December 5th is the birthday of the world’s longest-serving current head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history (over 60 years) – King Bhumibol.
It’s also celebrated as Father’s Day. Since the king’s entourage passes along Radjadamnoen Klang road right by my doorstep, I stepped out into the sea of yellow for some quick pics.
The road is near the backpacker enclave of Khao San Road and the upbeat yellow makes a change from the usual occupants – the Red Shirts.
This is the prime protesting ground of the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (also opposed to the monarchy) who continue to arrive in numbers every month to raise issues even though their successful election campaign last year means they currently hold government.
That aside, it was wonderful to see a number of hill tribe people camped along the kerbside, who’d made their way from north Thailand just to share a moment’s view of the King. I’ve spent over eighteen months here now and the esteem in which the King is held is very moving.
For visitors to Thailand who want to view the King there are a few rules that the police will remind you of.
It’s all to do with respect to the monarchy: no sunglasses, hats, photos and do not turn your back to the road or point your feet out in that direction. It’s all in the travel guides.
Thais shout ‘Long Live the King’ as he passes by and wave the yellow flag of the King together with the red, white and blue of the Thai national flag.
It is a very emotional experience to share this moment with thousands of adoring well wishers and I found myself welling up, as those in front of me wept for joy…
Here are more pics of a happy day in the Thai calendar.
© Warren Field 2012
Taken on OLYMPUS E-System Cameras and Zuiko lenses.