Ethnic Groups of Northern Southeast Asia พิมพ์ อีเมล
เขียนโดย Erik Seidenfaden.   






76                                             Erik Seidenfaden


II. Ethnic Groups of Northern Southeast Asia


The above work is a  gazetteer  of  the  various  ethnic  groups
of the  northern  parts  of  Southeast  Asia, embracing those peopling
Northern   Burma, Northern   Siam, Northern    Indochina   and   South
China. This  tribal  gazetteer  runs  to  175  pages   in  the  text,  includ-
ing  a  very  useful  name  index, and  is   provided  with  a  large   well
executed   and   instructive  map  where  the  habitats  of  the different
ethnic   groups   are   marked   in    colours. Altogether   it   is   a   very
meritorious  piece  of  work  that  will  fill  a  gap  long  felt  in  the tribal
cartography of these regions, a gap which has hitherto  made  difficult
any general  survey  of  the  habitats  of  that  variegated  multitude   of
human beings peopling this Southeast Asian Caucasus. The contents
of  the  book  were  prepared  by  Mr. William  L. Thomas Jr., as Asso-
ciate  Project  Director, with  the  late   Prof. John F.  Embree  as   the
Project  Director, both  of  the  Faculty  of  the Southeast Asia Studies,
Yale University.


In the preface  it  is  said  that  good  source  materials  on  the
peoples of mainland Southeast Asia are scarce and often out of date
though  in  the  latter  case  there  are  some  books, such as  Davie's
"Yunnan", Graham's  "Siam,  a  Handbook", and   Diguet's "Les  Mon-
tagnards du  Tonkin" which  are  still   useful. We   would   add   Lajon-
quière's "Ethnographie du Tonkin  Septentrional"; Sir  George Scotts'
and Hardiman's "Gazetteer of  Upper  Burma  and  the  Shan   States"
as well  as  the former's "Burma  and  Beyond", all  because   of  their
detailed descriptions of the various tribal costumes.


The  authors  say  in  the  preface  that  the classification of the
ethnic groups is primarily based on linguistic affiliation  and, in  some
cases,  on  other  cultural  criteria. A   linguistic   classification  is   not
sufficient  for  the  ultimate  definition  of   any   human   group   unless
accompanied by  an  anthropological  one. However,  anthropometric
measurements of the inhabitants of the areas  surveyed have,  so  far,
only  been  undertaken  in  a  few  localities, recently  in  Tonkin by  Dr.
Maneffe   and   Bezacier   for   instance.   Thorough     anthropometric
measurements   of   all   the   ethnic groups included in this  gazetteer
might well give cause for a somewhat altered classification  of   them.






                                                    NOTES                                                        77


Quite   a  number  of  people  have  assisted in assembling the
material   for   the   ethnological  map, as  well   as   for  the   gazetteer
itself. Among  those  assisting was  Mrs. Allison  Butler Mathews, who
compiled the material on Thailand and the various other Thai peoples.
These data were supplemented by information  from  several  leading
authorities with first-hand  knowledge  of  the  areas  in  question, thus
in  the  case  of  Siam  from Mr. Deignan, Dr. Kenneth  Wells  and  the
undersigned. Besides  this, native  informants  (Burmese,  Chin,  Thai,
Vietnamese  and  Chinese,  some   of   them  studying  in  the   United
States  of  America)  have also  lent  a  helping  hand   in   making  the
information   as   complete  and  up-to-date   as   possible.  Both    the
admirable    "Bulletin   de l'Ecole   Française d ''Extrême-Orient"   and
issues  of  the  Journal  of  the Siam Society and Journal of the Burma
Research  Society  have  of  course yielded  valuable material for  the
gazetteer too. The  Ecole  Française d'Extrême-Orient's ethno-linguis-
tic  map   of   French  Indochina,  as   well  as  that   of   Assam  by J.P.
Mills,  has  been  used  as  a  base  for  the  map  of the gazetteer. As
regards  North  Burma  (the  Shan  States)  and   North   Thailand   no
quite  reliable  maps  exist  as  yet, still  by  help  of  local informants it
has  been  possible  to  complete the map. In the case of South China
so  far the  only  good  map  is  the  old  one of General Davies, and it
covers only Yunnan and portions of the adjoining territories.

