New Chula library honours Chamnan
Chamnan Yuvaboon, born 100 years ago this year and still going strong, is a man with a distinguished background. He was an outstanding student — the country's first to complete a doctorate degree from Thammasat University's political science faculty in 1953. After starting his career in a junior position in the Interior Ministry, he became a well-recognised figure for the many initiatives he started that still function today.
He enrolled in Chulalongkorn University's political science faculty in 1932. His class was dubbed the pae taek or "shipwreck" class as the whole class was transferred to the newly-opened Thammasat University after one year of study. The transfer followed a new law on the university which said the political science faculty could only work at Thammasat.
When he completed his degree in 1953 which was 2496 BE in the Thai calendar, strongman Field Marshall Pibulsonggram bestowed on him a 2,496 baht cash award.
While serving at the Interior Ministry, Chamnan was appointed head of the Department of Interior (the Department of Provincial Administration) where he held office from 1956 to 1968.
From 1961 to 1968 he was a member of the Chulalongkorn University Council and was invited to serve as a special lecturer teaching administrative law at the political science faculty. Later, he served as Thai ambassador to the Republic of Argentina before becoming the first mayor (now governor) of Bangkok-Thon Buri in 1973.
When he worked at the Interior Ministry, he was known as a ''developer'' who helped establish the Office of Community Development and the Office of Accelerated Rural Development, which eventually became the Department of Community Development and the Department of Accelerated Rural Development. His initiatives included the second-crop rice programme as well as the promotion of coffee cultivation.
He proposed the idea of a sukhapiban sub-municipality unit in all districts nationwide.
Chamnan established the College of Administration, the Foundation League and the Municipal League of Thailand as well as organising the Accumulated Fund of the Provincial Administrative Organisation and the Co-op Bank at the Department of Provincial Administration.
On the centenary of the Ministry of Interior's creation on April 1, 1992, he was commended as a Distinguished Governing Officer and Administrator.
As this year marks 100 years since Chamnan was born, the Yuvaboon family has built a new library for Chulalongkorn University's Political Science Faculty, which opens today. The family has also donated books from his collection to the library.
Editorial page Editor
Ploenpote Atthakor is editorial pages editor, Bangkok Post.