The Pattaya Mail Media Group joins the entire
Kingdom in humbly extending our best wishes of loyalty and devotion to His
Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, the World’s Longest-Reigning
Monarch on the auspicious occasion of His 86th Birthday, December 5, 2013.
The following pages contain sometimes repeated, of quoted excerpts of the
incredible life of our most gracious Father of the Thai Kingdom, written by
our special correspondent Peter Cummins.
It is very difficult to encapsulate the incredible achievements of our
beloved King in this short article. The writer, rather, has highlighted just
some of the events, honours and accolades which have been dedicated to His
Majesty, over the long years of his reign, culminating in this auspicious
year of his 86th birthday.
Born on Monday, the fifth of December 1927, at the Mount
Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, Massachusetts, HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej the
Great reaches his eighty-sixth birthday, also celebrating sixty-seven years
on the Thai Throne.
In his Coronation Oath, promulgated on the fifth of May
1950, the newly-crowned Rama the Ninth vowed that, “We will reign with
righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people,” and, in
the almost seven decades which have passed since that auspicious day, the
concept of “righteousness” has dominated his reign. In fact, HM the King has
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.
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 few 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.
H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s
coronation, 5 May 1950.
As His Majesty reaches his eighty-sixth birthday this
day, 05 December 2013, the Thai Nation celebrates again, in a thousand
different ways, with every person from the youngest to the oldest renewing
the pledge of loyalty and devotion to the beloved King who, during this year
also celebrated his sixty-third year of marriage to Queen Sirikit.
H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej
and six friends formed “probably the most intricately gadgeted orchestra in
Europe,” regularly meeting at his Lausanne villa to play until the dawn
hours. The neighbors never complained.
There have been so many tributes to our King from all
corners of the world over the past couple years, that here it is only
possible to outline some of them.
His Majesty the King goes
Dixie at the Hawaiian governor’s reception, Honolulu 1960.
One of the most pervasive has been in the form of Musical
Tributes, not surprisingly, as His Majesty is an acknowledged composer of
classical music and an exceptionally-talented jazz aficionado.
An Austrian ensemble who, despite never having worked
together, recently succeeded in producing an album - the Royal Lullaby -
that is faithful to the integrity and authenticity of the original pieces,
and in the process created a musical repertoire of international calibre.
“It all started last December where we all met for the
first time. I played for Her Majesty the Queen and was asked to include His
Majesty’s Love In Spring in the programme. I didn’t know the music or
what to expect so was very curious and I came here and just fell in love
with the music,” said Austrian solo violinist Wolfgang David, one of the
musicians who performed for the album.
David and the album’s producer Chris Craker were recently
in Bangkok to discuss the assembled work. David also arrived to perform a
few pieces from the album at the launch held recently at the Sukhothai
The Royal Lullaby album also showcases the talents of
the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Swiss Conductor Emmanuel Siffert and local
pianist Indhuon Srikaranonda. Revered Thai National Artist Prof Manrat
Srikaranonda was also involved in the musical production.
Commissioned by Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani
Vadhana, the album highlights 10 compositions that reveal HM the King’s
musical ingenuity, including the well-known Lullaby and Summertime.
“These works are very important, because I believe Thai
musicians have gleaned a lot of influence from Western music, but I think
that American and European listeners will appreciate this type of music
too,” said David explaining the necessity of creating an album of this
On HM the King’s compositions, David said, “The music is
uplifting, which makes it very human. That’s why I love to play it because I
also believe that music should lift people’s minds - it’s not just about
having a good time for an hour in a concert.”
The King of Swing, H.M. King
Bhumibol Adulyadej, Benny Goodman and friends at an impromptu jazz session,
Craker acknowledged that while His Majesty the King is
already a respected figure in the international community, these
newly-arranged pieces will further enable Western audiences to enjoy the
Craker also noted that the album’s juxtaposition of
classical and jazz compositions was quite unusual. “There are elements of
Thai folk music in the melodies, but I think His Majesty is greatly
knowledgeable on Western music and he has been able to embody all those
styles and influences with his own concepts,” he added.
“It’s different in that most of the pieces were already
written, but the arrangements were not. The melodies have been around for
many years, but this orchestration of them is new. There are no right or
wrong arrangements, only how people will feel towards the music.”
