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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Thailand, Lesson 15 – King Chulalongkorn Day
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Thailand Series at ThaiPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Thai holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 15, King Chulalongkorn Day. In Thai, it’s called วันปิยมหาราช (wan bpì-yá-má-hăa-râat).
In this lesson, we’re going to talk about King Chulalongkorn Day,
which falls on October 23 each year. This was the day King Rama V passed away. As the king did great things for Thailand, bringing development to the country in several aspects, Thai people show their respect for him by calling him “the beloved king,” and declared this day as a national day.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
King Rama V played an important role in saving the country from being colonized by Western countries. How did this happen?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The king’s abolition of slavery was an important act that changed Thailand’s political system. In his time, slaves were quite common. Anybody who was born from slave parents would also become a slave, or ทาส (thâat). This would continue generation by generation, until the slave had accumulated enough money to redeem himself. As King Rama V wanted everybody to have equal rights, he legislated several laws which allowed children born from slave parents to be free, or อิสระ (ìt-sà-rà), from slave status. He also deemed slave trading illegal and commanded slave owners to reduce the price of their slaves until it became zero. Within thirty years, Thailand’s slavery was abolished without bloodshed, as had occurred in other countries.
Another important act of his was to change the court system. Previously, whenever a person had an issue, he would be sent to a court of a relevant department for judgment. However, the court system was disorganized. Therefore, the king established the Ministry of Justice to take charge of the investigation and judgment of legal cases, so that all cases were judged on the same principles. Moreover, he ceased the practice of torture often used to obtain confessions, as under this method, suspects were likely to wrongly confess because they could not suffer the pain, despite their innocence. Instead, the king enforced an evidence- and witness-based investigation method. As the torture-based investigation method was dismissed, the court system has become fairer and better able to serve justice to society.
After the king passed away, civil servants, merchants, the rich, and the general public were all grateful for his grace, all donating money to build a statue to represent the king. The statue was built as if the king were riding a horse, or ม้า (máa), hence its name, the “Equestrian Statue.” On October 23 of each year, people bring flowers to pay respect to the king, or กษัตริย์ (gà-sàt), to remind themselves of his grace, as well as offer food to monks. Moreover, there are exhibitions about the king’s stories and activities held at numerous government agencies, schools, and universities to allow younger generations to continue to commemorate his grace.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
King Rama V played an important role in saving the country from being colonized by Western countries. How did this happen?
In the past, many Western countries invaded and colonized Asian countries. During his reign, King Rama V gave up some areas of Thailand in exchange for the compromise of maintaining the country’s independence. In order not to lose more land, he started to establish a relationship with Russia. He also sent his sons to study abroad to build alliances. Since then, Thailand has never lost its land to any other nation.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Are there royal families in your country, just like there are in Thailand?
Leave us a comment telling us at ThaiPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!

5 Comments

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ThaiPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Are there royal families in your country, just like there are in Thailand?

 

ThaiPod101.com
Wednesday at 04:13 PM
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Hello everyone,


Thank you very much for your comment. We are really appreciated. Bruce, this is info about our King Rama V "https://g.co/kgs/RuCRmB". Please do not hesitate to ask if you have future questions. I will be glad to help.


Have a great day.

Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

Robert Maarberg
Saturday at 04:32 AM
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Very interesting

Bruce
Friday at 09:37 AM
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Yes, learned a lot, very informative. Now I know who King Rama was, and why, there are statutes of King Rama V all over Thailand. The Beloved King was a very intelligent person. I'll not pass by his statue, any longer, and wonder "who is that guy?"

Question. What were the years of his reign?

Thanks

Bruce

Alilia
Friday at 06:28 AM
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Sà-wàt-dii khâ!☺

It is a very fun and informative lesson. It is great to learn about the history of Thailand and learn new Thai words at the same time.

When I saw the heading I was like...😕. I started the lesson and then I was like...😅...😄...😀.

There are royal families in my country. She is Queen Elizabeth II. She has reigned since the Bahamas became independant on July 10th,1973.

Sà-wàt-dii khâ,

Alilia