Campaign to stop use of Thai numerals in official documents

A signature collection campaign has been launched on social media, calling for state agencies to end the use of Thai numerals in official documents, for the sake of digital development.

Over 1,300 people had signed up by 6pm today (Sunday) in support of the campaign, which was launched via the change.org website

The campaign’s initiator pointed out that, as a person engaged in digital activities on daily basis, Thai numerals used in calculation pose an obstruction to the use of digital documentation.

He said the issue was first raised by the House committee on religious, art and cultural affairs in 2000, when it observed that the Arabic numerals “2000”, such as in “IT2000” and “Education Exhibition 2000” were widely used that year, causing concern among committee members that the Thai numerals, which should reflect the Thai identity, will be forgotten.

He claimed that, on May 2nd 2000, the cabinet issued a resolution instructing all government agencies to use the Buddhist Era (BE) calendar instead of the Gregorian (BC/AD) calendar. The cabinet also instructed them to use Thai numerals, in order to preserve the Thai language and Thai identity.

He cited, for examples, the use of Thai numerals in digital platform identifiers. 5G has become “๕G” and Windows 10 has become Windows “๑0”. Even URLs do not work, such as “https://example.com/?passcode=๔0๙๒๑๑”

He also claimed that, in 1942, then Prime Minister Pibulsongkram mandated the use of Arabic numerals to replace Thai numerals, but three years later, a new government under prime minister Khuang Abhaiwongse reverted to the use of Thai numerals.

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