The people remember their King

This is a time of grief, a time of panegyrics and remembrance. As the nation mourns, we ask artists, writers, musicians and people in various cultural capacities to share their memories of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

IN THE rest of the world, there seem to be two kinds of monarchs: those with absolute power, and those whose function is ceremonial and symbolic. Our King fell into neither of those categories because on the one hand, he did not wield political power, yet on the other, he possessed a moral authority more powerful than that of any government this country ever had.

Our King grew up in what could be called "ordinary" circumstances -- going to school in Switzerland with normal children, being raised by a loving and resourceful mother, never being "groomed" for the role of a "demigod". But it is precisely because he could remember what it is like to be an "ordinary" person that he achieved such extraordinary things. It is because he could look ordinary people in the eye and understand their lives, their struggles and concerns, that he could truly empathise with them.

In the end it was not his exalted status that commanded all this love -- it was he himself -- his actions, his selflessness, his heart.

There is tremendous sadness in this country today, but with the inspiration of our King's life and deeds, I hope that from this sadness will come other things; gratitude for the past 70 years; love for this magical Kingdom that has survived so much and come so far in those 70 years … and a continued sense of unity and identity that will keep this Kingdom safe and allow it to progress confidently into the future.

Somtow Sucharitkul
Writer, composer

THE SUFFICIENCY economy concept is proven to balance the economy, society and environment. Since I worked in my family business in Toshiba, we have applied the philosophy for running the business by taking care of our partners, customers and environment. Now as a minister, we have the tourism policy to not only increase income to the country, but distribute earnings to local people and also take care of our environment.

His Majesty the King spent 70 years developing the nationwide Royal Projects. We have a duty to carry on his effort to take care of our soil, forests and water. He was the King of kings. The great role model that we will follow forever.

Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul
Tourism and Sports Minister

IT WAS a great blessing for the Thai art scene that His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was a leading artist who was interested both in modern and traditional art. At the time, Thai society didn't see the significance of modern art but it was His Majesty who made us realise that the development of modern society must go hand-in-hand with embracing modern culture.

I was impressed by his range of interests in art, from realism, expressionism to abstraction, etc. His diversity of interests was a great example for Thai artists because good artists should venture into a lot of different styles before finally coming to the focus of their expertise, and this is the path I have always been following. His Majesty had always been bound by his heavy duties yet he always found time for art. This taught us that doing art is not something you do only when you can find the time; art should always be in your heart and you must always be ready to devote yourself to it.

Panya Vijinthanasarn

MY CHILDHOOD memory of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was an image of him playing saxophone. I'm fascinated by the fact that this is the King who had art in his heart and never neglected his people, devoting all his time to making lives of the majority of the people in this nation better. I'm most impressed by his trips to visit his people in faraway rural areas, and these memories and images of him have always unconsciously affected the way I create theatrical works and live my life. When I was younger, he inspired me to go on a series of tours, staging theatre productions in rural areas. He taught me that an artist doesn't have to live extravagantly and act superior to other people, but always be on the audience's side, especially those who are less privileged, like His Majesty always was to his people.

Pradit Prasartthong
Silpathorn Award-winning director and actor

THERE WERE so many things about King Rama IX that inspired people. But what I'm personally impressed about was his genius for music, especially jazz. Jazz has to do with improvisation which is very hard, profound and also complex, but His Majesty seemed to have a clear understanding of it. However, he decided to leave music, the thing he loved, behind to focus on other royal duties. It showed that no matter how fond of music he was, there was a certain thing that he loved even more, which was his people.

Tomorn Sookprecha
Editor-in-chief of GM magazine, writer and columnist

HIS MAJESTY looked after his health and practised this by adhering to the concepts of sports science. I remember in 1982, when he was recovering after an illness and there was a royal statement he made on one of the news channels. The statement read: "For if we do too little exercise, the body and mind will wither, and if we do too much, the body and mind will be sore." It was an excellent statement of the health principles of sports science that I now appreciate and teach my runners.

He took the role, not just as a King, but also as a father who looked after his children in every aspect possible. In return, I think we can see and feel that he received from the people a love and devotion which went beyond the usual relationship of a King and his subjects.

Surachada Bowra
Founder of Be fit and Eat well Facebook page

HIS MAJESTY'S music can unite people, especially in his patriotic songs. I wish to be able to compose music that does the same for all Thai people. Another aspect would be his wisdom reflected in all his live speeches. Every word he spoke counted and so should ours.

Once, after a very special performance at Her Majesty the Queen's 60th birthday, he stopped in front of me and said, "This piece is difficult". Then he paused for a while, while my heart sank. He continued: "But you played it well." His Majesty did not just tell me that I played well, but gave me more meaning; he realised, as a musician himself, that it was difficult, too.

Nat Yontararak
Thai contemporary artist, Silpathorn Award 2006

HIS MAJESTY THE KING was a great role model for all of us in many aspects, which we could appreciatively observe from royal activities in helping people and developing the country. In return, we should follow the fine example he set in leading our lives, such as applying the Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy in being self-reliant and living in moderation. His Majesty also set an example in perseverance. Whenever, I feel disheartened, I look up to His Majesty in how he worked much, much harder, which motivates me to keep going. Even though we can do only a little compared to what His Majesty did for all of us, this still is one way to pay tribute to His Majesty.

