Monarch to open medical centre and enjoy monkey show
Since learning of His Majesty's interest in his famed monkey show, named after its simian star "Khun Prakit", troupe leader Watchara Kanrobroo says he's been so thrilled at his "dream chance" to perform before the King on February 1 that he's been losing sleep."It's been my biggest dream, despite the slim chance, that one day I and my monkey troupe would perform before His Majesty, especially given the fact that this kind of show is becoming less and less popular nowadays.
"And now it has come true. It is an honour to perform for royalty from any country, but to do so for our King is very special," he added.
The final decision over whether the venue for the show will be Siriraj Hospital or Chitralada Palace will be announced by the Royal Household Bureau. Watchara said he had learned of His Majesty's interest in the show on January 12, before being told on Tuesday that he would be performing for the King.
Watchara said he and his Prakit Sit Phragaan troupe had twice performed before His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn - in 1998 at his former palace in Nonthaburi and in 2008 at his current residence, Sukhothai Palace, in Bangkok. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn enjoyed his show in 1983 when she visited the Crocodile Farm in Samut Prakan where he regularly performs.
His Majesty has reportedly stated his preference for a comedy show on February 1, over the regular drama Watchara offers. Titled "Peerless Swordsmen", the show will be performed by four monkeys, and two narrators, said Watchara. He added that he was now busy checking the monkeys' costumes, their health, and the script.
The Khun Prakit Sit Phragaan monkey troupe was founded 30 years ago by Watchara's father, Panya, and is the only one of its kind left in Thailand. The troupe performs its 30-minute shows mostly at charity or cultural events, charging about Bt6,000 in Bangkok and Bt10,000 elsewhere. Its five costumed monkeys dance and lip synch to stories adapted from classic Asian novels and folklore.
Before attending the show, His Majesty will preside over the inauguration of the Sayamindradhiraj Medical Institute near Siriraj Hospital. The King will be accompanied by HRH Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Professor Udom Kachintorn, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, said yesterday.
The event is scheduled to start at 5pm with the King formally unveiling a statue of HM King Chulalongkorn holding his son, Prince Siriraj Kakudhabhandu, who died aged two, and for whom the hospital is named.
The monarch will then inaugurate the Sayamindradhiraj Medical Institute, which comprises the Centre of Excellence, the Centre
of Applied Thai Traditional Medicine and Sirirajphimukhsthan Museum.
The event will be broadcast live via Radio Thailand.
Dr Udom said the King's health is improving step by step but that he requires continuous physical therapy, while Her Majesty the Queen's condition has returned to normal and she is now able to walk.