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The people’s King - His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great turns 81

Let us Entertain You - and they did

 

The people’s King - His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great turns 81

A shining example to all peoples of the Kingdom and the world

Born on Monday, the fifth of December, 1927 at the Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, Massachusetts, HM King Bhumibol Adulya­dej the Great reaches his eighty-first birthday just two years after celebrating sixty years on the Thai Throne.

As the Thai people - and, in fact, people all around the world - honour this year’s anniversary of the birth of the world’s longest-reigning Monarch, the Pattaya Mail presents this supplement, prepared by special correspondent Peter Cummins, as a “Happy Birthday” tribute to our beloved King.

In his Coronation Oath, promulgated on the fifth of May 1950, the newly-crowned King Rama the Ninth vowed that, “We will reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people” and in all the years which have passed since that auspicious day, the concept of “righteousness” has dominated his reign. In fact, HM the King has, throughout his more than six decades of rule, constantly revered the age-old Buddhist concept of ‘Kingship’ as defined in the “Sutta Pitaka” of the “Tripitaka” in which a King is defined as “Mahasammata” - a King of Righteousness. The Buddhist scriptures also define the genesis of the universe and the progression of evils which befall mankind: greed, stealing and lying and the inevitable repercussions of censure and punishment.

Our King has steadfastly reigned by these principles, embodying good kingship in his own life and example and often speaking out against the affliction of the evils so clearly spelled out in the Buddhist philosophy - evils and afflictions which seem to have become progressively worse in the past tumultuous years.

There will inevitably be some familiar material in parts of this story, for HM the King’s development projects have been ongoing for more than 50 years and there is, of course, a historical perspective which has been incorporated.

A ‘Simple’ Approach

HM the King’s philosophy to development problems has been to “keep it simple”, relying on an intimate knowledge of Nature and her immutable laws, such as using fresh water to flush out polluted water or dilute it through utilization of normal tidal fluctuations. The ubiquitous water hyacinth, too, can be ‘harnessed’ to absorb pollutants.

The results of any development, HM the King asserts, must reach the people directly as a means of overcoming immediate problems, translating into “enough to live, enough to eat”, while looking at a longer-term result of “living well and eating well.”

His Majesty compares this to using “adharma” (evil) to fight evil, observing that both pollution and the water weed are a menace, but they can be used to counteract each other, thus lessening the damage to the environment.

HM the King himself practices this “simple approach” and brings a down-to-earth approach to which the people can readily relate. He studies and deliberates exhaustively on the particular project and then reveals his thinking in short, easy-to-grasp titles. The very simplicity belies the profundity of the philosophy, for each title reflects a much deeper insight into a given problem and often, at the same time, hints at the mode of operation to be employed.

A major working principle has been a true knowledge of and reliance upon the immutable laws of Nature in solving problems and resolving abnormal conditions, such as using fresh water to flush out polluted water, as in his analogy “good water chases bad”, referring to the hyacinth/water pollution problem in the Chao Phraya, for example.

It was in 1969 that HM the King, vitally concerned about the Hill Tribes’ cultivation of and addiction to opium, established the Royal Project, the first manifestation being a Hmong village on Doi Pui in Chiang Mai Province. Development has now spread to Chiang Rai, Lamphun and Mae Hong Son.

Over the years, the Projects have been instrumental in the conversion of the poppy fields being turned into groves of temperate fruits and vegetables. It is under the dynamic direction of HM the King’s close colleague, friend and confidant, Prince Bhisadej Rajanee who manages the projects from his base at Chiang Mai University, that there are now five research stations and 35 Royal Project Development Centres which incorporate some 300 villages, comprising 14,000 households and approximately 90,000 farmers.

The Royal Development Projects Board, under the Office of the Prime Minister, also serves as the secretariat for the Chai Pattana Foundation which is directly responsible for the work related to the Royal Development Projects.

Thus, more than three decades later, the results can be seen in the new life that has come to many of the mountain villages. Greenery has returned to areas once denuded of forest cover through the highly-destructive slash-and-burn agriculture, leaving only barren hills in its wake, and opium cultivation, a cause of extreme national concern, is relegated to the dust-bin of history.

