though. The rainfall of Bangkok is about 50 inches,in Southern Siam it is up to almost 100 inches, and in Northern Siam it is about 60 inches annually.
The most ancient inhabitants of Siam are the negrito tribes numbering probably not 1 o ,000, which still persist secluded in the mountains as do their cousins in British Malaya further south. The traveller is not likely to see them, but he will see the Siamese, the Laos, and the Chinese who are the three principal races in Siam. The population of the country is not certainly known, but is believed to be over eight millions, of which about three and a half millions will be the Thai (Siamese), originally a fusion of the Lao and Thai races, and now very variously bred, with notably Chinese strains in the towns and amongst the upper classes ; the Lao, about three and a half millions ; and the balance of over one million distributed amongst half a million of Chinese, somewhat less than that number of Malays, and the rest amongst Khmer (Cambodian), and Mon (of Mon-Annam origin), Karien, and hill tribes. In Bangkok there are probably close on fifteen hundred Europeans and Americans engaged in trade or in the service of the Siamese Government or as missionaries. British-Indian subjects from Burma and various parts of India are plenty. Most of the motor-car drivers employed by Europeans are Boyanese or Javanese Malay-speaking Dutch subjects. There is a sprinkling of Japanese also. But Bangkok is so large a city and so composite in population that the traveller need not be
surprised at recognising representatives of any race in the world, or at hearing any of the worlda s languages. In the past the Thai or modern Siamese have had since 1350 a.d., when they came into existence as a nation, to maintain their independence against the Burmese, the Cambodians, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the French, but their autonomy is now guaranteed by their neighbours on either side, the British Empire and the French Republic.
Siam is divided into several administrative divisions under either Viceroys or Governors responsible to the Central Administration in Bangkok, and has a judicial service separated from the executive. Her constitution is the only absolute monarchy in the world, except Sarawak, and it seems to suit her very well. The monarchy is more absolute in theory than in fact, for the Crown has committed much of the exercise of the prerogatives of an absolute
Photo. ' Talat Noi Siudio.