), district officer of Nakhon Luang, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Area 5 (Chachoengsao, Nakhon Nayok, Prachinburi, Lopburi, Saraburi, Singburi): Naowarat Thutranon (นายเนาวรัตน์ ธูสรานนท์), district officer of Khai Bang Rachan, Sing Buri.
  • Area 6 (Chanthaburi, Chonburi, Trat, Rayong, Samut Prakan, Sa Kaeo): Thiraphon Nutnarot Sirinamuwat (นายธีรพล ศิรินานุวัฒน์), district officer of Khlong Hat, Sa Kaeo.
  • Area 7 (Kanchanaburi, Chainat, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi, Ratchaburi, Suphanburi): Wirasak Wichisaengsi (นายวีระศักดิ์ วิจิตร์แสงศรี), district officer of Doem Bang Nang Buat, Suphanburi.
  • Area 8 (Nakhon Phanom, Loei, Sakon Nakhon, Nong Khai, Nong Bua Lamphu, Udon Thani): Nikhom Sirisingsangchai (นายนิคม ศิริสิงห์สังชัย), district officer of Kut Chap, Udon Thani. He was already selected in 2009 as well.
  • Area 9 (Khon Kaen, Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buriram, Maha Sarakham, Suri): Wimun Ratnaponwong (นายวิบูลย์ รัตนาภรณ์วงศ์), district officer of Rattanaburi, Surin.
  • Area 10 (Kalasin, Mukdahan, Yasothon, Roi Et, Sisaket, Amnat Charoen, Ubon Ratchathani): Loetbut Kongthong (นายเลิศบุศย์ กองทอง), district officer of Kham Muang, Kalasin.
  • Area 11 (Chumphon, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Ranong, Surat Thani, Krabi, Phang Nga, Phuket): Thawon Khongkaeo (นายถาวร คงแก้ว), district officer of Phrom Khiri, Nakhon Si Thammarat.
  • Area 12 (Trang, Phatthalung, Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, Songkhla, Satun): Chamlong Kraidid (นายจำลอง ไกรดิษฐ์), district officer of Rueso, Narathiwat.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

City pillar shrine for Chonburi

Some weeks ago Richard Barrow made an mobile blogging tour to some attractions in Chonburi province. Reporting live on Twitter on his trip, once he reached the Phra Phutthasihing Pavilion close to the government offices I wondered whether the city pillar shrine isn't located close to that place as well, as it is in many provinces.

At first, Google found an article at, where it was claimed that this shrine is also the city pillar shrine. The author of that placemark wrote
In other shrines I have seen there have been pillars or other secular material of some sort in the shrine, identifying the province. Not so here. Also, I have not been able to find a written source that identifies the shrine as the Lak Mueang of Chonburi. Piecing together verbal accounts from city officials, it seems that this building is both the City Pillar Shrine and a Buddhist shrine, a dual purpose.
Since Richard wasn't able to find any pillar-like structure there nor any other hint of it being the city pillar shrine, I tried to find other source. Finally the Pattaya Mail issue from April 25 2008 gave a better hint - the article titled Women’s prison to make way for city shrine states that a city pillar shrine is planned to be built at the site currently occupied by the women's prison, which is to be relocated to a more spacious site. As this was from 2008, one should expect some development there by now. However, Richard tweeted
There is a prison opposite but the guard tower seems manned.
So it seems Chonburi in fact has no city pillar shrine yet, unlike what I was expecting. When I was researching for the Wikipedia article on the city pillars, I found one source which states that in 1992 it was decreed that all province should have such a shrine. It is rather surprising that a quite wealthy province like Chonburi did not built one yet.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Municipal decisions from June 9 2010

Meeting number 26 from June 9 2010 with one TAO upgraded to a subdistrict municipality.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Carreer of the new DOPA chief

In April, the Department of Provincial Administration got a new director (see my posting back then), Mongkhon Surasatcha (นายมงคล สุระสัจจะ, also often transcribed Mongkol Surasajja). Some weeks ago DOPA also reorganized their website, and among other changed a new page on to their director was added. Quite interesting is his career through the various administrative posts and levels.

