HM The King’s Birthday Address

2004: HM The King's annual address to the nation - 8:45pm, December 4, 2004
Also: Outdoor celebrations on HM The King's birthday

HM The King giving his annual birthday address (above) at 4pm. The speech was broadcast nationwide at 8pm. Photos are screen captures from government TV feed. The speech is a rare occasion when HM provides opinions and reflections on the state of the nation. It is broadcast on all channels and is carefully listened to throughout the country.

(Screen capture from government TV feed)

Above: Prime Minister Thaksin and his wife listen from the audience.
Wisarut reports on HM The King's address: This year, HM warned about the perils of smoking which ruins the health of all people. His Majesty also told the people that He, the Princess Mother, and Kromluang Narathiwat (Princess Kalayaniwatthana) used to be chain smokers and now all of them have quit smoking. For the case of the Princess Mother, she quit when she was 80 (in 1980).
His Majesty quit smoking by putting the last carton of cigarettes at the bottom of a document heap. Emergency documents kept coming so frequently that he could not find the last carton of cigarettes.
His Majesty told Premier Thaksin that when he listened to Premier Thaksin's Saturday morning radio talk one time he fell asleep.
His Majesty also gave a bad rap to those Generation Y people who have their ability to listen ruined by loud music such as in discotheques. Once Generation Y lose the ability to listen, their ability to take the other people's ideas into consideration and think will be in a sorry state. They will have to wear hearing aids for the rest of their lives which requires frequent battery changing and hearing aids are expensive.
His Majesty did not mention the Southern insurgency, but the reference to listening might be interpreted as a reference to the increasing authoritarianism of the government.
The Thai-language text of the full speech is here: part 1 - part 2

The foreign press reports: Thai king tells prime minister to be wary of foreign experts, warns students to avoid loud music - AP, December 4, 2004
Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, living up to his title of Father of the Nation, advised the country's prime minister on Saturday to be selective in taking up Western ideas and its youth to avoid smoking and loud music...

Update - December 5, 2004
It is interesting that only the AP noted HM The King's remark about the "person from South America," which the AP interpreted as a warning to be wary of foreign ways of doing things. The local English-language papers did not mention this aspect of the speech at all.
ROYAL SPEECH: King puts focus on youth - The Nation
Plea for youngsters' hearing - Ear-shattering disco music, smoking, drugs put young people at risk, King says in birthday speech - Bangkok Post

The Supreme Patriarch - 7:20pm, December 4, 2004
Below: H.H. Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, the Supreme Patriarch, speaks on television giving birthday wishes to HM The King.

(Screen capture from government TV feed)
Religious leaders' birthday wishes - 6:08pm, December 4, 2004
Right: Religious leaders are on television reading birthday greetings to HM The King. Clockwise from top left: Muslim, Christian, Sikh, and Brahmin.

(Screen captures from government TV feed)
Newspapers announcing HM The King's annual address - December 4, 2004

Right: Photos in the upper left-hand corner of today's ThaiRath, Daily News, and Matichon announce The King's annual address tonight at 8pm.

Below: Komchadleuk has a wrap-around tribute to The King and a report on the best-selling cartoon book about The King's dog. Note the panorama of Ratchadamneorn Avenue at the top of the front page.


Thais invited to celebrate King's birthday - TNA, December 4, 2004
More than 10,000 people from all walks of life are expected to take part in two processions organised by the Royal Thai Army in honour of His Majesty the King's birthday on Sunday.
The first procession will start at the Democracy Monument, and the second one will start at the Defence Ministry.
Civil servants, military officers, students, workers, village scouts and others will participate in the processions, scheduled to arrive at Sanam Luang at about 4 p.m.
At 7.19 p.m. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is scheduled to chair a candle-lighting ceremony, offering blessings to the beloved Thai monarch.
The participants gathering at Sanam Luang will then sing the Royal Anthem and the song, Sadudi Maharaja (Praising the Great King).
The whole event will be broadcasted live on TV and radio from 6 p.m. on Sunday.


Right: Billboard with the King's image at the end of Ratchadamneon Avenue



There are alternatives to present woeful state - Bangkok Post, December 2, 2004
The whole country is all ears to what His Majesty the King will be sharing with us in his birthday speech this coming Saturday.
The past year has been especially traumatic. The bird flu disaster and the southern mayhem have suddenly blown the sense of safety and trust out of our lives.
How to keep our boat afloat amid the storms of nature's fury and ethnic outrage?
How to live our lives when every day is fraught with fear and distrust?
How to bring back peace?
Our political leadership cannot answer these questions. Its bird flu policy shows our health comes after the interests of big business.
As for the southern unrest, the political top boss is too busy playing the nationalistic card in his effort to win the general election, even though such tactics widen ethnic discord.
We should thank the stars we still have His Majesty the King who we can turn to for a voice of reason and compassion...
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