To have my chosen person be the former king of Thailand may seem very random at first. However, I personally experienced this king’s reign when my family and I visited Thailand during our travels. We stayed there for months and made great Thai friends. I distinctly recall the compassion and kind nature of all Thai people, including our friends; I believe King Bhumibol is a role model of their compassion. One friend has specifically emailed me about the topic of the king, curious of my views as a foreigner, telling me how he and all Thais love the great King Bhumibol. Therefore, I am drawn to my chosen person specifically because there is a deeper connection to me than the other people I researched.
King Bhumibol was born and brought up in the western world, as I am. Additionally, we both are of Asian descent and have Asian ties. He had significant ties to his country, being born into the royal family, and once the circumstances (death of his father and older brother) allowed him to ascend the throne, he had responsibilities. He fulfilled these with great compassion, touching and winning a place in the people’s hearts. Thus, we both were/are brought up in the western world with western views but have eastern responsibilities.
King Bhumibol showed great creativity when he appropriately evaded political restrictions and traveled throughout his country to talk to and listen to his people. He then used his creativity to develop over 4,000 projects to solve some of Thailand’s problems, such as lack of water sources. Essentially, I aspire to emulate the quality of selflessness of my notable. He devoted his reign to develop Thailand for the people, not for himself. As such, the mindset of King Bhumibol can be represented by a quote of his:
“They say that a kingdom is like a pyramid: the king on top and the people below. But in this country, it’s upside down.”Bhumibol Adulyadej (Adulyadej, n.d.)
My goals in TALONS are to become a compassionate leader and help people with my creative views, to be responsible and calm whatever the situation, and to become known for good reasons. My notable exemplifies all these goals by helping his people with his creativity, staying truly responsible amidst political crises, and with the good deeds he did to his people.
King Bhumibol is from Thailand, where I am not from. I have no long-term connection to the country other than visiting as a foreigner and falling in love with the places we went. To address this, I will learn as much as I can about Thai thinking and ways of life from primary (such as Thai friends) and secondary sources, so I can understand how the king’s values work and better connect with him. Additionally, we are of different genders; I will address this by dressing up with an appropriate wig for the performance. Finally, King Bhumibol was born into the royal family and became king, while I am just a regular person, in a different society/part of the world too. I will be aware of this and learn as much as I can about the responsibilities and/or privileges that come with his position.
This person has contributed to their field in a tangible and positive way because he developed Thailand, helping his people to literally live better lives. He is also a role model of the kindness and caring all Thais possess. He will still be remembered ten, fifty, or one hundred years from now by his people as King Rama IX, one who helped them very much.
King Bhumibol was not born to succeed the throne. He only did so at age eighteen when his older brother was found dead (in his personal chambers of a mysterious gunshot wound). Therefore, the king’s first few years with renewed responsibilities must have been a challenge, especially with the grief. He dealt with this very responsibly, immediately switching education paths from science/technology to politics. From the beginning, he was a king who operated for his people, partly because Thailand is a constitutional monarchy, meaning the king acts as a symbol for his people. King Bhumibol continued to use his high position to be a good and helpful symbol for his people even into the later years of his (longest-in-the-world) reign when he began to develop health issues.
King Bhumibol wants to lessen the hardship of his people and because of his travels throughout his country to listen to them, he gained great respect and popularity among Thais. He is worth researching, remembering, and teaching about because he is an example of a good king. The wisdom we might take away from studying King Bhumibol is that love and compassion go a long way.
My specific goal for the next phase of my research is to: learn more about King Bhumibol by looking at/watching three new sources and use all of this knowledge to respond to my Thai friend’s email by 10 days after Eminent ends.
I already have ideas of what two of the three sources will be: the first is a series of interviews done by David Lomax from BBC and the second is a book from the library I have taken out before called King by Virtue.
Thanks for reading!
Bhumibol Adulyadej Quotes. (n.d.). In BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved from https://www.brainyquote.com/ quotes/bhumibol_adulyadej_782179
Bhumibol Adulyadej Quotes. (n.d.). In BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved from https://www.brainyquote.com/ quotes/bhumibol_adulyadej_782178
Sopranzetti, C. (2017, April 11). From Love to fear: The rise of King Vajiralongkorn. Human Rights | Al Jazeera. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2017/4/11/fro m-love-to-fear-the-rise-of-king-vajiralongkorn
Projects initiated by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. (1999). The Golden Jubilee Network. http://ka nchanapisek.or.th/projects/index.en.html
Royal Development Projects: Classifications of the Royal Development Projects. (n.d.). Office of the Royal Development Projects Board (ORDPB). http://www.rdpb.go.th/en/Projects/