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Bangkok communities promise helping hand to mourners

Oct 23. 2017
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By KHANITTHA THEPACHORN
THE NATION

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HUNDREDS OF thousands of mourners will venture in and out of various Bangkok neighbourhoods to get as close as possible to the ceremonial grounds as the country prepares for Thursday’s Royal Cremation Ceremonies for the much-revered HM the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

These communities, out of their love for the late monarch, will not only welcome the influx but also plan to offer support wherever they can. 

“We are going to cook 400 food boxes to hand out to mourners,” Walee Thongpen, a somtam vendor in Praeng Sappasart Community, Phra Nakhon district, said yesterday. 

Walee said she would work with a local food-shop owner to prepare the meals. They shared a hope of filling the hungry stomachs of people who would very likely have to camp out overnight for a chance to get into a prime zone.

The Royal Cremation Ceremonies for the late King will run from tomorrow until Sunday, with the actual cremation to take place at the Sanam Luang ceremonial grounds on Thursday. 

Although members of the public cannot enter the ceremonial grounds they can gather nearby, for example along the roads around the adjacent Grand Palace. 

The authorities will start allowing people to enter the prime zones near the ceremonial grounds from 5am tomorrow. Many, however, already started turning up yesterday as they did not want to miss the historic event. 

The Royal Cremation has great significance to Thais across the world because the late King was a beloved paternal figure. From 1946 to 2016, the late monarch had reigned over Thailand with remarkable devotion to his people and his loyal subjects are now hoping to bid him a proper, heartfelt farewell. 

Kunnipa Lersmaneesakulchai, 32, said her food shop would cook Chinese vegetarian dishes to hand out from 9am to 3pm on the Royal Cremation day itself.

“People will be able to eat here in front of my shop or opt for take-away. I have prepared packaging for them. It’s easy to carry around,” she said. 

Sa-ardjai Srithep, 46, said she would open her Rub Aroon cafe at Tha Tien village by the Chao Phraya River to volunteers and officials tomorrow. 

“We will hand out food in front of the cafe, too. And if nature calls, people can drop in to use our toilets,” she said. 

She said she would comply with the request of authorities that she close her shop on October 26, however. 

“I will do all this in honour of my beloved King,” Sa-ardjai said.

Jitra Sirilert, 71 said she did not have stuff to hand out but would definitely be on hand to give directions to people who needed help.

Tha Wang Community chairman Somjong Rongkaew also said locals, who were mostly low-income earners, would be willing to volunteer their services in the coming days, while his counterpart in Tha Tien, Kriangkrai Olarnphansakul, said his community would cooperate with officials in upholding security in the area. 

 

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