The Neighbor That I Always Look Up To

By Chit Hnin Aye | 18 Oct 2016

This article was written for a weekly assignment in JM 311 News Editing course by Lecturer Sanitsuda Ekachai, BJM Program, Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication, Thammasat University, Thailand.

On the evening of October 13, 2016, my neighbor had to go through one of the profound losses that most of us wouldn’t be able to even remotely imagine. While the impact of this loss is immense, I have witnessed how this loss is unifying the people of the nation to be stronger than yesterday.

But still, they lost someone who is very close to their hearts. They lost their King who is their father, idol, leader and God to some. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX of Thailand has passed away.

My neighbor, Thailand, is mourning for their father.

My heart truly goes out to my dear neighbor that I spent most of my life looking up to.

Grieving mourners waiting on the road near Siriraj Hospital to pay respect to the King Bhumibol. (SOURCE: Reuters)

Thailand is not the most perfect country nor the most developed country in the world, but to me it is special because they have a leader who looked out for each and every individual living in the country. The leader whose presence unites every single person in the nation.

Throughout his 70 years reign under the constitutional monarchy, King Bhumibol may not have wielded any political power over Thailand but his presence is significant to every single Thai alive and dead today.

His Majesty love for the nation shown through his actions. There are images and archival footages showing His Majesty trekking through remote and rugged terrain to reach out to the poorest people in Thailand to listen to their problems and to encourage them.

During his reign, Thailand has seen many developments in health care, education, rural development and scientific innovations. For instance, he believed in raising the upbringing of every citizens and he said that the well-being of the people is related to the improvement of education. “Without good education, people cannot earn their living. The emphasis must be at all levels. If we talk about higher education and the need for scientists of high standing, we must start from elementary or kindergarten levels. Without a good foundation, there is no way to build up higher levels of learning.”

His Majesty had led my neighbor, Thailand, to be who and what it is today with his selflessness and compassion — true traits of a leader.

The impact of His Majesty passing is and will affect everyone in Thailand for some time. The future seems haunting but from an outsider point of view, I believe that Thai people will come out stronger and more united.

It may seems like a naïve thinking.

But growing up in a country which has been under absolute military government for over 50 years with a leader whose concerns were just to look out for himself and his family, and still, for that country to come out on the other side somewhat intact, I think Thai people can conquer anything at all.

His Majesty King Bhumibol even said that: “In Thailand’s history, there have been dissensions from time to time, but in general, unity has prevailed.”

Don’t lose sight, my dear neighbor.

His Majesty’s corporeal form may have left but his presence will bless over you and your people for many years to come.

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