Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chile: Santiago

Santiago de Chile

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Santiago, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation (Greater Santiago). It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of 520 m (1,706.04 ft) AMSL. Although Santiago is the capital, legislative bodies meet in nearby Valparaíso.

The city lies in the centre of the Santiago Basin, a large bowl-shaped valley consisting of a broad and fertile plain surrounded by mountains. It is flanked by the main chain of the Andes on the east and the Chilean Coastal Range on the west. On the north, it is bound by the Cordón de Chacabuco, a transverse mountain range of the Andes, whereas at the southern border lies Angostura de Paine, where an elongated spur of the Andes almost reaches the Coastal Range. Santiago Basin is part of the Intermediate Depression and is remarkably flat, interrupted only by a few hills. Among those are Cerro Renca, Cerro Blanco and Cerro Santa Lucía.

According to data collected in the 2002 census by the National Institute of statistics, the Santiago metropolitan area population reached 5.428.590 inhabitants, equivalent to 35,91% of the national total. Most of Chile's population is Catholic and Santiago is no exception. According to the National Census, carried out in 2002 by the National Statistics Bureau (INE), in the Santiago Metropolitan Region, 3,129,249 people 15 and older identified themselves as Catholics, equivalent to 68.7% of the total population, while 595,173 (13.1%) described themselves as Evangelical Protestants. Around 1.2% of the population declared themselves as being Jehovah's Witnesses, while 0.9% identified themselves as Latter-day Saints (Mormons), 0.25% as Jewish, 0.11% as Orthodox and 0.03% as Muslim. Approximately 10.4% of the population of the Metropolitan Region stated that they were atheist or agnostic, while 5.4% declared that they followed other religions.

Chile's steady economic growth has transformed Santiago into one of Latin America's most modern metropolitan areas, with extensive suburban development, dozens of shopping malls, and impressive high-rise architecture. It is an Alpha World City and has some of Latin America's most modern transportation infrastructure, such as the growing Santiago Metro (underground train system) and the new Costanera Norte, a toll-based highway system that passes below downtown and connects the Eastern and Western extremes of the city in a 25-minute drive. Santiago is the regional headquarters to many multinationals, and a regional financial centre.

Chile Earthquake 2010 年智利大地震

Chile was hit by earthquake on 27-2-2010. The 2nd earthquake to hit Latin America. A massive earthquake and a series of aftershocks have hit Chile. The quake, with a magnitude of 8.8, caused blackouts in parts of the capital, Santiago. Buildings have been reduced to rubble - and phone lines have been brought down. Seismologists say the tremor has caused a tsunami - with three-metre-high waves heading towards Chile's coast. The most devastating earthquake in the country's history struck in 1960 - killing more than 1600 people

Where is Chile?
Where is Chile? I know it is in South America, but we Asian know too little about her. The closest I know is the red wine I bought sometime from Chile. Other than that it is far away.

Chile, officially the Republic of Chile (República de Chile), is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. With Ecuador, it is one of two countries in South America which do not border Brazil. The Pacific coastline of Chile is 6,435 kilometres. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas and Easter Island. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.

A long and narrow coastal Southern Cone country on the west side of the Andes Mountains, Chile stretches over 4,630 kilometres (2,880 mi) north to south, but only 430 kilometres (265 mi) at its widest point east to west. This encompasses a remarkable variety of landscapes. It contains 756,950 square kilometres (292,260 sq mi) of land area. It is the longest country in the world.

Chile is divided into 15 regions, each headed by an intendant appointed by the president. The regions are further divided into provinces, with provincial governors also appointed by the president. Finally each province is divided into communes which are administered by municipalities, each with its own mayor and council elected for four year terms. Each region is designated by a name and a Roman numeral, assigned from north to south. The only exception is the Santiago Metropolitan Region which is designated RM (Región Metropolitana). Two new regions were created in 2006 and became operative in October 2007; Los Ríos in the south (Region XIV), and Arica y Parinacota in the north (Region XV). The numbering scheme skipped Region XIII.

Chile(President) - 15 Regions(Intendant) - Provinces(Governors) - Municipalities(mayor) - Communes

In Chile, a municipality (municipalidad) is a legal entity which administers one or more communes (comuna) which are the third-level division of the country. The first division are regions which a next divided into provinces (provincia). These provinces are next divided into comunas which are assigned to a municipality for administration. In most cases the municipality and the comuna have the same name, but the constitution permits a single municipality to be responsible for more than one commune.

The 15 Regions are:-

1. Región de Arica y Parinacota
2. Región de Tarapacá
3. Región de Antofagasta
4. Región de Atacama
5. Región de Coquimbo
6. Región de Valparaíso(note: San Antonio affected by Chile Earthquake 2010)
7. Región del Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins
8. Región del Maule(note: Region hit by Chile earthquake 2010 e.g.Curanipe)
9. Región del Biobío(note: also affected by earthquake 2010 e.g. Talcahuano,Lota, Cañete,Chiguayante & Arauco)
10.Región de la Araucanía
11.Región de Los Ríos
12.Región de Los Lagos
13.Región Aisén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo
14.Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena
15.Región Metropolitana de Santiago

Chile owned two notable Pacific possessions-the Juan Fernandez Islands and the famous Easter Island, both of which are administered as national parks. The Juan Fernandez islands are located about 670 km off the Chilean coast, while Easter Island is situated 3700 km distant.The Juan Fernández Islands are a sparsely inhabited island group reliant on tourism and fishing in the South Pacific Ocean. The islands are mainly known for having been the home to the sailor Alexander Selkirk for four years, which may have inspired the novel Robinson Crusoe. Easter Island is the world's most isolated inhabited island. It is also one of the most mystifying places on Earth, possessing a history that remains as unclear as it is evocative. The moai, huge figures carved of volcanic rock, hundreds of these sculpted monoliths dot the landscape, some in imposing rows, others toppled, broken, and scarred by violence. Note: These islands may be hit by Tsunami after the Chile earthquake on 27-2-2010.

Brief History
Prior to arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, northern Chile was under Inca rule while the indigenous Araucanians inhabited central and southern Chile. Although Chile declared independence in 1810, decisive victory over the Spanish was not achieved until 1818. In the War of the Pacific (1879–83), Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia and won its present northern regions. It was not until the 1880s that the Araucanians were completely subjugated. Although relatively free of the coups and arbitrary governments that blighted South America, Chile endured the 17-year military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973–1990) that left more than 3,000 people, mostly leftists and socialist sympathizers, dead or disappeared.

New President elected
By the way Chile is having a new President from the election took place on January 17, 2010. The President-elect of Chile is Dr. Miguel Juan Sebastián Piñera Echenique, who is to take office on Thursday March 11, 2010. He will be taking over from outgoing President Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria, the first woman President of Chile. Sebastián Piñera was a Harvard trained economic professor. Piñera is also Chile's first billionaire to be elected. The new President-elect has voiced a desire for a government of national unity, and promises to move his coalition to the center, away from the political polarization that has plagued Chilean politics and society since the coup d'état of 1973. Piñera will also inheret a $16 billions USD surplus attained by Chile while copper prices were high.

On January 28, Piñera renounced his political affiliation to National Renewal, becoming an independent. Within the party bylaws, it is stipulated that members who are elected to the presidency must renounce their association in order to govern the country fairly, foremost with the interest of the people, not with the interest of a political party or particular political philosophy. This is a progressive law, when after elected, the elected President to become an independent from political association and political party affiliation, avoid politicking and committed totally to the service of people and nation.

High respectable name in international rankings
Currently, Chile is one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations. It rank high in international ranking. It rank 25th out of 180 in Corruption Perception Index(by Transparency International , which is remarkable in Latin America. Press freedom index(by Reporters without border) with ranking 39th out of 175. Democracy index(by Economist),32th out of 167. Global Competitiveness(by World Economic Forum) rank 30th out of 133. What a remarkable country.....

In Chile there is no restriction on religion. Nearly 70 percent of the population which is above 14 years of age are identified as Roman Catholic and nearly 15 percent as evangelical.
Spanish is the official language and English is widely understood in large cities. Various indigenous languages are spoken in Chile like Mapudungun, Quechua and Rapa Nui.

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Chile Literature

Chileans call their country país de poetas—country of poets. Gabriela Mistral was the first Chilean to win a Nobel Prize for Literature (1945). Chile's most famous poet, however, is Pablo Neruda, who also won the Nobel Prize for Literature (1971) and is world-renowned for his extensive library of works on romance, nature, and politics. His three highly individualistic homes, located in Isla Negra, Santiago and Valparaíso are popular tourist destinations.

Among the list of other Chilean poets are Carlos Pezoa Véliz, Vicente Huidobro, Gonzalo Rojas, and Nicanor Parra. Novelist José Donoso's novel The Obscene Bird of the Night is considered by critic Harold Bloom to be one of the cononical works of Twentieth Century Western literature. Another internationally recognized Chilean novelist is Roberto Bolaño whose translations into English have had an excellent reception from the critics

Chile produces some excellent wines, competing with France, California, Australia and New Zealand for world markets. Notable are the Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere in red, along with whites from the Casablanca valley.

Chile Earthquake

The 2010 Chile earthquake occurred off the coast of the Maule Region(馬烏萊大區)of Chile on February 27, 2010, at 03:34 local time (06:34 UTC), rating a magnitude of 8.8 on the moment magnitude scale and lasting for about three minutes. The epicenter of the earthquake was offshore from the Maule Region, approximately 8 km (5.0 miles) west of Curanipe and 115 km north-northeast of Chile's second largest city, Concepción. The cities experiencing the strongest shaking—VIII (Destructive) on the Mercalli intensity scale—were Talcahuano, Arauco, Lota, Chiguayante, Cañete, and San Antonio. The earthquake was felt in the capital Santiago at Mercalli intensity scale VII (Very Strong). Tremors were felt in many Argentine cities, including Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Mendoza and La Rioja. Tremors were felt as far north as the city of Ica in southern Peru. Tsunami warnings were issued in 53 countries, and a tsunami was recorded, with amplitude of up to 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in) high, in the sea at Valparaíso, Chile. President Michelle Bachelet declared a "state of catastrophe". She also confirmed the deaths of at least 708 people.

Donation to Chile

Here are some of the most established organizations that are actively deploying aid in Chile to help jump start the relief efforts:

1. American Red Cross: The American Red Cross has already pledged funds to help Chile recover. Since its founding in 1881, the American Red Cross has been one of the most trusted emergency
response organization.

2. Direct Relief International: Direct Relief is already on the ground providing medical assistance.

3. Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanity Chile is developing shelter solutions for low-income families affected by the earthquake.

How to contact friends and families in Chile

On Twitter there is also a number circulating for emergency telephones in Chile: 568 1290 / 568 1295

The Red Cross does have a presence in Chile and thier contact numbers and addresses are available to the public. Please be patient, they are dealing with a high volume of work at this time.

Google has set up a Person Finder for the people of Chile, where you can either input information of someone you are looking for, or information about yourself or someone you know you may be looking for you, family or friends.

Twitter can also be a good source of information. The Chilean Red Cross has a Twitter account you can follow, or try searching Twitter with the hashtag #Chile as many others are also searching for information.

There is also a Chile Earthquake Facebook page for people to try and make contact.

Latest news

1. National Geographic Daily News,
2. 2010 Chile earthquake,
3. American Red Cross Disaster online newsroom,
4. RT, youtube

Chile is a beautiful country. The return to democracy and their achievement in economy, freedom of press, integrity and anti-corruption is admirable, and as a Latin country it is more respectable. Chile will overcome from the 2010 Earthquake, like in the past, she will stand up tall again with span of short time. She is able..... Chile is able as proven from the past, Chile will overcome......