1979-01-081994-10-15Assistant district officer (ปลัดอำเภอ) Si Chiang Mai district, Nong Khai province
1994-10-161996-06-16Head district officer (นายอำเภอ) Si Songkhram district, Nakhon Phanom province
1996-06-171996-10-13Chief of the Security Affairs Group 4
(หัวหน้าฝ่าย 4 กองงานความมั่นคง)
1996-10-142000-11-21Head district officer That Phanom district, Nakhon Phanom province
2000-11-222001-12-10Head district officer Ban Na district, Nakhon Nayok province
2001-12-112003-02-08Head district officer Khlong Luang district, Pathum Thani province
2003-02-092004-09-30Director of Information Technology and Communication division, Ministry of Interior (ผู้อำนวยการศูนย์เทคโนโลยีสารสนเทศและการสื่อ สารกระทรวงมหาดไทย)
2004-10-012007-06-03Deputy province governor (รองผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัด) Buriram province
2007-06-042008-10-19Deputy province governor Sisaket province
2008-10-202009-09-30Province governor (ผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัด) Buriram province
2009-10-012010-04-27Director-General of the Community Development Department (อธิบดีกรมการพัฒนาชุมชน)
2010-04-28Director of Department of Provincial Administration (อธิบดีกรมการปกครอง)

I also noticed, that his appointment was also published in the Royal Gazette, although two months after it was announced and took effect - Volume 127, Issue พิเศษ 81 ง, Page 38, published 2010-06-30, titled คำสั่งกระทรวงมหาดไทย ที่ ๒๐๒/๒๕๕๓ เรื่อง แต่งตั้งเจ้าพนักงานออกบัตร (นายมงคล สุระสัจจะ).

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bangkok Constituency 6

Though it is only a by-election this Sunday to find a replacement for the deceased Member of Parliament Tiva Ngernyuang (ทิวา เงินยวง), the fact that it is so short after the red shirt riots and also close to where these took place makes this a kind of showdown between the government Democrat party and the opposition Phuea Thai party. While I leave the actual coverage of this election to the political blogs, the location of this constituency is something within this blog's scope.

For the nation wide elections, Bangkok is subdivided into 12 constituencies which each elect three member of parliament - given the high population its no wonder that Bangkok is the province with the highest number of seats. The second place goes to Nakhon Ratchasima, which has 16 seats in 6 constituencies. The constituencies currently in use are those defined for the December 2007 general election, and were published in the Royal Gazette in November 2007. With only a few exceptions, the constituencies cover whole districts, and since there is no such exception in Bangkok its rather easy to create a map with all the constituencies right from that announcement.

The table content of the announcement, only transcribing the Thai names and numbers, reads as follows:
1.486,1053Dusit, Phra Nakhon, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Samphanthawong, Bang Rak, Pathum Wan, Ratchathewi
2.488,7703Sathon, Bang Kho Laem, Yan Nawa, Khlong Toei, Watthana
3.454,9813Din Daeng, Huai Khwang, Wang Thong Lang, Lat Phrao
4.512,6493Bang Sue, Lak Si, Chatuchak, Phaya Thai
5.512,0993Bang Khen, Sai Mai, Don Mueang
6.497,5193Nong Chok, Khlong Sam Wa, Khan Na Yao, Bueng Kum
7.500,0793Bang Kapi, Saphan Sung, Minburi, Lat Krabang
8.461,6823Suan Luang, Prawet, Bang Na, Phra Khanong
9.467,9923Thonburi, Khlong Sam, Bangkok Yai, Chom Thong
10.441,2993Rat Burana, Thung Khru, Bang Khun Thian, Ban Bon
11.458,0143Phasi Charoen, Bang Khae, Nong Khaem
12.414,7673Bang Phlat, Bangkok Noi, Taling Chan, Thawi Watthana

In case you look for the constituencies of the other provinces and cannot read the Thai in the announcement well, Adam Carr has made maps with the original results of the 2007 election showing all of the constituencies country-wide.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Country boundaries in Google Earth

Yesterday, on the Google LatLong blog better country boundary depictions were announced for both Google Earth and Google Maps, especially taking into account disputed boundaries. The Thai boundary has become more detailed, and if you compare the picture below with the screen shot from February at Ogle Earth a new dotted line has been added and the original boundary line close to the Thai claims has disappeared.

