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BBC royal documentary rediscovered

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Few Thais have seen the BBC’s remarkable three-hour documentary on His Majesty the King shot in the late 1970s and entitled Soul of the Nation. That is likely to change. 

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One of the more interesting segments of the documentary takes place in His Majesty’s private study where both interviewer and King are seated on the floor, surrounded by the King’s vast array of communications equipment.


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BBC royal documentary rediscovered

Back in 1978 and 1979, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was granted remarkable access to members of the Thai Royal Family, especially His Majesty the King.

The result was a three-hour documentary entitled Soul of a Nation that was aired for the BBC audience in 1980. The BBC team followed the King and Queen as they performed their official duties and it features long question-and- answer sessions with Their Majesties and their children.

Viewers can see close-up footage of His Majesty in the countryside during the time of the communist insurgency in the Northeast working on his many development projects, hearing him chat with villagers and translating what he had said to the curious BBC interviewer David Lomax.

When asked by the BBC interviewer if the government, through development projects like the small dam he was having built, was winning the battle against the insurgents, His Majesty replied “We are not fighting against people; we are fighting against hunger. If we make this and the people have a better life, the people you call communist insurgents will have a better life also, so everybody's happy.”

One of the more interesting segments takes place in His Majesty’s private study where both are seated on the floor, surrounded by the King’s vast array of communications equipment.  Some of the questions are not what you might expect. “Do you spend so much time here because you are a lonely man,” Mr Lomax asks the King, for example. (The answer was “no”.)

Few Thais have seen Soul of the Nation but that is likely to change. Several segments have been uploaded to Youtube and now army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha says a request is being submitted to the BBC to allow the broadcasting of an edited version of the documentary.

Once granted permission, the army plans to edit the three-hour documentary down to 20 minutes, according to an army source.

Actually, a 23-minute edited version of the documentary, complete with Thai-language subtitles has already been produced and you can view it here: http://youtu.be/jwMCHLAXGu8

Adapted from a story in today’s Bangkok Post

segment – a part of something ตอน
documentary – a film or television programme that deals with real people and events สารคดี
study – a room, especially in somebody's home, used for reading and writing ห้องค้นคว้า, ห้องเขียนหนังสือ
surrounded – having something completely around all sides ถูกล้อมรอบ
vast – extremely large in size or amount, etc.  มากมาย
array – a group or collection of things or people, often one that is large or impressive การจัดเรียง,  ขบวน
rediscover – to find again something that had been forgotten or lost ค้นพบใหม่
grant – to officially give something  ให้
remarkable - unusual or special and therefore surprising and worth mentioning ไม่ธรรมดา
access – the ability or opportunity to enter a building or place  สิทธิ์เข้าสู่ โอกาสในการเข้าสู่
entitle – to give a title to a book, play, etc  ตั้งชื่อ
air – to broadcast; to send out a programme on television or radio กระจายเสียง,กระจายข่าว
official – connected with the job of somebody who is in a position of authority ที่เป็นทางการ
duty – something that you have to do because it is part of your job, or something that you feel is the right thing to do หน้าที่, ความรับผิดชอบ
session – a period of time that is spent doing a particular activity
footage – film or video of a particular subject or event ฟิลม์หรือคลิปภาพยนตร์ หรือวิดีโอ
insurgency – an attempt by a group of people to take control of their country or the area where they live by force การจลาจล
development – the process of producing or creating something new or more advanced การพัฒนา
translate – to express the meaning of speech or writing in a different language แปล
curious – having a strong desire to know about something  อยากรู้อยากเห็น
lonely – unhappy because you have no friends or people to talk to เหงา, หงอยเหงา
request – an act of asking for something in a formal or polite way การขอร้อง
submit – to formally give something to someone so that can make a decision about it ยื่น (เอกสาร) เพื่อการพิจารณา
broadcast – to send out a programme on television or radio กระจายเสียง,กระจายข่าว
version – a particular form of something which varies slightly from other forms of the same thing – ชุด, เวอร์ชั่น
permission – allowing someone to do something การอนุญาต,การอนุมัติ,การยินยอม
source – someone who gives information แหล่งข่าว
subtitle – a translation or written description of what people are saying in a film or video, that appears at the bottom of the screen คำบรรยายที่เขียนไว้ข้างล่างในภาพยนตร์

Related search: Soul of a nation, BBC documentary on Thai King

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