Further reference articles/websites:

1.CIA - The World Factbook -- Chile,
2. Chile,
3. Welcome to Chile,
4. List of earthquakes in Chile,
5. 2010 Chile earthquake2010年智利大地震,
6. 1960 Valdivia earthquake,

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thailand: Trang(董里府)

Trang (also Muang Thap Thiang,ตรัง,董里府,舊稱什田府) is the one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand, at the western shore of the Malay Peninsula to the Andaman Sea. The province borders on Nakhon Si Thammarat Province to the north, Satun Province and the Indian Ocean (Andaman Sea) to the south, Phatthalung Province to the east and the Indian Ocean and Krabi Province to the west.

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Trang is considered a magnificent coastal province as it long, beautiful coastline stretches 199 kilometers along the Indian Ocean. The province is located on the coast of the Andaman Sea, and contains 46 islands together with the mainland area. There are only few plains, and most of the area is hills. In addition, the province has two major rivers flowing through it, the Trang River, which originates in the Khao Luang Mountain Range and Maenam Palian(Palian River) from the Banthat Mountain Range.

It has along western coastline of about 119 kilometres. The province consists of an archipelago in the Andaman Sea with over 46 islands. Of these, 12 are in Amphoe Kantang, 13 in Amphoe Palian and 21 in Amphoe Sikao. The best time for sea travel is during October to May. Situated along the Andaman coast, Trang province is home to innumerable beautiful islands, while the mountainous eastern region is home to dramatic waterfalls, caves and pristine jungle. Between the mountains and the coast are extensive plantations of rubber.

The southern coast of the province is protected in the Mu Ko Phetra National Park. The estuary of the Trang River together with the Hat Chao Mai Marine National Park and Ko Libong Non-hunting Area are also a registered Ramsar wetland.

Trang used to be a port involved in foreign trade. It was the first city where rubber was planted. Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi brought rubber from Malaysia and planted it here before anywhere else in southern Thailand in 1899. Rubber is now considered an important commodity of Thailand. The important Trang River flows through the province from its origin in the Khao Luang mountain range and the Palian River from the Banthat mountain range. Trang province has an area of approximately 5,000 square km.

This province was formerly a part of the ancient kingdom Kedah Tua - A Kedahan-Malay kingdom. he stone inscription at Wat Sema Muang, Nakhon Si Thammarat. The inscription was about King Sri Thamma Sokaraj's erecting Nakhon Sri Thammarat at Hat Sai Kaew in B.E. 1098 (555), and a Buddha's relic cottage therein. In erecting a mother town, according to Brahman tradition, satellite towns must also be erected. According to the inscription, there were 12 such satellite towns, called the 12 animal years. Muang Trang was one of the animal years, the year of horse, and therefore had a horse as its town insignia. Muang Trang had then officially come into existence Trang used to be one of 12 satellite towns that came into existence 900 years ago, but it was only during the era of King Rama II that the place was recognized and the province got its first governor. The first Westerner to arrive in Trang was Captain James Low in 1838 to negotiate commercial benefits.

Actually, the town was located in the Khuanthani (now a tambon in district Kantang). In 1893, the then governor Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi, planning to make Trang an important seaport to the west, relocated the town to district Kantang which is at Trang River delta. It was moved again to its present location 26 km inland in 1916 by King Rama VI due to repeated floodings.

(i)Kuan Thani(1802).
According to the directory of Nakhon Si Thammarat, B.E. 2345 (1802), during the reign of King Rama ll. Phraya Borirak Phubet (Nol) was appointed governor of Nakhon Si Thammarat Succeeding Chao Phraya Nokhon (Phat). He, therefore, proposed that his son, Muang, be Appointed governor of Trang. The king then gave Mr. Muang a title of Luang Upai Rajthani, and appointed him the first governor of Trang. A town shrine was erected at Kuan Thani (Still exists at Tambon Kuan Thani, Amphor Kantang, and 8 km south of the city). In B.E. 2367 (1824), A significant historical event occurred at Trang in Kuan Thani, during which England sent Captain James Low to negotiate on commercial benefits of the Malaysian Peninsula with Phraya Nakhon (Nol) in Trang. In B.E. 2381 (1838), when Phra Songkram Vichit was Trang governor, the So-called Koh Yao pirates attacked Trang and finally took over the city. However not long after, forces from Nakhon Si Thammarat and Songkhlia subdued the pirates.

(ii) Kantang(1893).
In B.E. 2433 (1890), King Rama V visited the south and paid his first visit to the city of Trang. He contemplated that the city (at Kuan Thani) was in a very dilapidated condition compared with The Chinese community at Tambon Kantang (where pepper was cultivated for export to Penang). The king, therefore, reasoned that under a capable governor, the city could have been very well developed owing to its fertile land. He then caused Phraya Rasdanupradit Mahissaraphakdi, or Kho Sim Bee Na Ranong, who had successfully developed Phuket to his satisfaction, to transfer from Krabi to become the governor of Trang in B.E. 2433 (1890). Phraya Rasdanupradit contemplated that the location of Trang at Kuan Thani was too far away from the coast, unsuitable for trading Purposes and difficult to expand. With his strong intention to make Trang a significant seaport in the West Coast, he, therefore, sought permission from the king to move the city from Kuan Thani to Tambon Kantang, and obtained the king's permission in B.E. 2436 (1893). When the City was moved to Tambon Kantang, Phraya Rasdanupradit laid down so many foundations for development for the city of Trang, that the citizens referred to him as "the king of Development". He was able to make the city's rapid economic growth possible from rearrangement of Town plan. Foreign trade encouragement, construction of Kantang seaport and a road linking Trang and Phatthalung through Phap Pha mountain region, which at that time was an extremely Difficult task but was perfectly completed under his able supervision. To commemorate his numerous contributions, the local people erected a statue of Phraya Rasdanupradit in B.E. 2494 (1951) at his former residence, which is still in existence to date in the city of Trang.

(iii)Thap Thiang(1915).
Though Trang had been very prosperous under the leadership of Governor Phraya Rasdanupradit. During the World War l, King Rama VI visited Trang (at Kantang) in B.E. 2458 (1915) and determined That Trang's being located at Kantang could be subject to enemy's attack, coupled with a spreading of cholera at that time. Moreover, Kantang's being lowland would be difficult for future Expansion. He considered that Tambon Thap Thiang was geographically suitable for a city to be erected there. He, therefore, caused the city to be moved in B.E. 2458 (1915) from Tambon Kantang to Tambon Thap Thiang, where Trang is currently situated. Some people still refer to Trang as "Thap Thiang", which is the name of the location on which Trang is situated.

Meaning of Trang
Many hypothesis on the meaning of Trang, 4 of which are as follows:
1. From "Trangdaburi", a name of one of the twelve satellite towns surrounding Nakhon Si Thammarat: the one with a seaport and a horse insignia.
2.From the word "Trangka", which means wave, since the landscape of Trang is characterised by high and low formations, like a wave.
3. From the Malay word "TrangKae", which means "dawn" or "the day comes". This is another theory proposed by many historians, the origin being that Malaysian merchant ships usually reached the mouth of the Trang River at dawn. Trang was an important sea port of southern Thailand. According to legend the ships always arrived at morning, which lead to the name of the town - Trang derives from the Malay word for light (terang).
5. From the Khmer word "Trang", which means a species of palm tree generally found in Trang area, but is rare elsewhere. This rather makes sense since most of the places in this region were named after its local natural resources. It is, therefore, possible that the place as named after the particular local tree.

However, the mater remains inconclusive and the word's exact meaning remains a puzzle.

The Trang area was the first area of Thailand where rubber trees were planted, brought there by governor Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi from Malaysia in 1899.

Trang is a province less traveled to by tourists, compared to Phuket, Krabi and Phang-Nga. It was only recently that Trang has been poised to establish itself on the international travel map.

Trang Province (changwat)is subdivided into 10 districts (amphoe). These are further subdivided into 87 subdistricts (tambon) and 697 villages (muban). The amphoe are:

1. Mueang Trang (เมืองตรัง)- capital district since 1916
2. Kantang(กันตัง) - the old capital in 1893-1916 and seaport. The city pillar shrine (Lak Mueang) of Trang is still located at its original location at Khuan Thani.
3. Yan Ta Khao
4. Palian
5. Sikao
6. Huai Yot
7. Wang Wiset
8. Na Yong
9. Ratsada
10. Hat Samran

Mueang Trang

Mueang Trang (Thai: เมืองตรัง , also Mueang Thap Thiang ( Thai: เมืองทับเที่ยง ) is the capital district(Amphoe Mueang ) of Trang Province, Thailand. Mueang Trang or the previous name Thap Thiang, became the capital district of Trang Province in 1916, when the capital was moved inland from Kantang, which was prone to flooding.

The district is subdivided into 15 subdistricts (tambon), which are further subdivided into 118 villages (muban). The township (thesaban tambon) Khlong Teng covers parts of tambon Na Tham Nuea. There are further 14 Tambon administrative organizations (TAO).

1. Thap Thiang ทับเที่ยง
4. Na Phala นาพละ
5. Ban Khuan บ้านควน
6. Na Bin La นาบินหลา
7. Khuan Pring ควนปริง
8. Na Yong Tai นาโยงใต้
9. Bang Rak บางรัก
10. Khok Lo โคกหล่อ
13. Na To Ming นาโต๊ะหมิง
14. Nong Trut หนองตรุด
15. Nam Phut น้ำผุด
17. Na Ta Luang นาตาล่วง
18. Ban Pho บ้านโพธิ์
19. Na Tham Nuea นาท่ามเหนือ
20. Na Tham Tai นาท่ามใต้

The city (thesaban nakhon) Trang has a population of 59,637 (2005) and covers the whole tambon Thap Thiang of Mueang Trang district.

Governors of Trang
1.1802-1938? - Muang, Luang Upai Rajthani, son of Phraya Borirak Phubet (Nol),who was appointed governor of Nakhon Si Thammarat. Trang was at Kuan Thani.
2. 1838?-?)- Phra Songkram Vichit
List of Governor of Trang from Na Ranong family
3. 1890-1901 - The Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahisornpakdi (Khaw Sim Bee Na Ranong, 1856-1913) was the first governor of Trang(at Kantang) . He was assassinated by a Siamese dresser, Ma Chan, in Trang on 25-3-1913. The accused was sentenced to death by judgment in Penang (source: NST dated 6-6-1913 Pg 8untitled,
4. 1901-1913 - Nephew of Khaw Sim Bee, Phra Satharn Khaw Joo Keat na Ranong who died together with his uncle Khaw SimBee in 1913 attack.
5. 1913- ? Phra Nara (BT, 11 September 1913),son in law of Khaw Sim Bee

Monument of Phraya Rasdanupradit Mahissara Phakdi(Khaw Sim Bee Na Ranong)
Located 1 km. out of town on the road to Phatthalung, this is the monument of an important ruler of Trang who first initiated the idea of growing rubber plants in Trang and later they spread all over the southern part of Thailand. The Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahisornpakdi (Khaw Sim Bee Na Ranong) Monument was erected to honor the first governor of Trang (1890-1901) who initiated and was instrumental in bringing in the rubber tree seedlings for planting in the province. Trang Municipal Park: Located 1 km east of town on highway 4 is this nice busy park which is the site of the Phraya Rassadanupradit Mahissarapakdi Monument. The monument is dedicated to Phraya Ratsada who helped Trang Town achieve it's prosperity in the late 1800's by developed transportation routes, an education and health system and rubber plantations. The park is used mostly by locals and is a good place to people watch.

Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์พระยารัษฎานุประดิษฐ์มหิศรภักดี)

This is a historical site where the former ruler of Trang, Phraya Ratsadanupradit, once lived. Inside the two-story wooden building are a wax figure of the former ruler and a complete collection of his daily personal items. Currently, the Na Ranong family manages the house. The Museum is located around 200 meters from Kantang Municipality at No. 1, Khai Phithak Road, Tambon Kantang,Amphoe Kantang, Changwat Trang. The Na Ranong family looks after the house. It is open to the public every day, except Mondays (it is open on public holidays but closed the following day). Guide services are available for group tours, and must be requested in advance at the Kantang Phitthayakon School tel. 0-7525-1100.

The first rubber tree in Thailand (ยางพาราต้นแรกของประเทศไทย)
The first rubber tree in Thailand (ยางพาราต้นแรกของประเทศไทย) is along a road that leads to Kantang. This tree represents the first group of rubber trees that Phraya Ratsadanupradit planted to pioneer the rubber plantation industry in 1899. There is some dispute where the first rubber seeds come from, some said Malaya(possibly Penang?), other said Singapore Botanical Garden(at that time within British Malaya), and Dutch Indonesia. That is for historian to find out.

Chuan Leekpai- The Prime Minister from Trang

Chuan Leekpai(ชวน หลีกภัย,呂基文) was born in Muang District, Trang Province, Thailand on 28-7-1938. Trained as an attorney, Chuan has been active in Thai politics since 1969, rising to lead the Democrat party. He is derided by critics as overly willing to compromise, though supporters point to his success in forming coalition governments. He first ruled as prime minister from September 1992–July 1995, the longest reign of any popularly elected official in Thailand's history. The November 1997 elections returned Chuan to power as he formed another coalition government with representatives from eight different parties. Chuan's priorities remain with the working class, from which he comes. Despite cutbacks in government spending necessitated by the economic crisis that began in July 1997 with the massive devaluation of the bhat, the average Thai had confidence that Chuan would look out for them and had their interests at heart. The economy improved over the next several years. In 2001 Thaksin Shinawatra’s Thai Rak Thai (“Thais Love Thais”) party won the election and Shinawatra took over as prime minister. Chuan Leepkai stepped down as head of the Democratic Party in 2003.

Prime Minister for 2 terms:
September 20, 1992 to May 19, 1995
November 9, 1997 to February 9, 2001

The Market in Trang
The two markets, Ta Klang Market and Municipal Market, selling fresh products are not far away from each other. People do not have to worry about dirty water which may be found in the markets in the other provinces here. Trang has been awarded as the cleanest town in Thailand for many years in a row. And its markets are considered to be the cleanest fresh market in Thailand. If you stay in town, it must be a good experience to walk through one of them to see how local people's daily life is.

Related articles/websites:

1. Website of district (Thai only)
3. Chuan Leekpai,
5. Ranong's Provincial Government Site, here on the Na Ranong Clan)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thailand: Ranong( 拉儂)& Na Ranong Family

Ranong Province

Ranong (ระนอง,拉儂府) is one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand, on the coast of the Andaman Sea. It is the province with the fewest citizens. Neighboring provinces are (from north clockwise) Chumphon, Surat Thani and Phang Nga. To the west, it also borders Kawthaung Province, Union of Myanmar.

Ranong is the first southern province on the western coast, located 568 kilometres from Bangkok. It is known for the long rainy period, which lasts for 8 months each year. The locals said it is a place of 'Fon Paed Daed Si' seasons, meaning eight months of rain and four months of sunshine. Ranong occupies an area of 3,298 square kilometres and is bordered by Myanmar and the Indian Ocean to the west. Within its compact area, Ranong contains various natural attractions and is blessed with hot springs and unspoiled mangrove forests.

Ranong is subdivided into five districts (amphoe). These are further subdivided into 30 subdistricts (tambon) and 167 villages (muban). Ranong itself is the only town (thesaban mueang), and there are five more subdistrict municipalities (thesaban tambon).

1. Mueang Ranong
2. La-un
3. Kapoe
4. Kra Buri
5. Suk Samran

Ranong (ระนอง)) is a town in southern Thailand, capital of the Ranong Province and the Mueang Ranong district. The town covers completely the area of the tambon Khao Niwet (เขานิเวศน์). As of 2005 it has a population of 16,163, and has town status (thesaban mueang).

The name Ranong is actually the Thai corruption of Rundung, a Malay principality under the overlordship of Malay Sultanate of Kedah. Rundung gradually succumbed to repeated Thai invasions in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The town is located at the estuary of the Pak Chan (or Kraburi) River, opposite Myanmar's Victoria Point. Phetkasem Road (Thailand Route 4) runs through the city. The Ranong Airport is located about 24 km south of the town.

The Port Authority of Thailand operates the Port of Ranong, which is Thailand's principal Indian Ocean port.

Ranong is best known as a fishing and trading port. It was settled by the Hokkian Chinese, and their strong influence is evident in the town. Ranong town is a gateway to Myanmar, with colourful longboats ferrying produce and people across the narrow divide that separates the two countries. The traffic is even heavier these days since a casino opened at Victoria Point. The famous hot springs are just outside of town, where an arboretum and various first-class hotels cater to visitors eager to benefit from the medicinal properties of the mineral waters. Ranong also famous for its visa run to Burma.

Na Ranong ณ ระนอง Family 那‧拉儂族
Khaw Soo Cheng
The Na Ranong family name has its roots that go back to Khaw Soo Cheang(许泗漳), the province's first governor, whose portrait graces a wall of a shrine that also has a tablet tracing the family tree. In 1916 all Chinese immigrants and their descendants had to adopt a Thai name, and the family of Khaw Soo Cheang became the Na Ranong family.

Khaw Soo Cheang(1797-1882), other name Khaw Teng Hai, was born in Changzhou(中国福建漳州龙溪县霞嶼鄉), not far from Xiamen, China, in 1797. At the age of 25, along with his elder brother, Soo Foo, he left China like thousands of others before him to escape poverty and headed for Nanyang, in search of a better life. In 1822, he arrived at Penang penniless.

Penang was used to be part of Siam before 1786 under vasal state Kedah, but when Khaw arrived in 1822,it was under British rule. Khaw Soo Cheang began as a labourer but when things didn't get better he obtained lease of eight acres of land in Sungei Tiram(过山)- site of Bayan Lepas Airport today - and started growing fruits and vegetables.

Every week he walked 18 miles to sell his produce in Jelutong,Penang. Six years later life still hadn't improved and he moved to Takua Pa and began trading in clothes, guns, tin, areca nuts, bird's nest and pepper. This time it clicked: trade flourished and for a change, with the help of an influential lady, Thao Thep Sunthorn, he made money. (Note: may be Thao Sri Sunthon (ท้าวศรีสุนทร) sister of the wife of deceased governor of Phuket, Thao Thep Kasattri (ท้าวเทพกระษัตรี)who together successfully defended Phuket against Burmese invasion in 1785? her name was Khun Mook (คุณมุก),which needed to be confirmed).

Later, he moved to Phangnga and finding it full of promise opened a store called Koe Guan. He bought a ship and started trading along the coastal Penang-Ranong-Kra Buri route. Phangnga was his base until 1844.

Ranong then was a small settlement of just 17 houses, but it was rich in tin ores. In 1844, during the reign of King Rama III, Khaw Soo Cheang received a concession to mine tin in exchange for a certain amount of royalty payable twice a year, which he subsequently surpassed as business became prosperous. In 1862, King Rama IV formally elevated Ranong to full provincial status and appointed Khaw Soo Cheang, a tin-mining magnate of Hokkien descent, as governor, granting him the official rank of Phra Rattana Setthi. It was for his loyalty, integrity, and in the face of looming threat from the British who then ruled Burma, Khaw Soo Cheang was appointed governor of Ranong. Later, one of his sons, Khaw Sim Kong, was named to the royal court in Bangkok as an aide to the monarch.

Ranong at the time was so distant that tax collectors were far from willing to travel there. Khaw Soo Cheang, apart from being an able trader, also proved a shrewd administrator and obtained the right to collect taxes on behalf of the state.

He went about the work diligently and as his tin-mining business prospered he was able to bring in more workers which he sourced from his native China. In just three years there were thousands of Chinese working in tin mines, and as their numbers soared so did Ranong's contribution to state coffers. Khaw Soo Cheang had complete say when it came to collecting tax levied on tin mining and export, opium, liquor and gambling, which he pursued with due diligence and in an evenhanded manner.

As his reputation grew, so did his tin business to Lang Suan, Phangnga, Takua Thung, Phuket and Takua Pa, and in due course everyone of them were reporting to Bangkok, completely by-passing the tax collectors, and with tin prices reaching new highs the state revenue also peaked.

It was around this time that Khaw Soo Cheang, by now old and feeling his age, took absence of leave to visit his hometown in China. While he was away a revolt of sorts broke out among Chinese workers and there was rioting in Ranong which he helped clamp down on return. For his services, he was bestowed the title "Phraya Damrong Sujarit Mahisorn Phakdi Jangwang" by King Rama V, while his eldest son was appointed chief administrator of Ranong.

Khaw Soo Cheang died at the age of 86 in May, 1882. He was survived by six sons. His final resting place is a plot of land donated by King Rama V at Ranong.

Khaw family
Khaw Soo Cheang was a Chinese immigrant from Zhangzhou-fu, Fukien Province. He was an officer of the "Small Knives Secret Society", which was fighting to restore the Ming Dynasty. His other name was Khaw Teng Hai, and his alias was Khaw Soo Cheang (refer to the Chinese inscription on his tomb in Ranong). In 1810 he arrived in Penang and stayed in Sungai Tiram which is about 1 kilometer from the present Bayan Lepas International Airport where he was engaged in small-scale vegetable farming. Once a week Khaw Soo Cheang would take his produce down to Jelutong to sell. Khaw Soo Cheang subsequently went into trading and started a small sundries shop business under the name of Koe Guan. Subsequently he started trading up the coast of what is today Southern Thailand.

From trading Khaw Soo Cheang diversified into tin mining, shipping and supplying immigrant labourers. In 1844 he was appointed Royal Collector of tin royalties in the Ranong area, and received the title Luang Ratanasethi. In 1854 King Mongkut made him governor of Ranong and elevated him to the rank of Phra Rattana Setthi. At the time Ranong was subordinate to Chumphon province, but in 1864 it was elevated to full provincial status, and Khaw Soo Cheang became a Phraya, the 2nd highest royal title for commoner. He successfully defended the new province against being invaded and annexed by the Burmese. The family became close to the Thai royal court, especially Prince Damrong, who stayed at the family home in Penang, which was named Chakrabong in honour of the Thai royal family. in 1872 Khaw Soo Cheang who was then an old man of 81 sailed back to China where he married an 18-year-old damsel. Prior to that voyage he had a will made by the venerable firm of Presgrave and Matthews in Penang.

Na Ranong Family
Khaw Soo Cheang(1797-1882) had two Chinese wives, Sit Kim Lean and Kim. He had six sons, of which Khaw Sim Cheng(1850) was the eldest, Khaw Sim Kong(1840-1912) the second, Khaw Sim Chuah(1880) the third, Khaw Sim Khim(1845-1903) the fourth, Khaw Sim Teik (1850-1920)the fifth, and Khaw Sim Bee(1860-1913) the sixth. Kim, a Siamese woman was the mother of Khaw Sim Bee, the youngest son. He may have other Siamese wife. But his principal wife and mother of his heir were Chinese.

1. The eldest son, Khaw Sim Cheng(许心正, d 1850) , died in 1850 before his father who died in 1882. His principal wife was from China, Sek Loon Kwan

2. The second son, Khaw Sim Kong(许心廣, b1840 d 1912), Phraya Damrong Sutcharit (Khosimkong na Ranong) became the next governor of Ranong(拉儂府)from 1882-1896. In 1896 Sim Kong became commissioner of the Monthon of Chumphon (มณฑลชุมพร)from 1896-1901. His principal wife was Cheah Lean Kee from Penang. He has 6 sons, the eldest Joo Seng, Joo Ghee , Joo Chai, Joo Lei(a lawyer worked at Thai foreign office at Bangkok), Joo Kik, and Joo Tai. Khaw Joo Ghee succeeded his father as the Governor of Ranong(DIANA CARROLLis,2000)from 1896, and director of family business Penang Khean Guan Insurance.

