The spirit of our Father's heart

Thai people around the country have lined up to do good deeds in honour of His Majesty's teachings

Last month, a new cartoon drawing bestowed by His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua featuring people enjoying volunteer services was launched. The drawing was accompanied by Thai text which sends a message across that helping one another is like planting the seed of virtue and that we are doing good from the heart. The drawing aims at encouraging all Thai people to have the mind of a volunteer so that they can do good for the society and for the country they live in.

Since the first day he was on the throne, His Majesty the King has encouraged Thai citizens to have the jit arsa, or volunteer spirit, as seen from various royally-initiated projects. These initiatives were born from His Majesty the King's intention to make the country prosperous and to carry on the spirit of initiatives implemented by the late King Bhumibol.

His Majesty the King's volunteer initiative was officially established in 2017. At that time, the activities focused mainly on areas in Bangkok, where one of the main objectives was to improve the urban environment and to turn city communities into nicer places.

The best example of the volunteer activity initiated by His Majesty the King was prior to the royal cremation of King Bhumibol two years back when over 4 million Thais registered to serve during the funeral period. With the symbolic blue cap and yellow scarf suggesting they were part of His Majesty the King's volunteer project, these kind-hearted people were tasked with many unpaid duties mostly at Sanam Luang and elsewhere -- from venue preparation, catering, public information services and funeral flower distribution to first aid and traffic safety.

Among those touched by His Majesty the King's compassion was Sukanda Tangpattanatana, a 27-year-old from Ayutthaya province, who said as she witnessed the coronation ceremony in May that she had been delighted to show her respect to the King because he is "the father of the land".

She said His Majesty the King's volunteer projects have indeed encouraged people to contribute to local initiatives.

"We came here to show respect to him and let him know that we all love him," she said.

Also in 2017, on the occasion of His Majesty the King's birthday, he encouraged those who had the volunteer spirit to reach out to people who were in trouble and subsequently provide them with assistance, such as in flooded neighbourhoods across the country or in metropolitan areas where people suffered from traffic gridlock.

As part of the 2017 activities, His Majesty also encouraged people to collect water hyacinth and trash in public areas including temples and community markets.