Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Postal codes for Bueng Kan

The Thai Post has officially announced the postal codes for the new province Bueng Kan now. Not surprisingly, they all use the same prefix 38 as the TIS1099 province code, and to make the transition from Nong Khai postal codes to Bueng Kan postal codes as easy as possible, only the central part of Bueng Kan got a completely new number, whereas for all other areas only the prefix was exchanged. In detail this gives the following table.
AreaOld codeNew code
Mueang Bueng Kan, Bung Khla4314038000
So Phisai4317038170
Phon Charoen4318038180
Pak Khat4319038190
Si Wilai4321038210
Bueng Khong Long4322038220

Monday, August 29, 2011

Chumchon with a different name

Some time ago I systematically searched for websites for all of the local government units, and since then occasionally revisit some in order to check the URL is still valid, a new mayor gets listed, or some data I did not spot in the first round worth adding into my XML. One of these revisited websitesd was the one of Khun Yuam subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตำบลขุนยวม) in Mae Hong Son province. The interesting part is on the page where the municipality gives information on its subdivision, the boroughs (ชุมชน, Chumchon). While they only list the names without any numbering - so I cannot guess the geocodes to add them into the XML - the sentence introducing them says
เทศบาลตำบลขุนยวมแบ่งการบริหารงานออกเป็น 8 ชุมชน หรือ 8 ป๊อก คำว่า "ป๊อก" หมายถึง ชุมชน โดยมีการบริหารงานกันเองในชุมชน Khun Yuam subdistrict municipality is divided administratively into 8 boroughs or "pok". The name "pok" means boroughs which have an personal administration in the borough.
Rather interesting is also the location of the administrative offices in that subdistrict. Whereas the municipality office is located in the middle of the municipality, a bit strage is the fact the the TAO Khun Yuam has its office just 300 meter away, well within the municipal area (see Panoramio for some photos of it). And, unlike many of the municipalities near the district office, in this case the district office is located outside the municipality - in many cases district office and municipality office are directly next to each other and form the center of the municipality. So I am doing a nice little map again to show the approximate borders of the municipality. Sadly the map in the 1956 announcement to create the sanitary district is more like a sketch map than correctly scaled, so I can only guess that the district office back then was located very close to where it now has the municipality office.

View Khun Yuam in a larger map

Friday, August 26, 2011

Photo albums of administrative offices

Khanom District Office, Nakhon Si Thammarat
For some time I already had started with uploading my photos of the various administrative offices on various web 2.0 sites, but never made it a systematically and complete yet, and never could decide which one to use - Picasa, Panoramio or Flickr, or also Wikimedia Commons. But as with the start of Google+ (thanks to Rikker I am online there already) Picasa effectively dropped their quota and made all images of less than 2048 pixel free - so I can now use that image storage without ever worry about running out of space. I have already uploaded some new photos to the albums below, but still have to go through my archive to complete the albums.

Province HallsศาลากลางAlbum
District Officeที่ว่าการอำเภอAlbum
Province CourtศาลจังหวัดAlbum
Municipal and TAO officesสำนักงานเทศบาล/สำนักงานอบตAlbum
PAO officesสำนักงานอบจAlbum
City Pillar ShrinesหลักเมืองAlbum
The photos are all cc-by-sa, the same license as photos on Wikipedia. So anyone can reuse them, only have to give credit to me as the photographer. And also can upload them to Wikipedia, as I somehow never find the time and mood to fill the more and more bureaucratic forms for a simple upload of a self-created photo.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Local Government and Rural Development in Thailand

Already quite some time ago I spotted the book "Local Government and Rural Development in Thailand" by Marcus Ingle on Google Books as one of the few books mentioning the term "Tambon administrative organization". Sadly, on Google Books all one can see of the book are a few sniplets, but from the keyword cloud the book looked very much on topic with my interests, and the fact that it was from 1974 made it even more interesting to get more of the historical perspective. I usually prefer to add books into my own library, this one seems so rare I never saw it at any antiquarian book sellers, so finally I order it through interlibrary loan.