“The key to the success of the Project lies in His Majesty’s guidelines,” explains Prince Bhisadej. “They focus on obtaining knowledge, through research, avoiding bureaucratic entanglements and swift action to respond to the villagers’ needs, while promoting self-reliance,” he adds.

The effectiveness of this approach has been applauded internationally. For example, in 1998 the Royal Project won both the “Magsaysay Award for International Understanding” and the “Thai Expo Award for the Highest Quality Standard of Thai Goods for Export.”

HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej shakes hands with The United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan at Klai Kangwol Palace in Prachuab Khiri Khan province, May 26, 2006. Annan presented a human development lifetime achievement award to His Majesty as the country celebrated the 60th anniversary of His accession to the throne. Looking on is HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. (AP PHOTO)

HM the King’s own views are that development must respect different regions’ geography and people’s way of life. “We cannot impose our ideas on the people - only suggest. We must meet them, ascertain their needs and then propose what can be done to meet their expectations,” HM the King pointed out recently.

A Royal loss this year

It is with heavy hearts that the people of the Kingdom mourned with His Majesty the King and the Royal Family when, in January this year, HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana, the late beloved sister of HM the King died of abdominal cancer at the age of 84.

In November this year, Their Majesties the King and Queen hosted the grand six-day farewell funeral ceremony for the Beloved Princess.  The Royal Cremation started on November 14 when the His Majesty the King led the Royal Family in a ceremony at the Grand Palace, beginning with religious rites for HRH the late Princess at the Dusit Throne Hall inside the Grand Palace. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great lit joss sticks and candles as Her Majesty Queen Sirikit looked on during the religious rites.

The grand cremation ceremony for HRH the Princess was held on Saturday, Nov. 15 at the Phra Maen Royal Ground in Bangkok.  HM the King, accompanied by Her Majesty the Queen, HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, HRH Princess Chulabhorn, Her Royal Highness Srirasm, Princess Sirivannavari, and members of the Royal Family attended.

In the morning, the body of HM the King’s sister was carried to a seven-story pyre where she was cremated. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-serving monarch, accompanied by Her Majesty the Queen paid their last respects, then kindled a fire beneath the funeral pyre after a day of Buddhist and Hindu rites for HRH the late Princess.

During the day, the royal cremation procession for the late Princess Galyani Vadhana slowly moved past the Grand Palace towards the crematorium. The Royal Great Victory Carriage carrying the urn and remains of HRH the Princess was pulled by soldiers dressed in ancient uniforms.

A Brahmin priest helped elevate the urn of the late Princess Galyani Vadhana on to the crematorium during the royal cremation rituals.

Tens of thousands of Thai people placed sandalwood flowers in front of a photo of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana at Sanam Luang near the royal palace, as did millions of people throughout the Kingdom at their local temples, during the funeral ceremony.

On November 18, Their Majesties the King and Queen, accompanied by HRH Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, HRH Princess Chulabhorn and Royal Family members traveled from Chitralada Palace to attend a religious ceremony to make merit for the relics of HRH the late Princess at the Dusit Throne Hall, Grand Palace. HRH Princess Ubolratana was on hand to receive the Royal Family members upon arrival. Their Majesties then paid respects to HRH the late Princess’s relics by performing religious rites with offerings.

Epilogue

As one would expect from a Monarch defined as “Mahasammata”, or a “King of Righteousness”, by all the people and who, upon his accession to the Throne in 1950, embraced the “Tenfold Moral principles of the Sovereign”, His Majesty has ruled quietly and without ostentation.

Starting very early in his reign and continuing to this day, HM the King, usually accompanied by HM the Queen and second daughter HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, travelled to the far corners of the Kingdom to learn first-hand from the farmers and peoples of the rural areas about their problems.

Again, as with all his other interests, the Monarch studies, observes, photographs and imbues himself with all the relevant knowledge and facts that he needs to move forward with recommendations, implementation of beneficial projects and follow-up.

The Thai Monarch is probably best known, universally, for his unbending resolve to improve the lives of each and every one of his people - a singular dedication to their welfare which has been acclaimed from all corners of the world.

