Thai public members in mourning attire sit and wait in long lines in the hot sun yesterday on Bangkok’s Bamrung Muang Road near the Defence Ministry, preparing to pass through the first screening point to enter the Sanam Luang ceremonial ground.
Thai public members in mourning attire sit and wait in long lines in the hot sun yesterday on Bangkok’s Bamrung Muang Road near the Defence Ministry, preparing to pass through the first screening point to enter the Sanam Luang ceremonial ground.

Social media records historic event

Kingdom Grieves October 26, 2017 01:00

By ASINA PORNWASIN
THE NATION

‘People must be able sleep at a 6-star hotel and sleep on the street side. Good night Thai people, see you at 5am’



THAILAND’S social-media users have begun recording events around the Royal Crematorium with photographs and Facebook Live videos, because they want to share the atmosphere of the place where an historic ceremony will be held today. 

Many photos and messages showing the area around the Sanam Luang ceremonial ground have been posted on social media since Tuesday night, when the first group of mourners queued in the hope of reserving a prime spot to witness the Royal Cremation of HM the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

An estimated 110,000 people will be allowed to occupy the designated area where they can watch the Royal Processions up close today. 

Facebook user “Watcharee Suphaluxana” posted a picture of herself in a white raincoat with a black umbrella, lying on the street, with a message saying: “People must be able sleep at a 6-star hotel and sleep on the street side. Good night Thai people, see you at 5am [the time when the screening points opened yesterday].”

She updated her Facebook timeline after passing through the screening point, with photos taken inside the grounds in the heat of the day and later as the rain fell.

Mourners who successfully secured seats in the prime viewing zone were seen to be well prepared. They had umbrellas and food, including fruit and snack items. Some had even brought tents. 

Facebook user “Norravit Boom”, who queued for around seven hours before passing a screening point, made a Facebook Live video to show the atmosphere inside and volunteers distributing free food, as well as demonstrating how hot the weather was.

Other began posting while they were still outside the grounds waiting to pass through the screening points.

“Selene Thewanderer”, who arrived at screening point 1 at the Ministry of Defence at 3.31am yesterday, posted a photo on Facebook of people in a long queue wearing various types of raincoats.

She wrote that while people had different coloured raincoats and came from different parts of the country, “we have the same heart with the love of Father [the late King]”. 

She also chatted in a comment box with her friends, saying that she would be at the site until Friday. 

Facebook user “Kratai Padriew” posted a picture of herself and her friends who were sleeping on the roadside, with the words “First night sleep here” and the location set to the Ministry of the Interior. 

Another Facebook user, “Siriluck Pattanaleelawong”, posted a photo of herself at 1am yesterday, standing in the rain, wearing a white raincoat.

Her location was marked as being close to Chetuphon Temple Intersection screening point. She commented that she was well prepared, with her raincoat, umbrella and medicine. 

“Boom Wanvisa”, a Thai woman who lives in the United States, also noted on Facebook that she had been in the queue since 5am yesterday.

She shared on her post: “I flew from San Francisco to Thailand for the final farewell for our late King Bhumibol. The ceremony will take place tomorrow [Thursday]. However, the crowd started lining up since 5am today [Wednesday] to get into the area where we can witness the ceremony that is happening in 35 hours.

“It has been almost five hours and we are only 600 feet [180 metres] away from where we started. We don’t know when we will get in the area, but we’ll keep waiting patiently to send off someone we love and respect with our whole hearts. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I would not trade for anything.”

The Nation thanks social-media users for sharing their photos and experiences.