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Volunteers selflessly spend mourning time caring for others

Oct 26. 2017
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By Kasamakorn Chanwanpen
The Nation

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AS HUNDREDS of thousands of mourners in the past week walked kilometres and waited days hoping to enter the Royal Cremation grounds to witness the historic cremation of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej, thousands have chosen to honour the late King by volunteering during this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Love for the King was clearly in their hearts regardless of whether they were inside or around the cremation grounds, they said. 

A 70-year-old volunteer who asked to be referred to as Adisorn said he and his daughter had been working around Sanam Luang and Rajdamnoen Road since Tuesday when mourners started to gather in the area. 

They were performing all kinds of services including distributing water and collecting garbage. All the tasks were meant to support the loyal subjects wishing t o bid the late King farewell, he said. 

“It’s the last time I can serve our father,” Adisorn said, referring to the King who was a father figure for Thai people throughout his reign. “It doesn’t matter that we’re losing the opportunity to join the cremation so long as we know what we are doing and for whom.” Although the government had announced that people could end their mourning period at the end of this month, Adisorn insisted that volunteer work and other tributes to the late King would continue.

“We can always do good deeds and follow his teachings, and keep them alive as if he was still with us,” Adisorn said.

Since Wednesday, the grounds around Sanam Luang have been packed with hundreds of thousands of black-clad mourners who have come from all over the country to show respect and bid a final farewell to he late King .

Such a large-scale event could not have been conducted in as orderly a fashion without the thousands of volunteers who have sacrificed time and energy to provide services to mourners.

Another volunteer, Sangpetch Nakarun, 56, offered her services for similar reasons. “I wish to be one cog that helped make this event, sending HM the late King back to Heaven, as perfect as possible.”

The market vendor said she did not mind missing out on the opportunity to go inside the cremation grounds, adding that it was an honour to do the volunteer work.


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