On Thursday 26th October the Thai people remember His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the father figure of Thailand.
Someone once asked me “What is the most Thai thing you’ve ever seen?”, the first few ideas that came to mind were floating markets, colourful taxis roaming the streets of Bangkok or being known as The Land of Smiles. Sure, these are specially found in Thailand and these are what tourists love about our country. It’s vibrant, new, exciting and it brings people in.
But, if you ask what is really Thai and expect the truth, then go back in time to the day that King Bhumibol’s death was announced to the public. Thailand was not the vibrant, lively country that everyone knew. Solemn sadness roamed the country instead of colourful taxis and in that moment, The Land of Smiles came to a halt. And I know what most of you are thinking, “Why are you so sad? You don’t even know the king personally”
There’s a reason why we call our King “The Father Figure of Thailand.” He has been the unifying figure of our nation for 70 years, though our nation’s political state may often fall into uncertainty, it seems that King Bhumibol was the only pillar that brought all Thais together again. I can truly say that King Bhumibol was loved by the nation. He ruled with a sense of humility. He got down alongside the poorest of people within Thailand in order to improve lives and create a country that is built not simply on wealth and exports, but on unity and strength.
King Bhumibol was the core that brought us together
I can write a ten-page essay trying to explain the reason why Thais see King Bhumibol as the father figure of Thailand but it would still be impossible for outsiders to fully understand. And THAT is the most Thai thing you will ever witness because King Bhumibol was the core that brought us together and his name will be marked in history.