Preah Vihear area with disputed boundary line, Google Maps

The other place on the Thai-Cambodian boundary where it has quite a tense situation between both armies over yet another Khmer temple ruins is Prasat Ta Muen Thom, where (at least from the Thai view) the boundary is beyond this temple, but the current boundary displayed the ruins right into Cambodia - and here there's not even a dotted line. Ogle Earth's analysis of this new feature in the maps also mentions these two Thailand examples.

But keep the nationalist furor down - Google does not define the national boundaries, they only try their best to show them in their great software, so this latest step of showing where there are disputes and a clear boundary cannot be shown is the right next step. They only need to identify all of the places where the boundary isn't clear yet. And that's not easy, not only are there these two locations where the boundary is disputed between Cambodia and Thailand, also quite recently I learned from an article in The Nation that there are also many issues lingering for the Thai-Burmese boundary. And back in 1984 there was even a short military fighting at the Thai-Laotian boundary over two villages, not sure if at least this part of the Thai boundary is completely settled by now.

Such boundary issues will also complicate the setup of Geograph Thailand, since it is impossible to decide which 1x1 kilometer square belongs to Thailand and which one not. And since most of the boundary is in dense jungle and also often not allowed to enter anyway, let alone to cross it at any place except the official border crossing, it won't be possible to take as many boundary photographs as I did at the German-Dutch boundary in the German Geograph - thanks to Schengen the country boundaries in Euroland are often hardly noticeable.

But while the country boundary is the easiest to create misunderstandings, actually for me much more interesting would be more accurate boundaries of the administrative subdivisions. Google Earth does show the Tambon boundaries, Google Maps only the province boundaries, but better accuracy of these would be high on my wishlist. For a forthcoming posting I was trying to find the boundary of Tambon Talad in Surat Thani city, and Google is quite off from the actual location of the boundary - though it is by far not the only map with such big inaccuracies.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

District museum brochures - mission impossible

When I found out last year that the BMA local museums offer their visitors a nice Thai language brochure about their district, I have tried to collect as many of these brochures as possible. So in my vacation last year I visited as many of these museums as possible, and could get seven of them. Though I had no hopes to visit all of the remaining museums this year, I could do another five - I will post reports on the visits in my travel blog within the next months - now after this visit my hopes to get the whole set of the brochures are now shattered. In two of the museums I had to ask for the brochure, and the clerk found one in the depth of the desk, only in Bang Sue there was still a pile right at the counter, but in two museums this brochure was no longer available. Especially for Bang Rak this is easy to understand, as the district museum is within the Bangkok Folk museum, a very recommendable museum and thus much more often visited than the other district museums located in schools or temples. For Dusit district it may be similar, as the district museum is right next to the Kiak Kai children museum, so maybe also has relatively many visitors.

Already before I posted about the brochures last year I tried to contact the Bangkok tourist office without any reaction, and earlier this year I tried again all the tourist offices available. The main TAT office replied that they don't have them and offered an alternative brochure on museums; the German branch office send me a general museum brochure - nice and interesting, but not the one I was asking for. And the Bangkok tourist office - again no reaction at all. My final hope was to visit the Bangkok tourist office in person, but either the clerk did not get which brochures I was asking for, or they really had none of them on stock and sent them all to the museums. I only got a small book on the various museums around Bangkok - lots of ideas for future trips, but again not what I wanted.

