TOWNS AND VILLAGES IN THAILAND
Villages have traditionally ranged in size from 300 to 3,000 persons, with some being physically separated while others are autonomous subdivisions in large administrative subdivisions. There are three major types of villages: 1) the strip village (with houses spread along both sides of a waterway or road, with open fields behind) ; 2) the clustered village (with houses grouped together in a circle and fruit trees, gardens and rice fields surrounding them); and 3) the dispersed village (in which nuclear families live in houses on their plot of land, surrounded by fields and orchards).
Most villages have a central temple compound (wat), with larger ones having a cluster of shops and a school. Houses and villages have traditionally been connected by roads, dirt paths or rivers and canals.
Many Thai cities and towns have a lak meung (town pillar-phallus) enclosed in a shrine that defines the town center and provides a home for the town’s guardian spirit. The lak meung for Bangkok, housed at the City Pillar Shrine, is a wooden pillar laid by King Rama I as the foundation pillar of Bangkok. Regarded as the home of Bangkok’s guardian spirit, the pillar attracts a large number of worshippers who make daily offerings of flowers, alcohol and food and pay classical Thai dancers to perform lakon chatri . According to an old Thai tradition, every city must have a foundation stone, which houses the city’s guardian spirit and from which distances to other places are measured.
Possessions of a Typical Family
Many homes in Thailand have a Buddhist altar, a portrait of the king and an armoire traditionally used for holding Buddhist scriptures. Many people sleep under mosquito netting and take a shower with cold water, using a ladle-like bucket and a basin. In many homes there aren't any chairs and only a few tables because residents spend most of its indoor non sleeping time sitting or lying on the floor.
A Chiang Mai family featured in Peter Menzel’s 1994 book "Material World” owned one radio, one motorscooter, one television but no telephone, VCR or car. The family's most prized possession was its motorscooter. In the future, the family said it hoped to have enough money to afford a stereo and an automobile (paid for from the sale of rice grown in a field next to their house). [Source:Peter Menzel, "Material World," Sierra Club Books, 1994]
The family's other possessions included a hand-held video game player, ceramic cooking pot and water containers, food storage cabinets, kitchen implements, parent's bed, children's bed (with mosquito netting), clothes, wardrobe, electric sewing machine, prints and pictures, plastic hanging closet, 2 children's bicycles, gas stove, wok, 3 wash basin and buckets, plough, yokes, rice farming equipment, china cabinet, electric refrigerator, black and white television, ice buckets, 2 electric fans, electric iron, electric hair dryer, electric radio, school books, marbles, electric hot plate, rice canister and portable cassette player.
The family also owns a rice field, 2 banana trees, 2 water buffalo, a dog, five chickens kept under a basket, a stable, and an elevated storehouse with 600 pounds of rice. Around the house are trees with coconuts, mangos, lamoht (resemble big kiwis), jack fruit ("pulpy things with sticky fruit inside"), and rambutans (similar to lichees.
Everyday Life of a Suburban Teenager
Despite Westernization, life in Thailand continues to be dominated by agricultural rhythms and Buddhism. Even in the cities and suburbs people tend to get up early.Nattawud Daoruang wrote in his blog Thailand Life: “I usually get up at 6 o'clock then I wash the dishes. I have to do it because it's my duty and I like to do it. When I was young every teacher told me to do it because it will be good for me. If I can help my parents to do chores my parents will not be very tired. After that I go to wash my face and take a shower, then I get dressed and have breakfast. I go to school at 6.45 by bus. I go to Satree Samutprakarn School , it's not far from my house. I usually go home at 7.00 p.m. because I go to play football at Sriwittayapaknam School (my old school), then I go home by bus. When I get home I sweep my home every day, then I go to take a shower and do my homework. [Source: Nattawud Daoruang Thailand Life ]
I like to read cartoon book very much. In my bedroom there is a telephone, a television, a radio, a cupboard for me and my brother. I usually sleep with my brother in one bed. My bed is big it can sleep 3 people. Sometimes my brother goes to sleep with my parents because I tease him about the ghost, he is scared of the ghost very much. In my house there is a big exercise machine. I always exercise on it everyI am in exercise machine day. I like to exercise. In my exercise machine it has 4 things it can do, for arms 3 and for legs 1. I want to have a lot of muscles, I think it will be very nice. It will make me look handsome. I go to bed at about 11.00 p.m. before that I usually exercise on my exercise machine. I sleep with my brother, only 2 people in my bed. In my bedroom there is a television, radio, cupboard, big bookshelf and a lot of cartoon books.