A  praiseworthy  step  is  the  effort  made to clarify the various
tribal   names. Much   confusion   exists   here  partly  because  of  the
various    spellings (or  mis-spellings)   of    European    writers,  partly
because of the misnomers given  so  many tribes by their neighbours.
The  Chinese  are  the  worst  to dub  all  non-Chinese  with  the  most
impolite   or   even   insulting   nicknames. Thus   the   Thai   of   South
China are  called  Pai-yi (barbarians); the  Yao  of  Tonkin  are called
Man;  the  Mhong   are   dubbed   Miao   and  so  on. The   numerous
primitive   Indonesian  or  Môn-Khmer   tribes  living in the  backlands
of  Laos  and  Vietnam  are  called  Khā  and  Moi respectively  which
names  mean  slaves. The  data  concerning  the  various tribes cover
the    following    main     topics :  location,   population,   village    sites,
economy, language (including dialects), religion, contacts and names.





78                                               Erik Se idenfaden


In  the  preface  it   is  stated expressly that these data are  not intended
for   culture   summaries   but   rather  as  identifying  features. For
further   data   on   any   group   the   student   is  referred  to  the  "Biblio-
graphy   of   the  Mainland   Southeast   Asia",  published   by   the   Yale
Southeast Asia studies.

The   authors   state  that   in  general  the  peoples  of   the   area
surveyed   fall   into   a   number   of   major  groups, viz: 1.   "Indonesoid",
2. Mongoloid   mountaineers, 3. Various  major  national  groups  speak-
ing  tonal  languages, such  as  Burmese, Thai, Vietnamese and Yunnan
Chinese. As regards group 1, "the Indonesoid", this seems a somewhat
vague  term. For  example, while  some, like  the  Miiong, the proto-Viet-
namese  of  Thanh-hoa, as  well  as  some  of  the  eastern  Moi (Rhade,
etc.)   are   Indonesians,  other   Moi   or   Khā   in   this    jungle-covered

Annamite   Cordillera  land  are  Môn-Khmer  (the western and southern
groups). The   Indonesians   most   probably  preceded the Môn-Khmer;
however, the  latter were   themselves   preceded   by  several  wavs   of

Negritos, Melanesians   and   Australoids   (Weddids too)   if   one is  to
judge   from  the  skeletal   remains  found  by  Mansui  and  Mlle. Colani
in the limestone caves in the North Annam.

The   gazetteer   states, "In   some   areas   Khā   are  simply  hill
people  of  Thai   culture   and  ethnic  affiliation." Do  the  authors   have
in   mind   the  Thai   Loi  or  Kengtung?   These  Tai  Loi  have  adopted
Thai   culture   and   Buddhism   but   ethnically   they   are   Môn-Khmer.
A   similar   change   has   made  the  Lawa of North  Siam  into  Thai  to

the extent that they have forgotten their mother tongue.

If  Paul   Benedict's   theory  of  a  Thai, Kadai    and   Indonesian
alignment(1) should  be  accepted, and  much  speaks  in  its favour, the
Thai   would, once  and  for  all, be  detached   from   any   Sino-Tibetan-
Burmese   tonal   and   monosyllabic   linguistic   groups. (Was   Tai not
originally   non-tonic   and   polysyllabic?)   Examination   of   the   blood
groups   both   Thai  and   the  Vietnamese  (so  far only in Tongkin) has
shown that they are nearer to Indonesian than to the Mongoloids.


(1) Vide P. Benedict, "Thai, Kadai  and  Indonesian, a new Align-
ment in Southeast Asia", American Anthropologist, Vol. 44, 1942.





                                                     NOTES                                                        79


However, no  human   groups  of  "pure"  blood  exist. As   the  Swedish
anthropologist  Dr. Rolf  Nordenstreng  of  Upsala said  at  the  meeting
of  the  2nd  International  Congress  of  Anthropological  and  Ethnologi-
cal  Sciences   in   Copenhagen   (August,    1938): "Man   is   of   many
stemmed   origin  and  cross-bred  since   the oldest times...  There are
no   originally   pure  races  nor  have  there  ever  been." In his valuable
work  "Lamet,  Hill   Peasants    in    French    Indochina  " Dr.   Izikowitz
says  that  the  Lamet  resemble  the  Malay  type, and  that their resem-
blance  to  several   Filipino   tribes  in  Luzon  is  striking  but  also  that
there  are  Weddid  types  with  fine  features, large eyes and wavy hair
among   them. Still  the  Lamet  speak  a  Môn-Khmer  tongue (Wa-Pa-
One   should, however, think   that  in   their   veins    flows   also

blood   of   the  Môn-Khmer  since  these  (coming  from  India)   swept
over  the  Indonesian  people  of  Further  India  less  than  2,000  years
before   Christ. As   regards  the   information   concerning   the   ethnic
groups of the four geographical  sections  into  which  the  gazetteer  is
divided, this  seems  to  be  uniformly  good    and   reliable  with  some
exceptions which we shall treat below.

