The Thai devotion and love for their royal family, especially the King and the Queen is truly amazing. The Thai, being oriental, maybe shy on public display of affection, but that is certainly not the case for their admiration for their royal family. It is in fact borderline fanatical (and I do not mean it in a bad way).
In the cinema, everyone stands up for a song singing praise to the King prior to the movie showing. Everyone would just stands up for it. I experienced that first hand during my last trip to Bangkok. I was joking to my Thai friend telling him what if I just sit still, since I’m just a foreigner. He politely, but sternly advised me to get up for the song, or else he would beat me up himself.
On the street there are billboards, big and small, but normally big, put up with well wishes and pleading allegiance for the King’s reign. There are office buildings, government or private, with the murals of the King. The Thais have the yellow wristbands, similar to the Livestrong wristband, but theirs with the inscription "We Love the King" or "Long Live the King" professing their love to the King. In the age of Facebook, there are many fan pages devoted to the King. But the King is not doing well recently. There are praying ceremonies organized all over the country, seeking the divine intervention for the King's situation.
In every shop and household, they religiously fly the nations’ flag, along with the yellow flag with the King’s emblem. From my observation, what is interesting to me that there was not a damaged or tattered flags. They actually replace it promptly if they notice any wear and tear due to the exposure to the element.
And they even move their Mothers' Day celebration to Aug 12, on the Queen's birthday, as they regard the Queen as the mother of all Thai. Again, the light blue flags with the Queen's emblem were seen everywhere. Of course billboards with birthday greetings all over the city. Pictures of her, at various stages of her life such that showcasing her youthfulness riding a horse, her regal beauty during her wedding, her happy moments with the royal family, her care for her people at different functions, were all at display along the street. There were even shrines set up at the shopping malls, offices and airports. The Queen indeed has a very special place the hearts of her people. I saw the shrine at the airport, I just have to stop and snap a couple of pictures.
I was just in awe, totally impressed.
Happy birthday, Your Majesty Queen Sirikit.