Given to the audience of well-wishers
On the occasion of the Royal Birthday Anniversary
At the Dusidalai Hall, Chitralada Villa, Dusit Palace
On Wednesday, December 4, 1996
Thank you for coming here today with your good wishes for my birthday which were expressed by the Prime Minister on behalf of all those who came to this meeting. The Prime Minister has said that I have helped the nation and the people to attain prosperity. About this, I would like to affirm that if neither the officials nor the private sector had cooperated in every way, in all ventures, the people would not have progressed as the Prime Minister has reported.
This is an important point because if everyone works in different directions, even with the best intentions, there could not be any success; it is like pulling in different directions; it would not lead anywhere; even if it moves, it could be in a regressive direction. The important thing for the survival of the Thai society is that the majority of those who work, both in the government and the private sector, still strive to work in the same direction; this is why the Thai nation still stands. Many other countries in this world are in a difficult situation, and all the Thai people are probably worried about the fate of Thailand: whether the country would survive or not. The will to work of everyone in the country is the best guarantee of national survival. I don’t want to dwell too long on this subject because everyone is busy. If I remind you to cooperate, you could be annoyed; if you are annoyed, you might not do it.
What I want to say is that the past two years - from the beginning of 1995 to the end of 1996 - are the years of the Golden Jubilee. The Golden Jubilee has been celebrated over two years during which there have been activities, projects and ceremonies. I have been extremely touched by these signs of affection on the part of all the Thai people. The two-year celebrations can be considered a good thing because if the occasion is celebrated in only one day or even over one year, there would be a great number of functions, and it would inconvenience both the receiver and the giver of good wishes, due to time constraint. The celebrations have spread over two years; thus, all the festivities have passed with the happiness, satisfaction, and delight of all concerned.
On this occasion, which is near the end of the year 1996, it is the time for me to thank all those who have cooperated in keeping the community stable, and this is what weighs on my mind because if it is not so, Thailand could suffer the same fate as many countries in the world. Many countries in the world are in a bad shape resulting from their own history; the countries where violence prevails have had a history of dissensions for hundreds of years although they have been able to unite into a nation, enabling the people of those countries to enjoy peace for a period. However, they are separated once again.
In Thailand’s history there have been dissensions from time to time, but in general, unity has prevailed. Therefore, the trend or the history, or the disposition of the Thai people has been in the direction of being able to safeguard the country, but whenever care is not exercized, there can be times when dissension comes to the forefront, then, we are in danger of losing out. But if we keep unity to the forefront, we can be assured that whatever we do, we will not lose the nation or the peace of the community. At present Thailand is still in a relatively good position. I use the word “relatively” because now, there are people who will say that there are quite a few people who are in a miserable condition. By using the word “relatively”, I mean by our own standard, and we still have much to work for in improving the situation; there is still a lot of work before us.
I am concerned because even in the past two years that were the jubilee years, I have seen evident signs which show that the people are still in great difficulties, and there are things that still need to be remedied and looked after in many areas. There also is the plight that comes from natural disasters; these natural disasters could be alleviated or dealt with; we only need some time to do it. There is another kind of danger from the human mind; this could also be rectified, though with more difficulty than the natural disasters. Nature is something outside our body, but the mind is within us. Everyone must correct his own self; this is something more difficult to cope with, but it is not impossible. It is feasible to correct all the things that are not good both outside and inside us, to polish it until it is clear. Even within these two years, change is visible, and during these two years, even those who are still young have been able to see the difference.
Let us consider this Golden Jubilee Year; the year 1995 is the fiftieth year of this reign. From January 1, 1995 to December 31, 1995, if we look at the laws that have passed the parliament and are proclaimed as edicts or laws, they all have at the beginning “being the fiftieth year of the present reign”. The year 1996 will be the fifty-first year of this reign, but will be the year of the celebration of the fiftieth year of this reign, that is, the Golden Jubilee. If one wants to really celebrate, it should be on the day that completes the fiftieth year of the reign; if it is before, the day has not yet come; if it is after, it is too late; therefore, both the fiftieth year and the fifty-first year are the two years of the Golden Jubilee. This is recent, so everyone remembers what events have taken place.