P. 12 : the   Akha  or  Kô  at  Phongsaly  in the kingdom of Laos
are  called  Phu  Noi  (small  people)   but   dress  and   live
like the other Akha.

P. 16: the Chin. The  late  Mr. F.H. Giles  (whose  Siamese  title
was  Phya  Indra  Montri), from  his  long  years   of  service
in   Burma   knew   the  Chin   well   and   used   to  say that
Chin   is   a    Burmese   mis-pronunciation,   their    proper
name being Change(2)

P. 27 : the   Hpon   in   the   upper   defile  of  the  Irrawadi  river.
It   is   curious  that  the  Thai  elephant  hunters  of   Chaiya-
phum   province   in   Northeast  Siam  are  also  called  so.
Could   the   explanation   be  that  the  Hpon  of  Burma  re-
ceived    this   name   from   the   Shans   (Thai-Yai)   when
these ruled Burma from 1287 to 1531 ?


( 2 ) Vide  the  writer's review of Sir George Scott's "Burma and
Beyond", Journal of the Siam Society. Vol. XXIX, Part 1, p. 147.





80                                            ErikSeidenfaden


P. 42: the   domestic   bison   (bos   frontalis),  called  mithan,  is
not   a   bison  but  a  gaur. In  the  whole  of  Asia  bison  are
only found in the Caucasus.

P. 50: economy    of    the   Shans.  The    word    hai    (for  wood
clearing    cultures)   is   synonymous  with   rai   in  Siamese,
and   does  not  mean  "to  cry" (ronghai   in   Siamese). The
words    for "to    cry''   and    for   cultivated    wood   clearing
are    spelt    differently    and    pronounced     with    different
tones. Thus   a   wood   clearing   is  ไห้   (Siam ไร่),  while for
crying it is ไห้.

P. 52: the   meaning   of   the   word   Tai   or   Thai. I  do not think
that   Tai   is   derived    from   the   Chinese   Ta=Great   but
from Dai (in Kadai) which name Coedès says is syno-
nymous with Tai and Thai.(3) It seems to mean "the

P. 63: French   Roman   Catholic   Mission. Among   the   Lao  of
Northeast   Siam   there   are   about  25,000  converts.  Alto-
gether    there    should   be   about   a   hundred     thousand
Christians   in   Siam   (80,000 Catholics and 20,000 Protes-
tants)    of    which,    however,    only    half    are    Thai,   the
remainder being Chinese and Vietnamese.

P. 70: the Chaobon   or   Nia-kuol   are   not   living  in  the  south-
eastern   but  in  the  western  and  southwestern  section  of
the Khorat plateau.

P. 80 Lawā : their   proper   name,   and    that    by    which    they
call   themselves, is   Lavüa. The   Chaobon    or    Nia-kuol
do   not   call   themselves   Lawā   which   name  was   given

them officially, and wrongly, by the Government autho-

P. 87, Meo : The   late   Reverend   Father   Savina, an  excellent
connoisseur   of   their   language   and   their   culture,   says
that   the   Meo   tribes  in  Upper Laos, as known personally


       (3) Vide G. Coedès "Les langues de l'Indochine", 1948.





                                                  NOTES                                                      81


to   him, possess  certain  Old  Testament  beliefs  and   that
in    fact   they   are   Monotheists. This   is   denied   by   Ber-
natzik    who,  however,  only    knows    the   Meo   of    North-
eastern Siam.

P. 92, Anonymous   "Report  of   the   Botanical   Section  of   the
Ministry   of   Commerce":  the    author   is   the   late   Dr. A.
F.G. Kerr.

P. 101, Hakka : These    people    were   originally   Thai   though
they    deny    it.  There     are     still    some     Thai-speaking
Hakka in Northeastern Kwangtung.

P. 102, Khā  (Moi): to   include   the    Phu   Noi    into   the   Khā
group   is   wrong  as  the  Phu Noi  are Mongol Akha or Kô.

