Friday, April 29, 2011

33 constituencies in Bangkok

Though I am still waiting for the constituency definitions to be published in the Royal Gazette, I have started to work through the list as published by Manager and convert it into my favorite data format XML. I guess most interesting are those constituencies in Bangkok itself, so for these I additionally also made a simple map.

One thing I noticed is that the constituencies this time cover full administrative units, same as the early single-seated constituencies 2000 and 2005 - I somehow thought I remember constituency definitions using streets and not the subdivisions as boundaries, but after rechecking the older announcements I now know that must have been constituencies for the local elections. But nevertheless the newly created subdistricts from 2009 probably came in handy, for example the district Don Mueang which previously had no subdistricts is now split between constituency 11 and 12 along the boundary of the new subdistrict Sanam Bin (airport).

A little statistics on these constituencies - while the mean value of citizen per constituency is 172,769, the actual population values differ quite a lot. The constituency with the lowest population and thus the highest electoral weight of each vote is constituency 11, which covers the district Lak Si and Sanam Bin subdistrict of Don Mueang, and has only 136,516 citizen. The other extreme is constituency 6 which covers the districts Din Daeng and Phaya Thai and has a population of 209,173. Of course the population isn't the same as the number of eligible voters, but the population on December 31st 2010 is the criteria for the number of constituencies per province, and should therefore also be the criteria for drawing the constituency boundaries within each province.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday linkage

Translator Marcel Barang today on his blog posted a piece on the confusing non-standard romanization of Thai words. The Election Commission in their wisdom has now declared the spelling Pheu Thai as the officially correct English spelling of the main opposition party - even though the official standard by the Royal Institute would make Phuea Thai the correct spelling of เพื่อไทย - and the most fitting name would have been Phuea Thaksin anyway. And since the same vowel occurs in Mueang, he continues to explain that the old romanization Muang could be misunderstood as "purple". And while talking of Mueang, he finally also explains how his translation for "Amphoe Mueang" (อำเภอเมือง) to ‘Central district’ or ‘Urban district’ wasn't approved by the newspaper editor - my own translation ‘Capital district’ might have survived the reasoning that the Amphoe Mueang is not always central, nor is it always urban.

An interesting read, and if you're interested in Thai literature but aren't able to read Thai, his blog is always worth a read.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New district in Khon Kaen planned?

I have made myself some custom Google searches in order to avoid being surprised by new administrative entities like when the new subdistricts in Bangkok were created in 2009. Thus the search query อำเภอใหม่ (new district), among quite some unrelated noise hits, made me find two forums with short postings on a planned new district in Khon Kaen.

On SkyScraperCity, the posting from end of February says
เข้าอ่านใน KKL เห็นว่าจะมีการตั้งกิ่งอ.ใหม่ แต่ว่า เขายกเลิกไปแล้ว ก็คงจะต้องเป็นอำเภอเลย ก็ประมาณว่า อ.ภูคำน้อย (รวมหนองปอ สาวะถึ ภูคำน้อย ฯลฯ)

(I) read news that KKL planned to set up new minor district, but already abandoned the plan. When created, it would be Phu Kham Noi district (including Nong Bo, Sawathi, Phu Kham Noi etc.)
The second one from Khon Kaen Link (maybe that is the acronym in the first posting) is basically the same contents
มีอ พสมช.พอจะทราบไหมครับ? เรื่องที่ขอจะจัดตั้งกิ่ง อ.ภูคำน้อย (รวมหนองปอ สาวะถึ ภูคำน้อย ฯลฯ)
The answers in that forum don't add much, except that there are no more minor districts, so it'd have to be a full district.

As this area would have been split from Mueang Khon Kaen district, it would have made sense as Mueang Khon Kaen is 4th populous district of all Thailand with a population of 387279. Thus it would be easy to cover the population criteria for a new minor district, which is 30,000 citizen.

In older geocode lists, there already was an entry for Phu Kham Noi, which was supposed to get the code 4026 - this and two further planned districts were the reason why Wiang Kao did get the 4029, creating a strange hole in the district code table of Khon Kaen.

