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Inspired Phuketian: A legacy of sustainability

The late King’s given name, Bhumibol Adulyadej, translates in English as “Strength of the Land, Incomparable Power” and it was his dedication and commitment to supporting those who toiled on the land – the country’s farmers and rural communities – that secured the monarch’s place in the hearts of Thai people.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 25 March 2018, 10:00AM

King Bhumibol’s passing left more than a simple legacy, but a set of concepts and ideals that will be followed by the people of Thailand for generations to come. He did not only inspire us to love and be there for one another, but also to set a good example for future generations. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that the King of Thailand is widely considered to be “the world’s hardest working monarch” for his initiatives within many fields. He chose to live a private and humble life and encouraged us to follow in his footsteps.

Throughout the decades of King Bhumibol’s reign, I witnessed his commitment, hard work and humility, and it will never cease to inspire me. King Bhumibol saw the importance of each individual, regardless of their background or status and strongly believed that our nation is one. Hence, I feel that it is very important to be humble and to have respect for all, despite our differences.

One of King Bhumibol’s most inspiring achievements is his theory of ‘self-sufficiency’, urges us to be satisfied with ourselves and what we have. But it is not about settling for less or giving up any ambitions for what you want in life. Moreover it reminds us, that when we are striving to achieve something it is equally important to remember that, no matter the result, you have done your best and can be content with it.


King Bhumibol’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy

This philosophy consists of three principles: moderation, reasonableness and resiliency. There are perceptions that the Sufficiency Economy principle is applicable only to the rural and agriculture sectors. In fact, it is a philosophy that can be applied to all aspects of life, from managing household budgets to the financial affairs of large corporations.

Being sufficient does not restrict people from having a lot, or possessing luxury items, but it does imply one must not take advantage of others. Everything must be within limits. We say what is necessary, act as is needed and work as is adequate. Thus, sufficiency means within the proper bounds and reasons of the country and the people.

The Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) emphasises the “Middle Path” in daily living for people of all genders, ages and walks of life. It encourages people to reach a state of living that is in harmony with nature.

It can be applied at individual, community, national and international levels. The philosophy holds that each individual should be conscientious in their daily conduct and strive to lead a joyful and moderate life. The SEP can also be applied at every level of organisation – family, school, institution and government.


Sufficiency Thinking and Sustainable Business Practices

Put simply – people matter and nature matters. Whatever we do, we must ensure that we are not stealing from future generations. Sufficiency thinking is the key to sustainable development and can be understood as “putting people and the environment first, not profit maximisation” – for our children’s sake.

Sufficiency thinking is composed of wisdom or insight and the need for built-in resilience against the risks which arise from internal or external change. The application of this theory in business planning and implementation requires good judgement at every stage.


Organisations needs to develop their commitment to the importance of knowledge, integrity and honesty so that their business has the strength and balance to respond to rapid and widespread changes in the world’s economy, society and environment.

In business practice, moderation can be defined as not over-producing and not over-investing. Reasonableness underscores prudent corporate decisions and the firms that practice sound risk management will fin themselves the most resilient. King Bhumibol believed that if businesses correctly applied the principals of the SEP they would create a culture of corporate sustainability.


Will businesses following the SEP still be profitable?

Based on economic evidence, Thai firms that adopted SEP were less risk prone, but not less profitable. In 1997, the economic crisis gave Thailand first-hand experience of the fragility of economies built on unsustainable growth. Business schools are now teaching future corporate leaders about the crucial importance of business ethics, principles of honesty and integrity, good corporate governance and long-term sustainability.

If people are contented, they are less greedy. With less greed, they will face fewer problems. To truly make customers satisfied a business should value honesty, not greed.

Over seven decades, King Bhumibol provided many examples and outlined a clear vision of how to develop a prosperous and sustainable nation. To tackle 21st century challenges successfully, the business community should wholeheartedly adopt King Bhumibol’s sustainable development theories.

To achieve this end, the business community can follow King Bhumibol’s example of applying innovative solutions and cost-effective technologies through a rational decision-making process in order to overcome new challenges and ensure society will reap the rewards of a sustainable and resilient economy.


The author of this article Kiranee Narabal, 40, was born in Phuket and has built a diverse career as an educator, business consultant, national TV news anchor, freelance MC and is involved in several women’s business associations and various charities.

Ms Kiranee will be expanding on these ideas during her talk for Inspired Phuketian on Thursday, March 29 at 6pm at Skye Lake Club in Cherng Talay. Limited to 55 seats only, tickets are B350 and include one drink and pass around canapés. Register at:

This event is proudly sponsored by The Phuket News and Live 89.5. 

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