A.k.a King Rama IX of Thailand.
So this guy’s picture is all over Thailand and actually it’s starting to freak me out. Sometimes it’s big pictures in gold frames. Sometimes it’s little pictures over a door. They have young King Rama, old King Rama, King Rama the naturalist, King Rama with his wife, King Rama doing stuff, but always always always the glasses. Look:
I mean he makes those glasses look good, but still, sometimes we wonder what Queen Rama thinks of them. Speaking of these glasses, this week I learned that my Dad could be the King of Thailand, if the glasses are in some way integral to the job. Which they appear to be.
Here’s what’s freaky. 1. At 6:00 pm one day we were coming off the elevated train and walking through the station when I noticed that everyone was holding still. The dozen or so people in that part of the station had just stopped. And there was a march playing over the PA. One of those jaunty ones with a choir that is very clearly patriotic. Conclusion: at 6 pm in public places the national anthem is played and everyone halts for a few minutes while this happens.
2. We went to see a movie at the theater. After the trailers had played but before the credits started, a yellow message appeared on screen in Thai and English. The theater was quiet and everyone had stood up. Everyone but us. The message onscreen said “please stand for the singing of the Royal Anthem.” Seriously right before the start of The Great Gatsby everyone was standing while the royal anthem played. It played over drawn images of the king on a yellow background. They had the king taking pictures, the king kneeling down to speak with a beggar woman, the king sitting on his jeep reflecting, the king with his advisers. It was weird because first anything like this is weird second this is what I thought went on in North Korean cinemas third Thailand is most definitely a democracy.
I went onto youtube to find the video and it turns out that there are more than one of these we love the king movies. Look, here’s a one different from the one I saw. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5fN5iKXzvI
They really like their king.
Seth sums up one very interesting thing we witnessed in Thailand.