Panya Nirunkul
CEO of Workpoint Entertainment

HIS MAJESTY THE KING spent his entire life working tirelessly and selflessly for his people without ever asking for anything in return. He has shown to all that goodness and sacrifices one makes for other people is what one will be remembered for in the end. As an active member of this country's music community, I vow to do all that I can to help budding young artists realise their full potential.

Trisdee na Patalung

HIS MAJESTY never left his people behind even in the country's moments of crisis and sorrow. When I was young, I remember the country faced political turmoil numerous times. I followed the news and then wondered if the King would leave his citizens. The truth was he never did but rather stood strong as an example for the country to move on.

During the past years, His Majesty fought his sickness. But many times we saw him trying to stand up to continue his activities. This was his duty that he had been carrying on his shoulders all through his life.

Supaporn Pitiporn
Chief pharmacist of the Chao Phraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital

HIS MAJESTY THE KING was an inspiration for me in every single way. And not just for Thai people, but for all people around the world, from all walks of life. Whether it be in the fields of science, athletics, music and even public service, the King studied and excelled in all these fields. These aren't just empty praises or propaganda; there are actual pieces of evidence that demonstrate his contributions. He is, beyond a doubt, the most important inspiration in my life.

Chayanop Boonprakob
Film director

WE DIDN'T just lose a King who was beloved by his people. For all of us working in music, we have also lost a very talented musician who brought us many beautiful pieces of music. I consider myself extremely honoured and fortunate to have had the chance to perform a song composed by His Majesty. I'm sure that he will remain within the spirit of all Thai people for as long as we all live.

Violette Wautier
Singer, actor

KING BHUMIBOL ADULYADEJ has been everything for us. He brought Thailand to prosperity. He gave us everything, and led by example through how he conducted his own life. What I liked most about him is that he treated everyone -- every person, province and region -- equally. His words of wisdom even reached foreigners in other countries. They really do respect him, too. I want to follow in His Majesty's example. It can never match his greatness and dedication, but I shall try my best.

Sopita Tanasan
Olympic gold medallist in women's weightlifting

HE WAS an experimenter, thinker and inventor who integrated local wisdom with science to invent and create new things which had utmost benefit to the public and he did them with consistency. I'm also an experimenter, but in art. Though what I'm doing is incomparable to what he did, he did really inspire me.

Terawat Teankaprasith
Illustrator/graphic director of Painkiller

HIS MAJESTY was one of the most respectable human beings in the world. The King was an inspiration to millions of Thais to perform good deeds with the purest of hearts. His Majesty improved the lives of so many people and gave them the strength to stand up and fight hardship. A person who could be so inspiring must be respected and saluted.

Chookiat Sakveerakul

HM THE KING gave the royal strategy of understanding, accessibility and development, which has been the guideline for the development of the Deep South for so long.

All ranks of officers try every means to understand problems of the people in order to find solutions to the unrest, while local people must also realise that they must not be part of the problem, such as by believing in faulty teachings.

Based on a recent survey among 1,788 villages in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, the results showed that people do not feel that they have been left out by us. They have access to ask for help or to seek justice as we have a volunteer team in every village.

While education is the key for good understanding between people and officers, all people should respect the rules of law and not create problems to our society.

Panu Uthairat
The secretary-general of Special Government Representatives
working in the violence-stricken Deep South

I WORSHIPED the King. He was an example of a renaissance man. He was an artist, a scientist and a thinker in one person. As a hydrological engineer, I was quite surprised and then impressed by his ability to learn so fast. When the King set his mind to travel upcountry to visit rural and poor villages, nothing could stop him. He worked very hard, harder than civil servants.

Pramoj Maiklad
Former director-general of Royal Irrigation Department

IN ONE OF his royal speeches, the King once talked about how doing good deeds can, at times, feel like going against the current. Work can be arduous and slow, but it has to be done.

His words truly made a deep impression on me, especially after seeing all his efforts on so many occasions. He inspired me to be a good person from within, who operates on the principles of mercy and kindness. And to pursue goodness even against the opposing forces of those who see things differently.

Danai Linjongrut
Director of Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand

WHEN I WROTE the song Por (Father), the lyrics referred to our fathers as well as HM the King, whose royal activities reflect the devotion His Majesty gave to the people in the same way as a father would to his children.

I also thought about how a child would put his or her little feet in the father's big shoes and try to walk. The image symbolises walking ahead or leading our lives.

In times of life's crises or when stumbling over obstacles as if you can't go on, we recall what HM the King has done for all of us. Likewise, whenever the country is in a crisis, seemingly with no way out, HM the King was always the guiding light.

Prapas Cholsararon

IN MY LIFE, there have been times when I felt tired and discouraged at work. Whenever that happens, I always think of this one person who has long been my inspiration. He worked diligently without stopping for the past 70 years. We work only for eight hours a day, and get a holiday when we want to. But our exhaustion was nothing compared to his. Why are we not giving things our best shot? I believe that executing one's own duty rightly is the lesson and legacy His Majesty has left for the rest of us Thais to follow.

Thachpacha Setthachai
Writer of Diary Of Tootsies

I'M DEEPLY touched by His Majesty's great effort in doing everything for the Thai people. He didn't seem to care much if they would succeed or not. He kept doing them. Look at the countless royal projects he had initiated, I believe that not everyone believed that they would be a success but they can feel his great effort through what he had done. This effort was a success in itself.

Pasin Intarawong
Songwriter and dhamma book writer/speaker

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