3. The third son, Khaw Sim Chuah(许心泉,d 1880), married Yeoh Siew Chee. He died in 1880.

4.His fourth son, Khaw Sim Khim(许心欽 b 1845 d 1903), became became governor of Kraburi(กระบุรี,克拉武里). His principal wife was Lim Kim Teen from Penang. Khaw Sim Khim later left Ranong to manage the family business in Penang. Koe Guan Company was Established by Khaw Soo Cheang during his era(not by Khaw sim Bee, Khaw Soo Cheang's 6th son as some report). The business was look after by Khaw Sim Khim. He was appointed by other members of the Khaw clan organization there the "Koe Yang Tong Society", as the chairman. He was the co-founder of Khaw Kongsi, or Saw Khaw Lean (Heah) Kongsi at Burma Road, Penang, Malaysia. He died in 1903, his tomb was located in Batu Lanchang Chinese cemetery, Penang, Malaysia. His sons, Joo Chie, Joo Tok((許如琢,1871-1951). Khaw Joo Tok, educated in Penang Free School(English school), was the managing director of Koe Guan & Company,Northam Road, Penang. He was the founding member & committee member(協理员)of Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce(檳州中華總商會), found in 27-6-1903, and Confucius Chinese School(孔圣庙中华学校)on 2-8-1911. He was also the Penang Jurors in 1904( Straits Settlements Government Gazette, December 23, 1904). He is also the founding director of Tongkah Harbour Dredging Company when formed in 1907, founding directors of the Eastern Smelting Company Ltd along with Chung Thye Phin, Eu Tong Sen, Ng Boo Bee, Ong Hung Chong, and his nephew Khaw Bian Kee(許紳基). Khaw Joo Tok inherited Asdang house, which was sold after WW2. Joo Chie was involved in opium revenue farm trade of the family. Early 19th century Penang was used as a staging post for the opium trade between India and China. The East India Company auctioned off licences to gambling dens, brothels and opium traders (this alone accounted for approximately 60% of colonial revenue. He was also the director of Eastern Smelting Company Ltd & Penang Khean Guan Insurance(Sim Bee & Joo Tok also director)between 1907-1910. This is the Khaw family whose descendants are still in Penang.

Khaw Joo Chie, 6th clerk, Resident Councillor's Office; Northam Road.
Khaw Joo Tok, managing director, Koe Guan & Company; Northam Road.
( Source: Straits Settlements Government Gazette, December 23, 1904)

5. The fifth son, Khaw Sim Teik(许心德,b 1850 d 1920), became governor of Langsuan(หลังสวน,浪宣府). His principal wife was Cheah Lean Looi from Penang. His tomb was located at Ranong. His son Joo Tien.

6. Khaw Sim Bee(许心美,b 1860 d 1913), the youngest son, Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi(พระยารัษฎานุประดิษฐ์มหิศรภักดี)became governor of Trang(董里府,舊稱什田府)from 1890-1900, and in 1900 commissioner of Monthon Phuket(มณฑลภูเก็ต, 東南六府). He was a bureaucratic tycoon and an appointed Thai Governor of Kraburi, Trang and later the Monthon of Phuket. In Penang, Sim Bee founded the Koe Guan Company Ltd, then one of the biggest shipping companies in British Malaya. He also pioneered the insurance business in Malaya with his Khean Guan Insurance Company. Sim Bee also had business interests in Tongkah Harbour Tin Dredging Co Ltd and Eastern Shipping Co Ltd. While he was so influential in south Thailand, he married a Chinese woman from Penang Lim Seng Kim as principal wife, with whom he had five sons. However, he was also polygamous and a notorious womanizer. This proved to be his undoing, as he was killed by a doctor in Trang whose wife he had his eyes on. The shooting took place on 25 February, 1913. Also wounded was his nephew,the Governor of Trang. Khaw Sim Bee and his nephew were rushed to the Penang hospital, but succumbed to their injuries on 10 April and 2 May respectively. New Strait Times on 6-6-1913, however reported that he was assassinated by a Siamese dresser, Ma Chan, in Trang on 25-3-1913. The accused was sentenced to death by judgment in Penang (source: NST dated 6-6-1913 Pg 8untitled, Sim Bee's illustrious political and business career was cut short when he was assassinated in 1913. The incident was known as the Trang Outrage, the tragedy marked the slow decline of the Khaw business empire. His tomb was located at Ranong. Khaw Sim Bee's only son in Penang is Khaw Joo Chye(许如財), who was the one inherited Chakrabongse House at Northam Road(now Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah). Chakrabongse house was built back to back with Asdang House, Chakrabongse house facing the sea and Asdang House facing the road. Chakrabongse House was demolished to make way for luxurious family flats, Asdang was sold and demolished in 1993.

However after Khaw Sim Bee's death in 1913, a commissioner from outside the area was appointed to stop the traditionally inherited administrative power of the family. The family essentially divided into the Malaysian and Thai portions of the family. In 1932 all Chinese immigrants and their descendants had to adopt a Thai name after the military coup. The family of Khaw Soo Cheang on the Thai side of the border had been given the name meaning "from Ranong" by the Thai King and became the Na Ranong family. In Malaysia and elsewhere they are still known as the Khaw family.

Khaw Soo Cheang, Khaw Sim Kong. Khaw Sim Teik and Khaw Sim Bee's tombs are today located in Ranong. The tombs of Khaw Sim Khim is located in Batu Lanchang Chinese cemetery while Khaw Sim Chuah who had no sons is purportedly buried off at Kampar Road in Penang. Today the eldest son Sim Cheng and the third son Sim Chuah's family are extinct.

Great Grandchildren(not conclusive):
1. KHAW Bian Kee(許紳基), Directors of the Eastern Smelting Company, Ltd along with Ng Boo Bee, Ong Hung Chong, and his uncle Khaw Joo Tok
2. Khaw Bian Ho,the last person whose name appeared on the trust deed Koe Guan Kong Lun established by the will dated 1872 of Khaw Soo Cheang. He died on October 21, 1972. 21 years after his death, the trust was vested.
3. Datuk Khaw Bian Cheng, was an alumnus of Methodist Boys' School,Penang.
4. Dr Khaw Bian Gow, son of Khaw Joo Ghee who had 6 wives
5. Khaw Bian Soon,son of Joo Piu
6. Khaw Bian Ang, son of Joo ley
7. Khaw Bian Chok, son of Joo Ghee
8. Bian Tatt,son of Joo Choe
9. Bian Chee,son of Joo Choe
10. Bian How, son of Joo Tok, who married Gan keng Wah
11. Bian How, son of Joo Tok,who married Yeoh Saw Kooi
12. Bian Teong, son of Joo Tok
13. Bian Wan, son of Joo Tok
14. Bian Eng, clerk with Tom Miles

Family trust: Koe Guan Trust or Koe Guan Kong Lun

In his will dated 1872 Khaw Soo Cheang divided his estate into 16 parts, of which 15 parts were distributed to his descendants. One-sixteenth was used to set up Koe Guan Kong Lun, the family trust, which was set up in 1905. Under the terms of the Trust Deed, it was stated that 21 years after the death of the last person whose name appeared in the Trust deed the trust would be vested. The last person whose name appeared on the trust deed who died was his great-grandson Khaw Bian Ho, who died on October 21, 1972. Twenty-one years later on October 21, 1993, the Trust was vested, and the Trustees began the process of winding up Koe Guan Kong Lun.

Khaw family & Political Control

The children of Khaw Soo Cheang was the administrators of Phuket, Krabi, Kra Buri, Langsuan, Chumphon, Trang, Ranong , Satun(in 1907); covered nearly all of the west coast of South Thailand except Malay state of Saturn. Other East coast of South Thailand were Songkhla(which was under Na Songkhla family),Nakhon Si Thammarat, and the Malay states of Patani, Yala, Narathiwat.

Ranong - Khaw Soo Cheang(1854-1877), Khaw Sim Kong(1877-1895), Khaw Joo Ghee(1895-?)(note: 3 generation of Na Ranong family)
Kraburi - Khaw Sim Khim
LangSuan - Khaw Sim Tek
Krabi- Khaw Sim Bee
Trang - Khaw Sim Bee, Khaw Joo Keat(note: 2 generations of na Ranong family),Phra Nara(son-in-law of Khaw Sim Bee)

Khaw Sim Kong was the first commissioner of the Monthon of Chumphon (มณฑลชุมพร)from 1896-1901. Khaw Sim Bee was the first commissioner of the Monthon of Phuket(มณฑลภูเก็ต)from 1900-1913.

(i)Phuket(ภูเก็ต,普吉) - Monthon Phuket(มณฑลภูเก็ต)was established in 1898, succeeding a previously established commissionership. It consisted of the provinces Phuket(普吉), Thalang(ถลาง,它朗), Ranong(拉儂), Phang Nga(จังหวัดระนอง,攀牙), Takua Pa(ตะกั่วป่า,竹古巴)and Krabi(甲米)- 東南六府. In 1907 Satun(沙敦) was added when most of the area of monthon Kedah was ceded to Britain. In 1933 the whole monthon system was abolished with the Provincial Administration Act B.E. 2476, part of the changes made after the coup d'etat which changed the absolute monarchy to a democracy.
(ii) Krabi(กระบี่,甲米) - Krabi was under Kingdom of Ligor in 1200, when the city Ban Thai Samor was part of this kingdom. In modern Thailand, Krabi was administered from Nakhon Si Thammarat, even after 1872 when king Chulalongkorn gave Krabi the status of a town. In 1875 it was made a direct subordinate of Bangkok, thus becoming what is now a province
(iii) Kra Buri (กระบุรี) is now the northernmost district (Amphoe) of Ranong Province, southern Thailand. Mueang Tra (or Kra) was established in Ayutthaya era as the 4th class city under Chumphon. The first governor was Mr. Kaew, a cousin of the governor of Nakhon Si Thammarat. Kra Buri was downgraded to be a amphoe(district) of Ranong province around 1896.
(iv)Lang Suan (หลังสวน,浪宣府) is a district (amphoe) of Chumphon Province, southern Thailand. Lang Suan was originally a Mueang(semi-independent city-states) and a province reporting directly to Bangkok. During the thesaphiban reforms at the end of the 19th century it was put under Monthon Chumphon. On April 1 1932 the province was abolished and its districts were incorporated into Chumphon province
(v) Chumphon (ชุมพร, 春蓬府) is one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand, at the shore of the Gulf of Thailand. Chumphon is a town (thesaban mueang) in southern Thailand, capital of the Chumphon Province and the Mueang Chumphon district. Monthon Chumphon was established in 1896 consisting of the provinces Chumphon, Chaiya, Kanchanadit and Lang Suan. Chaiya and Kanchanadit were later merged into one province named Chaiya. In 1905 the monthon administration was moved to Ban Don, the center of Chaiya province. Together with the rename of Chaiya to Surat Thani the monthon got renamed to "Monthon Surat". 1925 the monthon was incorporated into monthon Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Family Businesses
The Khaw family founded an Eastern shipping company, Eastern Trading company, Tongkah Harbour (a publicly listed company), and an insurance company known as Khean Guan Insurance Company found in 1885. The family is also involved as revenue farmer from opium. Khaw family and its Penang associates decided to enter in shipping service in the Andaman Sea for the first time in 1890. By doing so, this group introduced three steamers to service on the routes of Penang-Ranong, Penang-Trang and Penang-Rangoon respectively.

