More than 1,500 officials, students and employees formed a giant black mourning bow for the late King outside Khon Kaen provincial hall Monday. (Photo by Jakkrapan Nathanri)
One common answer among people when asked what they will do for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej to commemorate his passing is that they will do good deeds and follow the King’s teachings on a “sufficient way of life”.
To express their love for the King, some inked the number nine in Thai numerals or the words “I was born in the reign of King Rama IX” on their bodies in remembrance of the late “Father of the Nation”.
Winai Udompol, 60, from Bang Yai district in Nonthaburi, arrived at the Grand Palace to pay his respects to the late King. He said that as one of the late King’s subjects, he will follow His Majesty’s “sufficiency” guideline for the rest of his life because it’s the best way for someone like him to show respect to the monarch.
“Our late king had so many good qualities. He was an excellent sportsman, a talented musician and most importantly a great developer. He did so many good things for our country. The best expression of bereavement and loyalty to His Majesty is to follow in his footsteps,” Mr Winai said, referring the King’s sufficiency economy philosophy.
Sujira Putthawong, 21, a fashion design student in Bangkok, said she planned to design T-shirts with the words “We Love the King” and “We Will Follow In The King’s Footsteps” printed on them to encourage Thais to follow His Majesty’s example. She said she would give the T-shirts to friends and family, and maybe donate some to those in need.
“The King set many good examples of how to lead a sufficient way of life and now it is up to us to take heed of what he showed us and follow him to lead better lives,” she said.
Weerachai Banthaisong, a 40-year-old artist from Taling Chan district, on Monday drew a huge portrait of His Majesty and stood in front of Siriraj Hospital holding the image over his head for hours to offer his condolence.
He almost fainted at one point, but still held the King’s portrait to his chest. “I want Thai people, especially young the generation, to know what His Majesty did for us,” he said.
Mr Weerachai said his artwork is not 100% complete yet. At first, he intended to draw a portrait to wish His Majesty the King good health, but he didn’t expect the bad news to come so fast. However, he promised to continue working on his art to show his reverence to his beloved King.
Ketsararat Kwankaew, a 27-year-old orchardist from Chumphon province, said she would start a tree growing activity in her hometown along with her community to honour the reforestation project pioneered by the late King.
“People in my community all remember the grace of His Majesty the King who worked hard for all Thai people. So we want to do some good by planting more trees,” she said.
Krittapas Chaipimon, a 32-year-old photographer from Nakhon Si Thammarat province, sported a brand new quote tattooed on his right arm. He said it represented his love, respect and loyalty to the late King.
“My friends and I decided to get a permanent mark on our bodies immediately after we heard the bad news. His Majesty means a lot to Thai people. We are all proud to have been born under his reign,” he said.
He said his heart broke while listening to the announcement on Thursday and decided he needed to do something in honour of the late King. When he arrived at the tattoo studio, many of his friends were already there. “I personally chose to ink the words ‘I was born in the reign of King Rama IX’ on my arm,” Mr Krittapas said.
Suthipol Karngann, a 31-year-old private employee from Lat Phrao district, said he planned to get the late King’s face tattooed on his chest so he could feel the King is in his heart at all times. “If my children ask me about my tattoo in the future, I will tell them the story of the greatest man who ever lived and show them what he looks like,” he said. “And of course, I will teach them to follow the King’s teaching on sufficiency.”