Friday, July 14, 2017

Two Muban renamed

Two administrative villages were renamed yesterday by publishing the announcements in the Royal Gazette.
  • Ban Thung Phatthana (บ้านทุ่งพัฒนา), Mae Yen subdistrict, Phan district, Chiang Rai, renamed to Ban Mae Yen Klang (บ้านแม่เย็นกลาง) [Gazette]
  • Ban Nong Masang (บ้านหนองมะสัง), Suk Ruethai subdistrict, Huai Khot district, Uthai Thani, renamed to Ban Thung Sali (บ้านทุ่งสาลี) [Gazette]
Both name changes were approved in this years first meeting of the board to consider name changes on April 28 - sadly the agenda or transcript of this meeting isn't available online.

As the announcement were signed by the province governors, the second announcement made me notice that the governor of Uthai Thani had changed recently. On March 4, the governors of Uthai Thani and Samut Sakhon were exchanged with each other [Gazette] outside the normal annual reshuffle usually done in October. But since I didn't notice that exchange till now, my XML were still showing the old assignments.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Library requests

In preparation for my forthcoming annual visit to Thailand, I have checked with some of the online library catalogues whether there are any of the reference works I could use available in one of the libraries I could easily reach while I am in Bangkok. The Pridi Banomyong library of Thammasat University, located right next to Wat Phra Kaeo, has the full reports of the census 1947 and 1937, as well as a few issues of the Local Directory (ทำเนียบท้องที่ พุทธศักราช), most interestingly the 1940 issue. However all these are in the rare book section, so hope I can get access to them.

A bit less interesting are the older issues of the Statistical Yearbook, which are more wide common in university libraries in Thailand. Though not the complete series, the Mahidol Central Library in Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, has several of the older issues, so I hopefully can further complete the data series with the number of subdivisions.

But even if I can get access to all the works I looked up, and have enough time to scan all the relevant pages to process when back home, there are still more issues of the yearbook or the even older census reports which would be great to have - and there are also some books or thesis which are impossible to get when having access to the academic sources. Thus I have compiled a list of the library requests and made it a static page, so hopefully someone who has the chance to provide me scan of any of these I would be very grateful. I will update that page whenever I stumble onto something new which I could need, or of course once I can get one of the requested data.

Friday, June 30, 2017

@Amphoe 3/2060 available

The 3rd issue of the @Amphoe magazine was just published online earlier today, right on time that I will be able to pick the paper version this one together with the other issues from the past 12 months when I will be traveling to Thailand next month.

The English language content features an interview with Boonlue Thamtaranurak (บุญลือ ธรรมรานุรักษ์), the chief district office of Galyani Vadhana district in Chiang Mai. Another part is on a new division within the Department of Provincial Administration responsible for the Hajj Affairs of the Thai Muslims, following the 3rd amendment of the Hajj Affairs Advancement Act (พระราชบัญญัติส่งเสริมกิจการฮัจย์ (ฉบับที่ ๓) พ.ศ. ๒๕๕๙) which took effect December last year.

Also, as in every issue, one province with its touristic highlights is features, this time Chanthaburi in the east of Thailand - hence the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on the title page of the magazine - one of the few beautiful Roman Catholic churches in Thailand.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Number of Tambon in 1947

Table A15 - Population for Urban
and rural size group, 1947
Another interesting table found in the 1952 Statistical Yearbook are A15 and A16, which list the number of Tambon for each province, including a grouping by the population number. According to that table, in 1947 there were 3650 subdistricts, split into several categories according to the population number.

ClassNumberPopulationPercent
All365017442689100.00
Urban26951584512590.85
>20,000298387264.81
10,000-19,999250312537817.92
5,000-9,999960658232037.74
2,500-4,9991456529870130.38
Rural95515975649.15
1,000-2,49981815079348.64
<1,00013789,6300.51
Table A16 then gives the number of Tambon for each province, split into the urban and rural Tambon. While these numbers arer interesting by themselves - though would be even better if have numbers to compare from other censuses - for me the most important one is the absolute number, as I intend to have a complete overview when which subdistrict was created. Calculating back from the current number of subdistrict and all the subdistrict creations published in the Royal Gazette, I get to a number of 4581 in 1950 - or maybe a few more as my algorithm doesn't handle the abolished entities correctly yet. This leaves about 1000 Tambon missing - though there is the strange 1947 Royal Gazette announcement on the creation of 674 Tambon.

I have two other very old Tambon numbers, the 1964 Statistical Yearbook lists 4893 for the reference date February 17 (my algorithm says 4889 for January 1st), and more interesting the 1917 Yearbook gives a number of 5052. Thus it seems it were not just the Monthon and some provinces which were abolished in the 1930s, but also many subdistricts, and these unlike the higher administrative units were never announced in the Royal Gazette.

