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December 20, 2012

Local Voices from Around the Globe: The birthday of a king


The current monarch is revered with an exceptional zeal as he has been responsible for leading a government responsive to issues of all Thais, regardless of social class. He is believed by many to be something of a demigod, infallible in judgment, genius and with the capability to alter physical weather.

Though his method of leadership has proved to be much more liberal than those of his predecessors’, criticism of the king or the royal family in Thailand remains punishable by very severe penalties. A few foreigners who’ve come to Thailand over the years without knowledge of the heavy consequences in store for a naysayer of the throne have been imprisoned for publicly denouncing the king. As a native of the largest democracy on the planet and a nation well acquainted with its share of dissenters, I look upon these aspects of the monarchy with muted curiosity.

It has been 60 long years since Rama IX took the throne and I believe that a great deal of the enthusiasm behind this year’s Father’s Day celebration was spawned in large part by the physical health of the king. At 85, he suffers from multiple debilitating illnesses and currently resides at Siriraj Hospital in the capital. The adoration he receives from his subjects is most appropriate and for Dec. 5 2012, I say, “Cha Yoh, cheers,” Long Live the King!

Zak Aldridge is a junior at Milford Central School. To read more from him, visit

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