A Tribute to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX of the Chakri Dynasty
King Bhumibol Adulyadej (1927-2016)
How can one begin to make a tribute page to one of the greatest kings of all time, who has reigned for 70 full years. Especially, His Majesty has done so much in his lifetime, for the benefit of the Thai people, in so many work scope. He was also a talented individual in music, painting, sports, invention, and more. How can one person possess such a widescape of work and talent, it is no wonder that the majority of the Thai population view him as semidivine. I would seem benefiting that he should be viewed that way, even though we know in fact that he is human being, but not like any of us, that is for sure.
As someone once said, this man named Bhumibol Adulyadej took over the "job" from his brother at the age of just 19, and worked tirelessly for 70 years. He has travelled to all corners of the kingdom, with more distances attached to him than anyone else in Thailand and the world. He has seen every inch of Thailand, to places that were not easily accessed, and helped countless of people to have proper jobs, make their own income, and look after their own livelihood as well as their family's. His work spanned to include making new inventions that would make things easier for the people to apply themselves, most notably in the argricultural and envoronment sectors. The Royal Projects carried his many initiatives to increase the bare necessity level of the population up to par with the general acception of the bare minimum. His talent in music, art and sports were known worldwide. He is not mere human being like us. It is thus not difficult to understand why the majority of the Thai people see him as semi-divine. He works tirelessly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without complaining. All his works are for the benefit of his people. His work spanned nearly his whole life, to the point where his mind is still alert, but his body has given up. I don't know anyone who does not complain about their job, even though they work from 9 to 5. King Bhumibol Adulyadej has done more for the betterment of Thailand than anyone else that we know today. He is the father of all examples, and should be remembered by his subjects forever, his teachings and examples to be passed down from generation to generation.
On Thursday 13 October 2016, the Royal Household Bureau announced that His Majesty the King had passed away. The Thai people was told that his condition was unstable since Sunday, and everyone already prepared for the worse. It is still difficult to accept that the time has finally come, even though we know deep in our hearts that the time was near. Some people said that they were travelling on the electric train and when one person saw the news on their mobile phone, he started to cry. Then another, and another, and another. They started to comfort one another even though they are all strangers. His Majesty King Bhumibol was the strenght of the land, and he was the force that always united his people. When times were bad, he would appear and make things better. Lately, the political events that divided the Thai people happened because the king was unwell. He just did not have the strength to come out. So, some old cronies took advantage of the situation and divided the country. If our benevolent king was in good health, I am sure that he would have succeded yet again in preventing the division. But, in death, he had again unite his people, but for the last time. Even the Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is known for his many words, had to tape his speech as he kept crying in between words. His love for the late king and to the monarchy is welknown and understood.
Crowds of people in mourning clothes lined the street
The last time the Thai people were truly united was in 2006 when His Majesty the King celebrated his Diamond Jubilee, or 50th year on the throne. Many people can still remember the sea of yellow-shirted people filled up Rajdamneon Avenue in front of the Ananta Samakom Throne Hall. When the king came on to the balcany, everyone chanted in unison "Long Live His Majesty The King". Even thinking about it makes the tears welled up in my eyes yet still. Why? Because he has given up his entire life to his people. His good intentions for the country knew no bounds - no single person can match that. And, the strength of unity is simply unmeasurable. I can say for certain that although the love exists between the people and their monarchs in other countries, that love and respect is not the same as in Thailand. It could be because of circumstances - that Thailand is politically unstable since the change to constitutional monarchy in 1932 - that the monarchy has in fact been the only stable entity in the entire country. The then government was known to be jealous of the love and respect shown by the people to King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) even though he was young, did not rule as yet, and was a constitutional monarch. His death had put Siam into mourning, and in effect united its people. And now, 70 years after, his brother, King Bhumibol Adulyadej again has united his people. On the afternoon of 14 October, the sea of black can be seen endlessly from the Grand Palace to Siriraj Hospital. The people came out to pay respect to their King, while his body travelled back to the Grand Palace for the lying in state. There is really no need for any explanation anymore, as the action pretty much speaks for itself.
The video link at left shows the late king's body en route from Siriraj Hospital to the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall in the Grand Palace.
HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn arrived at the hospital sometime after 4pm on Friday 14 October 2016, together with members of the Royal Family, and accompanied the late king's body.
Sometime after, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit also left the hospital to go to Chitralada Villa, Dusit Palace. She had suffered strokes several times in the last year or so, and her showing in public has made her subjects very happy indeed.
The funeral rites begin with the bathing rites which is for members of the Royal Family only, and some members of the Royal Houses with the ranking of Royal Highness (Pra Ong Chao) up. Similar procedures can be viewed at the late Princess Galyani Vadhana's State Funeral page.