So unless there will be a second edition of the brochures, thanks to the ignorance of the Bangkok tourist office I will only have an incomplete selection of them. I still cannot understand why they did not at least took the time to answer that they don't have it. Actually, they should have tried hard to get them, since I made clear mention of my blogging activities. By writing my reports I am in fact doing work for them for free, more and more travelers use the internet and blogs when planning a trip. I am quite disappointed by their job attitude, though it won't stop me from writing more articles and doing the promotion they should do themselves.

Enough ranting. Though I now won't be able to collect the whole set, I still want to have as many of the brochures as possible. Now owning nine of 27, there are still 16 which may still be available. However when I can come to Bangkok again someday next year, the chances of still getting any will be even lower than now. And to make it worse, I already visited all the museums which are relatively easy to reach with walking and public transport, the remaining are more remote. But if any of the Bangkok residents reading my blog wants to help me, I clearly would appreciate it - though modest these museums are worth visiting to learn a bit about the respective district. The locations of these museums can be easily seen in my Google map.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Municipal decisions from April 7 2010

Meeting number 18 from April 7 2010 with one change of municipal areas.
  • Separating some area from Ban Luang subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตำบลบ้านหลวง) and reassign it to Chom Thong municipality (เทศบาลตำบลจอมทอง). Even though Ban Luang was upgraded last October, it has no new council yet since the constituency definition wasn't finished yet. The areas in question are the villages 1 to 4 - Ban Thaen Kham (บ้านแท่นคำ), Ban Lum Tai (บ้านลุ่มใต้), Ban Luang Tai (บ้านหลวงใต้) and Ban Mae Klang (บ้านแม่กลาง).

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bueng Kan province - geocode and constituencies

While there's no news yet on the Bueng Kan province proposal, which is supposed to be discussed in cabinet next, there are a few smaller things to note while the proposal is in the waiting loop.

On the main Thai webforum I found a thread which was around the geocode, or actually more the postal code, for the new province, only strangely it was removed few hours after I discovered it and is now a 404. But anyway the author wondered which code will be assigned to the new province, and since he knew that the only number free in the number range of the North-Eastern provinces is the 38 he actually answered his own question directly. But then he wondered why it is this number which is free - something which I could find the explanation when I discovered about the regions in the 1950s, which were simply numbered from 1 to 9. While there are now 7 provinces in the original region 3, the region 4 has now 11 province, so the 39 has been used instead. Bueng Kan will be the 12th province of region 4, filling the last hole in the number range. Any further province in the northeast then probably should get the 29...

Since I just discovered how to calculate the number of constituencies for each province, it's interesting to check what effect the creation of the new province will have on the constituency numbers. It's not necessarily so easy that the six constituencies of Nong Khai province will simple be split between the two provinces, since it depends a lot on the residue population after the first round of constituencies are spread. Using the numbers as of December 31 2009, Nong Khai gets three constituencies in the first round, while Bueng Kan is the 31st of 34 provinces to get an additional seat in the second round. When calculating without Bueng Kan, then Nong Khai get 5 seats in first round and is the 20th of 34 to get an additional seat. So while it looks that the 6 constituencies were simply split, this is in fact more of a coincidence that it turns out to give this result.

Friday, July 16, 2010

GIS in local authorities

For whatever reason the GIS magazine Geo was sent to my workplace, with the current issue headlined to be around GIS in local administration. The main article on the topic is GIS in Modern Local Authorities, though mostly on the applications of GIS inside the administration, while normal citizen like me will only notice those parts of the GIS which is made public on the websites.

Now though I check websites of local authorities in Thailand a lot, I rarely see anything of GIS on the websites - if there are maps at all, it is often hand-drawn sketch like maps. Only few have Google Maps included on their website, and the cases where they have a more detailed Google map are so rare, the one I found last year is still the only such elaborate one.

The websites where I found GIS more often are the websites of the provincial administrations. As usual, the province I check most is Surat Thani, and on their website is a public GIS based on ESRI's arcGIS. Yet the most useful part of that GIS for my purposes so far are the boundaries of the municipalities and subdistricts of the province.