Thus it simply seems to me that that original poster has digged out the old proposal from 1997, when that minor district already was in the process of being created, but the process was halted due to the financial crisis. Since I haven't found anything else about this specific district, I don't think this one was restarted like Ban Chan, which became Galyani Vadhana district.

Sadly, all I know about these abandoned district proposals are the name and the code they were to receive, but not which subdistricts would be part of them - so in cases like Phu Kham Noi where the district name does not match any of the subdistricts I even have no idea where the seat of the administration was planned to reside.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bueng Kan news

Four different news published in the last few days on various steps in making the new province Bueng Kan working.
  • The postal code is officially set to 38000, as expected before. It was announced in the ministerial order มท 0211.4/ว 1276. A PDF of this order I found however only states the code for the province, not the codes within the province.
  • The Provincial Administration Organization (PAO) of Nong Khai in its third session of this year has discussed the transfer of budget, funds and debt to the to be established PAO of Bueng Kan (Source: Manager).
  • As mentioned here before, the initial provincial slogan will be taken over from Bueng Kan district, whether it will be kept will be discussed with the seven districts (Source: Thairath).
  • Finally, the Election Commission has finished to draw the constituencies for the forthcoming election, splitting Bueng Kan into two constituencies - Constituency One will cover the districts Mueang Bueng Kan, So Phisai, Pak Khad and Bung Kla, Constituency Two the districts Seka, Phon Charoen, Si Wilai and Bueng Khong Long. I will cover it when it is published in the Royal Gazette, but you can find the whole list already at Manager.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Montone Puket - Part II

Whereas the first extract from the 1906 text on Monthon Phuket listed the provinces with their etymology, the following part describes the provincial towns, as well as gives the census data for the area.
Ranong town is divided into four sections and contains a population of about 1,200 souls, mostly Siamese and Chinese. Many of the buildings are tolerably good, many are frail. There is a good court-house building, and the jail is a good brick building, which with its surroundings is kept in most excellent condition. The buildings used for government purposes are all that is desirable. There is a school here well conducted. Many good roads are here kept up.
Takuapa is largely of brick buildings, in fair condition, with much need for more lime as white-wash, and more cleanliness. Here are some good roads, and good well water, with a fine spring flowing from the side of a mountain near by.
Puket has fine government buildings. The roads and city are being improved a good deal. The city has a good market, and the main road is lined on both sides with good substantial brick buildings. There has been here much advance in improvements, for which his Excellency the High Commissioner deserves much credit. Population about 10,000.
Phangnga has good roads, is a brick town and is well kept.
Krabee is well kept, but its buildings are of a frail nature.
Trang town is a comparatively new city, it having been moved from the old site. It has many excellent roads, fine public buildings, a good school-house and clean quarters for prisoners. The High Commissioner is entitled to much credit for improvements and good order here. It should be said also that the steam-boat landing is well kept. Indeed throughout this province are many miles of fine roads.
I should like to add here that in visiting all these and other places in this Montone our treatment and entertainment have always been all that culd be desired, and frequently more than could be expected.
We now come to speak of the inhabitants of this Montone. According to the Bangkok Times of December 11th, 1905, the population of the Montone Puket is 178,599. This is the official census for the year. This census makes the number of Malays 34,903 and Chinese 32,408. Now say the various people aside from those named and the Siamese are 10,000, then there are some 101,288 Siamese in the Montone. A total of 178,599. [...]

Monday, April 18, 2011

Preliminary census results

The National Statistics Office has published the first preliminary results of the 2010 census, however sadly only in a short news release so far. Thus as of September 1st 2010, Thailand has
  • a total population of 65.4 million, 50.9% or 33.3 million are female and 49.1% or 32.1 million (49.1%) male. This makes it the 4th populous country in South East Asia.
  • The population growth rate in the last decade was just 0.77%, compared to 2.70% in the 1960s and 1.05% in the 1990s.
  • The number of households is 20.3 million, thus an average household size of 3.2 persons - compared with 3.9 in 2000.
  • The household size in the regions differs, the South has 3.54 persons, the Northeast 3.53, the North 3.1, the Central area 3.0 and Bangkok just 2.9 persons.
  • The population density is 127.5 per km², compared with 118.1 per km² in 2000.
  • The population density in Bangkok is 4028.9 per km², which has shrunk in the last decade - in 2000 it still was 5258.6 per km².
  • The provinces with the highest population density are (in this order) Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Phuket, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Chon Buri, Nakhon Pathom and Ayutthaya.
I wasn't able to find any of the raw preliminary data, for the 2000 census there were PDFs for each province with these data.

