King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand died yesterday. He had been on the throne for seventy years and was revered by ordinary Thai people like a god. No visit to a cinema in Thailand is complete without a rendition of "The King's Song" and when the associated images appear on screen you must stand to attention or risk arrest. King Bhumibol Adulyadej's image is everywhere and I know that the Thai people will be hurting terribly today as they begin a period of national mourning that will last a year.
We, servants of His great Majesty,
prostrate our heart and head,
to pay respect to the ruler,
whose merits are boundless,
our glorious sovereign ,
the greatest of Siam,
with great and lasting honour,
We are secure and peaceful
because of your royal rule,
the result of royal protection
is people living in happiness and in peace,
May it be that whatever you will,
be done according to the hopes of your great heart
as we wish you victory, hurrah!
This what President Obama had to say about him a few hours after the king's death, "I had the honour of calling on His Majesty the King during my visit to Thailand in 2012, and recall his grace and warmth, as well as his deep affection and compassion for the Thai people. As the revered leader and only monarch that most Thais have ever known, His Majesty was a tireless champion of his country's development and demonstrated unflagging devotion to improving the standard of living of the Thai people. With a creative spirit and a drive for innovation, he pioneered new technologies that have rightfully received worldwide acclaim."
I believe that the technologies referred to were mostly to do with land drainage and the supply of electricity - subjects which fascinated the king in his younger days and you may see images in the YouTube clip associated with these very practical concerns.