New Website – Lanna Living!

Hi All! I have a new website for you to enjoy!  This one is all about living in Chiang Mai, so I’ve called it Lanna Living.  You know how much I love to share tips and instructions – so this one will include things like best restaurants, local road trips, and fun stuff like getting a drivers’s license and paying your phone bill. I’ll keep this site … Continue reading New Website – Lanna Living!

The (Late) King’s Birthday

Last year, there were huge celebrations for the King’s birthday.  Everyone wore yellow (because the king was born on Monday, which is yellow).  Many people wore yellow for the entire month of December.  There was even a bike rally, Bike for Dad, just so show love and support for the ailing king. This year there is no celebration.

It’s been 50 days since the Father of Thailand passed away.  I have been avoiding posting anything because there has been some uncertainty.  Also because of Thailand’s severe lèse majesté laws.  This means that is illegal to insult or defame a member of the royal family.  Punishment can range from 3-15 years behind bars.  Wikipedia tells me Thailand has no legal definition of defamation – it’s wide open to interpretation.

On the 50th day of mourning, the crown prince was declared King Rama X.  The coronation won’t be until later this year, after the late king’s cremation.

October 13th

We first heard about the king’s passing from outside new sources.  Both Chinese and Dutch news agencies were reporting the that King Bhumibol had died.  It wasn’t until a few hours later that the Thai government confirmed it.  Then we new it was true.

By the next day the government had declared a country in mourning.  All entertainment and festivals were suspended.  Major concerts cancelled.  Even the local pub quiz was on hiatus, out of respect.

Everything turned to black to reflect the country’s mood.  Here black and white are mourning colors, and swaths of fabric surrounded every image of his majesty.  Television, website (government and corporate), and newspapers turned to black and white.   Entertainment programs on tv were replaced with videos of the king.

Dress code changed too.  All black was expected, which government employees will follow for one year.  Thais chastised each other on social media for wearing color, until it was pointed out that not everyone can afford new clothes.  Plus the stores were selling out of black fast.  The government set up free dyeing stations in every province.  And people started to wear a black ribbon on their left arm.

The moratorium on entertainment lasted for 30 days, and gradually things have gotten back to normal.  But many people continue to wear black or the ribbon, and the black and white decorations still stand.

At School

The school followed the government’s lead.  The school play, the annual fair, field trips, and overnight camps were cancelled.  Even Christmas celebrations were cancelled.  A big deal for a Christian school.  The teachers were directed to wear black.  White shirts are acceptable, if the black ribbon is included.  This will continue for a 100-day mourning period.

The school participated in a national oath to declare their respect and loyalty to the royal family.  And we stood for 89 seconds of silence, one second for every year of the king’s life.

The following day the entire study body formed a Thai 9, representing King Rama IX.  Side note – This took one rehearsal and two takes, and was recorded on a student’s drone.

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Some of my co-teachers have adjusted their curriculum.  They have had students sing the English version of the king’s jazz composition.  I had no idea, but the king was quite the musician and played saxophone with the likes of Benny Goodman.

Continue reading “The (Late) King’s Birthday”