Friday, April 15, 2011

TAO offices in Nakhon Phanom on youtube

I was looking for the website of one of the TAO in Mueang Nakhon Phanom district, a found the blog mueangnakhonphanom - which however does not look like a real blog, but an attempt to use blogspot as free webspace provider. But nevertheless, the many photos there include some of the TAO offices, and also for some subdistricts it includes village lists.

Yet the even more interesting part was found in the sidebar - videos featuring the TAO offices within the district. The one embedded here is from Kurukhu (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลกุรุคุ).

As leknkp uploaded many videos, I have collected those on the TAO offices in a playlist, 23 videos including a few from other districts. I haven't yet seen them all in detail, which I really need to do - for example the video on At Samat shows a table with the past TAO chairmen and mayors as well as chairmen of the TAO council - data which I could not find on the website of the TAO. And I also want to find the offices in Google Earth, while it is easy to recognize the building with the help of the video, the difficult part is to know where to look - sadly I cannot find any geotags within the videos.

Another interesting video by leknkp are an interview with a TAO mayor in Na Kae district, and I am sure there are more I haven't spotted yet.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Corruption in TAO offices

The Nation had a very interesting article recently titled Tambon chief backs more roles for local people, which is kind of an interview with Bamrung Kayotha (บำรุง คะโยธา), TAO mayor of Sai Na Wang (and not Saphan Wah as claimed by The Nation) in Kalasin province.
Corruption after recent TAO elections involved using the budget to construct an asphalt road on top of a smooth reinforced concrete road only 12 months after it was built so that these representatives would get a cut from the construction firm. There is also corruption in the deals for local school milk, with about Bt10 satang per pack being siphoned off to the TAO chief. Another area of corruption is the purchase of a garbage truck, which is not really needed for a small community.
Another point he raises is something I also noticed previously
Many TAOs also like to have an elaborate office to boost the ego of the TAO chief, Bamrung said. Corruption is encouraged by undertaking expensive construction work, he said, while adding that his TAO office is arguably the most modest in the Kingdom, being just a one-storey wooden structure.

Friday, April 8, 2011

District officer reshuffle in the making

Apparently in preparation for the forthcoming national elections, the Ministry of Interior is hastening the next district officer reshuffle. As Bangkok Post reports
The Interior Ministry's move to hasten the selection of 95 district chiefs before the election will help Bhumjaithai Party at the polls, observers say.
District chiefs play a key role in elections and could help swing things the party's way, a ministry source said. The ministry is supervised by Bhumjaithai.
The Election Commission assigns district chiefs as election directors in their districts.
The list of the district chiefs is now expected to be endorsed by the end of the month.
The last district officer transfer I know about was in January 2010. I don't know why there is no fixed date for this kind of transfer, unlike the province governors which are (normally) reshuffled effective October 1st.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Le gouvernement local en Thaïlande

The National Library of Australia has quite a good collection of books on the administration of Thailand, quite often I found that a book I thought interesting is available in there - too bad that means on the other side of the globe for me. What is quite nice is that their catalog allows to subscribe to RSS feeds, so I now easily find whenever they acquire a new book in that section.

The latest new entry was a French language book "Le gouvernement local en Thaïlande" by Malai Huvanandana and John W. Ryan from 1958, published by UNESCO. Just for fun I fed that title and author into Google, and voilà, I not only found its entry at UNESCOs library, but there it even has a PDF with the full 28 page publication.

Only problem - I don't speak French. I can only grasp the general content by guessing those words which look similar to those I learned in Latin in school, and since it is a scanned PDF I cannot copy-and-paste it into Google Translate neither. On the first page it says "Traduit de l'anglais" (translated from English), but apparently and sadly the English original was never published. So I am quite limited in what I can extract out of this document.