On Saturday mornings I usually go to learn at my school. And in the afternoon I usually go to my old school to do my homepage and play games. On Sundays I usually go to my grandmum's house in Bangna. If you want to know more go to visit my weekend page (coming soon!). When I stay at home I usually watch T.V., read cartoon books, listen to the radio, water the plants and sleep. Sometimes I go to my friend's house to play some things, like a game etc.
When he was a few years older Nattawud Daoruang wrote: Every morning, I am always the one who wakes up first. After I get up, I always wake my girlfriend up then we go down to the bathroom downstairs to wash our face and brush our teeth. After that we will go out to the market to buy some fresh food to cook. We have to go out to the market every morning because we don't have a fridge at home yet. We can't store the food up because it will go off easily in the hot weather. [Source: Nattawud Daoruang Thailand Life ]
After we come back from the market, we always help each other prepare the vegetables and meat to cook. Then we start cooking together. Now, cooking is becoming one of my favourite hobbies, I like cooking very much, especially with my girlfriend. When we finish cooking, we always come to sit in front of the television and eat together at the same time. I usually wash up the plates after we finish eating and then I will go to fill up the water in small bottles so it will be easier for my girlfriend and I to drink.
After that I will go to get the broom out and sweep my house while my girlfriend is in the shower taking a bath. After I finish sweeping the house, my girlfriend will do the job of cleaning the floor while I am resting. Then after she finishes cleaning the floor, we will go out to the back of our house to wash our clothes and then hang them up. After we finish those chores, I will take a shower and go to work on my web sites at my old school
An Average Weekend in a Bangkok Suburb
On how he spends an average weekend, Nattawud Daoruang wrote:“On Saturdays, I learn 3 subjects, Science, English and Math at Satree School. The school starts at 8.00 o'clock and finishes at 12.00 o'clock (80 minutes each subject). Then I have lunch and play basketball with my friends at Satree Samutprakarn. After that I go to my old school (Sriwittayapaknam School) to do this homepage. I spend the time to do it for about 3-4 hours and then I will take a rest by playing football or basketball with my friends. Then I go to my friends' house to play on the play station. [Source: Nattawud Daoruang Thailand Life ]
On Sundays, I usually go to my grandmother's home to visit her and take my brother back home because he always goes there on Friday evenings. I like to visit my grandmum's house very much. There it feel like my home because I stayed there and she looked after me when I was younger. My grandmum's home is near Yothinpradit temple where I was a novice monk.
Sometimes on Sundays I go to "Seacon Square" shopping mall to play bowling, watch movies, play Laser Quest and shopping. In Seacon Square there's a lot of fast food restaurants like K.F.C., Pizza Hut, McDonalds, A&W, Popeye, Chester Grill etc. But I always eat K.F.C. sometimes I eat Pizza. One day I went to the biggest football stadium in Thailand. It's called "Rajamankala Football Stadium".
