The Queen's Birthday is today -- a national holilday!
Happy Mother's Day! Today is an important national holiday in Thailand -- The Queen's Birthday. Thais celebrate it as Mother's Day. Mothers are being treated to lunch, dinner and special excursions. It is a very big deal in Thailand. Even at the GM Assembly Plant the President of GM Thailand awarded prizes for a singing contest during lunch hour yesterday. (One of my students won 1st prize!) All of this in celebration of Mother's Day. GM distributed free postcards with jasmine flower photos on them (the Queen's favorite blossom) so that workers could write a message to their mothers. Then, the cards were dropped in a large mailbox. GM mailed them for everybody.
In the middle of the main hallway in the GM commons/cafeteria building a portrait of the Queen with table, chair and a reception book was set up so that workers could wish the Queen Sirikit, "Happy Birthday" and sign their names.
Thailand loves its monarchs. Large portraits are displayed on buildings and along roadsides.
In the Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate large manufacturing plants proudly display their ISO Certification banners (as they do in North America) AND a large portrait of the monarch/s AND a spirit house -- within yards of the security house at the entrance. See the King's portrait on the facade of GM's Headquarters in Rayong.
According to Wikipedia: "The current monarch of Thailand is His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The king has reigned since 9 June 1946, making him the world’s longest reigning current monarch and the world’s longest serving head of state. Most of the king’s powers are exercised by his elected government in accordance with the current post-coup constitution. The king still retains many powers such as: being head of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, the prerogative of royal assent and the power of pardon. He is also the defender of the Buddhist faith in Thailand."
And the Queen? Her full name is Somdet Phra Nang Chao Sirikit Phra Borommarachininat. Try fitting that on your driver's license! She answers to Queen Sirikit.
Today's Bangkok Post printed an editorial, "Mother's Day message to PM". Only last month a female was named Prime Minister of Thailand: "Today is a historic Mother's Day. Forget the usual practice of yesteryears when male prime ministers made lofty speeches to glorify motherhood on Mother's Day, without any concrete policy support. At long last, Thailand has its first female prime minister. Not only that. She is also a mother. A working mother. There are thus high expectations of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in honouring Mother's Day not only with a deeper understanding of working mothers' double responsibilities, but also with policy commitment to make it easier for working mothers to juggle between work and motherhood. . ."
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (She beats out Margaret Thatcher in photogenic category.
As I write the celebratory fireworks have just begun out over the bay. Gotta' go join in the fun.