By the way, the author Malai Huvanandana (มาลัย หุวะนันท์) is also an interesting person. In 1958 he was director of the Institute of Public Administration at the Thammasat University (now part of the National Institute of Development Administration), 1972-73 he was Deputy Minister of Interior.

Monday, April 4, 2011

New district museum videos

Brochures from the district museums
Some months ago I wrote about two videos on the district museums in Bangkok which I found in youtube. As I rarely use youtube I did not notice that happyfamilyday uploaded many more videos on museums in the meantime, and also several new videos featuring the district museums.

To collect them in one place I have created a playlist within youtube, currently containing eight videos.
  • Phra Khanong (พิพิธภัณฑ์ท้องถิ่น เขตพระโขนง) [Video]
  • Rat Burana (พิพิธภัณฑ์ท้องถิ่น เขตราษฎร์บูรณะ) [Video]
  • Thawi Watthana (พิพิธภัณฑ์ท้องถิ่น เขตทวีวัฒนา) [Video]
  • Lat Krabang (พิพิธภัณฑ์ท้องถิ่น เขตลาดกระบัง) [Video]
  • Bang Rak (พิพิธภัณฑ์ท้องถิ่น เขตบางรัก) [Video]
  • Chom Thong (พิพิธภัณฑ์ท้องถิ่น เขตจอมทอง) [Video]
  • Nong Chok (พิพิธภัณฑ์ท้องถิ่น หนองจอก) [Video]
  • Bangkok Noi (พิพิธภัณฑ์ท้องถิ่น เขตบางกอกน้อย) [Video]
Of these eight, I have only visited two so far - Bangkok Noi and Bang Rak - as most of them are from the more outlying districts not that easy to reach by walking and public transport. So many ideas for trips to be made when I am in Bangkok again next month.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Montone Puket - Part I

When my reader Ian explored Phuket recently, one of the locals he talked with showed him a book with some historical texts on Phuket. That book was "Old Phuket", published in 1986 by the Siam Society. While long out of print, luckily my friend hdamm already had one copy which he borrowed me - a physical book is much more comfortable to read than the photos Ian did for me.

The book is in fact a reprint of several articles published in the Journal of the Siam Society 1905 and 1906. The article I will cite is titled Montone Puket (Siam) Malay Peninsula by the missionary John Carrington, which contains a nice description of the provinces within the Monthon Phuket, including a etymology of their names.
It does not lie within the purpose of this paper to discuss the ancient history of this Montone, but to write of it more as it is at the present time, and as observed by the writer during five tours through this region.
This is a portion of Siam, Malay Peninsula, the "Tanah Malayu", or Malay Land. At Kra, กระ, or Kraburee is is about 45 miles wide, and at a line through Junkceylon and Nakhon it is about 200 miles in width.
It will be in place here to name the provinces into which Puket Montone is divided. We begin with the most northerly one and name them on down in their order of location.
1. Ranong - ระนอง - formerly Ranong and Kra. Ranong is said to signify a place of much water; and indeed this is true in the rainy season.
2. Takuapa - ตะ กั่ว ป่า - the place, or wilderness, of lead; named thus, perhaps, because the first tin discovered there was supposed to be lead.
3. Phangnga - พังงา - formerly Takuathoong (lead field) and Phangnga. พังงา undoubtedly means, in this connection, very beautiful, as it will be seen that this province of great beauty - and not Elephant tusk, as some Siamese think.
4. Puket, or Thalang, or Junkceylon. It may be the word puket is the Malay word bukit for hill or mountain. I am not satisfied by this definition. This is a large island separated from the mainland by a very narrow passage of water, and lies south of Phannga. The main town is Tongka - thoongkha - ทุ่งคา, field of grass, or grass field.
5. Krabee - very incorrectly called Gerbee. The Siamese word is กระ บี่ meaning a sword. This is a good Siamese word for that weapon, a lower word being dap, ดาบ, the high word being พระ แสง.
6. Trang, formerly Trang and some other small states. Trang ตรัง is said to mean "adhere" or "joined to." The application I am at loss to discover at the present. It may be that this territory was acquired by the Siamese later than that adjoining it in the North or East, and so was called "joined", that is joined to what they already possessed. This is merely conjecture on my part, and I do not insist.