If you have visited my blog before, you will realise that it looks very different today. If this is the first time, no, my blog doesn’t normally have a monochrome theme. However, I am still feeling the need to change anything and everything into this black-and-white palette in hopes that it may ease some of the sorrow in my heart.
I am Thai. And if you have seen the news from the end of last week, you might have heard about the passing of our King.
His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej has passed on 13 October 2016, at 15.42 Thailand time.
The press conference was on just before 7pm GMT+7 and that was when the news was broken to the general public.
I heard that there would be a press conference about HM the King’s condition and I should have known the signs because I started crying, on and off, from the late afternoon onwards.
However, nothing, absolutely nothing would have prepared me for when the announcement was made.
Utterly devastated and numb were probably the closest words to describe what millions of us felt. Still feel till this day, 5 days after his death.
And you all may wonder, how could someone invoke such a response? How could someone be so loved? Are we all so brainwashed that we couldn’t look pass the title?
No. No we are not. Many of us are well educated from abroad. We have a very modern mindset. We are from the new generation. And yet we all loved our father deeply and fiercely. Perhaps more so because we know how fortunate, so so fortunate, we were to have someone so Great being our King.
If you do have an hour to spare and are curious about our beloved late King, please please please, I ask for only an hour of your time to watch this documentary.
If you don’t have the time or cannot watch YouTube, here are a list of things I would like you tell you about him.
HM the King Bhumibol Adulyadej was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA on 5 December 1927. His father was studying Medicine there at the time and his mother was a commoner who met his father while she was in Nursing school.
He was the youngest of the 3 siblings.
The family moved back to Thailand when he was just one year old.
His father sadly died of a kidney illness when he was just 2. His mother wasn’t even 30 year old yet when she became a widow.
There was a political turmoil in Thailand during that time so that family moved to Switzerland where HM the King and his siblings had a chance to grow up like ordinary people.
His elder brother had to become king of Thailand when he was just 9 years old.
HM the King Bhumibol himself lost his brother and had to be king himself when he was just 18 years old. He had just started university in Switzerland. He changed his major from science to a law, politics and social science which he thought would be more suited for his role as king.
He lost his right eye in a car accident at the age of 20. He had an artificial eye therefore he did not have any of the binocular depth perception for the last 68 years of his life, most of which he had spent working tirelessly for the country.
The official coronation ceremony happened in 1950 where he had pledged the following (translated): “We shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the people of Siam.” And reigned with righteousness he did for 70 long years.
He had visited far corners of Thailand while they were still barren and virtually inaccessible.
He had developed a method to create artificial rain under the right conditions to lessen the droughts in Thailand.
He had built dams to lessen the effects of floods in Thailand.
He had nurtured 10 fish that was given by then-Crown Prince of Japan (now the emperor). There were originally 50-100 fish given but only 10 had survived. He had taken his own pond in the palace to nurture those 10 fish, cultivate them until thousands of them could be given to Thai people in the rural area so they can raise the fish themselves to provide them with a source of protein. We can now export 220,000 tonnes of this species of fish.
He had also developed the low speed surface aerator or Chaipattana aerator to help re-oxygenated stagnant water.
He was also an artist, a painter and an accomplished musician. He had composed 48 songs in his life and was able to play various instruments, like the clarinet, piano and guitar. However, many Thais knew him best from playing a saxophone.
He was also a sportsman who loved sailing.
He was not ‘the richest monarch in the world’. Look at what he wore and the state of his shoes. He did not lived in luxury or excess. He led by example about sufficient economy.
Even his own palace was an experimental fish and dairy farm as well as experiment rice paddy fields to find the best variety to be grown by the people.
He had worked so hard, never stopped until he physically couldn’t go on any further, for the betterment of Thailand.
You ask us, why do we love the king unconditionally?
We ask you, have you every had someone so devoted, so dedicated, who had worked tirelessly and had given his life so that yours will be better in your life?
That is why we are mourning for his death.
This is why the tears have not stopped.
Because no matter how much we loved him, we are also selfish creatures that we would have given anything, anything at all, just so we could have him with us longer even though we know, deep down, that he is in a better place now.
And I’m using ‘we’ and ‘us’ because it is not just me who feels this way. The whole 67 million people nation is grieving because we have lost our father.
I am a bit scared for my country too. We have lost someone so great, who had been looking over our nation for so long.
But most of all, I’m in tears right now because we have lost one of the few constants in our lives. A Great king, a scientist, a loving son and brother. An inspiration. Our father.
If I may use a sentence from the documentary, I think it sums up everything very well.
We did not love King Bhumibol because he was king. The king was loved because he was King Bhumibol.
May His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej rest in peace. It has been an absolute privileged to be born under your reign.