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Local Knowledge and Local Wisdom for Social and Economic Development

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Title: Local Knowledge and Local Wisdom for Social and Economic Development


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Local Knowledge and Local Wisdom for Social and
Economic Development
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  • 1. From the mid 19th century, Siam or later
    known as Thailand attempted to develop itself to
    be a nation state and was successful in the reign
    of King Rama V (1868-1910). From that time on,
    Bangkok has always been the most important town
    and the center of various aspects of the
    country, especially for Thai politics.

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  • 2.From 1975, the local community issues began to
    play an important role in Thailand. In 1994, the
    Thai government had distributed its power to the
    local area. The new organization Sub-district
    Administration Organization or Tambol
    Administration Organization emerged, starting
    with 617 units to 6,774 in 2002.

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  • Administrators of the Sub-district
    Administration Organization are elected from
    local people (2 persons from each village).
  • The major duty of the new organization is to
    develop the sub-district in 9 aspects, including
    to protect and preserve the art, customs and
    traditions, local wisdom and the local culture.

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  • 3.However, most of the local leaders focus their
    ideas and their works on the development of their
    organizations following the idea of globalization
    encouraging the construction of buildings,
    roads,

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  • other contructions computercollecting taxes
  • facilities, the purchase of computers and tax
    collection. It is said to be the new channel of
    corruption by local leaders, similar to what the
    former state beaurocrats did in the past. In
    this sense, most local leaders give less
    attention to the knowledge and local wisdom,
    although it is one of their duties to practice.

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  • 4.In promoting local knowledge and local wisdom,
    local people should help themselves in
    maintaining or preserving local knowledge and
    local wisdom. Researchers from academic
    institutions and organizations can also help. The
    best way is to help local people understand the
    value of their local culture and raise their
    awareness in preserving it.

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  • 5. Local knowledge and local wisdom can help
    develop social and economic growth
  • 5.1 Creating Local products-goods (OTOP) as
    a new way to generate income. Local knowledge
    and wisdom can strengthen local people to
    create their local products or goods. Some
    start to develop local peoples tools and stuff
    from their everyday lives to be goods, which
    later in 2001 the Thai government put to the
    policy of One Tambon (sub-district) One product
    (OTOP).

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  • There are 3 ideas about creating OTOP which
    are Local Yet Global Self-Reliance-Creativity
    and Human Resource Development. Some are
    successful, but many failed because most products
    are not the original from the local peoples
    ideas, but from government officers. So most
    products have the same shape and can be found in
    any local areas or provinces.

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  • However, local knowledge can be used to make
    local people realize their abilities and bring
    back their products, such as in the case of
    silverware village-- Ban Wur Lai, Chieang Mai.

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  • 5.2 Local knowledge and wisdom help create
    and maintain traditions and customs in various
    parts of the country. In the case of Isan or
    Northeast Thailand, each province tries to claim
    ownership to certain traditions or customs. The
    Candle festival is claimed to belong to
    Ubonrajatani province The rocket festival to
    Yasotorn province, etc.

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These traditions are promoted by the Thailand
Tourism Organization for gaining more income to
the local areas.
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  • The question is that how can a local area that
    has no tradition, archaeological sites, famous
    temples and well known monks become a place for
    tourism? How can local knowledge and local wisdom
    play the roles?

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  • 5.3 Local knowledge and wisdom are benefit
    for health. At present, local method in curing
    and local medicine are brought back to use among
    health professionals. Herbs are important part
    of local medicine. And most knowledge about
    herbs and other plants in making medicine are
    written in the Palm- leaf. So collecting
    palm-leaf manuscripts is one way to preserve
    local knowledge and local wisdom and also the
    knowledge can be transferred into products.

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5.4 Cloth weaving and patterns
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5.5 Forest and Food
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5.6 Raising local peoples awareness
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6. What should be done to develop and preserve
local knowledge and wisdom 6.1 Give more ideas
and knowledge to the sub-district administration
organization members. Perhaps, further their
education in higher levels, or some of them
should be trained in some projects.
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  • 6.2 Gathering more details in both document and
    non-document sources

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  • 6.3 Local museums should be created in the way
    that shows the connection with local peoples
    lives
  • 6.4 Textbooks about local knowledge and wisdom
    should be written for younger generation to study
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