Well-wishers Flock to Temples to Pray for Recovery of Ailing Thai King
UPDATE: At 12:00 GMT (19:00 Bangkok time) on 13 October, the Royal Household Bureau announced that the king of Thailand had passed away at Bangkok's Sririraj Hospital at 08:52 GMT (15:52 Bangkok time).
Well-wishers have been flocking to Buddhist temples across Thailand to pray for the health of the king following a palace announcement on Sunday that the kingdom’s 88-year-old monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej was in unstable condition after receiving hemodialysis treatment at Bangkok’s Siriraj Hospital.
According to the Royal Household Bureau, doctors at Siriraj Hospital reported on Sunday that King Bhumibol’s blood pressure had dropped after the monarch had undergone hemodialysis and treatment to drain spinal fluid on Saturday, noting that the king had been placed on a ventilator. “Doctors are closely monitoring his condition and providing treatment because his overall condition is not yet stable,” the statement said. “And they have requested that His Majesty refrain from royal work.” (Khaosod English)
Sunday’s announcement was the second statement on the king’s health this month after the palace said on 1 October that the king was recovering from a respiratory infection. King Bhumibol, who has not made a public appearance since January, has been hospitalized for much of the past decade with various ailments, mostly age-related. Official statements from the palace on the subject have become more frequent in recent months, although none have offered a clear insight into his overall condition. The reference to the king’s unstable condition was a departure from confidence expressed in previous health updates.
Huge crowds people, many of whom were wearing pink as an expression of support for the king, visited Bangkok’s Grand Palace, which has been the official residence of the kings of Siam (later Thailand) since 1782. The Royal Household Bureau on Tuesday opened the Sala Sahathai Samakhom pavilion within the Grand Palace compound to allow members of the public to sign get-well books.
Well-wishers also flocked to Siriraj Hospital, where they recited the Bojjhanga Paritta (Seven Factors of Enlightenment) from the Tipitaka to wish the monarch a swift recovery. Eighty-year-old Sanong Suwanmart said he had accompanied his wife to the hospital to join the chanting, adding: “We wanted to convey the message to His Majesty the King that people nationwide have united in giving him encouragement and moral support, and hope that he will get better soon.” (Bangkok Post)
Buddhist temples in Bangkok, including Wat Arun Ratchawararam and Wat Bowon Niwet held mass chanting ceremonies to wish the king and members of the royal family good health. At the centuries-old Wat Yunnawa in Bangkok’s Sathon district, monks and lay Buddhists gathered to offer good wishes for the king’s health. “I am really sad,” said one monk, Phra Poonchoke Chaungchum. “I would like to give him moral support and I hope that he recovers soon.” (Time)
“I am very concerned, I feel uneasy about this news,” said Sumana, 68, one of the many lay Buddhists at Wat Yunnawa. “Every time I have the chance I pray for the King.” (Time)
Amid the public outpouring of concern, at least two royal events were postponed on Wednesday. Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and Princess Chulabhorn Walailak canceled their respective appearances at a graduation and a royal decoration ceremony, according to statements from the event organizers.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej, born 5 December 1927, is also known as Rama IX as the ninth monarch of the Chakri dynasty. He is the world's longest-serving current head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history, having ascended the throne in 1946 and reigned for more than 70 years. The king is widely loved and respected in Thailand, where he is viewed as a unifying force, but his ailing health comes at a time of political upheaval and the subject of succession has become an increasingly sensitive topic. His only living son, Maha Vajiralongkorn, the crown prince, is poised to assume the throne, however he does not enjoy the same level of public approval as his father. The kingdom’s strict lèse majesté laws, which prohibit defamation of the royal family, mean public discussion of the king’s health and the line of succession is heavily curtailed.
Thais Are Praying for the Recovery of Ailing King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Time)
HM KING’S CONDITION ‘UNSTABLE’ AFTER BLOOD CLEANSED (Khaosod English)
STATE EVENTS CANCELED AS THAILAND WAITS FOR HIS MAJESTY TO RECOVER (Khaosod English)
Thais don pink for His Majesty (Bangkok Post)
People unite to pray for King's health (Bangkok Post)
Thai King in people's prayers as condition unstable (The Sydney Morning Herald)