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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

In His Majesty’s Footsteps

The former Chief of the Royal Court Police was Police General Vasit Dejkunjorn, who served in that position for 12 years. In His Majesty’s Footsteps, A Personal Memoir (ISBN 974-94125-8-3, Heaven Lake Press, 2006) written by Pol. Gen. Vasit, was edited by the well-known author Christopher G. Moore after translation from the original Thai by Busakorn Suriyasarn.
The book opens with acknowledgements of the many people who made a book such as this possible. Despite what must have been a Herculean task in translation and then converting to the English idiom, Editor Moore claimed that “the translation process was as much enjoyable as it was challenging” though somehow I wonder if he is at times unduly positive in outlook. He also wrote, “Given the scarcity of books in the English language that have intimate accounts about the extraordinary and widely admired Thai Monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, we believed that this was exactly the kind of book that deserved an English audience.” In that, I would definitely agree.
The book begins with a very human passage by the author, describing his first invitation to a dinner by HM the King, and interestingly, how there is a special form of prostration, different from that before the Lord Buddha.
Vasit Dejkunjorn’s tenure in the Royal Court begins during the time of Communist insurgency, particularly in the south, and the book showed that His Majesty and the Queen did not waver in their obligations to the Thai people. They did not differentiate between insurgents and the local population. They were Thai, and that was all that mattered.
He also quotes the guidance given to him by HM the King, when he complained of not having received a raise whilst in the police department. HM the King replied, “Do your duties the best to your ability and do not be concerned about rewards; success of the duties are their own rewards.” Vasit Dejkunjorn claims he still lives by those words of advice.
Even though Vasit Dejkunjorn’s last official work for HM the King was in 2000, he concludes this illuminating book writing, “Having spent 12 years working for Their Majesties and having witnessed firsthand their consummate efforts to sustain their work for their subjects, I can confirm that there is nothing Their Majesties want more than the happiness of the Thai people. It is our blessing to have such an exemplary King and Queen.”
In the center of the book are 16 pages of black and white photographs, showing HM the King carrying out his duties. One of the duties not shown is the changing of the clothes on the Emerald Buddha, which HM the King has to do unaided. Reading this book shows that some parts of HM the King’s itinerary are very physical, and we should not forget that HM the King is the longest serving monarch in the world.
Despite a fairly lengthy list of errata, most are minor and at B. 595 on the Bookazine shelves, this is not an expensive look at the life and works of the longest serving monarch in the world. Give someone a very appropriate present as we near HM the King’s birthday.