Speaking about fifty years ago, in this meeting there are individuals who, at present, are fifty years old. Those who are just fifty years old or less are very numerous; they cannot claim that they saw how the ninth reign began. They have no way of remembering because they were just born. Even those who are older may not recollect, because fifty years ago, except those who are very old, most of them were still children. Pubic servants who are not yet 60 years old were less than 10 years old at that time. Most senior officials are 58 or 59 years old; it means that, at that time, they were eight or nine years old, at which age could perhaps not yet understand what happened then; they could not see very well how the country has changed over the 50 years, and there have been many changes; there have been changes for the better, and, in some cases, for the worse. Therefore, I think that in the celebration of the 50 years of the present reign, there must be research on the changes that the country has undergone, and in the future, it could be used as a lesson for our future actions.
Some say that now that 50 years have passed, we would like another 50 more years to celebrate once again; that means it will be 100 years. After one hundred years, I will be 118 years old (laughter). One hundred and eighteen years has some significance because a certain individual was born in 1946. He is very proud to be a “one-reign” man, and he said that it is his wish to be a “one-reign” man. Nevertheless, he would also want to live a long life; he wants to be a hundred years old, but if he is 100 years old, the King will have to be at least 118 years old; so I have to be at least 118 years old, so he could live to be a hundred years old according to his wish. It made me think that I must go on for another 50 years more - fifty years from now - I don’t know who will still be here (laughter). Anyhow, this meeting will have to take place; it will take place when I am 117 years and 364 days old. I don’t know who will be present; anyone who lasts that long can come (laughter). At that time, when asked what the past fifty years were like, that person should be able to tell, or maybe he would have to consult with others because by that time he might be senile, not making any sense because it would be a long time. However, making sense or not, they might have a lively discussion about their activities fifty years ago. I understand that quite a few of those here inside and those outside will survive till that period and will still remember the conditions and situation of the country today.
Well, fifty years ago, at the beginning of this reign, if I ask those who are in this meeting, the majority will not know how it was. At that time, the population of the country was about 20 million; now it is 60 million; it is exactly 60 million because it has been counted. They have counted and confirmed that the sixty-millionth citizen was born just very recently. However, we don’t know which one was the sixty-millionth one because at that moment, at that hour, at that minute, more than one baby was born; it is difficult to know which one was exactly the sixty-millionth. Anyhow, approximately, now we have sixty-million. If we compare it with the population at that time, which was 20 million, the difference is clearly noticeable.
The situation pertaining to the livelihood is also different. Since that time up until the present time, there have been progress, and changes all through the time. The changes have not come by themselves; these changes have come from the doings of everyone in the country. It could be argued that, in Thailand, many foreigners have come and gone, and the number of people who are considered to be Thai have traveled abroad in a great number. This is true. However, the fact remains that Thainess still prevails in Thailand, and that is the responsibility of each individual. Speaking specifically about those who were born in the first year of the present reign, from the first moment of their birth, they have a responsibility, even if they don’t know it. It cannot be claimed that a person is aware of his responsibility as soon as he is born, but he must learn; he must get in touch with the world or the country for many years in order to realize what a country is.
The attainment of the present status of Thailand has to depend on the ability or the actions of all the inhabitants of the country. If the standard of living of 50 years ago is compared with that of today, the difference is evident; people who have lived through those years up till the present time, and those who were born in that period have been instrumental in building the community, in building the nation as it is nowadays. It can be questioned whether those days were different from today. The answer is “Yes”. It cannot be said that in those days, it was better than nowadays, or that nowadays is better than those past days. In these present days, what we have is what we have in the present; what we had in the past is already gone; what we will have in the future will depend on what we will be able to build up together. If we cooperate constructively, it will be good; if we don’t cooperate, I am sorry to say that we will reap bad consequences. Therefore, those who can recall the past days and compare them with the present days, will be able to use them as a lesson. It must be considered the duty of each individual - senior or junior officials, business people, or people in any occupation; it is everyone’s duty to think of the past so as to use it as a lesson. If the past is not remembered, and the lesson is not learnt, then the Thai society cannot survive.
The question of what is better, the past or the present, is asked because some would say that the present is horrible; the situation is a mess; the people are very bad. It is true, there are many bad people; there are more of them than in the past, but that is because there are more people, meaning the population has tripled; there must be three times more bad people. If one considers the statistics, usually, these facts are proportional; it means that, now, there should also be three times more good people, which is encouraging, but there are also three times more bad people, which is discouraging. These facts must be scrutinized and after that, it will be possible to improve the situation so that in fifty years’ time, when the population may further increase, the number of bad people must be prevented from increasing, so that the good people will outnumber the bad ones which will bring about a brighter future. Usually, the old-timers like to talk of the good old days saying that nowadays is very bad; in fact, it is not so. If we put ourselves in the shoes of the people fifty years from now, it will be the same situation. But if we strive to take great care, from this moment on, to do what is called “good”, I believe that in fifty years, when we meet again, there will be more good people than bad ones. When there are more good people than bad ones, the Thai society will be better off and each one of us will be happier.