Rubber and Khaw Sim Bee

The rubber tree was introduced to Phuket and South Thailand at the start of the century, coincidentally at the same time as onshore tin supplies started to dwindle and prices dip. Cash from rubber production breathed life into Phuket's small and faltering economy. Rubber plantations expanded to cover some 40% of Phuket's surface. Today it is around 33%.

You can recognize rubber plantations by their regimented rows of trees growing 4 m. apart - the assertion of symmetrical order and monoculture over the riot of native species which preceded it.

The rubber tree is indigenous to South America but was introduced to colonial South East Asia by the British, last century. There was strong competition and intense pressure to increase plantation yields. Europe, in the mid of an industrial revolution, developed an insatiable demand for rubber.

There was a lot of experimenting with hybrid strands to increase yields. Thailand was slow to start. In 1899 Trang governor Phraya Ratsada enviously inspected the new rubber estates of North Malaya.

It wasn't until 1901 that he finally sailed to Dutch Indonesia. While there he wrapped dozens of rubber shoots in wet cotton wool, covered them with newspaper and placed them in four boxes aboard his private steam boat. According to one Thai version, he then "took a very rapid and instantaneous trip back to Thailand."

The governor planted 18 acres near Trang and forced government officials to distribute seeds to farmers. Temporary laws were quickly written in Bangkok to allow rice growers to clear native forest for rubber production.

The agricultural ministry distributed seeds of the Indian rubber tree (ficus elastica) at cost price throughout South Thailand where the climate was suitable. The government brought in a European expert from Java, HWL Couperus, to teach cultivation techniques.

By 1910 rubber was a big player in Phuket's economy. The main market was North Malay, from where sheets were sent to meet industrial demand in Britain. Chinese immigrants who came to work the tin mines in Phuket switched to rubber tapping. Most rubber holdings in Phuket were Chinese owned. The Chinese were the only non-Thais allowed to own plantations in South Thailand. Family-run small holdings abounded on the Thai side of the border, while North Malaya encouraged larger estates with hybrid strains, Indian migrant labor, and foreign ownership.

Nevertheless, Thailand's small holdings supplied 4% of the world rubber market by 1936. With over 2,000 mm. of rain a year, the fertile growing climate of South Thailand propelled the country to the position of world's number one by the mid 1990s. Thailand now produces around 1.8 mil tons a year, 90% of which is exported, earning some 60 billion Baht annually. Indonesia and Malaysia follow closely behind.

Tin mining & Tongkah Harbour Tin Dredging Company

The meeting of Australian Miles family and Penang's Khaw family happened in Penang in 1903, Captain Edward T. Miles (1849-1944) negotiated the sale of four steamers to Koh Guan shipping company directors Khaw Joo Tok(1871-1951) and Khaw Sim Bee(1860-1913). It was a priceless opportunity to win the confidence of one of Siam's most influential Sino-Thai dynasties for Miles, and golden opportunity for Khaw family to meet Australian who has technology background. The discussion must be by Khaw Joo Tok, who is English educated from Penang Free School, and the decision may be by his uncle, Khaw Sim Bee.

According to Thomas Miles, son and biographer of Edward Miles, during negotiations with Koh Guan, his father was invited by Sim Bee to view a potential tin property in the town of Phuket, the administrative centre for the island and province of the same name. Sim Bee sought to increase tin output from Phuket through the introduction of modern mining machinery and mining techniques and believed Miles could help. With backing from Tasmanian jam manufacturers, Henry Jones and Co. Ltd, Miles visited the island in 1904 to find the proposed site unsatisfactory. It lay beneath some government buildings and, fearing his financiers would refuse to pay relocation costs, Miles turned his attention to the harbour. Silted-up with tailings washed down by years of intensive mining activity, the harbour was shallow and inaccessible to all but vessels of shallow draught. He deduced that tin must lay beneath this silt and put forward a proposal to adapt revolutionary dredge technology to recover tin from the harbour and, to make his offer more appealing, clear a new shipping channel and dock. In this version, Sim Bee was impressed by Miles' ingenuity and generosity in offering to redevelop Phuket's port facilities and recommended the project to Prince Damrong Rajanupharb, Minister for the Interior (1893-1915), and minister responsible for the Department of Mines and Geology (1897-1909). This straightforward account leaves many questions unanswered.

The world's first Commercial offshore bucket dredge
The launch of the first Tongkah Harbour Tin Dredging Company dredge on 4 November 1907 at Pyre Dock, Penang, was a major event in the history of tin mining. It was the world's first commercial offshore bucket dredge and its designer, Edward Miles, was an Australian. Attended by the Thai Minister for the Interior, Prince Damrong Rachanupharb, the launching ceremony marked the culmination of an extended process of exploration and negotiation. The Company's genesis was a chance meeting in Penang between Miles and two directors of the Koh Guan shipping company, Khaw Joo Tok, a wealthy Penang businessman, and Khaw Sim Bee, Superintendent Commissioner of monthon Phuket, the major tin producing province on Siam's west coast. Floated on the Hobart stock exchange on 23 November 1906 with a registered capital of A$150,000, Tongkah Harbour proved the most successful Australian tin company formed to operate in Siam, both in terms of its longevity and production. Remaining in Australian hands until the late 1930s, Tongkah Harbour was an unlikely business alliance but one that ideally suited the purposes of all parties involved.

Sim Bee effectively controlled access to mineral deposits in monthon Phuket. Confident of Sim Bee's loyalty to the state, Prince Damrong, a royal patron of the Khaw family, appointed him superintendent commissioner in 1899 conferring the title Phraya Rasadanupradit-Mahisonphakdi, Respected even by the British in Malaya for his efficiency and fairness, Sim Bee was charged with modernising administration and promoting economic development. Increased tin production was one way to silence Siam's critics in Malaya who alleged that incompetent Thai administrators had failed to promote the mining industry and were could not be relied upon to maintain peaceful conditions in Siam's southern provinces and Malay principalities. Under the Anglo-Siamese Convention of 1897 Bangkok was forced to acknowledge a British sphere of influence over most of peninsular Siam to Bang Saphan in monthon Chumphon. British businessmen in the Straits Settlements openly advocated that the principalities, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Trangannu, and Pattani become British protectorates. Belligerent sentiments expressed by businessmen and British officials alike merely exacerbated Thai fears of annexation. Thus extreme care had to be exercised when granting prospecting permits and mining lease applications lest politically astute concession-hunters foment local political discontent to strengthen their bargaining position with the Thai government. In the case of Miles, Thai anxieties were set aside.

Sim Bee and Joo Tok, who also played an instrumental part in bringing Miles to Phuket, were equally anxious to protect their family's mining interests against encroachment by British mining companies, already displacing Chinese miners in Malaya. With no practical mining experience Miles was infinitely less qualified to prospect for tin than many British mining engineers in Malaya desperately to break into Siam. However, Miles had considerable maritime experience and engineering skills which made him an ideal partner for the Khaws. Mine workings on the foreshore and traces of tin ore collected by the anchors of Koh Guan steamers near the harbour mouth, suggested that significant ore deposits lay within reach of someone with sufficient capital and the right technology to recover them. Miles looked to the harbour because Joo Tok told him tin would be found there. The decisive factor was his offer of free shares to Joo Tok and Sim Bee, and a company directorship for Joo Tok. The gesture indicated that Miles was prepared to cooperate with the Khaws and share the potential economic benefits of his tin venture.

Miles identified himself as an Australian rather than a British subject. Perhaps trying to distance himself from the British in Malaya, Miles informed Sim Bee that had he tried to establish a company in the Federated Malay States, British authorities would have made life difficult. Given the damage done to his reputation by the Strahan Marine Board scandal, there was more than an element of truth in this claim. Another critical factor was the rapport that emerged between Miles and Damrong. Dredging aside, politics, Australian and British, was a popular topic of their many conversations during 1906-1907. Recognised in Damrong's official correspondence as chao australia (Australian), as opposed to chao angkrit (English), Miles impressed with his ingenuity, enthusiasm and apparent sincerity. In Bangkok awaiting royal approval for his application for mining leases, Miles was treated by Damrong to a journey by royal yacht up the Chaophraya River to the ancient Thai capital of Ayudhaya. Standing beside the grave of his wife in the royal temple reserve in the ancient Thai capital, Damrong handed Miles a flower inviting him to place it on the grave as a token of respect. Miles did so with due reverence. Displaying a humility that contrasted sharply with the hauteur of many British colonial officials and businessmen with which Thais dealt, this simple act left a lasting impression upon Damrong.

Miles brought an attractive proposal before the Thai government. A shrewd businessman, in return for redeveloping Phuket's port facilities Miles asked that compensation of A$32, 000 be paid by the Thai government in the form of tin royalty and tax exemptions. It was evidence that Miles felt himself in a strong enough position to make demands. Rejecting the request for exemptions, Damrong nonetheless hailed the scheme as a major contribution to the welfare of Siam, taking personal responsibility for shepherding the proposal past a special commission of inquiry, the Council of Ministers, and recommending to King Chulalongkorn that a mining concession be granted. A measure of the standing Miles had acquired, a 25 year mining lease covering 9.16 square kilometres of Phuket harbour was issued to him and not the IXL Prospecting Company NL, formed by Henry Jones to finance his exploration. To offset establishment costs, a reduced lease rent was awarded for an unspecified duration and duties waived on imports of capital equipment and fuel. The Thai government granted Miles generous terms.

Strong opposition to the scheme came from the Director of the Department of Mines and Geology, an Englishman, Henry Scott. Hand-picked by Damrong in 1897 to work in the sensitive area of mining administration, Scott was a trusted employee who rose quickly to become director in 1899. He believed the dredge and dock proposal unworkable and, even though his objections went unheeded by the commission, continued to cast doubt on the project.

Scott also had reason to be jealous. With the help of his brother, T.G. Scott, a London stockbroker, he registered the Siamese Tin Syndicate Ltd., in London in November 1906. A betrayal of Damrong's trust, Scott intended to exploit his inside knowledge of the mining industry in Siam for personal profit. To avoid allegations of a conflict of interest, he did not take up a directorship with Siamese Tin until his resignation from the Mines Department in mid-1907. Yet Miles had beaten him to the start. Moreover, Miles allied with one of southern Siam's elite Sino-Thai families,the Khaw family, an example Scott refused to follow.

The first Tongkah Harbour dredge was built to Miles' specifications by the Scottish firm William Simons and Co. British mining engineers in Phuket sneered as Miles and his team battled mechanical failures to make the dredge operational. Tin was recovered for the first time two months later in January 1908. Within three years Tongkah Harbour had five offshore tin dredges working its Phuket leases. Unable to control management policy, Miles resigned from the company he created after series of disputes with the Hobart board, the most bitter over his replacement as mine manager in 1908. One of his last acts as managing director was to assist Tongkah Harbour renege on his promise to dredge a new dock and shipping channel by heading negotiation with the Thai government for the Company's release from this contractual obligation. It was the last straw. Miles struck out on his own finding an important ally in Aschelon Wooliscroft Palfreyman, a founding director of Tongkah Harbour, who learned the value of Miles relationships with Damrong and Sim Bee on a visit to Phuket in 1908, ironically to oversee Miles' replacement.

By virtue of his relationships with influential members of the Thai government and their Sino-Thai clients, Miles opened the door to Australian mining investment in Siam. Urged on by Miles, Eric Byron Moore, a dredgemaster with Tongkah Harbour, formed a company to develop leases covering the government compound in Phuket town. In the light of Tongkah Harbour's success, this area looked more attractive, and Palfreyman accepted liability for a substantial portion of compensation due the Thai government for relocation of buildings. Following the pattern established by Miles with Tongkah Harbour, Byron Moore procured evidence of �100,000 in available capital to fund the compound project. Generous leasing terms were granted by Chaophraya Wongsanupraphat, Minister for Lands and Agriculture, to whose responsibility the Department of Mines and Geology was transferred in 1909. The Tongkah Compound NL., was floated on the Melbourne stock exchange in 1910 with a registered capital of �50,000. Miles took no part in the company, but, his Penang associate, Khaw Joo Tok, acquired a directorship along with a parcel of free shares.