It's one of the absurdities of the copyright laws that a book which was sold in maybe a few hundred copies for US$3.50 almost 40 years ago cannot be available for free online, even though there is zero commercial value in it by now. And since the author is still alive, it will take at least another 70 years until it finally gets into the Public Domain. As I had to pay a bit for the interlibrary loan, and now did my own scans, OCR and cleanup to a readable digital document, I would have paid some bucks to get an already compiled eBook and save me that manual work. I only hope that Google Books will grow into something which makes such abandoned works much easier accessible - they already have them scanned and OCRed.

Anyway, even though it has just 96 pages, and the focus is on the rural development, this book does contain a lot of interesting facts on the local administration in the 1960s and early 1970s, so once I have studied the text in more detail I'll certainly write up several postings with quotes or redraws of the diagrams from the book. For now, I only post the table of contents, to give you a rough idea of what might show up here in the next months mixed in with the regular coverage.
  1. Development Trends
    1. Thailand's Non-Colonial Bureaucratic Heritage
    2. Contemporary Socio-Economic Setting
    3. Rural Sector Development Status
      1. Agriculture Production/Productivity
      2. Income Level/Distribution
      3. General Welfare/Well-being
  2. Organizational Arrangements for Rural Development
    1. Thailand's Development Strategy
    2. Rural Development Organization
      1. Central Government Organization
        1. Field Operating Units
        2. Functional Offices
      2. Local Administrative Organization
        1. Formal Local Governing Units
          1. Changwat Administrative Organiza­tion (CAO)
            1. Direct CAO Rural Development Services
            2. CAO Supervision and Financial Support for Local Government Activities
              1. Tambon Council Committee
              2. Muban Organization
          2. Sukhapiban (Sanitary District)
        2. Traditional Local-Level Units
          1. Religious Institutions
          2. Rural Associations
      3. Private Sector
    3. Regional Analysis of Local Government Operations
      1. The Central Region
      2. The North and Northeast
        1. Rural Setting
        2. Local Government Functions
        3. Governmental Interrelations
        4. Provision of Rural Development Services
      3. The South
  3. Local Government-Rural Development Relationships: The Formulation of Hypotheses and Research Conclusions
    1. Hypotheses
    2. Data Summary and Analysis
    3. Conclusion

Monday, August 22, 2011

More TAO upgrades?

On Friday the Royal Gazette had two announcements containing the constituencies of municipalities, normally the last step of a municipal upgrade or area change. The first of the two contains the constituencies for Wichianburi town, which was just recently upgraded, however the second one is rather surprising. Not only that it was published just two days after it was signed - normally these announcements take about 3 months until they show up in the Gazette, thus often after the election with the newly defined constituencies had been held already - the most notable thing about is the fact that I haven't seen anything about this municipality to exist before.

Tha Khanun (ท่าขนุน) in Thong Pha Phum district of Kanchanburi province covers the area of the subdistrict Tha Khanun outside the municipality Thong Pha Phum, which only covers the area around the district office. The upgrade is neither mentioned in the DOLA list of municipal changes of fiscal year 2011, nor does the website of the TAO mention it in any way. Sadly there are still no board meeting transcripts for this year, so I am left to speculating that this TAO is the first of the upgrades for fiscal year 2012 (which starts in October), and unlike previous cases the Election Commission has prepared the constituencies before the upgrade took place, to allow the municipal elections to take place within the 60 days after the end of term of the TAO council - and not many months later like it would be if the constituencies aren't ready at the time of upgrade, which according to the dates in the Royal Gazette announcement seems to have been the standard case in the previous years.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sanitary districts 1897-1933