As an interpreter of the melodies, Chris Craker
understood the responsibility that he had in communicating HM the King’s
music to an international audience.
Another tribute to HM the King’s musical talents came
from the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra which, during the annual Toyota
Classics concert featured the internationally acclaimed Nagoya Philharmonic
Orchestra, under the baton of Tatsuya Shimono, showcasing two of HM’s
musical masterpieces in its programme; namely Kwam Fun Un Soong Sood
(A Dream Most Noble) and Paendin Kong Rau (Our Land).
HM the King is also well-known as a songwriter who has
more than 40 published songs to his credit. Kwarm Fun Un Soong Sood,
a symphonically-conceived piece, was written in 1971 and has since become
one of HM’s most popular and loved compositions.
Yet another musical evening was held by the Bangkok
Symphony Orchestra to celebrate His Majesty’s 69th
birthday in 1996. The Orchestra performed a special concert under the baton
of Hikotaro Yazaki, featuring soloist Pornphan Banternghansa on the piano,
at the Thailand Cultural Centre.
The programme comprised Fanfare and Rhapsody for a
Royal Celebration, a specially-composed piece for the celebration by UK
composer Simon Wallace, which was followed by Rhapsody on a Theme of
Paganini, Opus 43 for Solo Piano, by Rachmaninoff, and concluded with
Symphony No. 4 by Brahms.
An evening of HM the King’s music was led by Sasin Alumni
Associations in a concert entitled “The Royal Composition of His Life
Journey: The King and His Music” to celebrate the 60th
anniversary of His Majesty the King’s accession to the throne.
During the presentation, the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra
performed His Majesty’s compositions as arranged in an orchestral style by
Rear Admiral ML Usni Pramoj, who was also the conductor.
HM the King - the World’s Longest Reigning Monarch
It was seven years ago, in 2006, on the occasion of the
60th anniversary of his accession to the Thai Throne,
HM the King and Queen presided over splendid festivities as representatives
of 25 royal houses from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia had come to
Bangkok to honour His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great.
The royal guests came from near and far to enjoy Thai
hospitality and the friendship of the Thai Royal Family.
But - and, perhaps, more significantly - to honour this
celebration, millions of people packed the areas around Bangkok’s Royal
Plaza to hear HM the King deliver a rare public address in which he called
for national unity.
“The responsibility to preserve the nation,” His Majesty
reminded his subjects, “does not belong to any particular person but to all
Thais who must do their utmost to develop the country and make it
prosperous, stable and peaceful,” he said. “Therefore, I, as a Thai, have
the same responsibility as all Thais do.”
In November, 2006, Time Magazine honoured the King
an ‘Asian Hero’ among 65 prominent figures so designated.
In June 2006, His Majesty
Carl XVI Gustav, King of Sweden in his capacity as Honorary President of the
World Scout Foundation, presents His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the
Great with the World Scout Organization’s highest award, the Bronze Wolf
Award for his support and development of Scouting in Thailand.
“The King’s stewardship has been so masterful that in
times of crisis, Thais invariably turn to one man: King Bhumibol,” writes
the article published in the magazine’s Nov 13, 2006 issue. “On two
occasions - October 1973 and May 1992”, Time editorialized - “with
Thailand descending into chaos, the King, armed only with his moral
authority, intervened to end bloodshed.”
Elsewhere, His Majesty had been named the first recipient
of the Norman E Borlaug World Food Prize Medallion in recognition of His
Majesty’s outstanding humanitarian service in alleviating starvation and
poverty, presented by the World Food Prize Foundation on July 23, 2007.
H.E. Boutros Boutros-Ghali
presents a gift to H.M. the King, Chitralada Palace, 10 Apri 1993
The medallion is named in honour of the World Food Prize
founder and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr Norman Borlaug.
“Since his accession to the throne in 1946, King Bhumibol
Adulyadej has displayed a deep concern that the Thai people have sufficient
food and proper nutrition,” said Ambassador Kenneth M Quinn, president of
the World Food Prize Foundation.
The royal projects have benefited millions of people
across Thailand, with a particular focus on aiding ethnic groups and hill
tribes in mountainous regions.
