Marigolds, rice, sunn hemp and more come to a garden in downtown Bangkok in remembrance of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej
This month, much of Thailand is covered by a rich yellow carpet as marigolds are planted nationwide in honour of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The marigolds, known as dok dao ruang in Thai and sometimes as tagetes in English, are believed to represent God’s perfect light and their colour symbolises Monday, the day of the week on which the late Monarch was born.
“Yard Nguea Phra Raja”, which translates as “drop of the King’s sweat” is one of many marigold-planting projects being implemented and sees a 30-rai plot on Bangkok’s Ratchadaphisek Soi 8 planted with more than 100,000 marigolds flowers and other flora in remembrance of the late King.
“The project gets its name from the late King’s lifetime dedication to the country. All of us have seen how tired the King could look from all the moving around and more than one picture has shown his brow covered in sweat. So, I think a drop of sweat has meaning for all Thai people. I designed four rai of the land in the shape of a drop of sweat and inserted the figure 9 inside it using more than 100,000 marigolds,” says Dr Satit Viddayakorn, chief executive of Principal Capital and a committee member of the Pongsak Viddayakorn Foundation.
“We’ve cooperated with the public sector to launch the loyalty campaign ‘Giving 1 Marigold Plant’, using the flower as a yellow symbol representing the heart. And we have brought lots of these tiny yellow symbols together to form a beautiful garden of loyalty to accompany His Majesty’s spirit on his journey to heaven. We hope that he will see this garden of love and loyalty from somewhere in heaven above. We have also applied the late King’s philosophy to this project so that people can feel the love and warmth of the late King in the soil, water, rice fields, rice seeds and in our hearts. We always feel his love for his people through the rice we eat, the inexpensive protein we get from tilapia fish, which the late Monarch introduced to this country, as well as through his development of water sources, his check dam project and improvement of soil quality. Every royal project represents His Majesty’s love and care much more than any verbal expression could. Our garden offers a chance for people in Bangkok to learn how His Majesty was more than just our King but a developer and the father of all Thais for more than 70 years,” he adds.
The project is divided into 10 zones. The “Highlight Garden”, as Satit explains, is in the form of a drop of sweat and contains the number nine planted in marigolds. The second zone “Gardening” takes the form of a rice field with golden rice plants symbolising the “Royal Father of Thai Rice”. The “Sunn Hemp Plantation”, marking the “New Agricultural Theory regarding Soil Improvement” is the largest sunn hemp field to be planted in the city and has been organised by the Land Development Centre from Saraburi Province. The fourth is “Clarifier” (“Royal Father of Water Resource Development”). The fifth zone is an exhibition titled “Science of King Garden” and covers the late King’s projects. On show here are photos and models of achievements from the projects such as a tilapia fish pond, a hilltribe check dam, vetiver grass, the Chaipattana aerator, rice and sunn hemp growing and water resource management.
The sixth zone, dubbed “The King’s Properties” highlights 12 pieces of his personal property including pencils, maps, a car and shoes. The seventh zone boasts an exhibition of flowering and ornamental plants, contests by run the Agricultural Bureau of Nakhon Pathom Province, and displays of orchids, flowers, vegetables, safe fruit and organic produce. The eighth zone has been handed over to farmers from such Northeast provinces as Maha Sarakham, Yasothon, Kalasin and Khon Kaen to sell their plants, trees and products. The ninth and tenth host food trucks and a souvenir kiosk selling T-shirts and hats respectively. Gross proceeds from sales along with donations will go to the Phra Dabos Foundation to be used for social development.
“Yard Nguea Phra Raja” is also the name of an honorary song penned and produced by veteran artist Thaneth “Ake” Warakulnukroh and sung by Rannapan “Patt” Yangyuenpoonchai of pop-rock outfit Klear. The song was written in remembrance of the late King and released at the beginning of this month.
“Thai people’s loyalty to His Majesty the late King will never fade. This period offers a chance to express our loyalty and appreciate His Majesty's boundless and gracious kindness as well as his sacrifices for the Thai people. Our hearts are joined as one for our beloved king,” says Thaneth.
“For more than 70 years, His Majesty King Rama IX worked and sweated tirelessly for his people. Every marigold planted represents our awareness of the kindness of our beloved King. One marigold plant represents a heart and every marigold plant shows our love for the late King,” says Rannapan “Patt” Yangyuenpoonchai of Klear.
Privy Councillor Air Chief Marshal Chalit Pookpasuk was joined at the opening of the garden by several artists and representatives of the organising team, among them Thanis Sriklindee, Peter Corp Dyrendal, Jonas Anderson, Somrak Khamsing and his daughter Benz, Wasu Howharn, Mookda Narinrak, Hone Thanakorn, Salakjit Duangchan, Duangchan Suwannee, Nui Nantakarn, Ice Saranyu, DJ Fangkao, Hwa Hwa of China Dolls, Nathamon “Por” Bhuvapacchima, Kun The Face, Dui The Face, Bonus Master Key, Best Rakwanee, Mew Kantima and Grace Bussarin.
“As we commemorate the royal grace of His Majesty the late King, I would like to invite all Thais to join us in planting marigolds,” says luk thung star Wasu, as Suthita “Image The Voice” Chanachaisuwan adds, “you can provide the marigolds yourself or pick up a plant here.”
“Dok dao ruang is a symbol of loyalty and also of remembrance, so I would like all Thais to take part in this ‘Yard Nguea Phra Raja’ project,” says Ketsepsawat “Na Nake” Palakawong Na Ayutthaya.
FIELDS OF GOLD
- To join the marigold-planting project, take exit 2 from MRT Thailand Cultural Centre. The marigold plantation continues through the end of October and runs daily from 3 to 9pm.