For three years already I buy the latest issue of Rian Thai, an academic periodical featuring short articles on various Tai study topics, published by the Institute of Thai Studies of the Chulalongkorn University. Even though most of the article are either beyond my level of knowledge, or are about topics less interesting for me, at a price of 200 Baht for a 300+ pages book it always contains at least something worth reading. Volume 3 published in 2010 was the first which contains something directly related to the topics I blog about. In the article "Changing Bangkok: The Effects of European Settlers and Their Subjects" by PhD student Malinee Khumsupha (มาลินี คุ้มสุภา) includes a description of the changes in administration in Bangkok in the early 20th century. I am quoting the part directly dealing with the sanitary districts (Sukhaphiban).
[...] In fact, Jacquemyns had recommended these since 1892, but he emphasized them again in 1897, along with the significant document known as The Outline of Scheme for the Creation of Municipality of Bangkok.
Accordingly, even King Chulalongkorn agreed with the recommendations, but he worried about these following problems. Firstly, the absence of political participation experience of the Siamese; secondly, that the Siamese may be forced to pay tax alone because the refusal to pay tax by Europeans and Asiatic subjects who claimed extraterritoriality rights; and lastly, it was not suitable to apply at that time. In spite of the fact that there were some arguments, Sukhaphiban was established by The Sanitary Decree of 1897. However, the adoption of participation did not appear in Bangkok at that time, but eight years later came to terms in 1905. The application of local self-governing was known as Sukhaphiban Hua Muang (Sanitary District) at Tha-Chalom District in Samut Sakhon Province, and was called Sukhaphiban Hua Muang Thambon Tha-Chalom, Changwat Samut Sakhon. Two years following, the Act of Sanitary District was enacted in 1908. Throughout the following years, other sanitary districts were formed in certain major cities, and played a significant role in public services at the local level until the end of the absolute monarchy when the act was modified in 1915 and abolished by the Municipal Act in 1933. The sanitary districts during 1915-1933 increased to thirty six districts for 25 years.
As I know almost nothing about the sanitary district except their names and numbers, even more interesting than the above quoted text are the references given. Especially the 2006 dissertation "Sukhaphiban: Local Administration in Siam 1897-1933" (สุขาภิบาล: การปกครองท้องที่สยาม พ.ศ. 2440-2476) by Maetheepat Jeongwarotai (เมธีพัชญ์ จงวโรทัย) caught my interest, Sadly the only thing in English is the abstract
The objective of this thesis is to study the evolution of "Sukhaphiban" during 1897-1933. Starting from the reign of King Rama V when Western Colonialism became the most serious threat, the king believed that the promotion of civilization was the only way to prevent the nation from being subjected to 'the White Man's Burden'. Thus he launched "Sukhaphiban", local administration systems led by bureaucrats, to 'civilize' his subjects and towns. During the reigns of King Rama VI and Rama VII, the political situations changed significantly. People in increasing number demanded their basic rights and political participation. Soon, Siamese elites realized that "Sukhaphiban" no longer matched the demand. There was a wide discussion among the elites about the idea of "Municipality" a system that would allow local citizens to elect their own representatives. Nevertheless, it was only after the 1932 revolution that this system was truly introduced and implemented
Thanks to a friend working in a Thai university I have the full text of the dissertation now, but as it is a scanned PDF I really have to read it and cannot do the shortcut through Google Translate - so it will take quite long until I can post any interesting details I learned from that dissertation.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Geocodes for Bueng Kan

Somehow I totally missed that DOPA had updated their list of numerical codes already to include the codes for Bueng Kan province and its subdivisions. Though I already guessed that the province will get the code 38, and quite logically the Mueang Bueng Kan district will get the 3801, I had to wait for the list to have the codes for all other districts, subdistricts and the municipalities.

Before starting with the long table, I will already mention the general scheme used in the transfer of the codes from Nong Khai to Bueng Kan. The districts are in the same order as they were in Nong Khai, only obviously the numbers now run continuously from 1 to 8. The same holds for the subdistricts, the old order was used again, only the holes in the previous codes from the creation of new districts were omitted. The only strange thing is the code for the municipality Bueng Kan, which did not get the 3899 I would expect, but 3898. Maybe 3899 is left free for a new municipality to be created including the site of the yet to be built province hall?

