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Book Review: by Lang Reid
In His Majesty’s Footsteps
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.
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