The King of Thailand turned 80 today; this is a very special occasion for all Thais as the Thais LOVE their King, its great – they totally respect him and the work he does for the country (this isn’t a brainwashed kind of love at all). Their high opinion for the king is so strong that on Mondays most Thais wear yellow shirts as a mark of respect for him. So today Cim and I wore our yellow shirts (I was given one by my host school) and headed into the city for a spot of shopping hoping to see the fireworks in the evening.
We weren’t organised enough to get near the royal palace and we missed the fireworks but we were able to join some of the festivities in the city. It was quite a moving experience to join a large group of Thais (all wearing yellow shirts of course) watching the festivities in town on a TV in the sky train station waiting in anticipation for the king to appear on TV. There was a big picture of the king, seating (the VIPs had nice seats at the front and held flash lanterns) and then the public crowded around the TV holding candles and the words to a song. After some speeches from some very important looking people everyone started singing the national anthem followed by a few royal songs (songs they sing regularly to show their respect for the king) and a new song that was written especially for the occasion.
Here are some photos we took at the sky train station and outside the MBK shopping mall:
I am not kidding you… all around the country Thais gathered in front of TVs to see the festivities at the Royal Palace, and to sing for the king and wish him a happy birthday.