by Laura, Co-Director, IHF Chiang Rai
King Rama IX has reigned in Thailand since 1946, and this week was his birthday. On December 6th, is also “Father’s day”, as he is the father of the nation. Thai people seem to love and respect him very much, making him the world’s longest-serving current head of state. It’s well-known that you cannot even step on a paper money when it falls down in the floor, because his face is printed on it.
For the occasion, Chiang Rai is full of flags, flowers, lights and portraits of himself (more than usual). There is also a little fair festival, with stands and a stage, well, maybe this is not in his honor, but who knows. People also wear yellow t-shirts in his honor, I went to a restaurant and everyone except me was wearing yellow t-shirts…!!
Kids have almost a week off, joining the King’s birthday with the Constitution’s Day (on December 10th). They are always having days off, since I’m here they had around three, including one “optional day” where they decided going to school or not. And I have been here only for one month. This is one of the few things on which Thailand is similar to Spain, we are always taking days off too!
But to be fair, they deserve those days. They work really hard! They spend most of the day at school and when they come back they start doing their homework, so a break will be good for them. Some children are going to visit their relatives to the village, and I’m sure that will make them very happy. The rest of us will stay at the center waiting for them, and admiring the flags and the flowers of Chiang Rai. The center seems really lonely without all of them!