The problem is what is “good”. There is no way to define the word “good”; the word “good” is a short word; it seems to be the shortest word in the language. Well, perhaps it is not the shortest; there are shorter words, but anyway it is a very short word. I think it is difficult to define this word, because each one may think it is good, but there is no guarantee whether it is or is not. In any case, in short, everybody seems to understand goodness, but to say exactly what it is, is difficult. Goodness is something that makes us serene and content; it is magnificent. Those who are not good are evil. The word “evil” is a little longer; evil people are also difficult to define.
A good person can make another person good; it means that goodness will elicit goodness in the society; other persons will also be good. Evil will make a steadfast good person bad only with great difficulty; however, it is not impossible. If good people hold on tenaciously to their goodness, it will be difficult for evil people to influence them. The important thing is the strong will of the good person. An evil person will not want others to be bad because, if other people are bad, that bad person himself will suffer. He knows very well that if a bad person brings out the evil in another person, it will be to his own detriment; that is, the bad person himself will suffer. Nobody wants that. That is why there is hope that, fifty years from now, the number of bad people will be less than that of good people because it is more difficult for the evil people to turn good people into bad people. As for the good people, they can turn bad people into good people; that is not impossible; it can be done. So there is hope for a bright future. The important thing is that the individuals in this society must be resolute in their goodness. If there is no resolution in their mind, the good people themselves will surely become bad people by themselves without other people’s influence. That would be disastrous; they will go down the abyss, down into the netherworld.
I speak like this because I have been given the honor of having had 50 years of experience. I have seen the veracity of this fact which when known, when seen, is a dreadful thing. A person who has only five or ten years of experience will not be able to discern this fact. But those who have served the public or worked for fifty years, I am sure, should see it. This is not boasting. Ask those who have served the public or worked for fifty years, they will say that virtue wins over vice but with great difficulty because the increasing number of people inevitably brings about growing demands; the development of resources cannot keep pace with the population explosion.
As for the means of creating good people, there is education. In the past, the quality of education and the rate of literacy was rather high, compared with other countries, but nowadays, it has dwindled, because, while the population has augmented, schools or the teaching staff have, in comparison, diminished. One could dispute that, nowadays, we have high technology that offers better means of expanding the schools and disseminating knowledge. But there is nothing that can replace an education that develops knowledge and edifies the mind. Teaching is divided into two parts: developing knowledge and edifying the mind. If there is no one to educate the people, or if the teacher is himself of low quality, the one who gets the education will also be of low quality, or even worse even though high technology is used.
Nowadays, most people understand that this high technology refers to the television, the satellites, and the computers. But these machines or these things do not have life; they seem to have life, but they do not; they have colors, but they have no hues. They can give full colors that seem to be complete, but they lack something; they do not have the mind. Weak people could perhaps be induced to change their personality. Teaching by using these advanced media including high technology will be very difficult to bring about the cultivation of the mind and character; nothing will ever replace teaching by human teachers. Some human teachers use satellites; one person can transfer knowledge to thousands, tens of thousand at the same time, but to transfer goodness is difficult. To transfer goodness, it could be said, perhaps need to be done individually. Thus, advancement and change in the country and the Thai society does not necessarily mean a change for the better except that ways must be found to transfer knowledge by using textbooks or curricula that are adequate for upbringing humans to become human.
I want to entrust you with this idea because it is an important thing. If only technological knowledge is given, it is not enough. There must be human quality of a good person; in short, the character must be cultivated; a way has to be found. Speaking about this subject in this way is perhaps too far-fetched, but I cannot help it because, now, whoever I meet, all mention the 50 years. Yes, it is 50 years; these 50 years must be put to good use; if the 50 years are not put to good use, we are of no use.