Visit to the Supermarket and Prices in
Large towns and cities have well stocked supermarkets. In rural areas the selection is more limited. Stores of the beaten track generally have cookies, packages of noodles and soup, cheese, potatoes, sardines, Cadbury chocolate bars, milk, fruit and vegetables, powdered and condensed milk and hard candy. Meat and ice cream are usually hard to get. Weekly markets are a good place sample street food and shop for fruit and vegetables. Local markets sell things like potatoes, rice, cabbage, tomatoes, pumpkins. squash, dried fruit, nuts, vegetables, yoghurt, bread, fruit and melons
On shopping, Nattawud Daoruang wrote on his blog Thailand Life: In Thailand, tourists are surprised that they can buy the same things here as in their country and also we have really big shopping malls around Bangkok. People don't have to go to the local market, they can buy everything they want in the supermarkets or hypermarkets. I have two hypermarkets within ten minutes of my house (Lotus Tesco and Big C) and two more next to each other about 15 minutes away (Makro and Carrefour). [Source: Nattawud Daoruang Thailand Life, February 13 2007 ]
Examples from some of the prices in December 2000: Snickers (27 baht); Mars bar (27 baht); Cab of Coke (13 baht); Can of Singh Beer (28 baht); Can of Heineken Beer (36 baht); can of Carlsberg Beer (36 baht); Bottle of water (7 baht); Pot noodle (13 baht); Lay's crisps (25 baht, 100 grams); Colgate toothpaste 51 baht (200 grams); Kleenex tissue (38 baht); toilet roll (10 baht); Breeze detergent (38 baht, 700 grams); Nescafe coffee (112 baht, 200 grams); Ovaltine (108 baht, 325 grams); Wrigley's chewing gum (5 baht); Walls cornetto (50 baht); Camel Cigarettes (50 baht); Kodak Gold 36 exp (140 baht); Duracell battery AA (49 baht).
Bigger ticket items included: Sharp 21 inches TV (11,990 baht); Sony stereo mini compo MHC-VX55 (14,990 baht); Wilson basketball (390 baht); Snooker table 4 X 8 feet (22,000 baht); and an 18 speed Bicycle (4,500 baht).
The number Convenience stores in the Bangkok area in 2000: 7-Eleven 1,520; Central Minimart 22; Am/pm 130; Family Mart 100; V-shop 70; Tiger Mart 300; Jiffy Jet 100; Star Mart 200; PTT 120; Q8 95; Lemon Green 90; Select 100. TOTAL: 2,847.
Supermarkets: Tops 41; Food Lion 19; Villa 7; Jusco 10; Foodland 7; TOTAL: 84. Hypermarkets: Tesco - Lotus 24; Big C 23; Makro 19; Carrefour 11; Auchan 1; TOTAL: 78
Urban population: 34 percent of total population (2010); rate of urbanization: 1.8 percent annual rate of change (2010-15 est.) [Source: CIA World Factbook]
The largest metropolitan area is the capital, Bangkok, with an estimated 9.6 million inhabitants in 2002. According to the 2000 Thai census, 6.3 million people were living in the metropolitan area (combining Bangkok and Thon Buri). Other major cities, based on 2000 census data, include Samut Prakan (378,000), Nanthaburi (291,000), Udon Thani (220,000), and Nakhon Ratchasima (204,000). Fifteen other cities had populations of more than 100,000 in 2000.
There is sharp divide in Thailand between the bright lights of Bangkok and rural masses, who live mostly in northern and northeastern Thailand.
Movement to Cities
In the last couple of decades there has been massive exodus from the countryside to the cities, particularly Bangkok. The migration has been pushed by a search for better job opportunities and accelerated by destruction of the forests, degradation of agricultural land and the development of industrial-scale agriculture. Thousands of rural Thais have lost their land to dams and development. One resident Northeast Thailand told the Los Angeles Times, “Whole villages have emptied and gone to Bangkok....If you wanted a job... That’s where you had to go.”
In November, at the end of the agricultural season, the cities fill with farmers looking for temporary work to keep themselves busy and make some cash before going back to their villages for the planting season, which begins in April. Social workers in Thailand are trying to develop cottage industry in the countryside to stem the flow of people from the countryside to the cities.
Rapid urbanization in the 1980s changed not only where Thais lived but also how they lived. Separate private houses were located in high-density areas or out in new sprawling suburbs. The Thai also moved into townhouses and condominiums; by 1984 sixty-nine residential condominium communities had been built or were in the final phase of construction. A family compound along a tree-shaded khlong (canal) was a rare sight. Although ferries continued to ply the Chao Phraya, the boat was no longer the main mode of transportation. Bangkok had about 900,000 registered motor vehicles and a new superhighway system partially completed in the late 1980s; massive traffic jams, noise, and air pollution had become part of everyday life. Most of the canals in the "Venice of the East" had been replaced with roads; this replacement was in part causing the city to sink. Annual flooding in the city and growing slums such as Khlong Toei often made city services rather than politics the key issue in metropolitan elections. Bangkok had 10 percent of the national population, but the capital required a disproportionate percentage of the national budget to maintain basic city services. [Source: Library of Congress]
Bangkok’s canals are known as klongs. Bangkok used to be laced with them. They followed streets, ducked under superstructures and were crossed by bridges. By one estimate a third of the city’s residents in the mid 19th century lived in stilted or floating houses along the canals or the river. Until a few decades ago they were so were so crowded and full of boats that policeman were used to direct traffic. Over the years many of Bangkok’s klongs have been paved over to widen streets and make room for houses and other buildings. Many of remaining klongs are foul and dirty. Some are filled with black oily water. Others are stagnant pools covered by smelly green scum and filled with garbage.
But not all the klongs are a mess. Ones visited by tourists have floating hyacinths and lotus flowers, small houses with garden and fluttering laundry. In some places you can still find monks floating in the water in inner tubes, women in broad woven hats and sarongs using sampans to buy groceries and, floating shopkeepers and deliverymen. In recent years there has been a campaign to free the paved over klongs to attract tourists to places they otherwise wouldn’t go and provide better drainage.
Khlong Mon in Thornburi features weathered teak homes and orchards and interspersed with modern houses, crumbling shacks and the odd temple. Saffron-robed monks can be seen among and stretches of morning glory or water hyacinth. Small boat's travel up and down river. People scrub clothes, take naps and throws scraps to fish, smiling and waving at passers by. Boats leave every 30 minutes from the Tha Tian Pier behind Wat Pro . The fare is minimal. Khlong Bangkok Noi is wider and bolder – more river than canal. It is lined with factories, temples and navy installations as well as homes. Where it meets the Chao Phraya river is the Royal Barges National Museum, where the elaborately gilded barges used in solemn Royal ceremonies can be seen up close.
Rural Life in Thailand
Rural population: 66 percent of total population (2010). [Source: CIA World Factbook]
By one count there are 77,000 villages in Thailand. In the 1920s over 90 percent of the population worked the land. In rural Thailand clothes are still scrubbed by hand and people eat what they grow themselves. In some village Some old men still use split string bows to shoot pellets.
Certain basic rural social patterns were discernable in modern Thai society. According to U.S. anthropologist Jack M. Potter, "The spatially defined rural village, which receives the allegiance of its members, furnishes an important part of their social identity, manages its own affairs and communal property, and has its own temple and school, is present in all parts of Thailand as an ideal cultural model, although in many cases the actual form of community life only approximates it." [Source: Library of Congress, 1987]
Affecting the degree to which specific communities approach the model were "ecological, economic and demographic circumstances and the nature of rural administration," Potter writes. In the densely settled central plain, villages are often spatially indistinct, although boundaries defined by patterns of marriage, wat (Buddhist religious complex) attendance, and other social factors might be discerned. In other cases, some of the important features of a functioning community are lacking. Thus, if the proportion of nonlandholders is high and if landowners are absentee and did not provide the social or political leadership typically supplied by wealthy local peasants, community structure is weak.