P. 104 : to   the   bibliography   on   this   page   should   now   be
added      Izikowitz's   "Lamel,   Hill   Peasants    in    French

P. 107, second   line   from  the  bottom : Read  Sip Song Panna
for Sip Long Panna.

P. 111: to   the  bibliography  should   be added E. Seidenfaden
"Un   ancêtre   de    tribu : le    chien",  Bulletin    de   l'Institut
Indochinois pour l'étude de l'homme, Vol. VI.

P. 116, Laotian Thai: This    paragraph   needs   some    clarifica-
tion. The   Lü   are   domiciled   at   the    upper    course    of
Nam   U   and   in   the   former   principality   of   Mang  Sing.
The   Thai-(or    Lao)-Y uan   inhabit    Northern   Siam    with
some   communities   in   Kengtung    and    in    the     former
district   of   Houei   Sai. The  Thai, or   Lao, around     Luang
Phrabang   are   not   Yuan   but   so-called   Lao   Sau Sau-
one   of   Luang    Phrabang's   old   names.

In   Siamese   Laos, i.e. the   provinces  of Nakhon Phanom

 and   Sakon   Nakhon, there is  a  considerable  population
of Nho or Yö Thai.





82                                                Erik Seidenfaden


The   name  of   the  capital  of   the  new  Kingdom  of  Laos
should   be  spelt  Wiengchan  (dr)  and  not   as  the  French
do (Vientiane).

P. 116 : The   Eastern  Lao characters are  called doa tham  and
are    derived,  like   the   Siamese,  from    the   old     Khmer-
Indian   alphabet    while  those   of   the  Yuan,  at  first   iden-
tical    with    the   Sukhothai  script  of   famous  King   Rama-
khamheng,  are   derived   from   the  Burmese  (really  Môn)
cursive letters.

P. 177 : Khôm    (not    Kawn)  are   the   Khmer   letters  used   in
the   litanies   (written   on   strips  of   palm  leaves)  sung  by
the Siamese monks.

P. 120 : Lao  phung  khao  do  tattoo  their thighs  but have  white
bellies.  Lu, Lou. The  name   of    this   Thai   people   should
be pronounced Lü or Leu.

P. 121, Thai  Nüa : the   second   word   does  not  mean superior
but      northern     Thai.    Yuan,     Yun,    Yun,    Eun,     Phu
the   latter   two   words   have   nothing   to  do  with  the

Thai   Yuan   but  are  synonymous   with   Phuan   or  Phuen,
the    inhabitants    of     Chieng      Kwang     (wrongly   called

Tranh-ninh), a province of the Kingdom of Laos.

P. 123, Tribal   Tai: the    name    of    the   white  Tai   chief   was
Deo-van-tri,       not      Dieu-van-tri.  The    Thai   of   Tongkin
were,   prior   to   the     communist    rebellion,   united  in   a
Federated     Thai    State    with    their    national   flag   and
national hymn.

P. 128, The    Vietnamese : They    are   probably   au   fond Indo-
nesians  (blood groups);   their   language  has  in  part Môn-
roots,  and   its   syntax  and   tonal   system  is Thai-

influenced. There   are   many  Chinese   loan   words   in   it





                                                         NOTES                                                         83


P. 156, Tai  Chung-chia : the   latter  word   is   Chinese.  These

         Tai   call   themselves   Dioy   or   Dioi,  a   variant   of   Dai.
Tai   Chawng  
seems  to   be   identical    with   Chung-chia,
 while Tai Yoy is a variant of Dioi.

That   the   above   corrections   and  additions  should  be made
does  not  of  course  detract  from  the  general  value  of this extremely
useful  work  which  should  be  found  on  the  book  shelves   of   every
student   of   any  of  the  ethnic  groups  of  Northern  or Southern South-
east  Asia. Its  appearance  means a real step forward in our approach
to  a  deepened  insight  in  to  the  origins, habitats, languages and cul-
tures of these fascinating peoples.

It   might   be  a  good  idea  now  to  re-arrange  the information
given  here  and  master  the  ethnic  groups  not  in geographical order
but  according  to  the  ethnic  relations, and  to  include  the  groups  of
Southern  Southeast  Asia  too. May  one  hope  to   see  such  a   work
carried  out  by  that  band  of  enthusiastic  and  diligent   collaborators
who so successfully have produced the survey described here !


Erik Seidenfaden.

Sorgenfri, Denmark,
February 1952.





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