It seems the only way to find more information to resolve these number issues will be old issues of the Loyal Directory book (ทำเนียบท้องที่), something which can only be done in a few libraries in Thailand. The Pridi Banomyong Library at the Thammasat University has the 1940 (2483) issue - I hope I will find chance to visit there during my forthcoming vacation in Thailand, and hope I will be allowed to photograph all the relevant pages to compile a digital list later. The book is in the rare book collection, and given its age probably must be handled with lot of care. It would be just great if this whole book series would get scanned and made publicly available - even Google Books hasn't scanned any of them yet, though even there it would probably be inaccessible.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Census 1947 and 1937

After I had found an online resource with the census reports starting in 1960, I was trying to find the older data as well. However, the online library of the National Statistics Office does not have the earlier census reports, and those few issues of the Statistical Yearbook in there have only few pages available - the recent issues which are completely available don't give any details on older censuses other than the regional aggregates. If I were in Thailand, I could of course visit some of the university libraries in Bangkok which have such old printed books - but since I am only there for vacation annually, I never made it yet to find such a book in a library.

But finally, Google and some luck helped to locate a scanned version of the 1952 Statistical Yearbook at archive.org. Google Books would have many more issues, but all of them only in snippet view, so totally unusable. And in that 1952 issue, several tables show at least partial data from the early censuses.
  • Table A3 - Population by Sex by Changwat, 1929, 1937 and 1947
  • Table A4 - Percentual changes of population by region and changwat, 1929, 1937 and 1947
  • Table A5 - Population per square km by changwat, 1937 and 1947
  • Table A6 - Population and area of Thai Changwats, 1947
  • Table A7 - Population and area of Thai Changwats, by Size, 1947
  • Table A17 - Population of  Municipalities, 1947
Despite the table title, A4 also included the census 1919 - however the data for 1919 and 1929 is rather inconsistent - the numbers don't sum up, out of the provinces abolished in 1933 only Sukhothai/Sawankhalok is considered, Si Sa Ket is left out though it was not newly created but renamed in 1939, thus for now I have to leave out these numbers. But for 1937 and 1947, I could now extract the numbers for each province including the numbers for each gender as well as the municipal population. I certainly would still love to get the census reports itself in my hands, especially if those go down to district levels like the later census reports, but now I already have more and better data than e.g. statoids. Of course, I already uploaded the new data to Wikidata as well as added the numbers to my spreadsheet and the corresponding XML files.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Translations of Thai laws on Wikisource

Royal decree creation Galyani Vadhana district
One of the lesser known sites within the Wikipedia universe is Wikisource, which aims to collect and translate source texts which have their copyright expired or are in the public domain already - similar with the Project Gutenberg but with a wider scope, as it is not limited to books. By the Thai copyright act, Thai laws like all documents produced by government directly, are not protected by copyright, thus everyone is free to reproduce these texts.

Thanks to one diligent user, there not just the Thai texts of several laws or acts online there, but also really good English translations  - much better than the English translation of the municipality act I bought as a book several years ago, and still haven't made it to write up the slating review. Those interesting law texts concerning the subdivisions available in English are the following:
Especially as the laws for the creation and upgrade of districts are worded very similar, it'd be relatively easy to add more, but sadly my time is limited so I haven't been active on these myself. Besides, more interesting would be translations of acts like the municipality act, which give the legal background on how the various subdivisions are supposed to work. However, the amendments of the Bangkok Meltropolitan Administration Act are the only ones in this class.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Residence of Phraya Anuman Rajadhon

As its very quiet in the Royal Gazette regarding the administrative subdivision, I'd like to report the announcement of a new historical monument (เขตที่ดินโบราณสถาน) - the former residence of Phraya Anuman Rajadhon (บ้านพระยาอนุมานราชธน) in Bang Rak district, Bangkok.

Phraya Anuman (1888–1969) was a very notable anthropologist, who researched and wrote a lot about Thai culture, though sadly most of his works were never translated and thus remain behind the language barrier. He worked for the renowned Royal Institute, and even made it to become president of the Siam Society shortly before his death.

Map of the historical site
His residence in Soi 2 of Narathiwat road in Bang Rak district, not far from Chong Nonsi BTS station, has now been registered as a national historical site. The whole plot of the residence, an area of 1076 m² (2 งาน 69 ตารางวา) has been included as can be seen on the map which has been included with the announcement. The map also includes a list of nine numbered locations within the compound, not sure whether these are listed for orientation or whether these are actually notable parts of the monument.
  1. บ้านพระยาอนุมานราชธน (Residence)
  2. บ้านหลังเล็ก (Side house)
  3. อาคารที่พัก (Staff house)
  4. ศาลาแปดเหลี่ยม (Octogon pavillion)
  5. ห้องน้ำ (Toilet)
  6. ซุ้มไม้ระแนง (Pergola)
  7. สระน้ำ (Pool)
  8. ปั๊มน้ำ (Water pump)
  9. รูปแกะสลักสิงห์ (Stone lions)
I have added this new site to the list on the Thai Wikipedia - oddly this was a totally new site, not one of the many sites which were already listed by the Fine Arts Department but not announced officially in the Royal Gazette. Sadly the GIS site of the finearts department no longer allows to link the individual sites anymore - but even on the map this new site isn't listed yet, so this site apparently has no official Fine Arts ID number yet. I have also added an item in Wikidata, which (if all the sites were added someday) would allow to create a GIS map with a relatively simple query like my map of monuments in Bangkok Noi district. And since I also collect the monuments on my XML data files, here's the diff which added this site and the corresponding announcement.

From what the building looks like in Streetview, it seems this will be a difficult target to take a photo for the forthcoming next round of Wiki Loves Monument in September, unless someone knows the present owners. I probably get to that area in my forthcoming next holiday visit in Thailand, so I will at least be able to take a street view photo myself.