Between 1911 and 1914 Miles and Palfreyman formed three more dredging companies in association with the Khaw family. Following an invitation to examine possible properties in changwad Renong from the Governor, Khaw Joo Ghee, Deebook Dredging NL, Katoo Deebook NL, and Bangnon Dredging NL were formed. Despite the obvious conflict of interests, Joo Ghee accepted directorships with all three companies. For the Khaw family, the attraction of dealing with Australian investors was obvious. Miles, unlike Scott, was prepared to deal with them on their terms. In return for assistance with the location of fresh tin deposits and the acquisition of mining leases, Khaw Joo Tok and Khaw Joo Ghee received free shares in Australian companies for no capital outlay. With tin prices soaring in the years before World War One, the Khaws could expect substantial dividend payments in pounds sterling. The tragedy of Sim Bee's murder in 1913 did not dent the capacity of the "Khaw-Australia Syndicate" to function as a mining investment vehicle.

The success of Miles and other Australian mining entrepreneurs who followed him needs to be viewed in the context of Thai attitudes towards foreign mining investment. As mentioned, Sim Bee and Damrong were averse to throwing Siam open to British mining companies for fear of disastrous political consequences. Damrong set mining policy on a course designed to curtail the powers of British officials in the Department of Mines and Geology. His successor, Phraya Wonsanuprphat, was equally suspicious, but, bound by the terms of the new treaty with Britain, resigned to increasing foreign mining investment in Siam. Through a selective process of admission, this investment could be harnessed for the improvement of Siam. The Minister for Agriculture urged accommodation lest this "wild water", his metaphor for foreign capital, "flood in and punish us". With regard to the grant of mining leases a balance had to be found between the need for economic development and the interests of state security.

Suspicion of British intentions with regard to the boundary between Malaya and Siam did not cease with the 1909 treaty. Fears that increased British commercial activity in the South might be a precursor to further territorial demands were shared by Chulalongkorn's successor Wachirawudh (1910-25) and Prajadhipok (1925-1935). Overseeing a reduction in the number of foreign advisers employed by the State, Wachirawudh tried to encourage Thai participation in industry. Yet, despite his strident nationalistic and anti-Chinese rhetoric, he did nothing to challenge the interests of the Khaw family. A visitor to the Tongkah Harbour Company in 1910, he appreciated the national economic benefits of increased tin production and valued the contribution of Edward Miles. Thus, despite Damrong's resignation as Minister for the Interior in 1915 after falling out of royal favour, Australian mining investors continued to enjoy privileged access to Siam's coveted tin resources. Enobled as Phraya Rattanasethi during the Sixth Reign, Khaw Joo Tok remained the key broker for Australian tin investors.

Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi Museum

This is a historical site where the former ruler of Trang, Phraya Ratsadanupradit, once lived. Inside the two-story wooden building are a wax figure of the former ruler and a complete collection of his daily personal items. Currently, the Na Ranong family manages the house. The Museum is located around 200 meters from Kantang Municipality at No. 1, Khai Phithak Road, Tambon Kantang. It is open to the public every day, except Mondays (it is open on public holidays but closed the following day). Guide services are available for group tours, and must be requested in advance at the Kantang Phitthayakon School tel. 0-7525-1100.

Ranong Governor’s Grave (สุสานเจ้าเมืองระนอง)
Ranong Governor’s Grave (สุสานเจ้าเมืองระนอง) This Chinese grave of Phraya Rattanasetthi (Kho Su Chiang), Ranong’s first governor, is situated on a piece of land dedicated by King Rama V. There are three tiers of stone platform with steps leading up to the grave with antique granite sculptures of Chinese noblemen, horses, goats and lions on both sides.

The Na Ranong family shrine and residential ruins can be visited free of charge. Guided tours can be arranged on request: call Kosol na Ranong at 081-956-0008. Other places of interest: - The privately-owned spa near Raksawarin Hot Spring. - Boat excursions to Andaman Club, a four-star luxury accommodation with casino, and to Victoria Point that features a market, a replica of Shwedagon Pagoda and a monument to King Bayint Naung of Burma.


Monument of Phraya Rasdanupradit Mahissara Phakdi: Located 1 kilometer out of town on the road to Pattalung, this is the monument of an important ruler of Trang who first initiated the idea of growing rubber plants in Trang. Nowadays, rubber is widely planted in southern Thailand and became an important commodity of the country. In the evening, this is a place for meeting and relaxing of Trang residents.

The first rubber tree in Thailand: The first rubber tree in Thailand is on the road that leads to Kantang district. This tree represents the first group of rubber trees that Phraya Ratsadanupradit planted to pioneer the rubber plantation industry in 1899.

Phraya Rasdanupradit Mahissara Phakdi Musuem: The museum situates about 200 meters from the Kantang Munipality, Kantang district. It is the important historical site because it is the old house of Phraya Rasdanupradit, the Trang's governor in the past. The house is a two-storeyed wooden building. Inside, there are a waxed figure of the governor and a complete collection of his daily personal items. Today, the Na Ranong, the notable family looks after this house. It is open to the public everyday except Monday.


Indigo Pearl Phuket: Indigo Pearl resort hotel Phuket

The Indigo Pearl was previously the Pearl Village Resort at Nai Yang Beach in the North of Phuket Island. The resort through has been restyled and as the Indigo Pearl offers a high standard of comfort with luxurious rooms and villas. The quiet location of Nai Yang Beach is appealing to many. This is now an excellent resort hotel on Pohuket for those who wish to be in a quieter and more relaxing beach area on Phuket. he resort has been inspired by Phuket's Tin Mining past and was originally the site of a tin mine owned by the family of Khun Wichit Na-Ranong, Indigo Pearl's visionary owner

The statue of Phraya Ratsada Korsimbi, (Ratsada Korsimbi Na Ranong) the Governor of Phuket between 1890 and 1909 is also situated here

Saphan Hin
A public park located by the sea at the end of Phuket Road , Saphan Hin is a recreational park for both locals and tourists. The Tin Mining Monument dedicated to the memory of Captain Edward Thomas Miles, the Australian who brought the first dredge to Phuket in 1909, is located inside the park. The Saphan Hin Sports Center is also located here.


Monument of Phraya Rasdanupradit Mahissara Phakdi
Located 1 km. out of town on the road to Phatthalung, this is the monument of an important ruler of Trang who first initiated the idea of growing rubber plants in Trang and later they spread all over the southern part of Thailand. In the evening, a lot of people go there for relaxation.

Penang, Malaysia

Today the only vestige of his presence in Penang is the Penang state hall known as Dewan Sri Pinang which sits on the land known as Ranong grounds which was given by the Khaw family to the then government of the day in gratitude for the opportunities. The houses where the Khaw family resided on the famous millionaires' road Northam Road such as Asdang, Charkrabong the house opposite the old Shih Chung school besides No 32, have all been sold and no longer remain in the hands of the family.

Koe Guan Kongsi, the company of the Khaw/Na Ranong family of Penang and South Thailand has a family gallery in its premises at 63, Beach Street,Penang.

Khaw Sim Bee Road, located near Westland Secondary School in Penang, was named after him.

Famous Personality from Na Ranong

1.Wichit Na Ranong - Thailand Tourism Council president Wichit Na Ranong
2. Kittiratt Na-Ranong - Former President of The Stock Exchange of Thailand, Kittiratt Na-Ranong. Now Deputy Director for Academic Affairs of Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration of Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok,(MBA program)
3. Pittaya Na Ranong (เบิร์ด พิทยา ณ ระนอง), actor.
4. Dr. Teerasak Na Ranong, faculty member,School of Business, Assumption University of Thailand
5. Dr Viroj na Ranong, an economist with the Thailand Development Research Institute.
6. Assoc Prof Dr Anchana na Ranong, Thailand Development Research Institute.
7. Tan Sri Thitinant Na Ranong (นายประสงค์ บุญเจิม)- Khaw Sim Bee's grand nephew Tan Sri Thitinant Na Ranong was Thai Ambassador to Malaysia during Tunku's era(1959-1964). He was one of the founder of Chetawan Thai Buddhist Temple in Petaling Jaya during the 50"s.

(Note: To be updated and improve further)

Related articles:

1. Rubber Wood story,
3. Thai-Australian Relations in the Twentieth Century, by Paul Battersby,
5. Ranong & Victoria Point,
6. Khao Rang Hills,
7. Khaw Sim Bee, Governor of Phuket: A Centenary View by Pranee Sakulpipatana, Penang Story:
8. Forum on Thai Rubber:
9. Chinese kinship , marriage strategies, and social mobility in late 19th and early 20th century Siam(1987), by Jennifer W Cushman, Chinese business enterprise, Volume 1, edited by
Rajeswary Ampalavanar Brown pg 175- pg 187, published by Taylor & Francis in 1996
10. Khaw Sim Bee,
11. Thai)
12. Saw Khaw Lean (Heah) Kongsi,
13. 路過許心美先賢的什田府, chinese, but with many photo)
14. 泰國橡膠之父──許心美,
15. The tales of two families, the miles of Hobart and the Khaws of Penang(2000), by DIANA CARROLL, National Library of Australia News.
16. The Khaw Group: Chinese business in early 20th century Penang, by JW Cushman pg 48- pg 73, Chinese Business Vol 4(1996),published by Routledge London.
17. Tongkah Harbour Tin Dredging Company,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thailand: Songkhla (宋卡)& Na Songkhla family

Map of Songkhla Province

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Songkhla (Thai: สงขลา, Malay: Singgora) is the one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from east clockwise) Satun, Phatthalung, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pattani and Yala. To the south it borders Kedah and Perlis of Malaysia. In contrast to most other provinces, the capital Songkhla is not the largest city in the province. The much newer city of Hat Yai, with a population of 194,000, is twice as big as Songkhla. This often leads to the misconception that Hat Yai is the provincial capital. Both cities are part of Greater Hatyai-Songkhla Metropolitan Area.

Songkhla locates on the Malay Peninsula, at the coast of the Gulf of Thailand. The province is about four metres above the sea level and its highest elevation at Khao Mai Kaeo is eight hundred and twenty one metres. It is generally made up of a flat plain in the east, shallow coastline to the north, mountains and forest lands to the west and south which slope gently towards Songkhla Lake.

Songkhla Lake is located between Phatthalung and Songkhla province and is commonly known to Thais as ‘thale sap Songkhla’, where ‘thale sap’ means the lake. Songkhla Lake is the country’s largest natural lake and is also the biggest lake in the Far East. It covers an area of about one thousand and forty square kilometres and has a north-south extent of seventy eight kilometres. The lake divides into four sections, namely Thale Noi, Thale Luang, Thale Sap, and Thale Sap Songkhla. Thale Noi is the northern section of Songkhla Lake, which has freshwater.

Geographically, Songkhla has two main parts. The upper part is called ‘Sathing Phra Peninsula’, which includes Ranot, Krasaesin, Sathing Phra, and Singha Nakhon district. However, the local people prefer to call the area ‘pandin bok’ and call themselves ‘chao bok’. ‘Bok’ is the local word means small elevated area thus ‘pandin bok’ means small elevated land and ‘chao bok’ means people of the small elevated land. The lower and bigger part includes the rest of the administrative districts. These two parts are connected by the Tinnasulanon Bridge, which is named after General Prem Tinnasulanon, the former Prime Minister and the present Elder Statesman and Chief Privy Councellor, who is a native of the area. This bridge spans three kilometres across the Songkhla Lake while intersects through Kor Yor (Yor Island) in the middle of the lake.

