Chulalongkorn Day 2006

The Thai calendar has a plenthora of non-western holidays.

Most foreigners have no idea that a day is a holiday until they gather in  stupified huddles before bank, utility office, or post office. None can read the Sanskrit sign. Asking a pThai about the date offers little help, since most farangs are clueless about their own heritages, let alone Thai history.

October 23 is Chulalongkorn Day celbrating the reign of Rama V (1853-1910).

This ruler was made famous to the West in the movie THE KING AND I.

Not as Yul Brenner, but as the son taught by the spinster.

To Thais Rama V is a saint. He resistance against european domination and pursuit of religious freedom endeared him to people of the past and present, plus his modernization policies weakened the nobility, which helped abolish slavery in 1905. 

1907 brought Chinese-Thais to an equal footing with pure Thais by forcing everyone to have Thai surnames. His rule marked Thailand’s entry into the modern world with a grasp on the revered traditions of his nation.

The date of his death is honored by this national holiday.

Love live the King.

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