Why the Thai LOVE the late king and why you should care.
Today is the cremation of a visionary leader who cared deeply about the well-being of humans. King Bhumibol Adulyadej is loved to pieces by the Thai people who he lovingly led for more than 70 years.
How many leaders can really say the same?
Even though he was one of the richest monarchs, he didn’t just hang out in his castle buying stuff to polish his image. He was more than that — he superseded his own interest.
The late king was known to be frugal, humble and down to earth.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej literally worked himself to sweat for his people. A photo of this is displayed all over town showing a sweat drop under his nose.
I’m from the west and I’m not used to having any trust in government.
Leaders of government and companies are just out there for their own agendas. At any costs. This is why elections and civil disobedience in the west is so prominent — in my humble opinion. We all want to trust and believe it will all be better, but underneath we have little hope for real visionairy leadership.
So when I came to Thailand and became aware of the adoration the people had for their king and the subsequent crying when he died, I thought it had something to do with the strict censorship around the king.
Little did I know that wasn’t the case and realized I had done little research.
I had a preconceived verdict. I was ignorant.
I fell into this trap of ignorance unknowingly even though I have pride in myself on not being a regular tourist. I had forgotten to be curious about this amazing host country, and how it got to be this way.
The Late king was a great and unique humanitarian, a man who took responsibility and who was dedicated to use his power for improving the lives of his people.
So why do the Thai smile so much?
Because their basic needs are met and their king had a huge part in this.
So what did he do?
The late king was very focused on improving the basics of healthy living; the agriculture, water infrastructure, and soil quality. Increasing the quality live’s of the poorest people. Showing them that they can grow their own food, and sustain themselves and their families and villages.
The sight of Bhumibol armed with a notebook, two-way radio and camera, earnestly studying a map of some far-flung hamlet was a common sight.
He did this with about 4,000 royal projects on agriculture. Developing people to become self-sufficient so they didn’t need to go to the city to work as cheap laborers and have their families fall apart.
This resulted in the Thai people staying in their communities and having a high quality of life.
The poorest Thai people live a life where the average Californian Yogini would be envious of; surrounded by nature, with fresh organic food, exercise, strong community foundations, family connections and a rich spiritual life.
King Bhumibol did many great things:
- He holds 10 patents on agricultural innovations.
- He ended slavery in Thailand
- He promoted physical exercise
- He was very humble and frugal — a king of the people. Really sitting down with poor people and drinking tea from dirty cups in huts. No, not just for the show around election time.
- He worked hard and even when he was in a hospital or in his vacation home he had maps hanging and was managing large projects to improve the lives of the people who entrusted him.
- He kept the country and groups together.
- He kept Thailand Independent and uncolonised.
Among of course many things. He achieved a lot in his 70 years of ruling.
The late king promoted a life of generosity rather than greed.
I think this is a big influence of the Buddhist values in this society. This contrasts with the west, where there seems to be no end in things needed to be achieved or obtained.
Makes me wonder; ‘What does that do for inner peace or overall happiness?’
This has not just impacted the quality of lives for all Thais but also for the many tourists and digital Nomads who flock to this developed, beautiful and kind country.
This man has become immortal. His images will still be used all over the country as a reminder of frugal living, kindness and hard working brings a good life, but his real legacy is in the devotion and wellbeing of the Thai population.
Thank you, king and thank you Thailand for opening your country and hearts for us digital nomads. I love being here and I feel a sense of safety that is unknown in the West.
So I humbly wear my black outfit today, in honor of this visionary leader who lived a life well lived and the beautiful kind Thai people who are mourning him.