The map of Songkhla

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Songkhla Province is subdivided into 16 districts (amphoe), which are further subdivided into 127 subdistricts (tambon) and 987 villages (muban).

The districts of Chana (Malay: Chenok), Thepa (Malay:Tiba) were detached from Mueang Pattani and transferred to Songkhla during the thesaphiban reforms around 1900.

1. Mueang Songkhla (Malay: Singgora)
2. Sathing Phra
3. Chana (Malay: Chenok)
4. Na Thawi (Malay: Nawi)
5. Thepha (Malay: Tiba)
6. Saba Yoi (Malay: Sebayu)
7. Ranot (Malay: Renut)
8. Krasae Sin
9. Rattaphum
10. Sadao (Malay: Sendawa)
11. Hat Yai
12. Na Mom
13. Khuan Niang
14. Bang Klam
15. Singhanakhon
16. Khlong Hoi Khong

Sathing Phra, on the north side of the opening, was an important trading port during the Srivijaya Empire from the seventh to the thirteenth centuries.

Mueang Songkhla
Mueang Songkhla (เมืองสงขลา) is the capital district (Amphoe Mueang) of Songkhla Province, southern Thailand. The name Songkhla is actually the Thai corruption of Singgora,its original name means 'the city of lions' in Malay. This refers to a lion-shaped mountain near the city of Songkhla.

Songkhla, a medieval pirate stronghold, is a historic, albeit sleepy town with a thriving fishing community. Another Srivijaya outpost in Thailands southern region, Songkhla was initially named Sa-thing". Previously a port and a coastal trading post where Indian, Persian and Arabian merchants came to exchange their products, the place was named "Sing Lha" after the 2 lion-shape islands at the mouth of the city's lake. At present, these 2 islands are Koh Nu (Rat Island) and Koh Maeo (Cat Island). The old part of Songkhla is located at the present-day Amphoe Sathing Phra.

Neighboring districts are (from the south clockwise) Chana, Na Mom, Hat Yai and Singhanakhon of Songkhla Province. To the east is the Gulf of Thailand. The northern part of the district is the Songkhla Lake.

The district is subdivided into 6 subdistricts (tambon), which are further subdivided into 46 villages (muban). The city (thesaban nakhon) Songkhla covers the whole tambon Bo Yang. There are further 5 Tambon administrative organizations (TAO).

No. Name(Thai name)
1. Bo Yang(บ่อยาง)
2. Khao Rup Chang(เขารูปช้าง)
3. Ko Taeo(เกาะแต้ว)
4. Phawong (พะวง)
5. Thung Wang(ทุ่งหวัง)
6. Ko Yo (เกาะยอ)

The map of Muang Songkhla

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Early History
Songkhla was the seat of an old Malay Kingdom with heavy Srivijayan influence. In ancient times (200 AD - 1400 AD), Songkhla formed the northern extremity of the Malay Kingdom of Langkasuka. When Burma won the war over Ayutthaya in 1767 A.D., Nakhon Si Thammarat(นครศรีธรรมราช)which was previously called Tambralingga, or Nagara Sri Dhammaraja in Pali language,or called Ligor by the west. It declared independence from Ayutthaya. The ruler of Nakhon Si Thammarat appointed his loyal official, Vithin, to govern Songkhla. The city-state then became a tributary of Nakhon Si Thammarat, suffering damage during several attempts to gain independence. King Taksin the Great then decided to eliminate the power of Nakhon Si Thammarat so he conquered the city and its principal cities, including Songkhla in 1769. The area of Songkhla at that time included the area that is now Muang Songkhla, Hat Yai, and Sathing Phra district. The king appointed a new leader named ‘Yom’, who was a Buddhist monk to govern Songkhla. Since the 18th century, Songkla has been firmly under Thai suzerainty.

Na Songkhla ณ สงคลา family

In the 18th century many Chinese immigrants, especially from Guangdong and Fujian, came to the province. Quickly rising to economic wealth, one of them won the bidding for the major tax farm of the province in 1769, establishing the Na Songkhla (literally means 'from Songkhla') family as the most wealthy and influential. The Na Songkhla family, who are of Thai Chinese heritage and maintained good relations with bureaucratic elites during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Na Songkhla clan traces its origin to Chinese Yiang Sae Hao, Chinese name Wu Rang(呉譲), from family of Wu. The clan founder, who migrated from Fujian province to Siam in 1750 and established political influence in Songkhla Province. In 1777 the family also gained political power, when the old governor was dismissed and Yiang Sae Hao, became the new governor, with the title Luang Inthakhiri. He was the origin of the Na Songkhla clan, which continuously governed Songkhla for about one hundred and twenty six years. The post was inherited in the family and held by 8 of his descendants until 1901, when Phraya Wichiankhiri (Chom) was honorably retired as part of the administrative reforms of Prince Damrong Rajanubhab. The family's former home has been converted into the Songkhla National Museum in 1953.

Mongkol Na Songkhla was as of January 2007 the Minister of Health for Thailand. He was appointed by Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont and sworn into office on October 9, 2006. On February 6, 2008, he was replaced by Chaiya Sasomsab.

Jaroon Na Songkhla was the Military Commissioner, Thai administrator of Malay state Perlis during Japanese occupation,the appointment was on 7-9-1943(source:The Japanese occupation of Malaya: a social and economic history(1997), by Paul H. Kratoska, pg 87)

Songkhla Governor 1777-1901

King Taksin also appointed a Chinese named ‘Yiang Sae Hao’ to be ‘nai arkorn rungnok’ or the person who had the official right to conduct bird’s nest (swiftlet’s nest) business on Kho Si and Kho Ha Islands in the Songkhla Lake. The nest is made from the saliva of the swiftlet. The Chinese are the biggest consumers of the bird’s nest and they believe it is the health food or medicine to improve strength. The consumption of the bird’s nest by the Chinese dates back to the 6th. century A.D.. Because of the very high demand and the limited supply of the bird’s nest, the nest trading is a very good revenue generating business and was usually in the hands of the Chinese or Sino-Thai people since they spoke the language and had better connection with the Chinese importers from China.

Later, the wealthy Yiang Sae Hao, who also had good relationship with King Taksin the Great, was appointed as ‘Luang Suwan Kiri Sombat’ and then ‘Praya Songkhla’ to govern Songkhla. In 1777 , when the old governor was dismissed , Yiang Sae Hao, Chinese name Wu Rang (呉譲) became the new governor. Note: He was the origin of the Na Songkhla clan, which continuously governed Songkhla for about one hundred and twenty six years until 1901.

Songkhla was under the control of Nakhon Si Thammarat(Ligor Kingdom) for about ten years (1767 - 1777 A.D.) and then was under the direct central governing of Thonburi for five years(1778-1782). King Taksin was removed in 1782, and start the Chakri Dynasty by his general, Phraya Chakri, later known as King Ramathibodi or Rama I.

In 1786 the old governor started an uprising, which was however put down after four months.

King Rama I (1782- 1809 A.D.), of Rattanakosin time or Bangkok time, appointed Boonhui Na Songkhla as the second Governor to Songkhla and brought Songkhla under the control of Nakhon Si Thammarat once again. Boonhui Na Songkhla had business talent and he generated lots of revenue, especially from the tin mining and bird’s nest business, and sent the revenue to the king. The roles of the Songkhla Governor and Songkhla were clearly noticeable by the king when he conquered Pattani, one of Thailand’s foreign territories under the control of Songkhla, as Pattani wished to be an independent state. King Rama I then had Songkhla brought directly
under the central governing in Bangkok and the Governor was promoted to be ‘Chao Praya Pichaikiri’, having the highest official ranking.

Chao Praya Pichaikiri passed away in the reign of King Rama II (1809- 1824 A.D.). Then Praya Visetpakdi (Thienjong Na Songkhla) was the third Songkhla Governor. In this period, the role of Nakhon Si Thammarat was far more important than Songkhla. When the Governor to Songkhla failed in his job and did not cooperate with the central government in Bangkok, King Rama II had Praya Soonthorn Nurak (Thienseng Na Songkhla) appointed as the fourth Governor. King Rama III (1824- 1851 A.D.) then gave the new title to Praya Soonthorn Nurak as ‘Praya Vichienkiri’.

List of Songkhla governors from Na Songkhla family

1. Wu Rang (吴让)(b 1717-d 1784)Praya Songkhla Yiang Sae Hao, some called him Wu Wong(吴王).
2. Wu Wenhui(b1745-d1811)Praya Pichaikiri (Boonhui Na Songkhla),son of Wu Rang's first wife
3. Wu Tien-chung, Praya Visetpakdi (Thienjong Na Songkhla), son of Boonheaw, brother of Boonhui
4. Wu Thien-seng (吴志生)Praya Soonthorn Nurak (Thienseng Na Songkhla), 2nd son of Boonheaw, brother of Boonhui
5. Wu Wen-shuang, Chaopraya Vichienkiri (Boonsung Na Songkhla), son of Boonchin, son of Wu Rang's 2nd wife
6. Chaopraya Vichienkiri (Men Na Songkhla), son of Thienjong.
7. Praya Vichienkiri (Choom Na Songkhla), son of Boonsung
8. Praya Vichienkiri (Chom Na Songkhla), grandson of Men, ruled from 1888 to 1901 until he was retired.

1892 Reformation of administration

Beginning in 1892 Prince Damrong as minister of the interior in King Chulalongkorn's reformed government began a reorganization of provincial administration. At that time the country was divided into provinces of four different classes and vassal states. The latter were recognized as quasi-independent under their own hereditary ruling families, and many of the former, although in theory completely subordinate to the capital were in fact ruled by local elite families in which the governorship remained from one generation to the next. Over this structure Prince Damrong established the monthon as a supra-provincial unit headed by an appointed official from the central government bureaucracy, and within a few years was able to replace the old-style hereditary governors with appointed officials changed at frequent intervals. The elite families of the different regions appear to have been affected in different ways. The old rulers of the vassal states kept their nominal positions until death. Many of the governing elite of the southern provinces maintained themselves in the national bureaucracy in positions of comparable rank. The greatest change was in the northeast where the governing elite families lost their old positions and were unable to integrate into the reformed bureaucracy. The Na Ranong family, The Na Songkhla family and other hereditary ruling families come to an end historically. In 1901, Phraya Wichiankhiri (Chom) was honorably retired as part of the administrative reforms of Prince Damrong Rajanubhab.

1896 Monthon Nakhon Si Thammarat(มณฑลนครศรีธรรมราช)
Monthon Nakhon Si Thammarat(มณฑลนครศรีธรรมราช)was established 1896, when the Nakhon Si Thammarat kingdom was abolished and finally incorporated into Siam. The monthon covered those areas on the east coast of the peninsula, i.e. the provinces Songkhla, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phatthalung. The administration was located in Songkhla in the present-day Songkhla national museum. Monthon Surat was incorporated into Monthon Nakhon Si Thammarat in 1925, Monthon Pattani in 1932. The monthon Nakhon Si Thammarat was dismantled in 1933, Nakhon Si Thammarat become a province.

List of Commissioners

1896-1906 Phraya Sukhumnaiwinit (Pan Sukhum)
1906-1910 Phraya Chonlaburanurak (Charoen Charuchinda)
1910-1925 Prince Lopburi Ramet
1925-1933 ?

1909 Anglo- Siamese Treaty
Another major event in the History of Songkhla is Anglo- Siamese Treaty of 1909 when Songkhla was occupied by Siam according to the treaty with the British ruler.