The ancient funeral rites is then performed afterwards. The video at left shows the ceremony within the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall. The Buddhist monks chanted age old Royal verses. On one side, the South side is the Royal Funeral Urn where the late king lays in state. The opposite side is the covered seats of the King and Queen, with the Crown Prince sitting next to. The officials of the Royal Bureaus are also placed here. Behind the Crown Prince, on the Eastern wing is the Royal Family, and beyond the members of the Royal Houses. On the Western wing is where the government is placed, in front of the chanting monks.
The Royal Funeral Urn used here is of the highest rank, used for kings, queens and senior members of the Royal Family. This one is actually built new by the late king for the funeral of his sister, HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana, in 2008, based on the old one. The first urn was built by King Rama I in preparation for his own funeral, but was first used for a senior daughter who died before the king. That urn was used up to the nineth reign, the last person being HRH the Princess Mother in 1995. After that it was retired as it was getting old, and needed much repair. So, a new one was built using designs of the old, which is now kept in the National Museum.
The top the Royal Urn is decorated with diamonds on gold, with the base of the top part decorated with moving gold flowers set in diamonds also. The urn itself is an octagon made up of decorated wood covered in gold and decorated with glass. What you see here is the outer cover. The inner cover is made new for every funeral, which would contain the royal body. Nowadays, many prefer the use of coffins, which are placed behind the urn. But Princess Bejaratana, who died in 2012, elected to be placed in the urn, and not the coffin. In this case, the body would be place in a seated position per the ancient customs, rather than lie flat in the coffin per Western customs. She was thus the first to actually used this urn, as she was placed within it. Princess Galayani and the late King Bhumibol have both chose to lie in coffins.
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej is accepted world wide, as a working monarch who gave all to his people. On his Diamond Jubilee celebrations, when most of the crowned heads of the world came together in Bangkok to congratulate him, the Sultan of Brunei, as representative of the foreign royals, gave a beautiful speech to His Majesty, acknowledging his life work. A few days ago, the King of Bhutan made special prayers for King Bhumibol, and travels to Thailand on 15 October to personally attend the religious ceremony at the Grand Palace. The Emperor of Japan has also declared three days of mourning. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, now the longest reigning monarch in the world, sent personal messages to Her Majesty the Queen. Numerous other royal families sent their condolences. The UN General Assembly acknowledged a minute silence in honour of His Majesty on the day of his death.
This is another very kind remarks about King Bhumibol by Ambassador Samantha Power, author and diplomat who currently is the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. She sums up very well the what life for our late king was all about, and it clearly shows why he is so much loved by the Thai people.
TM the King and Queen of Bhutan visited Thailand, 16 October 2016
21 October 2016
- Prime Minister of Singapore and Madame
- Special Representative of the President of Maldives
22 October 2016
- Prime Minister of Malaysia and Madame
- Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia
- Special Representative of the President of China
24 October 2016
- Prime Minister of Laos
- President of Singapore
25 October 2016
- President of Indonedia
- Special Representative of Gambia
28 October 2016
Prime Minister of Vietnam
30 October 2016
- President of Sri Lanka
9 November 2016
- President of Myanmar
- President of the Philippines
- Special Representative of the King of Belgium
10 November 2016
Prime Minister of India
15 November 2016
- Special Representative of the President of Bangladesh
22 November 2016
- Special Representative of the President and Prime Minister of Timor-Leste
30 November 2016
- Special Representative of the President of Russia
HH Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain, paid tribute at the Grand Palace, 18 October 2016.
Photo from Thai PBS
TM The King of Cambodia and The Queen Mother of Cambodia signed the condolence book at the Royal Thai Embassy, Phnom Penh, 18 October 2016.
Photo from the Royal Thai Embassy, Phnom Penh
HRH The Duke of York signed a condolence book at the Royal Thai Embassy, London, 18 October 2016.
Photo from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand
HM The King of Lesotho paid his respect at the Grand Palace, 2 November 2016.
HRH The Crown Prince of Tonga signed a book of condolence at the Grand Palace, 15 November 2016.
TM The Emperor and Empress of Japan paid their respect at The Grand Palace and had an audience with HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Amporn Villa, Dusit Palace, 5 March 2017.
Watching the news, and seeing King Maha Vajiralongkorn receiving the Japanese Imperial Couple shows the special friendship that we have between our two royal families, and noticing our king's body language in receiving the two much respected and love royals in their own country reminds me of the special and unique culture of Asia. When the king bows to the imperial couple, even though he is now of the same rank, it shows the respect that we Asians have for those who are older, a touch of specialness that is truly unique to Asia.