The King and I

My name is Justin Calderon and I am a New Yorker that will be studying at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand this upcoming semester (starting August 15th).

Thailand is a place where many farang (white foreigners) come and find themselves completely lost for many years only to find that they have only just begun to scratch the surface of the anthropology that exists here.

My experiences abroad in Australia at Deakin University in Melbourne had led me to the gates of Bangkok last year and I was lured back by the sheer mystery of the land. Today is perhaps the most interesting part of history of Thailand and it is being written all around me with every word I type. This year marks the 60th year that King Rama 9 has sat on the throne; a number that few monarches in recorded history have had the priviledge to enjoy. As a symbol of respect of this acomplishment the Thai people adorn themselves with yellow shirts that bear the embelm of the king throughout the week and especially on Monday; the King’s day.

The Thai government and economy is in complete turmoil because they are losing a lot of export business to the Chinese. Thai government is a constitutional monarchy, but if you ask any farang they will tell you the truth. The king and his family are literally worshipped as modern day deities. Their pictures are all around and in every home, business, and public venue in Thailand. The king has done much for the country and the Thai people show their gratitude with every ounce of their body.

Unfortunately there is a storm brewing . The king is 82 years old and his son the heir to the throne is vindictive and an evil power monger that has been secretly exiled by his father and is rumored to have AIDS.

The complexity of the government and of the people have made Thailand a boiling pot of indecision and unfathomable chaos bringing upon a whole new meaning to the phrase “long live the king.”

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