A paddy field in Ayutthaya where His Majesty the King harvested rice 16 years ago no longer bears any semblance of this celebrated moment.
Sawasdi Promthat, 79, stands beside a paddy field where His Majesty the King harvested rice in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district of Ayutthaya province 16 years ago. SUNTHORN PONGPAO
Sawasdi Promthat, who owns a farm next to the paddy field in Thung Makham Yong, has fond memories of the King's visit. But she wonders why authorities have not preserved the field where His Majesty harvested the rice.
No physical structure explaining the significance of the place remains in the area, Ms Sawasdi said.
Private ownership of the field has changed hands many times and the road sign leading to the historic field decayed and was eventually removed.
Ms Sawasdi said the present owner of the plot lives in Rayong. A farmer who has leased the land from him still uses it to grow rice.
The royal harvest was part of an experimental rice project in Ayutthaya, an undertaking which was an occasion of great pride for 79-year-old Ms Sawasdi.
She was among the people who greeted Their Majesties the King and Queen during their visit in 1996.
The King came to Ayutthaya and harvested some ripe, golden paddy from the field which had been chosen for the royally initiated rice project.
Reports of Their Majesties' plan to revisit the area in the near future have excited Ms Sawasdi and everyone in the area who heard the news.
The plot where the King harvested the rice sits along Highway 347 in tambon Ban Mai. It is in the area called Thung Makham Yong where His Majesty the King pioneered his kaem ling [monkey's cheeks] water retention scheme.
Ms Sawasdi lives next to Thung Makham Yong and donated some of her land to Her Majesty the Queen for the construction of a monument in tribute to the heroic Queen Suriyothai.
Ms Sawasdi said the historic rice field is highly symbolic for the country's rice cultivation culture.
The Bureau of the Royal Household contacted local administration organisations in tambon Phu Khao Thong and tambon Ban Mai last year to locate the historic paddy field.
The bureau planned to buy the 10-rai plot to construct a memorial dedicated to the King's contributions to Thai farmers. However, there has been no progress in the land's acquisition.
A Thai classical music band in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district is practising hard in preparation for a show that will be staged for the King and Queen when they visit Thung Makham Yong.
The Kerdpol family of musicians are determined to deliver an impeccable two-hour performance.
Wichian Kerdpol, the band leader, said they will perform a song composed by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
The band will also play another song Wichian's elder brother and national artist Samran Kerdpol wrote to honour His Majesty the King's work.
The Bureau of the Royal Household has not yet announced the date when Their Majesties will visit Ayutthaya.
About the author
- Writer: Sunthon Pongpao