11 Elephants and mahouts pay respects for the late King

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A PROCESSION of 11 elegant elephants and hundreds of mahouts performed a show of respect to much-revered HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej in front of the Grand Palace yesterday morning.

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They were all in elaborate, black attire as they joined the rest of the nation in mourning the passing of the great monarch.

His Majesty passed away at the age of 89 on October 13 this year.
All of the elephants performed in front of His Majesty during his visit to Ayutthaya’s Thung Makham Yong in 2012.

“This is the biggest mission in my life,” Pra Kosjaban Foundation’s chairman Laithongrien Meepan said yesterday leading the mahouts and tuskers.

In the capital, the procession started a respectful march from a military unit near the Grand Palace at 9.09am. His Majesty was the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty.

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The leading elephant carried a portrait of the much-beloved King and his first white elephant during the march.

The awe-inspiring procession stopped in front of the Defence Ministry. All participants then faced the Grand Palace and observed a moment of silence in remembrance of the King. Mourners as well as the pachyderms laid prostrate before the late head of the state to express their full loyalty.

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Source: TheNation

Thailand – Tears of grief wash away conflict, divisions

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Mourners gather at Sanam Luang Saturday nigh to sing the royal anthem and light candles in memory of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Many tears have flowed over scenes of Sanam Luang depicted in millions of stories and photos shared in the past 11 days. But the grief also contains deep feelings of generosity and unity.

Since the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Aduyadej on October 13 in the 89th year of his life, loyal subjects across the country have thronged the Phra Mane Ground (Sanam Luang), a park adjacent to the Grand Palace, where the royal urn rests and royal and religious rites are taking place in tribute to the monarch.
At least 50,000 black-clad mourners have poured into Sanam Luang each day since the King’s passing, according to Maj-General Pongsawat Panchit, deputy commander of the First Region Army, which is responsible for security in the area.
Maintaining a calm and orderly atmosphere among such huge crowds is a challenge.
The social media is abuzz with complaints that not everyone is respecting the mourning period at Sanam Luang. Dismayed netizens say the sombre mood is being turned into a festive atmosphere. They complain about people taking selfies rather than paying respects to His Majesty, posing for the camera while they prostrate at the Grand Palace wall. The pictures and similar inappropriate posts are being shared on sites like Facebook, and street vendors shouting out their wares is increasing the carnival-like atmosphere, say critics.
But the negative perceptions are outweighed by the overwhelmingly positive feelings at Sanam Luang.
The criticisms are minor when you consider the bigger picture: Mourners in their hundreds of thousands sharing their sorrow, sometimes pausing to comfort one another with smiles of support.
I can see and feel love and sympathy everywhere I turn at the scene.
The crowds here can also feel the caring that exists between siblings. Photos released by the Royal Household Bureau show His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn comforting his elder sister Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya at the funeral rites for their father in the Grand Palace. Another shot shows him comforting his younger sister, Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn.
We saw, too, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn give a “wai” to her elder sister Princess Ubolratana as they were about to leave the funeral rites.
We can also feel the love and concern directed by the Royal Family towards loyal subjects. HRH the Crown Prince last Friday graciously provided free food via his royal guards to people who showed up in huge numbers at the Grand Palace to mourn the passing of his much-loved father.
During the day, Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali fried chicken at a Princess Pa Foundation food truck as free food for mourners at Sanam Luang.
The nighttime saw Princess Ubolratana emerge from the Grand Palace to greet the crowds outside, addressing them with a very touching speech that has since gone viral after being shared on social media.
“We are all from the same family. He [the King] is my father and also everyone’s father. … Next we must work together, move forward and not backwards,” the Princess told the crowd last Monday night.
She also distributed food, ranging from grilled pork with sticky rice to Chinese buns, and other necessities to the people.
The atmosphere of sharing and harmony has grown, fed by stories and photos, sympathy and generosity, shared among fellow citizens as they help each other through this time of grief and loss.
From the public sector to private companies to individual volunteers, ordinary people and students – Good Samaritans are helping without being asked to do so.
A friend of mine who joined more than 200,000 people in a heartfelt rendition of the Royal Anthem at Sanam Luang last Saturday offered a touching description on Facebook:
“I met good people at Sanam Luang,” he began.
“Yesterday I joined the singing. I came with nothing but my heart full of love for the King. I stayed there all day and night. I saw police ease the heat by spraying the crowd with water. I saw students help collect the garbage. People handed out black ribbons, desserts, foods… . Some helped push the elderly in wheelchairs.”
“Even at night [when candle-lit singing of the Royal Anthem rang out again] people shared candles and space for others to stand. When the ceremony ended many took transport services offered for free.”
“I felt the loving care and respect in their good deeds on the day. They sacrificed and followed the King’s teaching of ‘giving’. If the King were looking down to see how united and caring his children are, I believe he would smile happily. Thank you again.”
Last but not least, we can see and feel the loving tribute to the King.
The scene outside the Grand Palace demonstrated to the world the depth of feeling among Thais for their King and father of the nation.
Defying the heat and the rain, mourners queued in their tens of thousands at Sanam Luang to pay their respects. No words were needed; the scene was captured in pictures that revealed instantly the place His Majesty holds in Thai hearts.
When a loved one passes away, the feelings of loss reunite us as a family. But I would ask, why do we have to wait for such a terrible loss before we unite and love each other?