NameTypeOld codeNew code
Bueng KanProvince38
Mueang Bueng KanDistrict43033801
Bueng KanSubdistrict430301380101
Non SombunSubdistrict430303380102
Non SombunSubdistrict430303380102
Nong Kheng1Subdistrict430304380103
Ho KhamSubdistrict430305380104
Nong LoengSubdistrict430306380105
Khong KongSubdistrict430307380106
Na SawanSubdistrict430310380107
Khai SiSubdistrict430311380108
Kham Na DiSubdistrict430318380111
Pong PueaiSubdistrict430319380112
Phon CharoenDistrict43043802
Si ChomphuSubdistrict430401380201
Don Na YangSubdistrict430402380202
Phon CharoenSubdistrict430403380203
Nong Hua ChangSubdistrict430404380204
Waeng ChomphuSubdistrict430405380205
Pa FaekSubdistrict430406380206
Si SamranSubdistrict430407380207
So PhisaiDistrict43063803
Nong Phan ThaSubdistrict430602380302
Si ChumphuSubdistrict430603380303
Kham KaeoSubdistrict430604380304
Bua ThumSubdistrict430605380305
Tham CharoenSubdistrict430606380306
Lao ThongSubdistrict430607380307
So PhisaiDistrict43063803
Tha Kok DaengSubdistrict430903380403
Ban ThongSubdistrict430906380404
Pong HaiSubdistrict430907380405
Nam ChanSubdistrict430908380406
Tha Sa-atSubdistrict430909380407
Nong ThumSubdistrict430912380408
Sok KamSubdistrict430913380409
Pak KhatDistrict43103805
Pak KhatSubdistrict431001380501
Nong YongSubdistrict431002380502
Na KangSubdistrict431003380503
Non SilaSubdistrict431004380504
Som SanukSubdistrict431005380505
Na DongSubdistrict431006380506
Bueng Khong LongDistrict43113806
Bueng Khong LongSubdistrict431101380601
Pho Mak KhaengSubdistrict431102380602
Dong BangSubdistrict431103380603
Tha Dok KhamSubdistrict431104380604
Si WilaiDistrict43123807
Si WilaiSubdistrict431201380701
Chumphu PhonSubdistrict431202380702
Na SaengSubdistrict431203380703
Na SabaengSubdistrict431204380704
Na SingSubdistrict431205380705
Bung KhlaDistrict43133808
Bung KhlaSubdistrict431301380801
Nong DoenSubdistrict431302380802
Khok KwangSubdistrict431303380803
Ho KhamMunicipality43773887
Nong KhengMunicipality43793888
Si WilaiMunicipality43833890
Bueng Khong LongMunicipality43843891
Pak KhatMunicipality43853892
Si PhanaMunicipality43863893
Tha Sa-atMunicipality43873894
So PhisaiMunicipality43903895
Phon CharoenMunicipality43923896
Don Ya NangMunicipality43933897
Bueng KanMunicipality43943898
1 Renamed to Non Sawang on March 3 2011, but still named Nong Kheng in the DOPA list

Monday, August 15, 2011

Special zone Mae Sot still on track

Today "The Nation" had an article with an update on the creation of the special administrative zone in Mae Sot, started by the previous government but not yet finally approved in the legislation process. But according to the article, chances are quite good that the new government will also support the change and it will become reality in the not too far future.
Municipal bureaucrats expect implementation of a special administration zone at Mae Sot to help restructure taxes so they contribute more to public services and oversight of migrant workers.
They hope the change - backed by major political parties in the capital but yet to be approved - will boost the business revenue in the area from Bt2030 billion to Bt100 billion, and help turn Mae Sot into a model city.
"Currently, government policies are uncoordinated and not unified," the mayor [Teardkiat Shinsoranan of Mae Sot] said.
"Municipal and provincial officials all think and act on their own, with their limited budget," he complained.
As a result, no one was able to handle bigger problems that required bigger budgets and regional coordination.
Technically, two special zones are proposed - a Special Local Administrative Zone and a Special Economic Zone.
Mae Sot municipality's website notes that the House of Representatives last met on April 4, to read and correct details in a draft law in create these bodies. Involved parties are now waiting for the new government to finalise the bill.
"Both Thaksin and Abhisit's governments agreed to this project," said Chaiwat, who hoped that Yingluck's administration would also support it.
Next economic boom site?, The Nation, 2011-08-15

