Today is the birthday of King Bhumibol, Rama IX of Thailand. The King was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on December 5, 1927. The King is (now 88) years old. He is the longest reigning King in the world. Over sixty years, now.
The day doubles as Father’s Day in Thailand as the King is considered to be the symbolic Father of the Country. It is a day of great celebration in Thailand. This year, in particular is very exciting for the Thai people as the King will be making his first public appearance when he drives around near his palace in Hua Hin. Thousands have flocked to Hua Hin this year for the occasion. The King has been residing in a Hospital Suite for many years because of his age and health. He will make his annual birthday address to the people of Thailand sometime today.
One of the most visible signs of the respect and love Thai people have for King Bhumibol are the many pictures you will see of him in the homes and businesses in Thailand. Decorum dictates that any picture of the King should be in a high place, above the head level of any person in the house. Below is a picture we have of King Bhumibol and the Queen in our home, above the door to my office:
This year’s speech by King Bhumibol will have even more interest than previous years due to the political turmoil going on in the country and out in the streets. I write this post from my laptop, with the television on waiting for the King to speak sometime soon.
Happy father’s Day to all the fathers in Thailand and to my father, Jack Cummings, a career Deputy Juvenile Probation Officer in Los Angeles County. He died twenty years ago, in 1993 at age 69. The older I got, the smarter he got. Funny how that works.
The King is progressive in many ways. He is tolerant regarding religion and sexuality. As a result, the Thai people are also. There is controversy in the les majeste laws that exist in Thailand but I’ll leave that topic for another day. The King is also a jazz aficionado, saxophone player and composer. Below is my favorite picture of the King, with Benny Goodman. Just one reason why he is sometimes referred to as, The Jazzy King.
Happy 86th birthday to His Majesty King Bhumibol, Rama IX of Thailand.