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What's Next For Thailand After The Death Of The King?

Courtesy of Bernard Spragg. NZ/FLickr
Courtesy of Bernard Spragg. NZ/FLickr
The world’s longest-reigning monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, passed away yesterday. On Thursday, October 13, 2016, hundreds of Thais gathered outside the hospital he was taken to early Thursday morning, reciting prayers and singing songs in hopes of a speedy recovery. At 8:52 p.m. at Siriraj Hospital, however, the beloved king passed away. The reason for his death has not been given.

‘I don’t really have much to say,’ said Suphatra Tanapura, project manager at Blue Spice. ‘All I could say is that Thailand isn’t the greatest country, but we have the greatest king. I am very honored to have been born in this era to witness our greatest king of Thailand.’

From A Hospital Bed To The Throne

King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s health has been a concern for a few years now, as he has been in and out of the hospital with several different ailments. According to a September 5, 2016, CNN article titled, ‘Hospitalized King Bhumibol of Thailand improves,’ the king was having trouble breathing, had low blood pressure, and he was treated for a severe infection just last month. He also had his gallbladder removed last year.

It was announced on Sunday that the king’s health had taken a turn for the worse, according to an October 14, 2016, Time article titled, ‘Vigils Continue for Thailand’s Ailing King Bhumibol Adulyadej.’ His medical team reported that he was given dialysis for his kidneys, and his liver was not functioning as it should. Since then, Thais began to gather outside Siriraj Hospital, with photos of the monarch and lighted incense in hand. The crowd was a sea of yellow and pink. Pink is meant to represent good health for the king, and yellow represents the royal family.

Bike for Dad in Chiang Mai Thailand © Courtesy of Jan Beck/Flickr

A Country In Mourning

Thailand will officially enter a state of mourning after the death of their beloved king. According to a Friday, October 14, 2016, BBC News article titled, ‘Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej dead at 88,’ this period of mourning will last for one year. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha announced on television that during this time, flags should fly at half-mast. All entertainment functions must be ‘toned down’ for a month, as well.

Parties and events all over the city have been canceled as the announcement of the king’s death was made. Even some of the most anticipated events have been posting updates about cancellations, including the Kolour Warehouse Party. The official Facebook page for the event posted an update immediately after the king’s passing.

‘In respect for a difficult moment for Thais around the world we are writing to officially announce the cancellation of the Kolour Warehouse Event,’ the post said. ‘Information for current ticket holders will follow within the next 24 hours. We thank you for your understanding and support.’

The Grand Palace in Bangkok © Courtesy of Pixabay

The Monarchy

King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the only ruler some Thais have ever known, as he has been in power for 70 years. This includes Bangkok resident Chireen Yotinpatthana. When she was young, she did not think much of his teachings, but she said she realizes now that his words, music, jokes, and work were all preparing the country for today.

‘Now, I think when Thai people look at each other’s eyes, we don’t see a stranger or the opponent,’ Yotinpatthana said. ‘We see that we are from this land, and this is the best time for us to start looking out for each other. There’s no better time than this.’

Can I Still Travel To Thailand?

Tourism is a big business for Thailand, and many people are wondering now if they should still travel to the Land of Smiles in the wake of this tragedy. For the next year, the country will be in a state of mourning, and most celebrations and activities have been postponed for at least 30 days, including the famous full moon party. That being said, all airports and public transportation services are to run as they normally would. Visitors are also advised to wear respectable clothing in public when possible.