Archive for the ‘Austronesian’ Category

South Thailand

March 27, 2008

Over the last few years we expect in our daily local news to hear something of the troubles in the south. There has been an insurrection of sorts going on in the southernmost three Thai provinces, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat. The reasons for the escalation of the problem I do not know, but the last two Thai governments haven’t been able to get on top of it. Maybe the new one has the answer.

 What we do know is these three provinces have a Muslim Malay majority. Overall Thailand has about 3% of its population from the Malay ethnic group according to Wikipedia although many are assimilated into Thai culture and language.

 The Malays are the only major ethnic group in Thailand that entered into what is present day Thailand from the south. The thinking at the moment is that they were an Austronesian group out of Taiwan, via the Philippines and Borneo, and into Malay peninsula.

The ancient Kingdom of Pattani controlled the three southern provinces until conquered by the Thais in the 14th. Century. Up until the 11th. century it had either a Hindu or a Buddhist culture, but after that the king converted to Islam as did his Malay subjects. It can be seen that the Malays were a fairly early group into Thailand.

Taiwan

March 13, 2008

I’ve been surprised by seeing Taiwan popping up frequently since I started this blog. This is because it was the original home of the Austronesian languages and the ethnic groups who use them. Not only the Malays and the Polynesians can trace their roots back there but there is a possibility that the Tai-Kadai languages also have a connection which could mean that the Tai tribes also originated from this island.

 Now only 2% of population are classified as Taiwanese aboriginals, but up until fairly recent history they were the main inhabitants of the island and it didn’t come under Chinese control for the first time until the Qing Dynasty in the 1660s after removing a Dutch settlement that had been started there. Later it was to come under Japanese rule and finally became the Republic of China when Chiang Kai-shek led the retreating Kuomintang forces there in 1949.