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I can assure you that it is worthwhile to read a bit more about King Bhumibol Aduyadej. He was the longest reigning Monarch in the World -his reign started in 1946 and ended in 2016- but he had to do nothing special to book that "record". More important: He was a person who deserves your deepest respect!
As I have written elsewhere on this site, HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej is, also after his death, highly respected by the Thai people. You will notice this everywhere when you are in Thailand.
In the first place you will see portraits of him everywhere. In every shop, in every bank, in every house (if you are lucky enough to visit a Thai house) in every hotel or guest house, you name a place and I guarantee you that there will be a portrait of HM. I believe that this will not stop soon after his death in 2016.
This is not some Government stimulated propaganda or whatever you might call it. No, the Thai people want to have a portrait of their King in their house. shop, hotel or office.
This, for instance, is the way in which a large hotel in Bangkok has paid and will pay respect to Their Majesties the King and Queen by hanging their portraits in the lobby.
Then there is the playing of the National Anthem every morning at 8 a.m. and every evening at 6 p.m. on every radio and every TV station
in the Nation. If necessary a speaker will be interrupted in the middle
of a word or sentence. At exactly those times the National Anthem has
the highest priority! In many places you will also hear the National
Anthem played in the streets, through loudspeakers, at these times.
People will stand still then in order to pay their respect to the King.
And whenever you visit a concert or a movie you will hear the National Anthem (or HM personal Anthem) being played at the beginning (and / or end of the performance) and everybody will rise from their seats. (So please do so too whenever you visit a movie or theater). By the way, the playing of HM's Personal Anthem was quite impressive when I visited a concert by the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra!
Around 5 December, the birthday of the late King Bhumibol, all governmental organizations and many public companies will pay respect to His Majesty by appearing on TV, like on the picture above. AS I said before, I do not expect these tributes to stop soon after the death of HM in 2016. (The picture was taken from the TV in my hotel room and therefore is not of very good quality.)
A typical example of a Thai person paying respect to his King is the way the Thai Olympic Champion Boxing (1996) expressed his enthusiasm after he was appointed winner: He took a portrait of HM and let this portrait join him in the celebrations. After he arrived back in Thailand, he offered his golden medal to HM, which was a natural thing for him to do!
HM has served his people in many ways. One thing that deserves some more attention here is his starting of the so called "Royal Projects". The Royal Project in the field of Agriculture
were started with the main aim to prevent farmers in the North to
cultivate poppy flowers in order to make opium. HM The King has
personally sorted out in his private gardens what alternatives there
are (and sometimes he sadly failed by promoting alternatives that did
not prosper after all in Northern Thailand). Most of these projects
were -and are- successful, however.
For example: When you fly Thai Airways International, the coffee and tea you will get on board has been grown in the North of Thailand, in one of these Royal Projects.
Another Royal Project in the Agricultural Field is the so called "Royal Rain". Farmers in Thailand, and especially those in the North, are very poor. When there is no rain for a long time, there will be a very limited harvest or no harvest at all, which means no income at all. Therefor, as an initiative of HM The King, in very dry times small crystals are spread over clouds by planes and as a result rain will fall. I know that this method is not free from criticism from environmentalists, and HM knows this too, but if the life of poor farmers literally depends on rain, other interests should be considered as secondary.
Royal Projects are not only projects in the Agricultural field. There are also Royal Projects on the field of Health Care, to give one more example. HM has initiated several centers for fighting against diseases that plagued his people, like leprosy. He has financed these centers often from his private funds. And when visiting the Countryside, he always takes a team of doctors and nurses with him, to be able to give medical assistance to the people he meets there, who apparently cannot find their way in the Thai Medical Care system. It seems that he writes down all the names of people he helped in this way, in order to have a personal remembrance to them.
As you can see from the above pictures, the activities of HM and his Royal Projects have also inspired the designers of Thai postage stamps. The two stamps pictured above (© The Communications Authority of Thailand) were issued on the occasion of his 72th birthday.