Source: The Nation

Thailand – His Majesty the King’s Accession to the Throne

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His Majesty the King’s Accession to the Throne. The year 2016 will go down in Thai history as one of the nation’s most significant years, since it marks the auspicious occasion of the 70th anniversary of His Majesty the King’s accession to the throne. The occasion has special significance for several reasons.
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His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej currently enjoys high honor and distinction as the world’s longest-reigning monarch. Few monarchs have ever attained such longevity on the throne. His Majesty is widely known as one of the hardest-working monarchs on earth. He occupies a special and revered position in the hearts and minds of the people.
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The Government has set the period from 9 June 2016 to 9 June 2017 for the celebrations of this occasion. People have been encouraged to display on their premises the royal ceremonial emblems, in commemoration of this special occasion. Various projects and activities have also been carried out as part of the celebrations.
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His Majesty assumed his kingship, succeeding his brother as head of state, on 9 June 1946. He was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Monday, 5 December 1927. He is the third child and second son of His Royal Highest Prince Mahidol of Songkla and his consort, Mom Sangwal. His Majesty is a grandson of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), the great reformer King, who strived to modernize his kingdom and improve the lives of his subjects. 
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Following the death of his father, His Majesty lived mostly in Switzerland with his mother, sister, and elder brother. After one official visit to Siam accompanying King Ananda, in 1938, the family remained cut off from their homeland during World War II. Prince Bhumibol had a relatively ordinary youth, displaying notable talents both in music and engineering, and obtaining fluency in three European languages – French, German, and English – as well as being at ease in different cultures.
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During the royal family’s first post-war visit, in 1946, his brother, King Ananda, passed away, and Prince Bhumibol suddenly found himself in accession to the throne as the ninth Chakri King, Rama IX.
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His Majesty returned to Switzerland to complete his education, changing from engineering to political science and law in recognition of his new role. During the course of this visit he met the beautiful, young Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitiyakara, daughter of the Thai ambassador to France. They were married in Bangkok on 28 April 1950, and seven days later His Majesty was officially crowned in ancient ceremonies held at the Grand Palace.
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Thai people are keenly aware of the fact that throughout the 70 years of his reign, His Majesty the King has conducted himself firmly in accordance with the Kingly Virtues. Above all, he has been working tirelessly for the peace and happiness of the land and the people.
 
His Majesty the King’s Accession to the Throne

Source: Gerrit Tienkamp: Thailand – His Majesty the King’s Accession to the Throne

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Nation honours King who turns 88

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COMMANDING overwhelming love and respect from his people, HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej turns 88 years of age today. His birthday, as always, is a cause for celebrations across Thailand.

Alms-giving, merit-making and prayer ceremonies will be held in all provinces today as Thais dedicate good deeds in honour of their beloved monarch. Many, have joined various good activities held to mark the King’s birthday since yesterday.

In Surat Thani province, 89 tuk-tuk drivers together with a cooperative and a firm offered free rides to passengers from 9.30am to 6pm yesterday under a “Do Good Deeds for Our Dad” initiative. His Majesty is the unifying paternal figure of the nation.

In Phichit province, a number of police and local people turned up at the provincial police headquarters to donate blood in another good project for the King.

More than 300 teachers, parents and students in Yala province rode bicycles from their school to an elderly home to provide free food there.

In Krabi province, local leaders joined hands with local students, entrepreneurs and the Trash Hero Ao Nang group in cleaning the Nopparat Thara beach in dedication to His Majesty.

With his moral authority, the much-revered monarch has been a great inspiration for his people in doing good things.

Shirayu Mekseriwatana, a self-employed woman, said: “His Majesty the King is always my inspiration, particularly when I feel lazy and have wasted my time doing nothing. The King did many useful things in one day; I told myself that I also have 24 hours like him, why I let my time pass without doing anything.”

Sanong Bamrungrad, a retired primary-school teacher, said the King had been an example of virtue and values.

Rungroj Phothong, the chief of Mae Sariang Prison in Mae Hong Son province, said, separately, that his agency organised religious practice yesterday to mark His Majesty’s birthday. All 420 inmates listened to religious summons based on Buddhist, Christian and Islamic beliefs.

Source: The Nation

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