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Friday, October 14

Never a king such as this: raised as a commoner Bhumibol was the 'People's Working King'

To find new ways to help rural Thais feed themselves he turned the palace swimming pool into an experimental fishery and the palace grounds into an experimental farm. [chuckling] Talk about hands-on development work. He was the greatest king to live in modern times, a role model for what an enlightened leader could should be.  

Here, courtesy of YouTube, is the History Channel's biography, King Bhumibol of Thailand: The People's King, originally aired December 5, 2013. Lots of precious historical footage.  

After watching the documentary I could only wonder what else he might have done for Thailand if he'd also been the country's political leader. But before he came to the throne Thais had wanted a democracy in place of monarchy. So he had to help his countrymen with one hand tied behind his back. However, that made his accomplishments all the more amazing and won the hearts of the people.

The History Channel doesn't mention that he was physically handicapped. He'd lost an eye in a motor accident. It happened while he was in college; he was driving a sports car at pretty high speed and a truck in front of him stopped suddenly. He suffered extensive injuries in addition to the loss of the eye.

That's a hard way to learn to go slow when you can't see much of the road ahead. But he applied the lesson throughout his life for the benefit of Thais. And gave new meaning to the old saying "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."

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