However, as a scientist by education, the most interesting article in the magazine is the article See the ground beneath your feet about the OpenGeoScience project - mapping the geological layers in the UK.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday linkage

A few postings from neighboring blogs on topic related with this blog.
  • Tweet yourself Thai has a lesson with the vocabulary for the Bangkok constituency 6 by-election on July 25.
  • Korat Weekends visits the city pillar shrine in Nakhon Ratchasima city.
  • New Mandala has a posting on the history and structure of the judiciary branch in Thailand. As this is part of a series, it will be even more interesting once they write on those structures I focus on.
The photo in this posting shows the provincial coat of arms of Ranong, taken on a fence right next to the province hall. It's a small teaser to a posting on the administrative offices of this province, since I visited there recently I now have the photos and only need to write the posting.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Special administrative area Mae Sot approved by cabinet

Wondering if the new municipal council of Mae Sot has been finally been elected after the upgrade of the municipality in January, I found a news article which tells that the drawing of the constituency boundaries is still not finished, and therefore the election has been delayed for 45 days a fourth time already. The delay was partially due to the provincial Election Commission having to adjust the constituencies in Tak province for the next general election first.

However, the most interesting point comes at the end of the article. It states that although the special administrative area Mae Sot has been approved by cabinet already, the municipal election has to take place now and cannot wait until the law to established this new administrative unit has been approved by parliament and set into effect.

As there was apparently no mention of this in the English language press except an article of the Public Relations Department, I almost missed that this special administrative unit is already a draft law, unlike for Ko Samui where there was still discussion on the details last month. Via another news article I could then find the actual cabinet meeting transcript. The special administrative area (องค์กรปกครองส่วนท้องถิ่นรูปแบบพิเศษ) Mae Sot was point one of the agenda of the June 22 meeting, and the main points of the forthcoming law are listed in there.

The new entity is to be named Nakhon Mae Sot (นครแม่สอด), and will be created by merging the current city municipality Mae Sot (เทศบาลนครแม่สอด) and subdistrict municipality Tha Sai Luat (เทศบาลตำบลท่าสายลวด). Though there are no details, it seems to me that similar to the special administrative areas Bangkok and Pattaya the new entity will take over parts of the provincial administration as well, as well as receiving a higher amount of the tax revenue collected in the city. The administration will consist of an elected council and mayor, as well as an advisory board. The city will not be completely independent, but still is supervised by the Ministry of Interior, who has the power to ask the mayor to clarify issues on the city performance.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New offices on Ko Samui

District office
While googeling to check if there are any new districts in the planning currently, the search term "อำเภอใหม่" (new district) did return me one article at the nathoncity website talking about the opening ceremony of the new district office for Ko Samui with deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban (สุเทพ เทือกสุบรรณ) leading the ceremony. I knew the district office is rather small and located in middle of Nathon town, so it would be feasible that a completely new building was constructed, so to keep my maps up to date I asked the blogger Camille on Samui to check it out for details.

He could directly deny that there is a new district office, the old one only had received a major reconstruction. Though I had been on Samui once several years ago, I did not take photos of the administrative offices at that time, so I asked him to do so when he has time and is in the area. Faster than expected, he did the tour and wrote about it in his blog.

As you can notice in his posting, it turned out that the municipality Ko Samui had built a new office recently, located close to the old municipal office building. Actually a bit hidden, as Camille only noticed it this time despite driving past many times. As in most cases, within the municipal compound there's also the fire station, and the base station for the garbage collection trucks.

Not mentioned in his posting is the district office, about which he said it received some renovations, and also now has more parking space. If you take a close look at his photo placed in top of the posting, you'd notice that the sign actually says "Koh Samui District" - not following the RTGS transcription system usually used in the government offices. The recommended transcription in Ko Samui, but the spelling Koh for the Thai word "island" (เกาะ) is so widespread it seems the Royal Institute cannot eradicate it - same as Pattaya should actually be transcribed as Phatthaya.