The good thing about extending the Golden Jubilee celebrations over two years is that there has been a compilation of facts about the Ninth Reign. Some facts were unknown; how they have dug them up, I don’t know; they have uncovered various facts, many of which are true. I don’t understand how they obtained them, but there are facts that nobody else should have known. They were perhaps extracted from Our head, from Our own mind; I say “Our”. This “We” means “I”; this is the English use of the “We of Majesty”. Only “We” know about these facts. How did others also know what “We” were thinking? Perhaps it was a slip of the tongue and others heard it, or they just surmised that “We” have this or that thought. In any case, there are many things that were hard facts and some that were not correct, that were used to eulogize “Us”, that “We” were not aware of , or that we were that way or thought that way. Anyway, that is not so bad (laughter); it showed that “We” were skillful.
Usually, flattery is pleasant, but it should be considered with care. Some people, when flattered, will forget themselves; they would think, “We are very good; we can do anything.” But after some careful consideration of the compliments, it may be true that I sometimes deserve them, but they do not entirely belong to me. The Prime Minister has mentioned some important problems arising from natural causes or from other causes such as the traffic problems. I have personally thought out some solutions, but mostly, other people have done their share and have helped out. I should say that I am responsible for ten percent of the implementation; others are responsible for 90 percent. It means I initiate the Royal Project; that is, I give my opinion which is called the Royal Opinion, then others implement it.
Sometimes, after expressing the Royal Opinion, it takes 10 to 20 years before it is taken up by other people who say it is a project initiated by a Royal Opinion. Sometimes We Ourself did not know that it is Our Opinion (laughter); yes, I did not know that it was a Royal Opinion, and they were implementing it. Sometimes I spoke only one word, and they wrote up a million - word project. This is sometimes good, sometimes not so good, meaning that when I have made a remark, not an opinion, a remark about something, they will act on it immediately, and they say that this is a Royal Opinion. Sometimes it is good; it means that they give me the credit for that initiative and for that project. Sometimes that project is not so good, so I get the credit for a project that is not so good; it is thus, not a thing to be happy about. However, most projects initiated by a Royal Opinion and implemented by others, are useful and beneficial. So I am proud that a little idea, can result in a subsequent benefit for the people at large. So much for the Royal Opinion Projects.
In connection with the 50 years’ celebration, I may say that I am very gratified. I am very gratified because many organizations, many governmental departments, many companies have dug up information about my good actions that are useful as well as some comic episodes, compiling all these into articles and even into many books. This is very good, not because they flattered me, but because everyone normally would like to write one own’s autobiography. Now I don’t have to do it; others have done it for me. But there still are some things that others do not know, so I still have to write something. In fact, I have already written some of it, beginning from birth to five years old. For this period of my life, it is difficult to find people who were there, who could write up the story.
I intend to write right from birth. Well, from birth is not possible; I have to believe what other people have told me, but I have some reminiscence of my childhood, really remember - my own memories, not the words of others - at the age of three or four years old. I would like to write them down. I would like to write my autobiography from birth until I was 18 years old. From 18 years old, that is, 50 years ago, others have already dug it up, so I don’t have to do that, but from birth until the age of 18, I have to do the digging myself, because practically nobody was there to take notice; there are only some pictures that have been published in the books. You have probably seen that cute little boy with a round head: that was “We”. I cannot speak of “We” because at that time I did not have the title of “Majesty”. That was not “We”; that was simply “I”. They dug up those pictures of the period to publish in the books, but nobody knew the background of those pictures, because nobody knew what was going on in that little round head. Nevertheless, I still remember many other things; that is why I have to dig up in “Our” own memory. This “Our” is the “We of Majesty” because, now, “We” are a “Majesty”; “We” are notable. Therefore, “We” have to write “Our” autobiography.
Last year I spoke in this assembly that the “Monkey Cheek Project” had its origin when I was five years old because we had monkeys. And I also said that these monkeys, the Princess Mother had bought them and put in a cage because she wanted her children to see nature in many forms; there were chickens, monkeys, and birds. She got all these animals so that the children should see many various interesting things, and it yielded good results. If I had not seen those things, the “Monkey Cheek Project” would not have had its birth. The monkeys, apart from having cheeks, also have teeth, and these are sharp too; they are also wild, and they bite. So the Princess Mother had a dentist file the monkeys’ teeth so there would be no wound when they bit. This made me remember that monkeys have sharp teeth and fangs; my Mother had these filed so that they would not be dangerous. This does not seem to be a lesson. However, it should be a lesson for the monkeys more than for humans (laughter). But it is also a lesson for humans: to show that whoever bites, should have the teeth filed (laughter). And it should be so; the one who bites is a delinquent and should have his teeth filed. That was the lesson I got when I was five years old.
