Libon (Talibon) and Mook islands in Trang province. The Urak Lawoi’ often share relatives across several communities and travel among them on visits. Urak Lawoi’ surnames can sometimes be used to identify their origins. In the Adang Archipelago,
most are named Harntalee (meaning “brave sea”), a name they were given along with Thai citizenship when they came under the patronage of the King’s mother in the early 1960s. In Phuket it is Pramongkit (“fishery”); and on Lanta island, Taleeluk (“deep sea”) and Changnam (“water elephant”).
A. Migration to the Adang Archipelago On the Adang Archipelago, local 14 legend credits To Kiri, a Muslim adventurer from Aceh in Indonesia, with first bringing the Urak Lawoi’ to the 15 area. In the early 1900s To Kiri began his search for a place rich in natural resources to settle. He and his two brothers traveled by rowboat to Gunung Jerai, where he married a Chinese Malay woman and had a daughter named Teh. While his brothers decided to settle down in Gunung Jerai, he pushed further north into the Andaman Sea of Thailand with his family and four other friends. They stayed on Langkawi, Lidi, and Bulon islands. In Bulon, To Kiri’s wife died, and three other friends decided to settle down. But To Kiri, his daughter Teh, and the friend named Jaebeenae continued traveling north.
Map 1: Main coastal and island communities of Urak Lawoi’ 13 and their population, Andaman Sea, Thailand
On Lanta island, To Kiri married an Urak Lawoi’ woman named Mi-ah and had a son named Sabu and a daughter, Maepa. Recognizing the rich natural resources of the Adang Archipelago, To Kiri readily agreed when Praya Poomnardpakdee, chief of Satun (tenure 1900-1914), with whom he was apparently close, suggested bringing the Urak Lawoi’ to 16 settle. The Urak Lawoi’ were needed
13. Sources of population figures: Sapum Bay, Sireh Island, and Rawi Beach on Phuket Island from field surveys by Asia Resource Foundation 2006; Chalong Bay, Phuket from Makboon 1981; Phi Phi Don Island from an estimate based on the village sign for Urak Lawoi’ village in 1998; Lanta Yai Island from Granbom 2005; Bulondon and Bulon Lee islands from a field survey in 2006; and Adang and Lipe islands from the statistics of the sub-district administration office (TAO 2005). 14. To is used by the Urak Lawoi’ before an elder’s name to show special respect. 15. Nga-saman (1991:97) mentions that To Mamad lived on Lipe before the arrival of To Kiri. 16. Ukrit 1989; Viriyakosol, personal communication.
The Urak Lawoi of the Adang Archipelago