Friday, August 12, 2011

Chiang Mai Maha Nakhon

Alerted by Khun Wisarut in the 2bangkok forum, I became aware of a draft law which would convert Chiang Mai province into a special administrative area similar to Bangkok. I have found the full text and a summary of the main points at the iLaw website. I am trying to summarize these even further to the main points from my perspective.
  • Section 6: Chiang Mai Maha Nakhon (เชียงใหม่มหานคร) is a local administrative unit.
  • Section 8: The districts (Amphoe) are to be converted into urban districts (Khet), the subdistricts (Tambon) into urban subdistricts (Khwaeng).
  • Sections 10,11,28: The citizen elect a city council, with the councilors elected in constituencies, each having about 100,000 citizen. Council works as legislating body as well as to check performance of governor.
  • Section 43: The citizen elect a governor.
  • Section 70: Each of the district has an elected district council with at least seven councilors.
  • Section 113, 127: The PAO and the municipalities are dissolved
  • Village and subdistrict headmen and subdistrict doctors stay in office, but report to the district officer or governor instead to the central government.
As iLaw is a non-government site where everybody can suggest new legislation, it is far from sure that this draft law will get adopted into the official legislative procedure, especially as there were other planned special administrative areas in discussion by the past government. It depends a lot on what policies the new government has in mind for the decentralization.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wang Saphung, Loei upgraded to town municipality

The last of the municipal upgrades in fiscal year 2011 has now been officially announced in the Royal Gazette as well. Published today, the upgrade of Wang Saphung in Loei from subdistrict municipality to a town municipality was signed and became effective on June 20 [Gazette]. The website of the town already shows the new title เทศบาลเมืองวังสะพุง.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Short story on a assistant destrict officer

Translator Marcel Barang has posted the short story "The Amulet, His Majesty, Father and Uncle" (พระ พระเจ้าอยู่หัว พ่อและลุง) by Thai author Arjin Panjaphan (อาจินต์ ปัญจพรรค์) on his Thai fiction blog, with the complete Thai text, his English translation as well as some translation notes. Though of course interesting on its own, this story and its translation fits into this blog for several reasons, the most obvious one is that the main actor in the story is working as a assistant district officer (ปลัดอำเภอ, Palad Amphoe) in Bang Len district, Nakhon Pathom. The story deals with his personal conflict dealing with his brother-in-law, a well-known criminal. The story is set in the reign of Rama VI, at which time police tasks were also assigned to the district officers.

Also interesting are the details in the translation. In several places the Thai word Amphoe (อำเภอ) is translated as district office, which normally in Thai is Thiwakan Amphoe (ที่ว่าการอำเภอ). For example, ไปอำเภอ literally means "go [to] district" becomes "go to the district office". The reason is that in Thai very often the obvious is left out, and as it is obvious that going to a district could mean any place within several hundreds of square kilometer, the district office as its central place is meant. In fact, the whole Thai text does not contain a single "Thiwakan".

It is also due to the skipping of the obvious that a second district mentioned in the text was mistranslated - in the second paragraph it said "ถึงเดิมบางนางบวช" (reaching Doem Bang Nang Buat). The word Amphoe was left out, and as the translator wasn't aware that there is a district with this name, he translated the word "Doem" (เดิม, old, original) as well.

Now this district, located in the North of Suphanburi province, has an interesting history by itself. Originally the district Nang Buat covered the northern part of Suphanburi, which is now the four districts Sam Chuk, Doem Bang Nang Buat, Nong Ya Sai and Dan Chang. 1911 that district was split, the northern half named Doem Bang and the southern part keeping the name Nang Buat - even though the subdistrict Nang Buat with the district office became part of Doem Bang. The souther part got a new district office in Sam Chuk, but it took till 1939 that the district was named after the subdistrict. In the same year, the northern part was renamed to Doem Bang Nang Buat, having the name of the old central subdistrict in its name again then.

Though the story has no explicit year at which it is set, indirectly on can notice that it is set in the reign of King Rama VI (1910-1926) or shortly thereafter. This however would mean that at that time the district was still named Doem Bang. However, as it is told as a story from memory many years after it happened, the glitch of using the historically wrong district name could be explained as being the name of the district when the story was retold.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Village headmen term changed

