“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity” – Martin Luther King Jr.
With Thailand becoming an increasingly popular destination for many different travellers, from seasoned backpackers to avid party-goers, the news of entertainment venues being closed during this time of mourning has caused a ripple of debate and controversy in the travelling community.
Following the recent death of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, a mourning period of one year began on October 14th 2016. In consequence, many bars and restaurants are likely to be closed or silent until the middle of next month, visitors are expected to wear respectful clothes and a shadow of sadness will hang over Thailand for a long time to come… But some individuals have expressed their frustration through social media at this ‘inconvenience’, stating that this has ‘ruined their holiday’ and others are worried about not being able visit the typical tourist sites. Of course, many others have shown nothing but respect and are seeking advice on ways they should behave.
But what does not seem to being portrayed fully is the importance that King Bhumibol Adulyadej had to Thailand, and that in fact his death may mean that the country may not the be the same place as it once was, for visitors and locals alike. The King wasn’t ‘just a King’ to Thailand, but he was the Father of the Nation and his death was a great and painful blow. The country now has an uncertain future now their figure of unity and peace has deceased.
Four million Thais depend on tourism for their income, so the decision to close and restrict hours on bars has not come lightly. It is a currently a very fluid situation which will change constantly and all visitors must be respectful at this sensitive time.
Although things are now almost back to normal for tourists; for Thais, without their beloved King, it may never be the same again.