Wats as a Center of Rural Life
In many places the wat remains the center of the rural community life, although some of its functions, e.g., as an educational center, have been lost, and it is increasingly difficult to retain monks. Most rural communities build and maintain a wat because, as Potter states, the Thai consider it "necessary for a civilized social existence." The wat includes the special quarters and facilities reserved for monks, a building for public worship and religious ceremony, and a community meeting place. Typically, the wat is run by a temple committee that consisted of prominent laymen as well as monks who have left the sangha without prejudice. Abbots and senior monks often enjoy considerable prestige. In times of personal crisis, people often seek their advice. [Source: Library of Congress, 1987]
The wat is first of all a center for religious ceremony, much of which is regularly carried out according to a ritual calendar. These scheduled rites involve the community as a whole, even if their ultimate purpose is the acquisition of merit by individuals. Other irregularly held rites also take place in the wat and almost always includes the community or a significant segment of it. The temple is also the locus for astrological and other quasi-magical activities. Although such rites are outside the canon of Buddhism, they are important to the community and are often carried out by monks. Thus, a person would go to a monk versed in these matters to learn the propitious day for certain undertakings (for example, a wedding) or to be cured of certain illnesses by the application of holy water. A large wat usually has a crematorium; almost all dead are cremated.
The temple committee often administers a loan fund from which the poor of the community might borrow in emergencies. The wat is also the repository of mats, dishes, and other housewares that can be borrowed by members of the community. If an aged person has nowhere else to go, the wat is a refuge. The wat is not reserved solely for serious matters; entertainment and dances open to the community are also held there.
Village Organization in Thailand
Within the village the basic organizational unit is the family, which changes its character in the course of a developmental cycle. A nuclear family becomes, in time, a larger unit, but the death of the older generation once again leaves a nuclear family. Typically, a man goes to live with the parents of the woman he marries. Such residence is temporary except in the case of the youngest daughter. She and her husband (and their unmarried children) remain with her parents, taking care of them in their old age and inheriting the house when the die. Thus, at some point in the cycle, the household includes what has been referred to as a matrilineal extended stem family: the aging parents, their youngest daughter and her husband, and the younger couple's children. [Source: Library of Congress, 1987]
Emerging from this developmental cycle is a cluster of related and cooperating households consisting of the extended stem family household and the households of those daughters who have settled nearby with their husbands. That pattern is predicated on the continuing control over land and other resources by the senior couple. The closeness of these related households and the extent of their cooperation in a range of domestic activities varies considerably. With a growing shortage of arable land in parts of the country and the aggregation of substantial holdings by a limited number of landowners, the pattern is no longer as common as it has been. The senior couple may have little or no land to allocate to their older daughters, and the daughters and their husbands may have to move elsewhere. In the case of wholly landless agricultural workers, even the extended stem family might not be possible.
Most villages are divided into local units or neighborhoods. In the North, neighborhoods are often the entities that on a weekly basis collectively provides food for the monks in the local wat, but these neighborhoods also engage in other forms of cooperation. Inasmuch as the nucleus of a neighborhood, perhaps all of it, often consists of related households, activities such as house-raisings might be undertaken in response to either territorial or kinship requirements. If the community is the result of relatively recent pioneering by landless families from other communities, the neighborhood is important, and those living in the same area might come to address each other in kinship terms.
Village Labor and Economy in Thailand
The labor exchange system in rural Thailand has traditionally was initially based on villagers' relative parity in landholding and their participation in subsistence agriculture. Typically, those involved in an exchange system were kin or neighbors, but the system sometimes extended beyond these categories. Each household arranged with others to provide labor at various stages in the agricultural cycle; in return, the same number of units of labor would be provided to those who had worked for it. Besides a labor exchange, the system provided opportunities for socializing and feasting. Although the arrangements were made by a single household with other specific households, the regularity with which representatives of households worked together gave the households a grouplike character. [Source: Library of Congress, 1987]
The growing commercialization of agriculture in certain parts of the country and increasing landlessness and tenancy in the 1980s diminished the ubiquity of reciprocal work arrangements. Wealthy peasants hired labor; those who had no land or too little to subsist on worked for wages. Commercialization alone, however, did not prevent the use of a labor exchange system if those in it held roughly equivalent amounts of land. In some cases, a household would hire labor for one task and engage in the exchange system for others.
