Saturday, June 10, 2006

The king - Thailand

60th Anniversary Celebrations

He is loved by us, by the most people in the world.

King_Bhumibol_Adulyadej King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great (Thai: ภูมิพลอดุลยเดช;(born December 5, 1927), also known as King Rama IX and the Ninth Rama, has been King of Thailand since 9 June 1946. He is currently the world's longest-serving Head of State. While the King is nominally a constitutional monarch who serves as a figurehead, ceremonial leader, Thais nevertheless view him as an important figure within the national government. While the King normally refrains from getting involved in politics, he has on rare occasions intervened.

The King and the people

The popularity of the monarchy, at its lowest during the reign of Bhumibol's uncle, King Prajadhipok, improved when his brother, King Ananda Mahidol, acceded to the throne, and has reached an unprecedented level during King Bhumibol's reign. The King commands great respect among the Thai people, who view the monarchy in a semi-religious light and admire his hands-on approach in helping Thailand's rural poor. He managed this by extensively touring the various different corners of the country and by installing various medical aid and agricultural projects. His rare political interventions, generally viewed as being in favor of democracy, also added greatly to his already enormous prestige. One of his avocations, unique to the Monarch of Thailand, is to preside over the commencement activities of the government universities. Formerly most graduates from the government universities in Thailand received their diplomas from his royal hand. In recent years, however, this tedious work has been delegated to the prince and princesses. Having had the same monarch now for 60 years, few Thais can remember any other head of state. King Bhumibol's image is prominently displayed all over the country, including on every coin and banknote. Thais take any suggestion of disrespect for the King, by Thais or foreigners, very seriously. It is also worth noting that in addition to the personality cult surrounding King Bhumibol, criticism of the king is illegal in Thailand (it is known as lese majeste), and has been usually enforced by arrest or deportation.

Events - Celebrations

Events got under way in April, with rehearsals for a procession of royal barges on the Chao Phraya River, involving 52 royal barges and 2,082 oarsmen. Several rehearsals are held, leading up to the actual ceremony on June 12 that will be attended by the King and Queen and monarchs from other countries. There are also fireworks displays, banquets, art and photographic exhibitions, performances of dance and music as well as the production of Mahajanaka, a story written by the King and adapted into a musical theatre work. Virtually every event in the Kingdom at this time are somehow tied into the 60th anniversary celebration. In addition, the wearing of yellow T-shirts to celebrate the occasion is de rigueur, and as the main celebration period of June 9-13 approached, sales of yellow T-shirts at markets was at an all-time high.

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At 2:05 PM, Blogger Ajarn Michael said...

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