King Bhumibol – The Thai Monarch Who Will Be Loved Forever
Most recently, it hit the 100-day mark of a significant loss to Thailand. The Great King Bhumibol passed away on October 13, 2016, at the age of 88. He had been sick for the past 10 years but, when he passed, he left a country in a state of mourn. He was the 9th king that ruled over Thailand and probably the most memorable monarch.
King Bhumibol graciously accepted the crown at the age of 19 after his brother was shot and was the longest living monarch in the world. He had touched so many hearts, which is why the demise left the Thai people and those living in this nation in a state of utter dismay and heartfelt sadness. As the news spread, many people wept from an acute feeling of loss. There were many ceremonies and broadcasts on all the television channels that were held daily in his honor.
King Bhumibol was known for his love and spirit that touched all those that knew of him and due to this, he was known as the father of Thailand. He contributed to Thailand’s being what it is today. He taught his people that in order for something to be meaningful, it needs to enter your heart and then be projected out to those surrounding you. This created the Thai heart and the smile that we all know to love.
As a foreign teacher here, this meant that whatever way I taught, it needed to be heartfelt, and I needed to ensure that my students actually felt it when I taught them. It needed to touch their hearts, so that they would feel the confidence to succeed in all that they worked on. This also helped create a balance between work and life that many westerners often do not know before coming here. In Thailand, this balance is very crucial for all the activities that occur in the schools and within the community. It makes large communities feel like small groups with everyone’s heart being on their sleeve to offer a helping hand and smiles that are shared among each other to alleviate burdens.
King Bhumibol had worked on over 7,000 projects. Some of these projects included creating dams to bring clean drinking water to his people, agriculture that offered food, and tourism. He worked on developing a country that could take care of itself without the help of the outside. This ultimately made a stronger economy and helped in creating a lifestyle that could stand for and by its own. During this time, when the news of His Majesty’s passing broke, I was living here. This news was extremely upsetting to hear and left many of us with an uncertainty of what will occur next for Thailand and its royal family.
Know What To Do In Public
The royal family is a very much protected entity and, as a legal binding, you cannot speak ill of anyone representing the family because it is a great offense. While speaking to the members of the royal family, it is advisable to ensure that you speak with kindness and don’t ask too many questions. Such information left many of us curious but we couldn’t ask about it due to the legal statutes and, honestly, many locals were unsure of the answers.
We wondered who would take the place of King Bhumibol, what changes would be made, and how would we be affected. Until most recently, no one knew these answers. In mid-December, it was announced that Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, as his father’s successor, would become the next king of Thailand; however, we are still in the year long mourning period to show our undying love and respect for such a great monarch.
During this year of morning, there was a month of silence. Bangkok felt like a ghost town with just whispers going through the airport or on the streets. After that first month, life started to regain normalcy and there were places where music started playing. Despite this, there was still a void left within all of our hearts. We continued to show our love for His Majesty King Bhumibol by wearing either all black, or a black ribbon, or a number 9 in Thai.
As the mourning reached the100th day, we showed our respects by paying our homage to the beloved Father of Thailand – King Bhumibol – with a ceremony at our school. When traveling to or visiting Thailand, please be aware of this significant national loss and treat it with the kindness of losing someone dear. King Bhumibol is gone but he shall never be forgotten.