Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, Your Majesty

He's still a handsome man today - but King Bhumibol was really an adorable infant. He's front center in this picture.

From where I sit, in another six hours or so the sun will rise on a day of celebration in Thailand - December 5th - the day we in the West would call Father's Day, but more importantly for the Thai it will be the 85th birthday of His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej. For the detail oriented out there his full title is Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramintharamaha Bhumibol Adulyadej Mahitalathibet Ramathibodi Chakkrinaruebodin Sayamminthrathirat Borommanatbophit.

Some of you may have already read the other posts about the King here and elsewhere, but newer readers can reference HM Bhumibol Adulyadej - The King As A Younger Man, and/or the post from his birthday last year, Happy Birthday To His Majesty if they wish.

The love the Thai have for their king borders on profound reverence, and only a fool would voice an unfavorable thought about him while visiting Thailand. That's your traveler's tip for today.

His Majesty's health hasn't been the best for the last few years (and that's carefully worded right there) but he has made some public appearances. Just a couple of weeks ago he granted an audience with President Barack Obama, below:

President Barack Obama and His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej - 18 November, 2555

Having been on the throne since June of 1946 he is the only ruler many Thai know, and it will be a long, difficult period of mourning for the nation when he passes away. I wish him many more happy and comfortable years in the meantime.

There will be observances throughout Thailand for his day this year, including a scheduled appearance at the open amphitheater of Benjakiti Park, next door to the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.

The King will travel from his hospital residence to the park via motorcade, guaranteeing a record-breaking traffic jam along the way from Point A to Point B. I'd suggest not planning to get anywhere in a hurry in that area from the afternoon onward.

Happy birthday to His Majesty, and here's wishing him many more returns of the day.

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