Rest in peace, King Bhumibol
October 13, 2016
I woke up to the sad news of the death of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. I put my Thai flag in the front of my house to share with others our grief for his passing and to express my appreciation for his service to a country I love so deeply. I wanted to share a few words of gratitude for his life and work as well as a few quotes of his I have found inspirational for my work in education and human development.
When I lived in Cambridge, I made a point to visit the place of his birth at Mt. Auburn Hospital. It was wonderful seeing his picture with newspaper clippings hung proudly in the hospital hallway.
It is impossible to overstate his impact on the lives of Thai people and the country as a whole. Many of the things I love about Thailand are linked to his work.
I wanted to share some of his own words about education and human development that have influenced my thinking.
First, here are some words about the importance of developing human potential and harmony: “Education means guiding and promoting persons to progress in learning, thinking, and performing according to their own ability. The ultimate aim should be for each individual to be able to make the best use of his or her potential, to benefit oneself and others in harmony and without conflict or harassment.”
Here are some of my favorite words of his that reflect the importance and power of lifelong learning: “Education concerns everyone, and not for a particular period, as a direct duty for a period. It is not so. From birth, one starts to learn. Growing up, one has to learn, up to higher education, as you are pursuing. We call it Udom Sueksa – full or complete education. But once you leave this institution and start working, you have to continue studying. Or you would not survive. Even those with doctoral degrees have to study further. Education is endless.”
He was a thoughtful, considerate, and brilliant man. If you want to read more, I encourage you to check out “King Bhumibol and His Enlightened Approach to Teaching.” I also recommend this biography: King Bhumibol Adulyadej: A Life’s Work.
During this time of mourning I am thinking of all my friends in Thailand. I wish you all peace and wisdom.
Rest in peace, King Bhimbol. Thank you for your service to Thailand.