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Jakarta Post

Insight: Happy National Day Thailand, my second home

  • Wimar Witoelar
    Wimar Witoelar

    Founder of Intermatrix Communications, which advises the civil society group Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN)

Jakarta   /   Tue, December 5, 2017   /  08:06 am
Insight: Happy National Day Thailand, my second home Wat Arun Temple at sunset in Bangkok, Thailand. (Shutterstock/File)

The first time I went to Bangkok in 1970, my fellow student activists from Bandung and I watched a movie at Siam Square. We were astonished when the half-empty hall went dark and projected a photo of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, accompanied by a stately anthem. 

Everybody stood up and paid their respect in silence; so did we. 

Coming from a country where we had joined in overthrowing a political order, the experience was awe-inspiring. Even in his heyday, founding president Sukarno never commanded such respect. Fear and caution, yes, but people giggled behind his back and thought of other things at formal occasions. 

In Thailand, King Bhumibol was truly revered and widely seen as not just a symbol of stability, but a harbinger of justice and prosperity.

That became the cover page of my personal perspectives on Thailan...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.