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Social media flooded with birthday greetings, pictures

This year's celebration of December 5 by Thai users of social media focused more on His Majesty's birthday than on Fathers' Day, partly because so many people were engaged in activities related to the King's public audience from the balcony of the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall. They shared pictures of the event, of themselves in yellow shirts, of transcripts of the King's speech and, of course, the message "Long Live the King".

Many people on Facebook and Twitter said they shed tears of joy. Many said they couldn't stop crying all day.

As of 7.20pm yesterday, Thai Trend reported 102,888 tweets from different users via the hashtag #WeLoveKINGThailand and 39,898 tweets posted by different users using the hashtag "Long Live the King" in Thai. Many other hashtags such as WeLoveKing and LongLiveTheKing were used by tens of thousand of users.

Facebook, in particular, outdid other social media as a venue for celebrating the King's birthday. Normally, people shared the teachings, stories and old pictures of the King, including those taken six years ago during celebrations of the 60th anniversary of His Majesty's accession to the throne. However, yesterday, one of the most shared pictures was a panoramic picture of the so-called Sea of Yellow, which showed how many people showed up to offer their support to the King. Facebook users shared pictures they had obtained from the media and even pictures they captured from their TV screens.

One Facebook user said she was so happy that she wanted to stop time. "Long Live the King. This is a very important day that makes Thais united as one. I wish I could stop time, as all Thais love the King just the same," she posted.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra posted her pictures and the transcript of her address and wishes offered during yesterday's ceremony.

While Facebook posts were more informative, Twitter had more up-to-the minute updates. The timeline flowed very quickly even before 10am, the scheduled time of His Majesty's presence at the venue. The updates went on with tweeple portraying the atmosphere of the celebration from here and there, in Bangkok and in the provinces, plus their well wishes and comments or promises to follow in his footsteps.

Parts of the King's speech were posted live, while a link to the full transcript or recordings were posted later.

Foreigners including ambassadors Kristie Kenney (@KristieKenney) of the US and Mark Kent (@KentBkk) of the UK as well as Korean star Siwon Choi (@siwon407) also took part in hailing the King on Twitter.

Interesting tweets posted on Tuesday night included that of @skcint11, who said his friend - a member of the fanclub of Korean band Super Junior - stayed overnight in a tent at the Royal Plaza, saying if she could wait for the band, why wouldn't she wait for her beloved King? @WoodyWutthichai posted he would skip tweeting about politics for a day.

To celebrate Fathers' Day, Teachawat Sukrak posted a picture of himself with his father on graduation day, saying he hoped to become like his father one day.

Hataikan Leelakitichok posted pictures of herself with her father, saying he is not in Bangkok but she had already called to wish him well.


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