Yesterday's Bangkok Post commentary "A delicious feudalistic dish" has a lot of interesting points on the local elections. I'll only focus on those around the village headmen election, as those made me notice a major change which happened in 2008 already.
But the position of village or district head _ lower in the steep vertical abyss that is the Thai political structure though it may be _ is secure and, if you play it right, very lucrative.
The village or district head is only elected once and his or her term lasts until the day he or she retires, at 60 years of age. It's pretty much a life-time job. Not to mention, they get better benefits and sometimes better pay.
Now as far as I knew, the headmen had their term changed to five years around the adoption of the 1997 constitution, so the life-time terms were a piece of the past.
Why and how have we come to this?
The particular law responsible came into effect on Dec 31, 2009, but it was passed in 2007.
But as the author claims that there was a recent change in the law, I had to look more close into it. The roles of the headmen are codified in the Local Administration Act (พระราชบัญญัติลักษณะปกครองท้องที่), originally from 1914 [Gazette] and amended 11 times since then. And the most recent amendment was announced December 30 2009 [Gazette], so it'd fit to the law referred to above. Alas, this only adds one sentence to the law
การยกเลิกตำแหน่งกำนัน ผู้ใหญ่บ้าน แพทย์ประจำตำบล สารวัตรกำนัน และผู้ช่วยผู้ใหญ่บ้าน จะกระทำมิได้
Cancellation of the position of subdistrict headman, village headman, village doctor, district inspector and assistant headmen shall not be made.
This refers to the cancellation of these positions when the subdistrict gets elevated to a municipality, where these officials were originally considered obsolete. This amendment might have been added due to the protest of the outgoing headmen on Ko Samui, when the island was upgraded to a town in 2008. But this change does not say anything about the term of the headmen.

So I had to check into the older amendments as well, not that easy since I could not copy-and-paste the text from the Royal Gazette announcements directly, but had to find them in text on a website to be able to check them with Google translate. But finally I could find that amendment 9 issued in 1992 [Gazette] introduced the five year term by added one sentence the article 13 of the law.
ผู้ใหญ่บ้านอยู่ในตำแหน่งคราวละห้าปี นับแต่วันที่ราษฎรเลือก
The term of the village headman is five years, starting from the day of the election.
And now amendment 11, issued in 2008 and therefore legislated by the coup group of 2006, changed this article 13 completely again, so now a village headmen leaves office only due to the reasons stated in article 14, most notable item 1
When aged 60.
I haven't looked up the same item for the subdistrict headmen yet, but as the commentator claims these are also now effective life-time positions I have no reason to disbelief him.

It's odd I totally missed this big change with the 2008 amendment, even though I was already following the English press for news on these things. Thus the headmen elections happening now - like the one observed by fellow blogger Mike in Prachuap - will be the last regular ones for quite some time, once all the headmen elected for a five year term before 2008 finished their term these election will happen only when the headman retires, dies or gets removed by higher authorities.

And if anyone interested, the complete text of the current version of the Local Administration Act can be found here.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tambon articles on Wikipedia

Right now the Wikimania conference  in Haifa is underway and unlike the previous conferences even made it into the mainstream news this time, so I think it is time to have a look again at the coverage of the administrative subdivisions in the English Wikipedia.

Screenshot of a Wikipedia article
on a Thai district
Starting with a positive issue - some some days already an anonymous user is adding the IPA spelling to all of the district articles, something which should help those struggling with the right pronunciation by the sometimes misleading RTGS transcription. But the main point of this posting is a less positive development, at least the way I see it.

When some years ago a Thai Wikipedian and myself worked on creating articles for each of the districts, it was a quite fruitful cooperation - getting the content from amphoe.com translated by my co-worker, and myself adding all of the tabular data and fixing some language glitches. As a result, there are now articles for every district containing at least some valuable information. As I did the tables with the subdistricts, it was myself who decided it would be better not to prepare links to all the 7255 subdistricts and leave them for later when there is more to add. In fact, the same was done with the provinces at first when I did not think there would be enough interest to get one level deeper in the near future.

But currently, there is at least one user very active to create articles for the subdistricts, but the big problem - they have no real content. For example, the one on Tha Mae Lop in Lamphun reads
Tha Mae Lop (Thai: ?) is a village and tambon (subdistrict) of Mae Tha District, in Lamphun Province, Thailand. In 2005 it had a total population of 3032 people. The tambon contains 6 villages.
Everything in these two sentences is just what is written in the table in the article on Mae Tha district - population, administrative villages and obviously the location. But already the reference to ThaiTambon.com within the article points on the base page instead to the page on this specific Tambon, and even the Thai spelling wasn't copied. Even worse was the one on Nai Mueang subdistrict - it was a similar short article on the subdistrict of Mueang Lamphun district, though in fact there are 23 subdistrict with that name all over Thailand.

