What Happens When The King of Thailand Dies
I was set to arrive in Bangkok on October 26, 2016. As the day quickly approached, I recieved news that the King of Thailand had passed away. For some reason, I didn’t place much value on the news seeing how I had so much to do and finish up at home before my year-long journey. Little did I know that that news was something I should have weighed heavily.
Upon arrival, I envisioned the country would be much like it was on my last trip ten months prior; sight-seeing during the day followed by partying in the night. To my surprise, that was not the case-Khao San Road was quiet. People everywhere clothed in black. Roads constantly shut down to make way for the Prince and other important figures who came to pay the King their respects. The Grand Palace was closed and every Thai individual I came across made a point to discuss how sad this time was to lose their valued and highly-thought-of King. They also warned me that all of Thailand was not allowed to play music and parties were a no-go for the next month as the entire country mourns the loss of their King. I had asked who would be the next King in which the answer was the King’s son who happened to be in his 60’s.
So I got to thinking that I should research who was this great King and what actually happens when the King of Thailand dies seeing how much it has effected my travels around the country.
Who was the King?
Part of the dramatic significance of this particular King, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was the fact he is the only King most of Thailand has ever known. He was crowned the King of Thailand at just 18 years of age and had held the thrown until his death at age 88, passing away after being sick for quite some time on October 13, 2016. That marks his reign as Rama lX for 70 long, enduring years. You can only imagine the shock it took on the Thailand’s citizens. Born in Cambridge, Massachussetts and then attending school in Switzerland, King Adulyadej had a fond attitude towards foreigners.He had a love for the arts, taking an interest in both the saxophone and photography.Despite his creative side, he chose to study science, later switching to law and politics. At age 18, he had taken the thrown after his brother was shot and killed, and after world war 2 ended, King Adulyadej returned back to Thailand. Since his reign, he has managed to decrease drug-use through a “War on Drugs” campaign, swithc Thailand to a democratic society where civilian leaders were now in power, battled constant wars with military leaders in order to keep the peace in Thailand. King Adulyadej was a symbol for change, for growth, he was a symbol for his country.
When a king dies in Thailand, the country then enters a year-long mourning process. For the next thirty days, the people Thailand were asked to wear black and avoid any joyous colors. In addition, no music shall be played (for the islands, a 12a.m. end curfew at only a select few locations). Cinema screens, sport events, concerts have all been postponed, where the only thing playingon television is a remberance video of the King. Things such as music and cinema screenings are said to resume after these thirty days. After that one year, the Prince Vajiralongkorn will be sworn in and is said to inherit 35 billion dollars worth of property. With the country’s infavorable attitude toward the prince for his lack of involvement in the country, the country waits to see just how much their future will change after living during the time of the longest reigning King in all of history. With signs of “Long Live The King” on many people’s cars, we can only assume just how respected this king was.