Island View: Willing to go the distance for HM the King

PHUKET: The news of the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej on October 13 has brought immense sadness to all Thais. Facebook and other social media is filled with messages of love and condolences. Every time I see such messages, it brings tears to my eyes.

People are commemorating his life and achievements by sharing his history, hard work and other endeavors for Thailand, accomplishments in music and sports, and so on. While reading this gives me great pleasure, my heart still bleeds for the loss our nation has suffered.

On October 14, Phuket Governor Chokchai Dejamornthan announced the guidelines for the official mourning period. All entertainment venues were shut for the first three days of mourning. They are now open, but are operating without live music for a period of 30 days. No doubt, this will impact those whose livelihoods are directly connected to nightlife entertainment venues.

I myself work two jobs – one in the day time as an administrative officer and one at night as a musician, to provide for my family. For 30 days, I will lose my income as a performer, which will make things really tough for my family this month. However, I am willing to do so without any argument because I love my King very much. Some of my friends are full-time musicians, and the impact on their lives has been even greater.

Bars, pubs and entertainment venue owners are also suffering a loss of income during this time. However, most of them respect the establishment and do it out of love for our King. Some entertainment venue owners are even providing free meals to their musicians during these 30 days, joined together in the nation’s period of mourning.

I, and many others who love to run and cycle, showed our respect to His Majesty by doing just that. Some people ran 9.99km while others cycled 99.99km.

On Oct 13, I went out for a 9.99 km run at 6:30pm, praying for the health of His Majesty. I heard the news when I was in the middle of my run, at about 7pm. Despite the immense sadness that overcame me, I continued what I had started, as my purpose of good wishes and respect for His Majesty was still the same. I finished my run at 8pm and that is when I fully realized the extent of our loss.

Another major impact of this news has been on the tourism sector. Since the country is in mourning, several tourists have complained that they are not enjoying their holidays as bars are closed and parties have been cancelled. While I can understand this to some extent, I want tourists to know that this is a very sad time for us as we were faced with the biggest loss in our history.

Tourists are always welcome to enjoy the sun and sand in Thailand, but since this is our time of mourning, we cannot offer parties. If that is what they want, I suggest they choose another destination for the time being. When things have returned to normal, they are welcome to come back and enjoy all that Thailand has to offer.

— Pruth Kulprasit

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Legacy Phuket Gazette

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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