TODAY MARKS the first anniversary of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s passing and a reminder for Thais of the special place he has in their hearts.
Many may view him still as the father of the country and the nation’s guiding light.
Sitting on the throne since 1946, the late King reigned over Thailand with remarkable devotion to his people until his passing on October 13 last year.
For 12 months already, people have mourned his departure.
People break into tears at Siriraj Hospital on October 13 last year after hearing the official announcement about the passing of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
More than 12 million mourners have prostrated themselves before his Royal Urn inside the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall despite the heat, the rain and the long queues.
Others paid homage to the much-admired monarch at other designated venues and events in his honour across the nation.
“I have attended more than 100 exhibitions about our beloved King during the past 12 months,” said Natthanan Ussaneemas, a company employee. “I have also joined many sandalwood-flower making sessions.”
The flowers will be used for the Royal Cremation Ceremonies and related rituals, to be held between October 25 and 29.
As Natthanan recounted the many activities in which she had participated, it became clear to her that the late King had truly lived the oath of his ascension to the throne: “We shall rule with righteousness for the benefits and happiness of Siamese [Thai] people”.
“He’s our guiding light,” Natthanan said. “He has done a lot for Thailand and Thai people. By embracing his teachings and following in his footsteps, we still have our beloved King by our side. This way, he remains with us forever.”
She is among millions of Thais who have found a way to cope with the much-revered King’s death.
Narongrit Maisak, who works for a company in Nonthaburi, said the former King’s passing was a massive loss to Thais given his benevolence and contributions to the country.
“Even after one year, it’s not easy to accept what happened,” he said. “I promise to myself that in remembrance of the much-beloved king, his picture will always hang high at my home and I will follow his teachings. I will follow in his footsteps.”
Kanjana Klong-anan, a senior executive at Siam Commercial Bank and a recipient of King Bhumibol’s scholarship, said she cried the hardest in her life on October 13 last year upon learning about the King’s passing.
She admitted she still felt sad despite the passage of time. But having looked up to the late King all her life, she thought her role model would be unhappy if his people were just buried in grief. “I believe all of us had better focus on doing our duty well and embracing His Majesty’s teachings. That must be what His Majesty would want to see, I think,” Kanjana said.
The successful working woman has pledged to share her knowledge with others in the hope of creating opportunities for them.
“I intend to be a giver,” Kanjana said, following in the footstep of the late King’s many acts of giving.