1932 The Siamese Revolution of 1932 or the Siamese Coup d'état of 1932 (Thai: การปฏิวัติสยาม พ.ศ. 2475 or การเปลี่ยนแปลงการปกครองสยาม พ.ศ. 2475)

The revolution or the coup d'état was a bloodless transition on 24 June 1932, in which the system of government in Siam was changed from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. The revolution was brought about by a group of military and civilians, who formed Siam's first political party, Khana Ratsadon (Peoples' Party). The revolution ended 150 years of absolutism under the House of Chakri and almost 700 years of absolute rule of Kings over Thai history. The Revolution was a product of global historical change as well as social and political changes domestically. The revolution also resulted in the people of Siam being granted their first Constitution.

The new regime of 1932 was led by a group of colonels headed by Phraya Phahol Pholphayuhasena and Phraya Songsuradej. In December they produced a constitution — Siam's first — which included a National Assembly, half appointed and half indirectly-elected. The people were promised that full democratic elections would be held once half the population had completed primary education — which was expected to be sometime in the 1940s. A prime minister and Cabinet were appointed and a facade of constitutional rule was maintained.

A royalist reaction came in late 1933 when Prince Bovoradej, a grandson of Mongkut and one-time Minister of Defence, led an armed revolt against the government. At the height of the conflict in 1933, the royal couple took refuge at Songkhla. The King's withdrawal from the scene of the fighting was interpreted by the victorious party as a sign that he had failed in his duty. By refusing to give his full support to the government forces, his credibility was undermined

The military become the important force in Thailand's politic.

1941 Japanese Occupation
Thailand was occupied by the Japanese during World War II from the 1941 invasion until Japan's defeat in 1945. The port city of Songkhla was one of the main objectives of Yamashita’s 25th Army. The Japanese landings occurred during the early hours of December 8. Thai garrison at Khao Khor Hong (the 41st Infantry Battalion and the 13th Artillery battalion) immediately occupied positions alongside the roads leading down to Malaya, but were brushed aside into positions the main Japanese advance could ignore. A further clash occurred at Hat Yai. The fighting ceased at noon when orders for an armistice to be arranged was received. The capture of the Songkhla province by the Imperial Japanese Army on 8 December 1941.


吴让原为中国福建漳州府海澄县山塘乡西兴村人氏,生于清康熙丁酉56年(公元1717年)12月26日酉时。1750年移居宋卡,以种菜捕鱼为生。 1770年,郑皇大帝驾临宋卡时,吴让来献其妻孥、奴隶、红烟,以乞四岛、五岛燕窝专采权,愿年纳税银50斤。郑皇仅收所献红烟50箱而允所请,并封为子爵,爵号銮因他奇里颂木。公元1775年,吴让晋京呈献锐金及贡品,郑皇世视为旧臣,并由于为人正直,对郑皇忠心耿耿,乃封为宋卡城主,从此开启了宋卡吴氏王朝的历史

Ban Sattha (บ้านศรัทธา)
Ban Sattha is situated on a hill slope overlooking the Tinsulanond Bridge to Ko Yo(เกาะยอ) , surrounded by coconut plantations. The city people had it built for H.E. Prem Tinsulanond, the Privy Councilor and Statesman, when he was the Prime Minister. Construction was completed. In B.E. 2539(1996), H.E. Prem gave the house back to the people of Songkhla.

General(ret.) Prem Tinsulanonda (เปรม ติณสูลานนท์, born August 26, 1920) is a retired Thai military officer who served as Prime Minister of Thailand from March 3, 1980 to August 4, 1988.Born in Songkhla Province. General Prem is also famous for initiating the negotiation with the members of the Communist Party of Thailand. Consequently the amnesty was declared, many communist cadres, ex-students, returned home. This helped to end the violent fighting between the government and communist guerrillas in 1980s.

Phathammarong Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์พะธำมะรง)
Phathammarong Museum,on Chana Road near the Songkhla National Museum. It was constructed constructed in the late 80s, built in a Thai style to resemble the birthplace of H.E. Prem Tinsulanond, the former Prime Minister and Statesman who is a Songkhla native. The construction was based on his testimony when his father was the prison warden. Admission is free, open from Tue to Sun, 8:30-16:00, close on public holiday. The tourist information center is at the entrance of the museum. Guilded tour to the museum will be given by the tourist information center personnel who will also hand you a copy of useful Songkhla tourist brochure with a useful map inside.

Samrong Bridge,
In a flat-bottomed wooden boat, it takes about an hour to paddle along the briny four-kilometer length of Khlong Samrong(Samrong Canal) in Songkhla, from the inland sea on one side, to the South China Sea on the other. Besides houses, factories and tidal flats, you pass five poor settlements which have been home to fishermen, net-weavers, dockyard laborers and vendors for half a century. Khlong Samrong is the blackest and most polluted canal in Southern Thailand.

Samrong bridge Inscriptions which are written in Thai, Chinese and -Jawi respectively. Songkhla lies between the Thai Buddhist and Malay Muslim spheres of influence. In the 17th century, the ruler of Songkhla was a Muslim but in the 18th century, the Muslim ruler of Phattalung who had placed Songkhla under his influence converted to Buddhism. Subsequently, the Hokkien Chinese Wu clan came to govern Songkhla. The cultural world of Buddhism and Islam overlapped here before the official demarcation of the Thai-Malay border in 1909 and the emergence of the Thai and Malay nation-states. According to the above Inscriptions, the monuments of the Samrong bridge were built in 1847 through the contribution of the ruler of Songkhla, his clan, and other people. The Samrong bridge was rebuilt as a stone bridge by the Chinese ruler of Songkhla. The Chinese Inscription highlights the Chinese governor's achievements and contains the names of Penang merchants from a long list of donors. The Thai Inscription describes a Buddhist ceremony which was observed by the Siamese, Khaek [Muslims], and Chinese. The Jawi Inscription contains the date of the Thai calendar translated into Malay and is basically similar to the Thai Inscription in terms of content. These Inscriptions help us understand the strong relations between Songkhla and the port-cities of the west coast of the Malay Peninsula in the second half of the 19th century(KURODA Keiko,2002)

The Old Town at the Foot of Khao Daeng Hill,Singhanakhon
Boats leaves from the fresh food market place to the opposite bank of the lake where there are hundreds of household establishments. In the foothills you can see the cemetery of Na Songkhla Family ancestors. The tombs was at Khao Hua Deng.

Twin Pagodas on Khao Daeng Hill: Black Pagoda or Chedi Ong Dam is located on the top of Khao Daeng Hill in Amphoe Singha Nakhon. It was built by Chao Muang Phra Khlang (Dis Bunnag) or Somdet Phraya Ongyai (Somdet Phra Borom Maha Prayoorawong on occasion of a victory over the rebellion of Kedah in 1830. White Pagoda was built by Phraya Sri Phiphat (Thad Bunnag) or Somdet Maha Phichai Yat in memory of the victory over the rebellion of the rulers of Kedah, Patani, and Penang. After suppressing the rebellion, Phraya Sri Phiphat remained in Songkhla for two years, during which time he built the white pagoda or Chedi Ong Khao on top of the hill as a twin of the black one.

Songkhla National Museum(พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติสงขลา)
The typically Chiness style building of the present day Songkhla National Museum was built in 1878 at the command of Phraya Sundranuraksa (Mr. Net Na Songkhla), Deputy Governor of Songkhla at that time. After being a house of his family for 16 years, the building then was used as the residence of Phraya Yommaraj (Mr. Pan Sukum), state governor of Nakhon Si Thammarat in 1894 - 1896, the state hall in 1896 - 1897, and the city hall of Songkhla Province in 1917 - 1953, respectively. Afterwards it was neglected for 20 years. On the 6th of July 1973 it was registered as a National Monument. From 1974 it was successively restored by the Fine Arts Department to house cultural material, and has served as Songkhla National Museum

Songkhla National Museum
Vichianchom Road, Bo Yang
Songkhla 90000, Thailand

San Chaopho Lak Muang(ศาลหลักเมืองสงขลา)
City Pillar Shrine Locally called San Chaopho Lak Muang Songkhla, the shrine was erected when the city was first built. It is located on Nang Ngarm Road, the shrine was revered and worshipped by people in Songkhla and from neighboring provinces. Built to commemorate the founding of the city, the Chinese architectural styled shrine has influenced other buildings in the town. Particularly prominent are the Sino - Portuguese styled houses on Nakhon Nai and Nakhon Nork Road

Wat Suwan Khiri

This archaeological site in Singha Nakhon, the old Songkhla at Laem Son, is patronized by Na Songkhla clan. This is another important temple of Songkhla since the early Rattanakosin Era. The Chinese-styled, 7-storied pagoda in front of the ubosot, constructed by Chao Phraya Phichai Khiri(Boonhui Na Songkhla) in 1798(BE 2341), has the same shape and size as its contemporary in Wat Machimawat. The Shrine of Chao Phraya Wichian Khiri : This Chinese pavilion houses the statue of Thuat Hua Khao Daeng, greatly revered locally, especially among fishermen.

Nakhon Nai Road
This is the oldest road in Songkhla. Ancient dwellings along the thoroughfare display distinctive Chinese architectural influence.


宋卡(Songkhla,泰语)位于泰国南部边境,坐落于马来半岛北部东海岸内海的宋卡湖口。今属泰国洛坤省(Province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, now Songkhla province),为宋卡府首邑,自古就是暹罗的重要港口和沿海省份。

清乾隆十五年(1750年),福建省漳州府海澄县山塘乡西兴村人吴让渡海至宋卡谋生,先居巫王素黎曼旧城,翌年迁居乍纳城(Cha Na)童阿旺村,种植蔬菜、蒌叶。1753年,迁宋卡膠井区,买奴4户从事捕鱼。吴让于1758年搬到廉松村经商,娶博他崙女子庄氏为侧室。吞武里王朝郑皇信(Chao Tak Sin)率兵南下征服洛坤一带,吴让趁机于1769年奏请郑皇,以年交税银50斤的代价承包宋卡湖上端四岛、五岛(Ko Si,Ko Ha)的燕窝开采权。吴让经营有方,因此被郑皇封爵銮因他奇里颂木 Luang Inthakhiri Sombat,人称廉松头,或称伯翁。郑皇嘉其忠诚,1775年诏封昭孟(Chao Muang),意为城主,爵号銮素汪奇里颂木‘Luang Suwan Kiri Sombat’,府署设廉松(Laem Son)。吴让卒于1784年,追封昭披耶(Chao Praya)。吴氏子孙世代相继,计传八世,凡129年(1775-1904年)。今泰国北大年、陶公、也拉等三府,及马来西亚吉兰丹、丁加奴、吉打、玻璃市等四州,均受节制。至今宋卡尚存吴王庙、城隍庙、吴氏家族茔墓及神主牌位和三朗桥(Samrong Bridge)石碑等与华侨有关的历史遗迹。




(来源: 闽南日报 2009-11-14)

1. The Thai solar calendar, Suriyakati (Thai: สุริยคติ: Suriya plus kati : way) was adopted by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) in 1888 as the Siamese version of the Gregorian calendar. It is the official calendar in Thailand, though Thai lunar calendar dates continue in use. Years are counted in the Buddhist Era (póota sàk-gà-râat พุทธศักราช พ.ศ.) that is 543 years greater than the Christian Era (krít sàk-gà-râat คริสต์ศักราช ค.ศ.) As a convenience, calendars typically include the Christian Era (AD) in both Chinese and Arabic numerals.

2. I visited Songkhla in 1983, intended to visit my classmate Pa Kee Soon from Butterworth, who is having family business there, must be a Thai citizen now. But lost the contact. Anyone know him?

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2. 暹罗宋卡吴国主考略,
4. Wat Matchimawat (Wat Klang), Songkhla,
5. Inscriptions of the Samrong Bridge of Songkhla in South Thailand(2002),(Part1:Aspects of Southeast Asia from the Viewpoint of the Jawi document), by KURODA Keiko, Kagoshima University(鹿児島大学), Japan, Japanese)