And in fact there is even a third newly built administrative office, as the provincial court Ko Samui (ศาลจังหวัดเกาะสมุย)in the south of the island was opened only few years ago. I marked all three buildings in the map below, but note that the municipal building is hardly visible because it is located directly at the boundary between hires and just recently added medium resolution imagery, thus a bit blurred. And since the hires data is from 2003, there's obviously no trace of the new building in there.

View Samui administrative offices in a larger map

So, many thanks to Camille for providing me with the information as well as allowing me to use his photos for display here. Now whenever the special administrative area of Ko Samui gets closer to be set up I have at least a photo of the municipal office to decorate the posting.

Monday, July 12, 2010

How to calculate the constituencies per province

When I wrote about the constituency changes for the next national election, I only said there's an algorithm to calculate those numbers. I did not research that point further, but when nudged by a reader comment I can now not only give reference to this algorithm, I even created some code to calculate numbers myself, so I can even shed even more light on those two changes.

It turns out that already the 1997 constitution (unofficial translation) lays down the algorithm. In Section 102 it says
2. The determination of the ratio of the number of inhabitants to one member shall be made by reference to the division of such number of inhabitants throughout the country as evidenced in the census announced in the year preceding the year of election by the number of four hundred members of the House of Representatives.
3. The number of members of the House of Representatives of each Changwat [electoral district] shall be determined by the division of the number of inhabitants in that Changwat [electoral district] by such number of inhabitants per one member as determined under paragraph two. Any Changwat [electoral district] with inhabitants below the number of inhabitants per one member under paragraph two shall have one member of the House of Representative. Any Changwat [electoral district] with more inhabitants than the number of inhabitants per one member shall have an additional member of the House of Representatives for every such number of inhabitants as representing the number of inhabitants per one member.
4. Upon the number of members of the House of Representatives of each Changwat [electoral district] being obtained under paragraph three, if the number of members of the House of Representatives is still less than four hundred, any Changwat [electoral district] with the largest fraction remaining from the determination under paragraph three shall have an additional member of the House of Representatives and the addition of the members of the House of Representatives in accordance with such procedure shall be made to Changwat [electoral district]s in respective order of fractions remaining from the determination under paragraph three until the number of four hundred is obtained.
Coding this was really straightforward, only need the theoretical number of votes per one parliament seat, then divide the province population by this number and take the integer part of the result, and if this is smaller than one use one. The fractional part is then sorted and all the remaining seats are put according to that order.

Using the DOPA numbers of 20091 I could not only reproduce the numbers in the latest announcement, but also by repeating the same for 2008 and 2007 I found out that Yasothon lost its constituency to Nonthaburi with the 2007 population numbers, and Chiang Mai its seat to Songkhla with the 2009 numbers.

The same algorithm also works for the constituencies for the PAO councils. For example the 30 seats of the Surat Thani PAO council are - according to a 2004 announcement - split to 5 seats for Mueang district, 3 for Phunphin and Kanchanadit, 2 for Ban Na San, Wiang Sa and Phrasaeng, and one for each of the other districts. And exactly this result I could reproduce with the 2003 population numbers of Surat Thani province.

While looking for the algorithm, I also found the following interesting paper by Michael H. Nelson titled A Proportional Election System for Thailand, in which the author advocates the German electoral system for Thailand. Not directly related with this posting, but wanted to share that paper.

1The link currently does not work, because in the DOPA website reorganization in June the population numbers of 2009 were accidentally removed from the site.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Videos on the district museums

Actually I was trying to find the location of the BMA local museum of Nong Chok district (พิพิธภัณฑ์ท้องถิ่นเขตหนองจอก), as this is the only one which is missing in my Google map of these museums. But when I opened its entry in the local museum database, to my surprise it now showed a video as well, which wasn't present there last year. In turns out that the makers of the Thai website uploaded videos of several museums around Bangkok, including for two of the district museums. Hope there'll be more, even though it's of course only in Thai.

