Thursday, August 23, 2012

License plate update for Phrae province

Yesterday a new license plate graphic for Phrae province was announced in the Royal Gazette, overriding the design announced in 2004.

The new design shows . In the background are the special rock formations of Phae Mueang Phi (แพะเมืองผี, literally "goat ghost town"), located about 10km northeast of the town Phrae.The blue wave in front probably refers to the Yom river, which flows through the province. The bird to the bottom right is a Siamese Fireback (Lophura diardi), which is found in the province. I am not sure what the tree in the left background are supposed to mean however.

The old design did only show the rock formations of Phae Mueang Phi.

For details on the next auction of these plates, the Phrae office of the Department of Land Transport has a brochure on their website.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ko Samui upgraded to city municipality

Four years ago, the board to consider draft laws had already decided that Ko Samui municipality (เทศบาลเมืองเกาะสมุย) - which covers the whole Samui island - should be upgraded from subdistrict municipality status to city municipality status. However surprisingly, the actual upgrade published in the Royal Gazette then just upgraded it to a town municipality, just one step higher in municipal status and not directly at the highest status.

Since I haven't seen it mentioned in any of the recent board meeting transcripts, it was now again a surprise when Khun Wisarut in the 2bangkok forum posted the link to the NathonCity website, which has the fax with the upgrade order in their news section. According to that scan, signed and send on August 12, the upgrade become effective September 14, the day after the term of the current council and mayor ends. Thus normally there should be a new election for both council and mayor within 45 days, but this depends on whether the Election Commission will be able to draw new constituency boundaries within that time - with the upgrade there are now 24 councilors election elected in four constituencies instead of 18 councilors in three constituencies.

It is somewhat strange that four years ago Samui was denied the city status, not it received it even though there was now also a change to a special administrative area like Pattaya in the discussion. I don't know any of the internals - maybe those who blocked the full upgrade last time are not in power anymore? Or drafting a law for a special administrative area couldn't be done quickly enough to be able to use the end of the terms for the status change? Or the city status was now granted to stop the request of becoming a special administrative area, which would mean even less of the tax income of Samui would go to the other parts of the province and country.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rename board meeting summaries

The board to consider name changes (คณะกรรมการพิจารณาเรื่องการขอเปลี่ยนแปลงชื่อจังหวัด อำเภอ และตำบล หมู่บ้าน หรือสถานที่ราชการอื่น ๆ) is the institution by which every name change of an administrative entity must be approved before becoming effective. In 2010 I found lists with the agenda of the meetings back then, but only the list of changes considered, no details like in the transcripts of the boards to consider draft laws with the municipal changes. But those agendas were never updated.

Knowing about pending name changes early is quite helpful, as especially name changes of TAO give a hint that the TAO may receive an upgrade to a municipality soon. Thus it was a nice discovery, that with a major redesign of their website, the Office of the Inspector General of the Ministry of Interior (สำนักงานผู้ตรวจราชการกระทรวงมหาดไทย) now published updated versions of those meeting agendas, which this time also include a short rationale of each rename decision. The agendas are split into three lists - one for the central administrative units (Changwat, Amphoe, Tambon and Muban, though only the latter two had any name changes), one for the local administrative units (TAO, municipalities), and finally one dealing with name changes of Buddhist temples. Ignoring the temples, I have converted the agenda into a XML file to make them easier to process.

This year, there were four meetings so far.
  • Meeting 1 on January 19 - one municipality, two TAO and one Muban got new names.
  • Meeting 2 on April 5 - two municipalities, one TAO and two Muban got new names.
  • Meeting 3 on June 26 - 10 TAO got new names.
  • Meeting 4 on August 9 - 5 TAO and one Muban got new names.
Of these changes, all of the municipal name changes have been officially announced in the Royal Gazette, just one of the TAO name changes was announced so far, and the Muban rename in meeting 4 is also pending its announcement. And especially for the TAO name changes in the latest two meetings, there were no mention of these TAO in any of the meetings transcripts of the boards to consider draft laws, though it is very likely that all of these changes mean that the corresponding TAO will also be upgraded with the end of their council term in this autumn.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Rename of two Muban in Lampang

Last week, the rename of two administrative villages in Lampang was published in the Royal Gazette. Signed by the province governor on June 21, it already became effective as of April 5 - the date when this rename was approved by the Board on Name Changes (more on that board next week).

