Thursday, May 06, 2010

Wearing My Yellow Tie, and Saying a Prayer ...

... in honor of Bhumibol Adulyadej ( ภูมิพลอดุลยเดช ), born on this day in 1927. It was just two years ago that I returned from a Christian mission trip to Thailand with, among other things, an appreciation for that country's ruler, the world's longest-serving current head-of-state and the longest-serving monarch in Thai history.

He was the King in the 1960s, when my father visited that nation for R&R, in the course of two tours-of-duty in the Vietnam War. Thailand has long been a friend of the United States - due in part to the appreciation their monarch has for the west. He was born in the US, and his education not only included schools in Thailand, but the University of Lausanne, in Switzerland, and Harvard University, in America. He serves as head of the National Scout Organization of Thailand, one of the oldest Scouting organizations in the world. He also developed a passion for jazz music, as both a performer and a composer, and was the first Asian composer awarded honorary membership of the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Vienna.

Other interesting points ... in his younger days, he was an accomplished, medal-winning sailor and sailboat designer ... he is possibly the only monarch in the world to hold patents (for, among other things, a waste water aerator) ... he is also a painter, musician, photographer (using a Canon!), author and translator.

So, why the yellow tie? While I was in Thailand, I learned that yellow is the color associated with the day of the king's birth (a Monday). That's why you see so much of that color during his birthday celebrations around the country, and on tributes to him throughout the nation.
And, why the prayer? Because, as you probably know from following world news headlines, Thailand has been wracked by protests in recent weeks ... not an uncommon occurrence, but certainly the most violent that country has seen in a long time. Latest news reports from Bangkok suggest a compromise may defuse the deadly crisis ... and I hope and pray that that is indeed the case, and that the people will once again heed the 'better angels of their nature' and their monarch's please for calm and rational resolution of their differences.

No comments: