Singapore's Thai community mourns loss of King Bhumibol Adulyadej

People offering their prayers and condolences for the late King at Wat Ananda Metyarama in Jalan Bukit Merah yesterday. The Thai Buddhist temple will hold five days of chanting for the King. The Thai Embassy in Orchard Road will open a condolence boo
People offering their prayers and condolences for the late King at Wat Ananda Metyarama in Jalan Bukit Merah yesterday. The Thai Buddhist temple will hold five days of chanting for the King. The Thai Embassy in Orchard Road will open a condolence book for signing from Monday to Friday.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Thais in Singapore pay their respects to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the embassy on Saturday.
Thais in Singapore pay their respects to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the embassy on Saturday.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Thais in Singapore pay their respects to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the embassy on Saturday.
Thais in Singapore pay their respects to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the embassy on Saturday. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Thais in Singapore pay their respects to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the embassy on Saturday.
Thais in Singapore pay their respects to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the embassy on Saturday. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Thais in Singapore pay their respects to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the embassy on Saturday.
Thais in Singapore pay their respects to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the embassy on Saturday. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The popular Thai hangout in Singapore, Golden Mile Complex, was unusually quiet yesterday as the Thai community here mourned the loss of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Some stores opened late, while others shut their doors early as Thai shopkeepers and customers alike congregated at the Thai Embassy in Orchard Road to pay their respects.

"Today is very quiet. A lot of people are sad and are at home," said shopkeeper Isaree Harnmontree, 41.

The Thai national had opened her coffee shop an hour later than usual as a mark of respect for the monarch. Over the weekend, she hopes to visit the embassy to pray for the King.

"I think he had a strong and good heart. He would do anything for the Thai people," she said, fighting back tears.

The world's longest-reigning monarch died on Thursday at the age of 88, following a long period of ill health. Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has declared a year-long period of mourning.

At the Thai Embassy, the Thai flag was at half-mast.

According to the embassy, a condolence book will be open for signing at its premises at 370 Orchard Road, from Monday to Friday, from 10am to 12.30pm and 2pm to 4.30pm. Visitors can access the embassy via its Claymore Road entrance.

 

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Yesterday, at least one school, St Francis Methodist School in Upper Bukit Timah Road, gave its Thai students the day off to pay their respects to the late King, and around 30 of them turned up at the embassy. Principal Lenie Cho said the decision was made out of compassion for the students.

"We came here to pray for the King," said student Stamp Promphan, 15.

"Almost all of us were crying when we woke up to the news this morning. He was a very important person, like our second dad. I've never met him, but he's like one of our family members. I grew up knowing only him as King."

But the students could not enter the embassy as the condolence book had not been set up. So they took a train to Wat Ananda Metyarama - a Thai Buddhist temple in Jalan Bukit Merah - to pray for the King.

Venerable Chao Khun Tepsiddhivides, the temple's head monk, said it will hold five days of chanting for the King, and everyone is welcome to join in. A tent has been set up, with a photo of King.

Sessions will be from 7pm to 8pm, and all Thai monks in Singapore, numbering about 30, will be present.

Religious leaders from other faiths, such as Christianity, Hinduism and Islam, have been invited to join today's session.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore's Thai community mourns loss of King'. Print Edition | Subscribe