Monday, December 3, 2007
King Rama V
King Chulalongkorn, Rama V
The Fifth King of the Chakri Dynasty
King Chulalongkorn succeeded in establishing a government based on the western system, which ultimately paved the way for the present democracy. He reformed the rule of law, established a proper judicial system and introduced compulsory military service, improving the country's national defense. He introduced the Baht (still in use today) as the official currency and made taxes directly payable to the government, cutting out the corrupt middlemen. King Chulalongkorn also set up Siam's first hospital based on western medical practices, the first medical school and a nationwide education system.
The Thai Nation rightly reveres King Chulalongkorn. The preservation of Thailand's sovereignty and independence, in contrast to other Asian countries that capitulated to colonialism, was a direct result of his efforts. His skills of diplomacy abroad and ability to form a central government at home endeared him to the people. His reign was one of the most successful of any monarch in any country in the world and through his vision and leadership, a small, traditional Kingdom was transformed into a modern Nation at the heart of Asian affairs. The Thai people are proud of him.
King Chulalongkorn is one of the best loved of all Thai kings. On October 23 each year, it representatives from government bodies, the military, the police, students and people of all occupations bring garlands, flowers, incense and candles to pay respect to the king and to commemorate the anniversary of his death.