Monday, October 29, 2007

District offices

District office Phanom, Surat Thani
Most of the district offices (ทีว่าการอำเภอ) look quite alike, but sometimes they have something special around as well. Above is the one of Phanom in Surat Thani, with a Rafflesia sculpture next to it. The Khao Sok national park is part of this district, so this special flower is typical for this district. The sign reads "ประติมากรรมของดีเมืองพนม ดอกบัวผุด-ไผ่เฉียงรุน - Sculpture of the best of the town Phanom: Rafflesia and oblique net Bamboo (Gigantochloa balui )"

I've taken a few photos of district offices (and also the municipal and provincial administrations), and will post them here from time to time.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Tambon spelling

The romanization of Thai words is always a pain, everyone uses his own system, and some even use different transcriptions of the same word in one text. For example เมืองพล can be transcribed as Mueang Phon, Muang Pon or Müang Phol, and many more variations. The Royal Institute created a transcription standard named Royal Thai General System of Transcription (RTGS), which has its weaknesses, but at least gives rather good spellings for an English reader. Wirote Aroonmanakun even created a software which can do a machine transcription, at least for most cases.

For quite some time it already has a list of recommended spellings for the districts and provinces. Earlier this year the Department of Provincial Administration published a book with the recommended spelling of all the subdistricts, which is also available online. Sadly it is only a PDF, thus I had to compare these new spellings with those created by the machine transcription tool manually.

That document also included the suggested translations of the terms changwat, amphoe, king amphoe, tambon and muban - now finally making it clear that a minor district and a subdistrict is not the same. Too bad they did not include the local administrative entities in that, especially for the word thesaban tambon a lot of different translations are used.

I sent my corrections to DOPA, but did not get any reply to my email. I just hope it was read and will incoportate my changes in the next version, and will consider my suggestions of a XLS or plain text version as well.

Stamps with the provincial seals

Just found on the My Philately World blog - the Thai post has started a series with the provincial seals. According to Thai post this first batch was just released on October 15. I will try to get myself these beautiful sheets next time I will visit Thailand.

This is already the second stamp series I have to buy next time, the other one is No. 803 with the Rafflesia flowers, as mentioned of this Rafflesia blog. How is this related with the topic of this blog? Rafflesia kerrii is the symbol flower of Surat Thani province...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Planned new districts?

When I was searching for information on Sakha Tambon (สาขาตำบล), I run across a set of lists with the geocodes at the website of the Thai Rak Thai party. That website is now offline as the party was dissolved earlier this year, but I of course mirrored those data. Anyway, looking at the one for Surat Thani, I noticed it included two minor districts (King Amphoe) which are not existing:

8420 ท่าโรงช้าง Tha Rong Chang
8421 บางสวรรค์ Bang Sawan

Altogether there were 84 such not yet existing minor districts which already have a geocode assigned. And these geocodes must be authentic, because for Khon Kaen it listed three new minor districts, and the recently created Wiang Kao got the geocode 4029, not 4026 as one would expect for the 26th district of Khon Kaen.


When I started editing on Wikipedia in 2003, I noticed that many of the Thai topics were not yet covered, and then got myself into writing articles on all the provinces. It took almost a year to have all the 76 provinces with a reasonably detailed article. After that I slowly started with the districts, but that task only took pace when a Thai friend joined in and helped to translate the informations from, as otherwise the article would just ugly lists of data, and no real text. Now all districts have an article, but the project hasn't stopped, there is still a lot of information to be included.

This is what this blog will be about - while working on these articles, I always stumble on facts I don't understand at first, mostly due to the fact I still don't speak much Thai, especially not with the formal language with lots of technical administrative terms. So whenever I run into such a problem, or on the other hand get a good inside on things which nagged me earlier, or there's something new happening with these subdivisions of Thailand, like the recent upgrade of all the minor districts, there'll be a new posting on this blog. Or also if I finish some minor tasks in the Wikipedia articles, or add something interesting in my spreadsheet collecting all the data of the subdivisions.

Probably the first posts here will be on insights I had earlier, documenting them here for historical purposes only.