Exactly 365 days ago to the day it was announced that one of the most remarkable and well-respected of all Thais, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, had passed away after a long battle against illness.
This is a day that will not only remain fixed in the minds of all Thai citizens, but also those, wherever they may be from, who have any kind of close connection to the Kingdom.
It was one of those days when pretty much all of us remember exactly what we were doing at the time when King Bhumibol’s passing was announced. And there certainly aren’t many days we remember such as this.
Soon after the announcement, it was pretty clear to see what the nation as a whole was going through. From the thousands upon thousands who made their way to the capital to pay their respects to such a popular man, to the hundreds upon hundreds who flocked to the island’s Saphan Hin Park in Phuket Town to remember who had become known and loved as the Father of the Nation.
From the very next day, without any formal instructions, the nation adorned themselves in black, a black ribbon sufficed for those who didn’t have black attire. And even for the 364 days from then until now the overwhelming number of people still wearing black has been remarkable.
Sure, the outpouring of grief shown by Thai citizens has slowly receded, but we all know full well that deep down inside the grief is still there.
The grief for the loss of such a deeply revered person does not just disappear overnight. We have all lost someone close to us and understand the reality of how long it actually takes to get over such a loss. For Thailand as a nation, that someone was King Bhumibol.
We cannot even try to anticipate what today and the week leading up to next Friday’s Royal Funeral holds in store with regards to Thais showing respect to their Father, but we as guests in their country should warm to it, be part of it, and do exactly as our Thai friends would expect of us at such a time.
The Phuket News holds Thailand and its nationals close to our hearts, and we grieve and mourn with you at this difficult time.