There are many more stories that I can recollect when I reminisce about the period when I was five years old. What I have written so far is up to the age of five years. I was born in the United States of America. When I was not yet one year old I left America. I returned to - I cannot say I returned to Thailand because I never had been in Thailand before; I was born in America. But anyway, I came, passing through England and Europe. Then I arrived in Singapore where I reached the age of one year. Of course, I could not remember that, but the Princess Mother remembered it; when I asked her about all that, she told me about it. I stayed in Thailand until I was five years old. In 1932, I reached the age of five, and I went abroad once again at the beginning of 1933. I went to Switzerland. It means that the period that I tried to relate concerned my life in Thailand from the age of one year to the age of five. What I have to do further is to cover the period up until I was eighteen. As I mentioned just a moment ago, after the age of eighteen, the people who are interested, know it already; there are written proof. Therefore, “We” don’t have to write. Well, all this has been in fact, personal matters.
From everywhere, you have come here. A moment ago, the number reported was 11,942 persons. I have not counted; I believe the report (laughter) - 407 groups; some groups consist of one person (laughter), some groups of 1,000 persons. I may say that I did not invite you to come; nobody was invited; you came of your own free will (laughter). Anybody who wants to come will notify their intention; some names are perhaps duplicated; I don’t know, because there are so many groups; some groups include the same name as the other groups. I have seen the list of names in these groups; some names appeared in more than one group; I don’t know if the total of 11,942 persons consists of names that are duplicated or not. But I believe it because I am a trusting man (laughter); I don’t doubt other people because I consider that everyone is a good person. Therefore, I do not worry about the duplication of the names. Those who are here are all friends, otherwise it would have been necessary to issue official invitations. But here, whoever wants to come, can come. Because of this, whatever I say, I do it informally (laughter) without any ceremony.
But I think that I have spoken enough. I used to critisize those who speak a lot. “ Oh… That person speaks so much”. I have become the same (laughter). Anyhow, I have been speaking in order to welcome you and to thank you for your good wishes and for sitting here, listening patiently. Today is not so bad; in the past the audience did not listen sitting down; they listened standing up (laughter). Everybody felt stiff, and stirred restlessly, so I found it difficult to speak (laughter). When they stood, I could not speak so well because I felt embarassed. Later on, because chairs had not been provided like today, they sat on the floor; seeing this I again felt uncomfortable because sitting on the floor made them suffer even greater discomfort, and they had to frequently change position, so I again could not speak (laughter); I could not speak because I was concerned about their discomfort.
Sometimes, while I am speaking, oh! I notice a few people here and there dozing off (laughter). Again, I am tongue-tied (laughter) because it means that what I say induce somnolence. This is curious (laughter). But it could also be an honor (laughter), meaning that my words are soothing (laughter), and get them spellbound (laughter). My speech is probably soporific, inducing sleep; this can also happen. But today, nobody is dozing off; perhaps I do not speak well (laughter); if I speak well, you will be spellbound. But if the words mesmerize the audience, that is not so good (laughter). It seems that the speaker who hypnotizes the listeners is subject to criticism, because when the listeners are mesmerized, they may be induced to follow ideas that may be wrong; this is not right and can be dangerous.
Today you are wide awake; today you seem… Perhaps it is because most of you are young, relatively young, compared to me who is getting on the years. I am not saying that I am too old; getting older has its advantage; it makes others all seem to be in their youth. So I can be quite at ease with you, and consider myself senior. This, of course, excludes the prominent, more senior persons who are here, in front; they are the senior citizens. In fact, they are senior, and they could be regarded as elder brothers. In the past, the older people I spoke to could not be regarded as brothers; they were uncles (laughter), or even grandfathers.
In the past, about forth years ago, anybody I met were all much older. In fact, they were about fifty, but they seemed so much older! It makes me think that now, I am not fifty years old; I have passed 50 years of active service. Nevertheless, others seem to remain unchanged. Most of you are less than sixty years old, except the brothers here (laughter). Now there are no uncles, or aunts, or grandfathers, or grandmothers. There are no more of this age group. In any case, my talk must be considered an informal talk, and I should think it is enough. There is only one thing left to do; it is to thank you for coming with your good wishes. And I would also like to reciprocate these wishes so that you will be prosperous, and meet with all that is good, and succeed in all that could be desired.