Foreigner media’s curiosity about why Thai people love their King.
Can we still recall the “Thai people’s Great Precious Day” on June 9, 2006 when His Majesty the King attended the publicity at the balcony of The Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall on the event of The Sixtieth Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty’s Accession to the Throne. He was blessed by the people who had come from every single part of Thailand wearing nothing else but yellow shirts, and waving the “Long Live the King” flags. Not only did this historical occasion make the Thais joy and tear with happiness while shouting out hysterically “Long Live the King”, but this also amazed and made foreign media a great deal of curiousness.
This impression and surprise have made many foreign media need to increase their news about this celebration more than they had expected so in order to find out why His Majesty the King, whose accession to the throne is the longest, has been receiving such much respect, love and worship from Thai people.
Amaze and curiosity on the face, a correspondent from BCC news of England heard the answer from a teenage Thai girl who was walking out of the ceremony. Her English was not properly spoken yet we could understand that she said, “I love His Majesty the King very much. Love him so much that I can even die for him anytime.”
“Rob Cohen”, a correspondent from VOA stationed in Bangkok to report the news about this event. One of his reports on VOA website on July 9 has mirrored a try at explaining people outside Thailand who were not in clearance of how His Majesty the King of Thailand has the most respect from his people and blessed from many foreign countries.
“Thai King is known for ‘the developer king’ from how he supports many projects that develop the upcountry, and how he devotes himself to improving Thai people’s life. These have been resulted by the fact that he is respected and praised by every part of Thai society.”
The writer wrote on the next paragraph that almost a million of Thai people joined the event, and he thought that there would be other more millions of people attending the ceremony for these 3 days.
“Most of it is because of his persistence in getting rid of poverty for his people which makes him receive wide respect, besides he is the important factor of how Thai society stays stable and united today.”
“Rob Cohen” also stated on his report that his Majesty the King has originated over 3,000 projects on agriculture especially water resources development and how to sustain the suitable environment for a living.
“In 1950 the young king supported the attempt to fight with the big spread of cholera. Since then, his projects have been improved variously from an urgent assistance to agriculture development. He has supported these projects along with his attempt to increase the production of rice, livestock breeding development, and those projects regarding resources and environment development for example soaked areas development, village’s physicians project, and water resources development. He even invented artificial rain to be used during the long drought season in Thailand.”
Cohen also stated that “the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy”, the philosophy of supporting the growing balance sustainably and in a long run, is the core to his duties since half of 64-million Thai people are still living their life on productions from the ground even though the rest of the country has now rapidly changed into industries.
“Most of Thai societies have obtained benefits from his development, not even the minorities in the mountains in the northern part of Thailand. The project of plants substitution for these minorities has had a major effect on Thailand which once was a major heroine production to almost out of it. Meanwhile, many other projects have encouraged these minorities to stop deforestation to do the agriculture.” The report of Rob Cohen stated that His Majesty the King has received many awards because of his projects. The latest award was by Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the UN who has hailed him on the event that, “He has reached his hands to help those poorest and the most fragile in Thai society. He listens to their problems and gives them assistance in order that they can stand on their own… His projects to develop the upcountry are also beneficial to millions of Thai people.”
Not only did this make him “the developer king” in the visions of people outside the country, but also make him remain in Thai people’s heart forever.
Foreigners’ Viewpoints on His Majesty the King
David Mohseny – New York, USA
“The King of Thailand is the only king who can still remain the sovereignty of his country, which is a very special thing for Thailand. Apart from the fact that he is the longest king on the throne recorded from human’s history, it seems reasonable that Thai people have always loved him…”
Andy Canfield – Roi Ed, Thailand
“I have been living in Thailand and will wear a yellow shirt today (June 9, 2006). The King of Thailand is an amazing person, a saint. We can simply compare him to Dalai Lama or the Pope. He is our inspiration to even myself who was born in another country but decided to have my life here.”
David – York, UK
“You should notice while Thai people have their respect for the king, he himself has devoted and showed his characteristic without any conditions. He deserves all of the respect.”