“Dr Borlaug tells of his visits to Thailand and the time
he spent meeting with His Majesty and walking through the countryside with
him as they discussed possible new approaches to agriculture,” said Mr
The King was also lauded by Kofi Anan, then Secretary
General of the United Nations, as the “Development King”, acknowledging his
dedication to promote child health, combat iodine deficiency and increase
access to education.
At the same time, the United Nations Development
Programme presented His Majesty the UNDP Human Development Lifetime
Achievement Award “in recognition of the global relevance of his call for a
sufficiency approach to development” (May, 2006).
More recently, the Budapest-based International
Federation of Inventors’ Association (IFIA) presented the IFIA Cup 2007 for
His Majesty’s Chai Pattana wheel used to treat water. The IFIA also
presented its Genius Medal prize to honour His Majesty’s Self-Sufficiency
Philosophy, and his New Theory, which revives farming techniques, based on
Thai wisdom focusing on minimal use of resources but aiming for higher
Development for the People
HM the King established several Royal Development Study
Centres - or, as they are better known - “Living Museums” - situated in the
roughest terrain in their respective regions. These centres are the locale
for experiments in reforestation, irrigation, land development and farm
technology which are conducted to find practical applications within the
constraints of local conditions, geography and topography. His Majesty’s aim
is to restore the natural balance, to enable people to become
The first centre organized was that of Khao Hin Son, in
the rocky area of Chachoengsao’s Phanom Sarakam District. Here, the centre
studies how to turn the barren soil, caused by deforestation, back into
fertile land again.
Other centres are located at strategic places around the
The Pikul Thong Centre at Narathiwat studies the swampy,
acidic land of the southern-most region. The Phu Phan Centre in Sakon Nakhon
studies soil salinity and irrigation in the country’s biggest region, the
Northeast, which suffers from endemic drought. The Krung Kraben Bay Centre
in Chantaburi examines the rehabilitation of mangrove forests and coastal
areas following massive destruction. The Huay Sai Centre in Petchaburi
studies the rehabilitation of degraded forests and shows villagers, in their
turn, how to protect the forests.
When he was in doubt, HM the King would fly over a
particular area, armed with aerial photographs and maps of the terrain,
noting features as they passed underneath. And, being a good photographer
himself, he also took His own pictures, later to juxtapose them on area
charts to obtain a complete and detailed image of the specifics which helped
his planning of various development projects.
His Majesty’s insightful approach to local prevailing
conditions has enabled him to improvise new theories for agricultural
development, to provide guidelines for educating farmers on
self-sufficiency, and to solve problems of goitre by feeding iodine into
salt roads at strategic points.
In all these works, His Majesty has promoted a simple
approach using environmentally friendly techniques and utilizing moderate
amounts of locally available resources. For example, before environmentalism
became a major force in the development equation, His Majesty was using
vetiver grass to prevent erosion, controlling ground water level to reduce
soil acidity, and seeding clouds with simple materials such as dry ice, to
A ‘Simple’ approach
The King’s philosophy to development problems has been to
“keep it simple” - relying on an intimate knowledge of Nature and her
immutable law, 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, 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.
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.
The King undertook the establishment of the Royal
Development Projects in 1969, primarily as a means of arresting the opium
growing and deforestation caused by the Hilltribes’ slash and burn
agriculture and to improve their standard of living. The first was
established at a Hmong village on Doi Pui in Chiang Mai Province and now has
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.
Under the dynamic direction of the King’s close
colleague, Prince Bhisadej Rajani, who is the Director of the Projects,
operating from his base at Chiang Mai University, there are currently four
research stations and 35 Royal Project Development Centres which incorporate
some 300 villages, comprising 14,000 households and approximately 90,000
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. Now, more than three decades later, the results can be
seen in the new life which has come to many of the mountain villages.
Greenery has returned to once-denuded forest areas and barren hills and the
opium cultivation, a cause of extreme national concern, is virtually a past
“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
attaining the quality standard of Thai Goods for Export.
HM the King’s own views are that development must respect
different regions, geography and peoples’ 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.
The King’s ideas are in direct contrast to the
bureaucracy’s wish to impose standards from the top down, with the
inflexibility inherent therein. “Don’t be glued to the textbook,” he
admonishes developers “who,” he said, “must compromise and come to terms
with the natural and social environment of the community.”
