As King’s Health Remains Guarded, Thai People Fear Chaos

  October 17, 2009 at 8:11 pm by

HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej has been in hospital for almost a month, and angst has hit the Thai people as they fear what will occur if the King passes.

King Bhumibol’s health has been a closely guarded secret since his admitance to Bangkok’s Siriraj Hospital on September 19th, with palace officials disclosing little apart from releasing vague bulletins stating the King’s health is improving and that his recovery is successful, but slow. He was initially hospitalised with a fever and lack of appetite, which changed to lung inflammation in late September, and most recently, the Thai media have begun circulating reports of the King suffering from pneumonia.

Amid these reports, the Thai stock market crashed heavily, showing the full effect that uncertainty regarding the King’s health has on the country. King Bhumibol, who is 81 years of age, is the longest-reigning monarch in the world – his coronation took place in May 1950. And while he has no political power, the King is highly regarded by his people, with staggeringly high popularity and respect. The Australian newspaper calls him “one of the most powerful men in the country [Thailand].”

The monarch holds clout which no other man in Thai politics has. When the King calls for national unity, the country unifies behind his moral authority – even the politicians – which shows the large effect his death could have on the state of politics in Thailand, which is already currently going through a rough patch. The death of King Bhumibol would no doubt cause serious upheaval in Thailand, for its people and its economy.

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