Nong Chok

Bangkok Noi

Thursday, July 8, 2010

2010 census started

On July 1st the 2010 national wide population census has started, with data gathered until September 1st. With the start of the census, there were also a few English language news reports, which contain some interesting quotes.

The article "PM stressed importance of Population Census" by the News bureau of the government's Public relations department says
Speaking on Thursday at the event in support of the up-coming Population and Housing Census 2010, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of Population Census for the country development as the updated information will be used in planning and adopting policies for the country’s infrastructure.
The information collecting process is due to finish within four months, while the population survey is supposed to be analyzed and summarized within six months. The government calls for accuracy as the information will be used for at least the next 10 years.

The online news site Phuketwan in its article goes into much more detail on the expected effects of the census data for the island, especially the budget issues.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to Phuket making progress has been the mean budget allocation from Bangkok. The budget is based on the needs of the 320,000 registered Thai citizens of Phuket - estimated to be about 50 percent of the actual Thai population.
Using realistic figures for statistics would also destroy the notion that Phuket is somehow more dangerous - the island is said to have larger HIV infection rates and a higher road toll - when the comparisons are based on a false number of residents.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Nai Amphoe Noi

Already for the second time, the Department of Provincial Administration is doing a summer camp for older children to learn about government service. It is titled Nai Amphoe Noi (นายอำเภอน้อย), which means something like "junior district head officer". Since the district office is the administrative office every Thai will have to visit - it houses the civil registry, so every time a Thai relocates, marriages, register children, as well as renew the ID card, they have to go to this office. So it's not surprising the head of this office was chosen as the career model to introduce government to youths. Fitting to the young target group, the corresponding website is of course full with animations.

To join in this summer camp, one has to
  • Be in the first three years of secondary education (ม.1-ม.3), i.e. between 12 to 14 years of age.
  • Apply as a group of three children from one school.
  • Groups has to submit a proposal on how to reduce global warming in their home district.
However, it is already to late to join, as the plan had to be submitted by June 18. By now, the 20 winning teams to join the actual camp have already been chosen. The final round will then be held in July or August. Since this project has made it into a second year already, I won't be surprised that it will become a regular annual one.

Funny detail - when looking at the hires version of the logo on the download page, the armband of the Manga-like child shows quite strange characters π"-Õ and so on. Some small charset problem, apparently their drawing software does not use Unicode. On the poster however it show correct Thai characters.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Constituency changes for national election

Even though it is still not clear when there will be the next election for the national parliament, the Election Commission has already adjusted the number of constituencies and parliament seats to the changes in population in the provinces. Comparing the lists published in Royal Gazette last week with the corresponding on from 2007, there are only four provinces where any changes were done.
  • Chiang Mai: 10 seats in 4 constituencies (2007: 11 in 4), population decreased by 25,750
  • Nonthaburi: 7 seats in 3 constituencies (2007: 6 in 2), population increase by 79,014
  • Yasothon: 3 seats in 1 constituency (2007: 4 in 2), population decrease by 12,082
  • Songkhla: 9 seats in 3 constituencies (2007: 8 in 3), population increase by 26,453
While at first look it is a bit suspicious that two provinces loose seats which are in the stronghold of the opposition Phuea Thai party, and a southern province as a stronghold of the Democrat party gains a seat, these changes are done according to a fixed algorithm following the population numbers, so there is not foul play here.

Since this announcement does not state yet which of the constituencies in these province will change its multiplicity as well as the boundary changes where the number of constituencies changed, there must be more announcements forthcoming before the next election can be held.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Preconditions for creating new provinces

Since it seems like Thailand will get a new province soon, it is worth to take a look at the official preconditions for any proposal of a new province receiving the approval of the Ministry Of Interior. These rules are defined by the cabinet, and same as for districts and the other subdivisions these are quoted in the Royal Gazette every time a petition to create a new province is filed to the parliament.