Also in other respects HM has been busy intensively with agriculture. Having had a technical education and always having had a lively interest in technical matters, he has invented the "Chai Pattana Water Aerator" that is helpful for small farmers. He has applied for a patent for that one and (of course) it was granted to him. Do not think -however- that he applied for a patent in order to be able to get money in the form licenses. The aerator can be used by Thai farmers free of charge. HM probably just wanted to know the innovative value of his water aerator.
This is the Water Aerator, as patented by HM the King.
When you click on the image you can see it move. Please note that the loading may take some time;The file is 753 KB!
Click here to view the Patent Application
In 2003 His Majesty also received patents for his rain making technique and for his invention of "bio-diesel" car fuel, that uses vegetable oil to a certain extent to replace diesel oil.
Although Thailand is a Constitutional Monarchy, and thus the Monarch has only very limited Constitutional Power, HM has sometimes used the Constitutional Freedom of Speech,
open to every Thai Citizen, when he though things were not going the
right way in one respect or the other. In that way he sometimes
expressed his opinion when he thought he should. This innovative
approach as an "extension" of his Constitutional Rights as a Monarch
has prevented Injustice and suffering to his People.
In 1973 the Country was near a Civil War and the Government had lost its control over the situation. In a TV address HM The King openly announced his concern and showed his sympathy to his People. Shortly afterwards he personally appointed a new Prime Minister, who had more support from the People and the problems were solved soon.
More recently, in May 1992, Thailand was once again on the edge of a Civil War. Students and other activists were demonstrating in the streets of Bangkok for Democracy. The situation got out of control and the Army had started to shoot at people who were demonstrating in the streets.
HM The King called the leaders of both fighting parties to the Palace and told them to stop this situation. The next day hostilities had stopped.
TV pictures of this Royal Audience have been shown all around the World. Among other stations CNN has broad casted them worldwide.
Sadly, in some Western countries these pictures have been misinterpreted in one respect: The leaders who were called to the Palace had to sit on the ground and enter the Audience Hall on their knees. This was not some kind of extra humiliation, but in Thailand it is normal to approach the King in that way. Think of that what you may, I do not know a second example of a Monarch who ended the threat to Civil War within 24 hours!
Contrary: I have to remember ashamed that when my Queen was married and when she was inaugurated, there were heavy riots in the streets of Amsterdam. This would be completely unthinkable in Thailand. Everybody has a great respect for HM The King. And nobody would even think of disturbing any celebration to his honor.
In Thailand, when you finish your studies and leave University (or
another higher education), HM The King will -as a rule- hand you your
diploma personally. This duty has been transferred to other members of the Royal Family when the King became ill and was no longer able to fulfill these duties. This is one more way in which HM seeks contact with
his people. When I finished my law study successfully, there was not
even a Professor present to hand over my diploma! Therefor I am always
kind of jealous when I come in Thai houses and I see a picture of HM
The King, handing over a diploma.
HM often has given Audience to Thai students who get the opportunity to get an (extra) education abroad. Mostly he wants to see them back after they have finished their studies.
HM has a wide field of interests and talents. He is not only a gifted musician and composer, but he is also a gifted painter and photographer. His Works of Art can be seen in Bangkok in several museums. Also on the Internet; see the links below.
In September 2009 His Majesty was admitted to Siriraj Hospital. He has lived there most of the time since then, until his death on October 13, 2016, because he needed much medical care. The last time he made a public appearance was on December 5, 2015. In June 2016 his reign had lasted for 70 years.This page has become longer than I intended to make it. But when I had started it, I realized that it is not easy to pay a tribute to this great King in just a few words. As I said, I myself -being a non-Thai- have the deepest respect and admiration for the work of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Realizing that I am not the best source to give you full information about HM, I have added a few selected links to Thai sites about HM. Visit them to find a more complete account of the remarkable man.
Our own page about the music by HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej
"Thailands Guiding Light"
is a magnificent book.
gives you information about HM himself, the Royal Projects, His Majesty's talents, his music and more. The richest source of information about HM on the Internet.
has an extensive page about His Majesty too.
King Mongkut's Institute of Technology
also has a great page with the music of His Majesty.