The Chiang Mai Mail and the
Pattaya Mail Media Group join 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 87th Birthday, December 5, 2014.
We present, sometimes repeated, oft quoted excerpts of the incredible life
of our most gracious Father of the Thai Kingdom, written by our special
correspondent Peter Cummins
Pattaya Mail Media
Photos Courtesy of the Royal Household
The Chiang Mai Mail and the Pattaya Mail Media Group join 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 87th Birthday, December 5, 2014.
We present here, on these pages, sometimes repeated, oft 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 87 th birthday.
Born on Monday, the fifth of December 1927, at Mount Auburn Hospital in
Cambridge, Massachusetts, HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great reaches his
eighty-seventh birthday, also celebrating sixty-eight years on the Thai
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
Pitaka of the Tripitaka in which a King is defined as Mahasammata - a King
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.
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
As His Majesty reaches his eighty-seventh birthday this day, 5 December
2014, 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-fourth year of marriage to HM Queen Sirikit.
There have been so many tributes to HM the King from all corners of the
world over the past couple years, that here it is only possible to outline
some of them.
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 one December when 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.
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.
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.”
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 music.
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.
As an interpreter of the melodies, Chris Craker understood the
responsibility that he had in communicating HM the King’s music to an
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 69 th 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 60 th 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.
the King - the World’s Longest Reigning Monarch
It was eight years ago, in 2006, on the occasion of the 60 th anniversary
of his accession to the Thai Throne, Their Majesties 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
“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.
“The King’s stewardship has been so masterful that in times of crisis, Thais
invariably turn to one man: (HM) 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, (HM) the King, armed only with his moral authority, intervened to end
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.
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, HM 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
“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 Quinn.
HM 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
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 agricultural productivity.
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 self-supporting.
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 Kingdom.
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 an excellent 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 produce rain.
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 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, 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.
HM 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
Under the dynamic direction of HM the King’s close colleague, HRH 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 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. 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 era.
“The key to the success of the Project lies in His Majesty’s guidelines,”
explains HRH 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.
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-seventh 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 Chiang Mai Mail and Pattaya Mail Publishing Company,
including Pattaya Mail, Pattaya Blatt 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 2014" throughout
As a tribute to His Majesty, Pattaya
Mail Media Group has published a special book titled, “His Majesty
King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, The Legendary Royal Sailor” now
available at the Chiang Mai Mail and Pattaya Mail offices.