The villages which changed names are both in Mai Phatthana subdistrict, Ko Kha district.
  • Village 8 changes from Ban Santi Nikhom (บ้านสันตินิคม) to Ban Mae Pum Santi Suk (บ้านแม่ปุ้มสันติสุข), as the original name is synonymous with a nearby temple and thus could create confusion.
  • Village 3 changes from Ban Khon Tham (บ้านดอนธรรม) to Ban Mae Pum Luang (บ้านแม่ปุ้มหลวง) to match the village name with the name of the temple in the village.
The two rationale seem to be contradicting, in one case the village is named after the temple, in the other case it is named to differ from the temple. However, nearby means not within the same village - Wat Santi Nikhom (วัดสันตินิคม) is located in village 2.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


After almost five years of blogging, I have reached the magic number of 1000 posts. When I started with this blog, I never expected that I would have enough topics to write about to fill such a big number of postings, or have the patience to keep up with writing up something regularly over such a long time. Though I recently haven't been posting as often as I did in the beginning, when I had five postings a week, this is not because I have run out of topics or out of steam. One reason is that there are not many news on changes in the subdivisions - the Mae Sot act is still on the agenda of the parliament, there's still just one new district in the planning and no concrete developments on that one either, so its mostly just the status changes of the local government units which are taking place. And I somehow take much more time nowadays for the research before having an article ready for posting, no wonder since the simple topics have been dealt with here already. But after a bit of vacation time, I now have several new things to post soon...

When looking at the access statistics of this blog, I see a slow but steady increase with now about 1000 hits a month. Nothing impressive compared with other blogs or websites, but given the special topic of the blog it is more than I expected. And though I had some interesting feedback from readers over the years, I still would love to read more comments or questions, just to get an idea if I am writing something which isn't just for myself. My main hope and original reason to start blogging hasn't yet materialized - getting into contact with someone within the Thai administrative system, to get more insight or have someone to send my questions, suggestions etc. Almost all attempts to contact anyone directly have failed so far.

Looking at the most popular postings, by far the most popular one was my analysis of the board game "King of Siam", whether the country divisions used in that game set at the times of King Chulalongkorn have any valid background. Even more marginally related to the main topic of the blog is second popular posting on road signs. Those postings most relevant to me or the topic and probably of most use for any researcher stumbling on this blog are in the long tail of less often accessed postings.

Though I doubt I will be able to reach the second thousand postings in a similar amount of time like for the first thousand, I will certainly continue to write about noteworthy news or interesting background articles, and continue to give status reports on my data collection project. But as mentioned - don't hesitate to give me feedback, knowing that I do something which gets noticed and used is the best motivation to continue working on it.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Municipal decision from June 2012

About a week ago, a new set of board meeting transcripts were uploaded, sadly again as PDF files so a bit more work to work them into my data. But that is done now, the detailed summary of each meeting with municipal decisions is available on the ThesabanUpdates blog. The summary of the summaries is below - as usual it was mostly Board 2 which had discussed municipal changes.
  • Meeting 39 on June 6 [Transcript, Details]. 3 TAO get upgraded to subdistrict municipalities, one to a town municipality, and one subdistrict municipality to a town municipality.
  • Meeting 40 on June 12 [Transcript, Details]. 6 TAO get upgraded to subdistrict municipalities.
  • Meeting 42 on June 19 [Transcript, Details]. 6 TAO get upgraded to subdistrict municipalities.
  • Meeting 43 on June 20 [Transcript, Details]. 4 TAO get upgraded to subdistrict municipalities.
  • Meeting 41 of Board 1 on June 25 [Transcript, Details]. 2 TAO get upgraded to subdistrict municipalities.
  • Meeting 44 on June 26 [Transcript, Details]. 9 TAO get upgraded to subdistrict municipalities.
  • Meeting 45 on June 27 [Transcript, Details]. 8 TAO get upgraded, seven to subdistrict municipalities and one to a town municipality.
An interesting observation while working through all those updates - in most cases, the upgrade will be done effective the day after the term of the TAO council ends,thus exactly four years after the last council elections. However, there are a few cases where the upgrade is effective on the final day of the term, or a few days before the term finishes. I am not sure if these are mistakes in the transcript or if these are intentional - in past I noticed that the dates given in the board meeting transcripts sometimes differ from the dates given in the Royal Gazette announcements or the Excel sheets from the Department of Local Administration.