Posted by: kim | August 15, 2007

A royal reception

All Thais love their Royal Family. Well, you can’t not love them or you’ll be causing great offence or even breaking the law (remember how Thailand temorarily blocked YouTube last year after someone posted a defamatory video about the King?). Drop a coin on the floor and you can’t step on it, else you’ll be stepping on the King’s face – a great insult.

Every restaurant, hotel, wat and household will have a photograph of the King and/or Queen adorning the wall. If you’ve eaten in a Thai restaurant outside of Thailand you’ll probably see pictures of them too. Mother’s Day was last Sunday (the Queen’s 75th Birthday) and there was much celebration.

Unlike Queen Elizabeth II, the Thai Royal Family is allowed to have an opinion, and everyone respects it. If Queen Sisikrit says jump, everyone will jump. This weekend sees in Thailand’s first referendum on the draft constitution, which was rewritten after last year’s peaceful coup. When monks expressed concern that Buddhism was not being made the country’s official religion in the new constitution, the Queen said in her birthday speech that religion was “beyond politics” and should remain separate. Immediately after, monks said they did not want to “upset Her Majesty” and withdrew their protest.

We went to see The Simpsons Movie last night in a cinema (yes, I had to clarify that it was a cinema – we walked past bars that were showing pirated copies on the small screen). I felt like I was in Hurstville Westfields; Rob thought he was in Westfield Penrith – same thing). But anyway, I digress. Before every movie, and after the trailers and the ads, everyone must rise respectfully for the National Royal Anthem (equivalent to God Save The Queen) and watch a sugary tribute with scenes of happiness and images of the Royals doing their good deeds. The clip ends with the words, “We love the King”. That’s patriotism!

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Responses

  1. Kim! I was doing some research and stumbled on your blog!

    It’s Heather – used to work with you -was staff writer on Internet Magazine. Remember?

    Your posts are great. They have just distracted me from work for an hour!

    Jon and I did the same trip. York to Kuala Lumpur overland, then flew home from Singapore. In 2005.

    We set off in early January though. It’s amazing to see the trip in the opposite season – Moscow and Siberia without all the snow….

    Anyway, good luck for the rest of the trip!
    Heather

  2. Heather! What a small world! Of course I remember you. How are you?

    Glad you like our site… I’d like to experience the train with all the snow outside… maybe we’ll do it again one day!


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