Steve – London, UK
“I have been living in Bangkok for 4 years and I have to say that the respect and worship Thai people have for their king us something English people should learn from.”
Thomas Brown – Woxall, London, UK
“His Majesty the King has lived his life to deserve all respects from all Thai people. He is the center on the nation who every Thai can depend on. Even there is a big gap between the people. No one else can do this… I myself think that the king has showed the role of protection and constitution preservation, not the one who rejects the freedom. I would like our soldiers to fight for the king or the queen and the country instead of the government.”
Professor Manfred Krames – Germany
“I feel deeply sorry for him because the king is the only person who wants to develop the country while other people in the nation have waited until the miracles occur without following his trace. I think this type of development will never find its achievement.
I have opportunity to read many articles on newspapers about a previous Thai Prime Minister who led Thailand to the business field. We have seen most Asian politicians who are once on the power and receive advantages but never give help to people. And that makes me feel sorry for the king because his teaching is opposed to what those politicians are doing. They might make him upset and worried and pretend that they appreciate his compassionate. These are illusions not reality. They only want to use this image of loyalty to persuade people into giving them support on an election and step into the power later on.
As for the opinion of foreigners around me, for those foreigners who have been living in Thailand for a long time, they really admire his intelligence. Basically, the foreigners living in Thailand have a positive perspective on His Majesty the King. They just don’t worship him the way Thai people do.”
Martin Wheeler – UK
“Thai people are really lucky to have the king as their leader. He is a hard-working man who wants to help people think by themselves and survive by their won. We will never find a king like that in other countries. The only problem is that most Thai people respect him but don’t follow his teaching. He has been talking about the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy for over 27 years, but Thai people still don’t get the words – only taking. Though they pay respect to the king, when it comes to a living, they never follow his method. He once said that Thailand didn’t necessarily have to become a tiger but rather have enough for our own.
If everybody thinks seriously of what he has been trying to say, Thailand might survive because this philosophy of the Sufficiency Economy needs the power of its people in the country. It can only be done in Thailand, not anywhere else because other places have no lands or natural recourses like Thailand.”
Darryl N. Johnson – LATIMES, USA
Why was Bhumibol so cautious about the fragile political situation? Contrary to W. Scott Thompson’s comments in his Dec. 10 Times Op-Ed article that Bhumibol has an active role in governing Thailand, the king does not exercise executive authority and does not take sides in Thai politics. Like the queen of England and the emperor of Japan, his authority is symbolic and moral, not political. Even on those occasions when Bhumibol has intervened in a political confrontation, such as the one in 1992, it has been to reduce bloodshed and foster conciliation, not to tell the antagonists what policies to pursue or who should govern.
Bhumibol is the longest-serving monarch in today’s world and one of the longest ever, having reigned for more than 62 years. He has earned the admiration and love of his subjects in a way that Western observers find difficult to describe. He plays a unique role in Thai society as the personification of the Thai nation, as the head of state, as a kindly uncle who encourages the people in good times and bad, as a doer of good deeds and as a spiritual leader who performs sacred rituals.
Anthony Bailey – Guardian, UK
Anyone who has visited Thailand will know it is more than just home to some wonderful beaches and beautiful mountain villages. Nevertheless, some western commentators’ views still seem to be influenced by Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I. It is as if the last two years of political turmoil were an oriental version of the English civil war, a battle between Roundheads and Cavaliers, parliamentarians and royalists. Nothing could be further from the truth.
On the contrary, while the politicians have wrangled and demonstrators have taken to the streets, ordinary Thais, north and south, whatever their political affiliation, have looked to their monarch – the world’s longest serving – for guidance. So great is the affection, even devotion, for King Bhumibol that many had hoped he would intervene to restore some kind of order. The royal house knows that it would be damned if he did and damned if he didn’t by some foreign pundits but it knows too that the secret behind the Thai monarchy’s longevity is its discretion and detachment from the squalid realities of day-to-day politics.
Ever respectful of his constitutional position, the king ignored clamours from those who would purport to act in his name and remained aloof. Now that a political compromise has emerged and a new government has been formed, the king’s course of action – or deliberate inaction – has been vindicated.