The latest such petition dates from 2004, and was about splitting the province Lopburi into a new province Phra Narai (จังหวัดพระนารายณ์, the area around the town Lopburi) and the remainder province to be renamed to Chai Badan. While the proposal obviously did not make it, the Gazette posting including the answer by the Ministry of Interior contains the then-current preconditions for a new province. I am not aware of any changes in these rules in the meantime, but even they were changed in the meantime those rules are worth writing down in English. This set of rules was defined on December 8 1981, hopefully I have translated them correctly.
  1. Both the new province as well as the remainder province should have an area of more than 5,000 square kilometer.
  2. Both the new province as well as the remainder province should have at least 6 districts (including minor districts).
  3. Both the new province as well as the remainder province should have a population of at least 300,000.
  4. The province has a security problems, being too wide or long, or other inconvenience for the citizen.
  5. The population has to benefit from the new province.
  6. Already has established authorities for a new province (like a province court), and has land to build a new government center without the need of budget to acquire the land. The district of the new government center must be ready economically.
  7. No problem with the necessary staff for the various government offices to hire at or move to the new province center.
  8. Approval of the population, the local government entities as well as the districts and province heads to create a new province.
  9. Tax revenue of the new and the remainder province of at least 2.5 million Baht.
  10. New province has historical reasons, or important political reasons

Friday, July 2, 2010

Chumchon administrative posts

On the website of the subdistrict municipality Phon Sa (เทศบาลตำบลโพนสา), Tha Bo district, Nong Khai province, I for the first time noticed not just a list of the boroughs (Chumchon, ชุมชน), but also both the leader of each one, and even more all the other boroughs officials. There are a total of six boroughs.
  • Santi Tham (ชุมชนสันติธรรม) - List
  • Pratit Patthana (ชุมชนประดิษฐ์พัฒนา) - List
  • Siwilai (ชุมชนศรีวิไล) - List
  • Thep Mongkhon (ชุมชนเทพมงคล) - List
  • Sarawan (ชุมชนสาระวัน) - List
  • Ban Khan Yai Phatthana (ชุมชนบ้านขามใหญ่พัฒนา) - List
Now, each of the borough has the following officials
  • Chairman of Borough Council (ประธานคณะกรรมการชุมชน)
  • Vice chairman of Borough Council (รองประธานกรรมการชุมชน)
  • Secretary (เลขานุการ)
  • Director of Administration (กรรมการฝ่ายปกครอง)
  • Director of Safety and Peace-keeping (กรรมฝ่ายป้องกันและรักษาความสงบเรียบร้อย)
  • Director of Treasury (กรรมการฝ่ายคลัง)
  • Director of Public Health and Environment (กรรมการฝ่ายสาธารณสุขและสิ่งแวดล้อม)
  • Director of Development (กรรมการฝ่ายพัฒนา)
  • Director of Education and Culture (กรรมการฝ่ายการศึกษาและวัฒนธรรม)
  • Director of Welfare and Social (กรรมการฝ่ายสวัสดิการและสังคม)
  • Director of Industry (กรรมการฝ่ายอุตสาหกรรม)
  • Director of Commerce (กรรมการฝ่ายพาณิชย์)
I could not find recommended translations for these positions, but I hope they are not totally wrong and give an idea of the responsibilities of the respective officials.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Special administrative area for Ko Samui?

An article in the newspaper Samui Express made me notice that the plans for special administrative areas is still in the discussion. Last time I heard about it was in December, when it was just a side-note that both Mae Sot and Ko Samui are set to become a special kind of municipality. Sadly the article this time does not give much more background either.
WHILE Koh Samui has been unsuccessful in its bid to become a city, it is on its way to becoming, at least, a special district, a status that could in turn lead to the attainment ofits ultimate goal of, well, cityhood. Recently Samui Mayor Ramnet Jaikwang welcomed to Samui members of a Special Development Subcommittee involved with the task of conducting public hearings to get people’s opinions on the establishment of Samui asa special district.
Koh Samui has been chosen as the pilot area for the administrationof special districts.
A little bit more could be found at the Thai local website, which not only had a report on this meeting, but much more interesting an article with some background on special administrative areas. I'll write up the details from that article in a separate post soon.