We are in an unprecedented time in Thai history, fraught with deep sadness and uncertainty.
Many of us are gripped by the same emotional state, which feels as if a supporting pillar of our society has toppled. Our hearts are broken.
Thais of my generation and of my parents’ and grandparents’ generations have always known and revered King Bhumibol. Growing up in Thailand, his presence, a benevolent figure who united us during the best and worst of times, was everywhere — in portrait displays of homes and businesses, in images on television, on the daily evening news, and in conversation. His Majesty was larger than life, with his goodness — the tireless work for the betterment of the Thai people, his moral teachings, modest demeanour, and accomplishments in the arts – reinforcing his deity-like status. Perhaps that’s why this is such an a shock for us Thais; in the context of our own self-preserving tendencies, we could never fathom his actual passing. He was to forever keep us united, secure and happy.
Now we mourn. We cry, with our parents, grandparents, siblings and friends. Our children have not be ensconced in His Majesty’s calming, ethereal persona the way we were, given his diminished presence in the public eye over the past few years. Young children don’t understand why everyone is so sad. We tend to shush and suppress their questions, especially when we ourselves are anxious, saddened and hungry for news. Through the sorrow, we must remember that it’s important to reach out to them, too. Tell them clearly what has happened and why His Majesty was so loved. Also, explain that grief manifests itself in various ways. Some people will break down, while others quietly grieve. Over time, we will be okay again.
We also look with hope to the future of Thailand. It feels as if His Majesty has planned for this all along — instilling his teachings, by example and in words, so that we will find our way. Like most parents, he has tried his very best for those under his care. And now it is up to us to move ahead, guided by his light and love. We must have faith that these qualities will prevail as the Thai people, and Thailand as a nation, enter a new era, hopefully shaping a new identity from what was given to us over the past 70 years.
With gratitude and reverence, May His Majesty Rest in Peace.
Voralak S., Editor, BKK Kids