Connect with us

People

Profile: The man who met the King

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Ngeem Damrongkaset is a member of Rawai sea gypsy community. Now in his 70s, he had a chance to meet His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej when he first visited Phuket in 1959.

“I was about 12 years old at the time,” says Mr Ngeem. “I can still picture it clearly. Every person in our community had gathered together and was anxiously waiting to meet him. I remember feeling so blessed on that day – it was the most important day of our lives. He was the Father of the Nation, and he came to see us – poor people, who did not even have a place to call home.”

Mr Ngeem recalls the excitement of that day with a feeling of gratitude.

“Some adults presented His Majesty with marine creatures they had caught. It was the best we could do, as we could not afford anything else. He accepted all the gifts with his own hands. He even drank water which the community members gave him. I do not think this is something any other King would do,” he says.

“His Majesty and Her Royal Highness Queen Sirikit were graceful and respectful in all the things they did. It really was the best day of my life and I have never felt such joy and veneration in my life,” he adds.

Mr Ngeem says he has been shocked and grieved ever since he heard the news of His Majesty’s passing.

“His Majesty worked tirelessly for the country his whole life. He never stopped or took a day off from his duties. His presence and guidance were a huge blessing for the whole nation,” he says.

Mr Ngeem was born and raised in the Rawai sea gypsy community. He has never been anywhere but the sea, which is the only means of living for his family and community.

He attended a local school called Wat Sawang Arom School, which is located inside a temple close to where he grew up.

“All the kids in my community went to the same school, as they could not afford to enroll anywhere else and were certain to grow up to be fishermen anyway,” he says.

Mr Ngeem says he and his fellow community members try to follow the example His Majesty set for everyone.

“His Majesty worked hard and never complained about it. He helped poor people and enabled them to be self-sufficient. I will strive to keep on doing good things to honor him and his legacy,” he says.

Although Mr Ngeem is no longer in a leadership position in his community, he says he does what he can to help his community members.

“In my role as an elder of the community, I sometimes see some inappropriate things, and do whatever I can to set things right when it is in my power. The best I can do is give advice and let people know what is right and what is wrong. The rest is up to them,” he says.

Mr Ngeem feels that a lot has changed since others from outside the community have settled in the area.

“Earlier, we used to be just fishermen, but now the trend of other types of employment has taken hold. We are who we are, but there is nothing I can do if our younger generation doesn’t want to follow in the same footsteps. It is their future, so they must be the ones to decide,” he says.

“Ultimately, we must follow His Majesty’s advice of doing our duty to the best of our abilities. He will always be in our hearts – our great King, the King of Kings.”

— Chutharat Plerin

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand9 mins ago

Fake dead bodies used in Phuket protest, police plan real investigation

Best of15 mins ago

Top 5 adventure tours in Chiang Mai

Best of15 mins ago

Top 5 affordable hotels in Chiang Mai

Sponsored1 day ago

Experience Phuket’s Islands with 5 Star Marine

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Friday Covid Update: 17,345 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand2 hours ago

Prayut offers his sympathies, teases restrictions

World3 hours ago

China’s national anthem possibly booed in Hong Kong, police investigate

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Best of3 hours ago

Patong Beach’s 10 most popular hotels

Singapore5 hours ago

Survey shows Singaporeans making travel plans as country eyes re-opening

Thailand5 hours ago

Media banned from spreading fake/distorted news, violators could have internet cut

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

21 of yesterday’s Covid-related deaths died at home

Best of6 hours ago

Top 5 shopping malls Phuket

Coronavirus Vaccines6 hours ago

11 charged for allegedly selling fake Bang Sue vaccination appointments

Koh Samui7 hours ago

Samui re-opening plans under threat as island infections rise

Thailand7 hours ago

Field hospital set up in Phuket Rajabhat University for Covid-19 patients

Coronavirus World7 hours ago

Vaccine hesitancy testing the patience of fully inoculated Americans

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending