5 Things You Should Know about the Death of Thailand's King
It is with honor and sadness that we reflect on the death of Thailand’s beloved king, Bhumibol Adulyadej. His passing, which took place on October 13, 2016, will continue to affect not only Thailand's citizens but its tourists as well.
Here are five things you should know about the death of King Bhumibol the Great.
1. Most people in Thailand grew up with him as king.
King Bhumibol ruled for 70 years, so almost everyone in Thailand can't imagine life without him as their ruler. His passing deeply affects and worries a lot of people.
2. Losing the king is like losing a grandparent.
The king and queen are referred to as Dad and Mom in Thailand. The citizens are extremely fond and proud of their Thai Monarchy. King Bhumibol's death is personally hard for everyone.
3. Thailand called for a month of mourning.
During this month of mourning, people wear black, refrain from drinking and partying, keep social gatherings solemn, and take a lot of time to honor the king's life.
4. Volunteers should not bring up politics with the locals.
It is illegal for any Thai person to speak poorly about the Thai Monarchy. A person can be put in jail for doing so. If the person is an important member of society, he or she could even be sent away for "reconditioning" (AKA torture).
It is very important for volunteers to only say kind things about the king and to be extremely respectful and understanding about the people's mourning after his passing.
5. King Bhumibol's death is evident throughout the cities.
Thailand's national anthem and tribute to the king plays before the start of movies at the theater and before the start of every market and large social gathering. It is especially important, now more than ever, for tourists and our volunteers to be respectful while this music is being played.
The cities also have pictures of the Thai Monarchy everywhere. Tourists/volunteers should never mock these cultural differences or be too pushy while asking about them. Doing so can not only get them in trouble with authorities but also appear extremely rude.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej will be missed greatly by many. We here at OSSO want our volunteers we send to Thailand to be kind and respectful of him and his people. Thank you for making the effort to do so.