Anand’s speech on “the People’s King”

In his 60-year reign, His Majesty has not deviated from that pledge and has indeed earned the love, admiration, and trust of his people in a manner that cannot be fully comprehended by foreigners.

The significance of his reign relates to three main themes: the well-being of his subjects, the security and stability of his nation, and national unity.

In the first four decades of his reign, His Majesty travelled to every corner of the country, meeting with the people, especially farmers and the poor in rural and remote areas as well as the hill tribes. Gathering information, personally assessing the farming and agricultural areas, experimenting with his new concepts and applying appropriate technology at his palace grounds in Bangkok, His Majesty began a series of royally initiated projects…

…Without His Majesty’s guiding hand, we would not be where we are today – a nation which has invariably demonstrated its inner strength, political resilience, social harmony and economic dynamism – a trait which has enabled the Thais to survive many a threat and misfortune in their long history.

Incidentally, His Majesty, as implied in his public address a few years ago, does not see himself as infallible – a king who can do no wrong in the ordinary sense of the word. His Majesty is not above criticism. In fact he welcomes critical comments based on facts and objectivity. The current legal constraint is not taken literally by him. He personally never made use or took advantage of this legal recourse to silence critics. Nor is he by royal convention in a position to answer or respond to these critics. He is unperturbed and proceeds to give royal pardon to those who are convicted.

The reverence and loyalty that the Thai people hold for His Majesty is in my view the reason for the existence of such law.

 - Extracted from former Thai Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun‘s speech in Bangkok, 23 August 2007, at the launch of the second edition of The King of Thailand in World Focus.  More of Anand’s remarks are reproduced in an opinion piece printed in The Nation.

About Nicholas Farrelly