The King sees no need to spare any sensitivities - if
there are any - because he feels that the government approach is costly and
authoritarian which is why it has “failed miserably to address the country’s
HM the King: The Royal Sportsman
Throughout the pages of successive years of the
Pattaya Mail and the Bangkok Post, as well as such in-fight
magazines as Sawasdee, Thailand’s leading yachting correspondent,
Peter Cummins has chronicled the incomparable contributions His Majesty the
King has made to the Thai sports men and women and a huge spectrum of Thai
The King’s own example has always been a great source of
inspiration to athletes: every sailor knows that His Majesty is a Gold Medal
helmsman, winning the OK Dinghy Class in the South East Asian Peninsular
Games, 45 years ago on the 16th of December 1967, this day now celebrated as
National Sports Day in the Kingdom.
This nautical record is matched by a land-based one, the
King being the only person to have lit the torch opening the quadrennial
Asian Games on four occasions, last time being in Bangkok in 1998, at the
Rajamangala Stadium, just one day after his seventy-first birthday.
Peter Cummins meets Their
at Klai Kangwol Palace, June 1985.
For example, when His Majesty trained a magnifying glass
on the torch to ignite the flame opening the Thirteenth Asian Games in
December 1998, it was symbolic. The Monarch, an ardent supporter of all
sports in the Kingdom and elsewhere was, through that simple ritual,
figuratively conducting sunlight, and the blessing it brings, onto the
From another viewpoint, His Majesty’s care for the
environment and the natural state of the ecology as life support system for
his subjects is also well known. What better way to light the torch than
using Nature’s own power?
And what better sport for preserving Nature’s gifts, than
sailing? A half century ago, the King himself stood on the winner’s podium
as a Gold Medallist sailor in the Fourth South East Asian Peninsular Games
(Changed in 1975 to the South East Asian Games, when Indonesia and the
Philippines were admitted). On that occasion, the King came equal-first with
his eldest daughter HRH Ubolratana in the OK Dinghy Section of those Games.
It is a sporting record never likely to be equalled. And the King has been
an inspiration to Thai athletes for almost five decades since then.
In fact, as is also well known, one of the best yachting
festivals in the region - if not the world - is the Phuket King’s Cup
Regatta, established in 1987, to honour His Majesty the Regatta’s Royal
Patron’s birthday and sailed every December since then.
In 1987 the Regatta was a first of its kind for Phuket -
a multidisciplinary sailing event with international and Thailand-based
sailors gathering for some fierce on-water competition and friendly onshore
Today, the foundations remain solid and the principles
the same. The difference? Twenty seven years on the Regatta has grown into
the largest sailing event of its kind in Asia, attracting 1,000 plus
participants each year a further 1,000 people who take part in the social
side. On-the-water, the Regatta regularly sees over 100 boats take part each
At work at Chitralada Villa,
building one of his dinghies.
In 2009, dinghies were re-introduced to the Regatta for
the first time since the very early days. This was expanded to include a
pre-regatta Phuket Dinghy Series which attracted youth sailors from around
Thailand, and concluded with a weekend competition at the King’s Cup. This
grassroots development of sailing continues and plans are afoot to bring
more Optimists to Phuket for the Phuket Dinghy Series and the King’s Cup, as
well as open up the series and King’s Cup to more dinghy classes.
In the big boat classes, the grand prix yachts that
compete in the ‘Racing Class’ are now named IRC 0 (formerly the Racing
Class), IRC 1, IRC 2 and IRC 3, with split by TCC Handicap rather than
Bareboat Class and Modern Classic class remain, as does
the Premier Class - all with a few subtle tweaks. There are noises of a
return of the One Design Platu Class also.
With the new IRC classes, Race Director Simon James
recently introduced an IRC National Championship Trophy. All yachts in IRC
classes will qualify and after having looked into scoring options and
consulted Australian events and IRC itself, a formula has been developed to
give overall scores across all IRC classes. This trophy does not replace the
Regatta’s class trophies, but is an addition.