If you compare that with the article on Ban Mae (San Pa Tong district, Chiang Mai province) which I have spend an hour to bring into a reasonable state, at least having all the easily available tabular data, the location, weblinks and references. If I could read Thai better, some of the content from ThaiTambon.com could also be added.

The German Wikipedia is quite strict rules on the basic requirements of an article, to avoid useless one-sentence articles, and I guess the one on Mae Tha would go directly into the "deletion hell". I usually prefer the more laissez-faire approach in the English Wikipedia, but these article have their problems:
  • Created by a non-Thai without any knowledge on the topic they have mistakes or serious omissions.
  • Without any active and knowledgeable contributors, these articles will be almost never maintained after creation, like no updates with newer data. I even could not manage to keep the district articles up-to-date with all the municipal changes due to lack of time and focus on other issues, so "adopting" the Tambon articles would only tenfold my workload.
  • Hardly ever read, these articles will collect vandalism which will stay unnoticed for years. This already happens for the districts articles when I don't check my special watchlist often enough.
Already four years ago, another Wikipedian created articles for all the subdistricts in Phitsanulok province, but for those also include information collected from ThaiTambon.com. But except bot activity and an occasional move due to duplicate names, nothing has been done on these articles since then. At least there seemed to be no vandalism yet either.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

2011 Constituencies - reprise

As the new parliament convened on August 1st with all 500 members endorsed by the Election Commission - only two had to go through a by-election due to a yellow card after irregularities in the first round - now is a good time to round up the coverage on constituencies for this election.

Interestingly, I got asked twice whether my collection on the administrative entities covered by each constituency allows to create a map showing the geographical extent of the constituencies. Sadly, I had to answer in Radio Yerevan style, that in principle it'd be possible - but the thing which I would need to actually do that are the boundaries of the administrative entities. And as I wrote here quite some time ago, I haven't yet found a source of really authoritative maps which could be basis on such a boundary collection. And even if I had such a map, creating the outlines of some 10,000 entities is something hardly possible to do as a hobby project by a single person.

But at least I have finished with getting all the constituencies covered in my XML, and also entered some of the election results into it. And if I can find a complete list of election results in an easily parseable format I will certainly fill them in completely. For the 2007 election I have found an Excel sheet at the EC website with exactly that, including several of the by-elections due to the yellow and red cards, and when I get time and mood I will add those into the corresponding XML. As they were the previous single-seat constituencies, I have also started with the XML for 2006, but that will probably take more time till I can finish that listing.

So much for the technical part, now a few words to the political part of the election. One thing which is very notable when looking at color coded maps like the one I posted above is that again the constituencies in the South are almost uniformly won by the Democrats, whereas the Northeast and partly the North are Phuea Thai strongholds. Also notably the local strongholds of Newin's Bhum Jai Thai in Buriram and Banharn's Chat Thai Phatthana in Suphanburi aren't that strong anymore as they were in the past. As in the map above I colorized at province level, these provinces became grey as the constituencies were won by more than one party - which looks like a big bunch in the map, but in fact most of the constituencies inside were actually won by Phuea Thai. Only three provinces were exclusively won by a different party - Bhum Jai Thai won Nakhon Nayok and Chainat, and Chat Thai Phatthana won Ang Thong. At Mangomap, one can find similar maps down to the constituencies itself (Country, Bangkok), and on New Mandala there is the corresponding analysis of these results (Country, Bangkok).

A bit surprising to me compared with the 2007 election is the low number of by-elections ordered by the Election Commission. Whereas it were around 20 in 2007, this time there were just two (in Yala was only a recount, not a by-election as some news reports claimed). Thus the dark prophecy from Not The Nation of an everlasting election did not come true. Though I doubt this election was so much cleaner than the 2007, I can only suspect that this time the powers behind have accepted their defeat and let Thaksin' proxies that they will do good for the country - and if they fail go the democratic way of government change at the end of the term. But somehow I doubt it will really be like this...