Thursday, October 26, 2017

Thailand's royal cremation ceremony caps year of mourning

Last year, Thailand's king, Bhumibol Adulyjadej, passed away on October 13th. Today, citizens of Thailand gathered to say their final goodbyes to a long standing monarch, many the only monarch they have known. There was an elaborate and beautiful royal crematorium that was erected in the past year to cremate and preserve the legacy of Thailand's king, in Bangkok. Thousands of people flocked to the streets of Bangkok in order to catch glimpse of the king as he was sent to heaven at last. Many noted in the article that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and they wanted to send their last respects to their king.

This article was extremely interesting, and eye-opening in terms of how different countries view their leaders. In the United States, if a President dies in office (especially if it's by assassination), the entire country is in shock and mourns the death, especially if the President was beloved- JFK is the best example of this. In this way, our country and Thailand are similar. But US citizens do not generally hold our leaders in such high revere, we are more critical and harsh on them, and we would not travel across the country to attend the funeral of a deceased President. Our country also goes through many presidents over time, whereas Thailand has had the same leader since 1946.

These cultural differences are important to recognize between our countries, because it in turn will determine how we will communicate. If the King of Thailand were to offend the US President, many Americans would denounce the sentiment (if it was untrue to a President we like), but in the long run, many would not care. If the US President however, were to offend the King of Thailand, that may significantly impact the way that the people of Thailand look and interact with America, which could hurt commerce, travelling, and other relationships.

Having a president that is culturally aware of how respected and loved a leader is by their own people, and by the leaders of other nations is an extremely important quality to have because it could change the entire scope of globalization and relationships that are had with other countries.

 Andrea Heiden


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