Peasants could be categorized on the basis of the nature of their land rights and the quantity of the land they held. The holdings that made a peasant family rich in one part of Thailand might not make it rich elsewhere. A rich rural family was one with substantial landholdings, some of which it might rent out. Moreover, if a family had the capital to hire agricultural labor and the implements necessary to cultivate additional land, it might rent plots from others. In any case, such a family would rely almost exclusively on hired labor rather than on the system of labor exchange, and it was likely to invest in other local enterprises, such as rice mills, thereby acquiring additional sources of income. The category of rich peasants could be subdivided into those with very large quantities of land and those with smaller but still substantial amounts. Usually that distinction would correlate with the magnitude of their nonfarming enterprises and the extent to which they had money to lend to others. In any case, rich peasants tended to be creditors, while other peasants were often debtors.
At the other end of the scale were the agricultural laborers, who held no land as owners or tenants except, perhaps, for the small plot on which their houses stood. To the extent that opportunities were available, they supported themselves as hired farm workers. Life was so precarious for some families, however, that they had to resort to hunting and gathering. Between the wealthy peasants and agricultural workers were two other categories. The families in the first group had sufficient land (some of it rented) to meet their own rice needs. If there were a crop surplus, it would be sold, but the families in this category did not produce primarily for the market, as the rich peasants did. They might also acquire cash through wage labor from time to time if opportunities were available. The families in the second category owned less land and had to rent additional parcels. Owned and rented holdings combined, however, did not always provide the means for subsistence, so these families frequently had to resort to wage labor. Not all tenants were poor. In some cases, tenants did well in good crop and market years, particularly in central Thailand. In general, however, the tenant farmer's situation was precarious. Rents, whether in cash or in kind, tended to be fixed without regard for the size of the harvest, and in a bad year tenant farmer families were likely to go into debt. Tenants and agricultural laborers had little or nothing of their own to pass on to their children.
In some areas, particularly in central Thailand, the land was controlled by absentee landlords who lived in Bangkok or in provincial towns and for whom landownership was another form of investment. They could have direct or indirect effect on the social and political lives of their tenants, and some occasionally acted as patrons to their tenants. At the local level, however, it was the rich peasant who wielded political power and was granted deference by others in the community. Differences in wealth were consistent with the Thai villager's understanding of the Buddhist concept of merit. According to this view, the accumulation of merit led not to nirvana but to a better personal situation in this world, preferably in this life. Wealth signified that one had merit. One might, therefore, demonstrate one's merit by striving and succeeding. Villagers at the lower end of the social scale, however, sometimes questioned the doctrine of merit if they perceived the behavior of those at the upper end as unrighteous.
King Bhumibol's Development Projects
King Bhumibol has been praised for lifelong support of village development. He has personally launched more than 4,000 development and social welfare projects, according to a tally from the Thai government, in areas such as irrigation, agronomy, forestry, fishing and health. He introduced improved strains of rice, stocked streams with fish, established irrigation projects. He used to frequently helicopters around the country doing things like promoting dam and irrigation projects and encouraging Golden Triangle farmers to switch from opium to kidney beans. His rural development projects are credited with weaning highland off opium amd helping to stop the expansion of the Communist movement in Thailand. ♦
The king’s royal development projects have included alternative fuel factories and milk-pasteurizing plants and other projects relating to agriculture, the environment, health, job training, social welfare, communications and water management. He has set up rice banks to tackle food shortages and established research and development centers that have taught farmers how to use new strains of rice, new agricultural technology and new irrigation methods. The Royal Cattle Buffalo Bank, a sort of cooperative for water buffalo, has given poor farmers with no livestock of their own access to buffalo as plough animals and sources of milk.Among his projects for urbanites is a program to teach police how to deliver children to help women in labor stuck in traffic.
