A guest entry by Dave
The current King of Thailand (Bhumibol Adulyadej) has been on the throne since 1946. He is higly regarded for his artistic endeavours as an accomplished jazz musician. You can find his CDs at all music stores here. He is regarded as a great man and a wonderful leader.
I read all of these things before coming to Thailand but didn’t really understand the depth of those feelings in Thailand until I came here. You’ll notice the color yellow in many of the pictures that I’ve taken during my time in Thailand. The Thais have a color associated with each day of the week and the King was born on a Monday. Thus, the King’s color is yellow. The crown prince and heir was born on a Monday as well. Talk about lucky!
Anyway, everywhere you go, you’ll see pictures of the King or small shrines built in his honor. The military tied yellow ribbons to their guns and tanks to indicate loyalty to the King during the coup. Yellow shirts with the King’s seal are almost the de-facto mode of attire…you can’t go wrong with the color yellow! Thais will typically wai (sign of respect) images of the King as they pass by.
It is illegal to disrespect the King or any of his images. Travellers beware! You do so at great personal peril as not only will the authorities want to have a word with you, but you’re likely to run afowl of the general citizen as well!