More than five thousand students gathered in the Royal Plaza of Bangkok yesterday. Not to?
More than five thousand students gathered in the Royal Plaza of Bangkok yesterday. Not to demonstrate against the Establishment according to present day trends, but to honour a King who died 59 years ago.
It was Chulalongkorn Memorial Day, when traditionally Thai students gather to pay homage and lay wreaths at the equestrian statue of the late King Rama V, also known as Chulalongkorn the Great. Princess Sirinthorn, daughter of King Bhumibol and queen Sirikit, laid one of the many wreaths, as her fellow girl students prostrated themselves in the roadway before the statue.
Chulalongkorn ruled the country for forty-two years (1868-1910), and his contributions to Thailand's progress and prosperity are numerous. He abolished the slave system - on his coronation he issued a royal decree that all people born in his reign would be free, and in 1905 he promulgated a law for the abolition of slavery. He is also recognised as the founder of modern education and the Thai Railways system. He reorganised a confusing and complicated system of regional Governments. Substituting ten Ministries - each with a Minister at its head and each responsible to the king as virtual minister.