According to the Thai government: “The Royal Development Projects are divided into eight categories according to the sector of the economy that is targeted: 1) Agriculture, 2) Environment, 3) Public Health, 4) Occupational Promotion, 5) Water Resources, 6) Communications, 7) Public Welfare, and 8) Others. Some of the best known ones are the Royal Rainmaking Program, the Water Treatment by the Chaipattana Aerator, the Soil Acidity Acceleration Project and the Kaem Ling (Monkey’s Cheek) Project.
Private projects of the King and Queen include the crop substitution project in the North, aimed at stopping opium cultivation, deforestation and the slash and burn cultivation method traditionally used by the hill tribe s. His Majesty has given them advice and assistance on the planting of cool climate fruits and flowers for a better income. Projects under royal patronage are ones operated by the private sector using its own financial, technical and human resources and based on His Majesty's advice and guidelines. They include the Thai Encyclopedia for Youth Project, the Dictionary Project and the Din Daeng Cooperative Village Development Project.
In order to facilitate the implementation of the Royal Development Projects, His Majesty initiated the establishment of six Royal Development Study Centres, in various regions of the country to serve as the place for conducting study, research and experimentation. The Centres are also intended to serve as "living natural museums" where interested people can come to observe and gain knowledge about “real life” issues. The Six Centres are located in Chiang Mai in the North, Chachoengsao, Phetchaburi and Chanthaburi in the Central Plains, Sakon Nakhon in the Northeast and Narathiwat in the South.
Principles of Royally Initiated Projects
For more than 60 years, His Majesty the King has initiated projects aimed at raising the standards of rural life and helping farmers to be self-reliant. The projects are classified into various categories, such as agriculture, water resources, the environment, occupational promotion, public health, public welfare, and communications. To achieve their aim, each of them is based on major principles suggested by His Majesty.
1) The first principle is that the project should be able to ease immediate problems. The solving of traffic congestion and flood prevention in Bangkok are among these projects. Although they seek solutions to immediate problems, their effects can also be felt in the long run. 2) The second principle is that the project should be carried out step by step in accordance with necessity and cost-effectiveness. His Majesty intends to assist people as necessary and appropriately, so that they can become self-reliant. He has stressed the need to build a foundation for people to have enough to live on. Once the foundation is established firmly, further economic development should be carried out in the next step. The king believes that if rapid economic development is emphasized with no regard to the situation of the country and the real conditions of the people, it is to lead to imbalances and difficulties in many areas. It is the king’s firm belief that if people can be assisted to stand on their own feet and be self-supporting, they will be able to build up a higher level of development.
3) In the third principle, emphasis is placed on self-reliance to tackle poverty. For instance, the royally-initiated Rice Bank, the Cattle Bank, and soil development at Hup Krapong in Cha-am, Phetchaburi Province, have helped ease community problems and assisted local residents in helping themselves. 4) The fourth principle is that the project should promote the use of knowledge and appropriate technology. His Majesty said that it was necessary to have “a model of success” for farmers, so that they would put what they had learned from the model into practice in their own farms.
5) The fifth principle is that the country should focus on natural resource development and conservation. The development of the country in the past emphasized economic growth, resulting in the overuse and misuse of natural resources. If no action is taken, natural resources will deteriorate further. His Majesty believes that the rehabilitation of natural resources would help in agricultural development. 5) The sixth principle involves the enhancement of environmental quality. His Majesty attaches great importance to the solving of environmental problems, as seen from many royally initiated projects, such as wastewater treatment in Bangkok and the use of the Chaipattana Aerator for environmental preservation.
Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Tourist Authority of Thailand, Thailand Foreign Office, The Government Public Relations Department, CIA World Factbook, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Global Viewpoint (Christian Science Monitor), Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, NBC News, Fox News and various books and other publications.
© 2008 Jeffrey Hays
Last updated May 2014