July 28th is His Majesty King Rama X’s birthday. Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun was born 28thJuly 1952 and has been the King of Thailand since 2016. It has been announced that this year 5th December will remain Father’s Day, and that the birthdate of 28th July will be also be a national holiday.
King Vajiralongkorn will turn 66 on July 28. His Majesty the King’s heraldic colour, like his late father, is yellow. Patarut Dardarananda, permanent secretary to the Bangkok governor, has said that the city will decorate major streets with lights and flags bearing the king’s insignia.The City Hall has encouraged Bangkokians to wear the king’s colour – yellow – the entire month of July to mark his birthday.
Government leaders and civil servants will hold a candlelit ceremony at Sanam Luang to wish His Majesty well on his birthday, Patarut added. With the passing of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej, King MahaVajiralongkorn, now known as Rama X, the 10th ruler of the Chakri dynasty, became the oldest Thai monarch to ascend to the throne at the age of 64. His Majesty King MahaVajiralongkorntshirts are being sold at the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Prime Minister Office which is located inside Government House. Printed with pictures drawn by His Majesty the King himself, the shirts can be worn on all occasions and throughout July which is the birthday anniversary month of His Majesty.
The government has planned weeklong celebrations which will run from July 22 to July 28. A parade and a ceremony to express best wishes to the King would take place on July 28th. There will be an exhibition on the King’s initiative to encourage volunteer activities for good causes.
Although he has not been formally crowned – an elaborate coronation is expected to take place next year – King Vajiralongkorn has already made his presence known and reshaped some of Thailand’s institutions. Under King Rama X, palace affairs have also been centralised, with the monarch assuming direct control over state agencies related to the palace, including the gigantic Crown Property Bureau, the largest landowner in the country. Political scientist Pitch Pongsawat said King Rama X’s first year has been notable for his interest in solving the bloody insurgency in the three southern provinces, as seen in the number of development initiatives and projects he’s established.
In fact, just a week after Rama X assumed kingship in December 2016, he made his first trip outside Bangkok as king to the Deep South region. “I think His Majesty gives more importance to the Deep South than Bangkok society does,” said Pitch, who teaches at Chulalongkorn University.
Veera Somkwamkid, a transparency activist who has campaigned politically on a pro-palace platform, said the most apparent change brought about by the new king is increased discipline in the armed forces. “Since he ascended the throne, we can see that discipline in the military has become more strict,” Veera said. And His Majesty appears to be more prone to intervention than his predecessor.
In January, the king ordered the government to change portions of the new constitution regarding royal power, even though there were no existing legal mechanisms for doing so. To solve the dilemma, the interim parliament had to retroactively amend a clause that would allow the king’s wishes to be satisfied.
In a sign that his influence will likely extend to the armed forces as well, the king introduced a new form of salute and stricter haircut to the military and police. A new police uniform colour has been implemented per his royal wishes. With an election looming in 2018, political observers are also anticipating what role King Vajiralongkorn will play in shaping the civilian government set to replace the junta after more than four years in power. Khaosod English/The Nation