More appropriately, regarding HM the King’s total support
of Thai athletes and sports generally, no doubt, on the eve of the Southeast
Asian (SEA) Games in Indonesia, one can recall the King’s address to a
similar gathering, in November 1998. On that occasion, His Majesty addressed
the more than 1,000 athletes, officials and support staff who were to
participate in the Asiad.
“All sports must be played according to the rules,” His
Majesty pointed out to those assembled at Chitralada Palace in 1988. “Show
spirit and aim for victory and friendship. If everybody does their best to
win in both sports and friendship, the country will benefit,” HM the King
added. “A successful Asian Games would show that the enthusiasm of Thai
people had not been dulled during their fight against the country’s dire
economic crisis,” the Monarch observed. He urged sportsmanship above all
else. “Other competitors should not be regarded as enemies, but rather as
fellow competitors,” the King concluded.
Thus, the King has consistently encouraged ALL sportsmen
and women EVERYWHERE to “put the sporting spirit first, strive for victory -
and friendship.” His own example has always been a great source of
inspiration to athletes.
His Majesty is also well known as being highly
knowledgeable about many sports having, at various times, participated
himself in skiing, motor racing, ice-skating, badminton, tennis, swimming
and even a little golf.
As the then-president of the Thailand Olympic Committee,
the late Air Chief Marshal Dawee Chullasapya emphasized when presenting the
King with the highly-prestigious honour of “The Insignia of the Olympic
Order”, at the Rajanives Hall, Chitralada palace, in December, 1987: “The
King is not just a world-class yachtsman, but he has also participated in -
and encouraged - many other sports.”
“The Olympic award was made not only to recognize the
King’s prowess as a dinghy sailor,” said ACM Dawee, “but also to acknowledge
the leading role he has played in promoting all sports - in Thailand, in the
region and internationally - always displaying a firm grasp on the history
and the finer points of a multitude of sports,” ACM Dawee added. His Majesty
is the only reigning Monarch to receive this accolade.
Another Olympic honour was bestowed upon His Majesty in
2001, when the International Olympic Committee presented him with the IOC’s
In boxing, too, HM the King has proved to be most
knowledgeable. In 2001, president of the World Boxing Council, Dr Jose
Sulaiman, in bestowing upon His Majesty the WBC’s “Golden Shining Symbol of
World Leadership Award”, was “amazed at the King’s knowledge of boxing”.
Whereupon, the King urged Dr Sulaiman “to promote boxing not only as a sport
... but also as an art of self-defence.”
In Mexico, August 11, 2003, through the Royal Thai
Embassy in Mexico City, HM the King, in turn, bestowed the title of “Second
Class Knight Commander of the Most Admirable Order of the Direkgunabhorn” on
Dr Sulaiman - one of the highest Royal Awards ever to be conferred on a
Thailand’s sportsmen and women - particularly the
burgeoning army of sailors at sites up and down the Thai coast are, indeed,
fortunate to have their own King as an ardent supporter, a leading example
and, not the least, the Royal Imprimatur of Thai sports. All who regularly
sail at the King’s own Club, the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in South Pattaya
heartily agree and salute the Royal Patron on this auspicious occasion.
His Majesty the King,
standing, reviews honor guard in Bangkok Thursday, Dec. 2, 2004.
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
His Majesty the King and HM
Queen Sirikit wave to the crowd during ceremonies Friday, June 9, 2006, in
Bangkok. (AP PHOTO)
The world’s longest-reigning Monarch, this week
celebrating his eighty-sixth birthday, continues to be, as he has been for
the half-century 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.”
All of us at the Pattaya Mail Publishing Company, Pattaya Mail,
Pattaya Blatt, Chiang Mai Mail and Pattaya Mail TV, join the
Kingdom in wishing His Majesty a most Happy Birthday, long life and
our sincerest thanks for allowing a similar celebration of “Fathers’ Day,
2013" throughout the Kingdom.
HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej,
accompanied by HRH Princess Sirindhorn, left, lights candles during the
traditional Loy Krathong festival at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, Sunday,
Nov. 21, 2010.
His Majesty the King observes
an ancient ritual by receiving lustral water and sacred leaves from the
Chief of the Brahmin Court as Her Majesty the Queen looks on at the Grand
Palace in Bangkok, Saturday, June 10, 2006.