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  November - December 2009


Tribute to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand,
the world’s longest reigning monarch. Blessed are all Thais to have a King of sincerity, compassion and plain common sense. For all those who respect His Majesty for his integrity, it was an immense relief and joy to learn that the great monarch is convalescing from his recent illness. In this humble tribute, commemorating His Majesty’s 82nd Birthday, AseanAffairs presents a snapshot of His Majesty’s life and works.

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With deep respect and admiration, AseanAffairs magazine would like to present our heartfelt congratulations to HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who turns 82 on December 5, 2009.

The world’s longest reigning monarch is revered among the Thais and non-Thais for his proper adherence to the principles of "Dhamma", Buddhist teachings and the Buddhist concept of righteousness. His gentleness, his reserve, his modesty and his apparent detachment are qualities he has worked hard to perfect.

His Majesty is respected by his subjects – the rich and the poor alike – for the practical deeds he has contributed.

One such instance is the Sufficiency Economy - a philosophy bestowed on his subjects through royal remarks on many occasions over the past three decades.

In one his customary birthday speeches, His Majesty wished everyone in Thailand “sufficient to live and to eat” (Phor You Phor Kin).

“The development of a country must be by steps. It must start with basic sufficiency in food and adequate living, using techniques and instruments which are economical but technically sound. When this foundation is secured, then higher economic status and progress can be established.”  ....

The Strength of the Land

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand was born in Cambridge Massachusetts, the United States of America, on Monday the 5th of December 1927, being the third and youngest child of Their Royal Highnesses Prince and Princess Mahidol of Songkhla. He is the direct grandson of His Late Majesty King Chulalongkorn or Rama V who was renowned for the great reforms which he made to all institutions of Thailand.
He was auspiciously named Bhumibol Adulyadej, meaning ‘Strength of the Land, Incomparable Power’, which has been prophetic as his reign has unfolded through various critical periods as the country has evolved more and more around the throne as the sole source of unity and strength.
After a brief period of primary schooling in Bangkok, His Majesty left with the rest of his family for Switzerland where he continued his secondary education at the Ecole Nouvelle de la Suisse Romande, Chailly sur Lausanne and received the Bachelieres Lettres diploma from the Gymnase Classique Cantonal of Lausanne.
He then chose to enter Lausanne University to study Science, but the death of his elder brother King Ananda Mahidol in Bangkok in June 1946, changed the course of his life completely, for the Law of Succession bestowed on him the arduous but challenging function of the Thai Crown.

3 October 1987   His Majesty the King accompanied by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, working with a map during a visit to Ban khok Kuwae Project under the Royal initiation of His Majesty the King at Ban khok Kuwae, Tak Bai District, Narathiwat Province.
Royal Development Projects:
The Monkey Cheek 

During his annual birthday speech on December 4, 1995, His Majesty was talking about the flood problem facing Bangkok residents and those live in the central plains of Thailand.
“…When I was five years old, we had monkeys and we gave them bananas. They would munch, munch, munch, and then kept the food in their cheeks … He was recalling the origin of his “Monkey Cheek Project”. He was only five years old when he noted how the monkeys munched and stored their food in their cheeks. More than seven decades later, the ‘Monkey Cheeks’ are helping to keep the capital from inundation as they serve as retention areas to keep flood water.
The Kaem Ling Project (or Monkey Cheek Project) is the Royal Development Project to solve flooding problems in Bangkok and metropolitan areas. Canals excavated along the coastal areas both in the west and the east of the Chao Phraya River serve as big storage reservoirs or Kaem Lings (Monkey Cheeks), draining flood waters by natural means – through gravity or tidal flow.
The Kaem Ling Project at
“Khlong Mahachai–Khlong Sanamchai ”
in Samut Sakhon Province, Thailand

The drainage system works as water from the upper canal flows down southwards to a large storage canal near the seashore. When the sea level is lower (than the water level in the canal), the water in the canal is drained through a regulator by gravity and pumped out in order to let the water in the canal be at the lowest possible level. This helps keep the water from the upper canal flowing into the storage canal. On the When the sea level rises above the water level in the canal, the water gate is closed in order not to let water flow back in.

The Kaem Ling Projects have now been extended to other flood-prone provinces, including Samut Sakhon, a province close to Bangkok, and Chumphon and Hat Yai, Songkhla, in the South.   ....



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