A lasting image of HM the King is that of a man, often kneeling or sitting on the ground, poring over charts and topographical maps of the area, while surrounded by local farmers and villagers discussing their problems.

It has been recorded that HM the King has spent more than 200 days per year, for more than three decades, in rural areas where he has initiated some 2,000 projects aimed solely at improving the well-being of his people.

Thus, through the illustrious decades of his rule, HM the King has been the very embodiment of his “Oath of Accession” that “We will reign with Righteousness for the Benefit and Happiness of the Siamese People.”

The world’s longest-reigning Monarch, this week celebrating his eighty-first birthday, and now sixty-two years on the Thai Throne, continues to be, as he has been for the six decades of his just reign, “The light of his land, the pride of his people and a shining example to all peoples of a troubled world.”

It was during a visit to New York, as a young King, accompanied by his stunning bride, Queen Sirikit, that HM the King’s words were prophetic. Addressing a committee of the Metropolitan Museum in 1967, HM the King said: “Our world today is full of propaganda. Therefore, before we believe anything, we should first look closely at the underlying reasons. The Lord Buddha taught people to use their consciousness and intelligence to study, seek and consider whether His teachings were the truth that is believable rather than to believe (simply) because someone has enacted it.”

That was over forty years ago and, as we look around at the sorry state of our contemporary world, HM the King’s words still ring true.

All of us at the Chiang Mai Mail and our family publications the Pattaya Mail, Pattaya Blatt, and Pattaya Mail on TV extend our humblest wishes for a most happy 81st birthday.

 

Let us Entertain You - and they did

Let us Entertain You.

All ‘Glammed-up’ for a great night out.

Girls just wanna have fun.

Andy Archer
Just over week ago, the Shangri La Hotel came alive with the Foundation for the Education of Rural Children, (FERC)’s benefit cocktail party. In spite of the threatening hard times, over 240 guests from Chiang Mai and beyond came to celebrate, all dressed in their best and all determined to have a great time meeting, greeting, flirting, laughing and being entertained by Tangerine Blue’s Broadway music revue.

Marc Dumur and these lovely ladies greeted guests at the reception.
The cocktails and wine flowed, the canapés were gratefully received, and the desserts made by FERC ladies were hugely appreciated, particularly the chocolate brownies, the recipe for which should be published in the Chiang Mai Mail.
For those who needed a few quiet moments, a small (but extremely well stocked) bar had been set up in the gardens - it was noted that many guests took time out to stroll and admire the trees and plants silhouetted against the backdrop of the stunning and sensitively-lit building itself. Throughout the evening, the nostalgic sounds of favourite songs from Broadway shows lent a ‘night-club’ atmosphere which was much enjoyed.
Later in the evening, after all the donated offerings had been examined and much admired, the huge silent auction put together by Tim McGuire and his friends took place. As well as a huge (and beautiful) seated Buddha, an antique Chinese hardwood chair in the Ming style, lovely pieces of jewellery and some truly amazing trips including a chance to play golf at the Santiburi and Waterford courses, massages and hotel vouchers were up for grabs by the guests.
Proceeds of this FERC benefit will go to the children of Baan Huay Pa Hon, a Lahu village near Chiang Dao, which has a small school building without electricity and school supplies. The children there need to learn Thai in order to attend the nearby Thai village school, but there is little money. FERC is partnering with ‘The Bridge of Life’, a private non-profit organisation in the USA, to improve the conditions in the village and the lives of its children.
Proceeds will also go to FERC’s Scholarship Fund, which distributes two types of scholarships to children in the rural areas of Thailand. Emergency supplementary scholarships are given to students who have unforeseen or special needs for extra funds. In 2008 so far, FERC has awarded 92 of these scholarships which assist students in purchasing uniforms and school supplies. FERC Scholarships are also offered to students who are eager to continue their high school education but need financial assistance to do so.
The night raised over 300,000 baht for the foundation and the Chiang Mai Mail would like to congratulate the organizers, participants and guests for a very successful evening.
For further information or to help, please contact www. thai-rural-education.org.
If you are planning an event, make it that little bit more special by contacting [email protected]