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    King Chulalongkorn (or Piyamaharaj) Day

    KING CHULALONGKORN DAY
    PIYAMAHARAJ DAY
    Translated by P.N. Cittasobhano and Dr. Somboon Duangsamosorn

    Meaning

    King Chulalongkorn (or Piyamaharaj) Day is to commemorate the day on which King Chulalongkorn passed away. King Chulalongkorn the Great was he reformer king of the educational system, military affairs, National Communication, the State Railway and the Slave Liberation Act, without bloodshed in Thailand.

    Background

    Through his reign, King Chulalongkorn became the Beloved Great King of all Thais and foreigners who lived in the Kingdom of Siam. All Siamese citizens respect him as their father. So the Government of Thailand has announced October 23 as King Chulalongkorn Day and a National Holiday.

    Biography of King Chulalongkorn the Great

    King Chulalongkorn the Great was a son of King Rama IV or King Mongkut and Queen Debsirindra. He was born on September 20, 1853, and named Prince Chulalongkorn. At the age 9, he was appointed by this father as Krommuen Bighaneshavarasurasangkash and then Kromkhun Binij Prajanath at the age of 13.

    The first coronation took place on November 11, 1868, under the title “Phrabatsomdech Phraparamindra Mahachulalongkorn Phra Chulachomklao Chaoyuhua.” Because he was only 16 years old, Somdech Chaophrayaborommaha Srisuriyavongse was appointed the King’s Regent. Prince Bovornvijaijan, the elder son of the Second King Pinklao was appointed the Viceroy under the title “Kromphrarajavangbovorn Vijaijan”

    During the time of regency, King Chulalongkorn studied various branches of arts and sciences such as Royal Tradition, Public Administration, Archaeology, Pali, English, Military Science, Wrestling, Use of Weapons and Engineering. Moreover, he paid state visits to Singapore and Java twice and India once. It was an observation-tour to study the political systems and administration of the European Imperialists who came to govern the colonies in South Asia and Southeast Asia. In this way, he brought back new knowledge and technology to apply in Thai government. Royal tradition such as uniforms, haircuts and an audience with the king were reformed by the king.

    He was ordained as a Buddhist monk for a short period from September 15, to October 11, 1873, and then was installed on the throne in the second coronation on October 16, 1873.



    Important Royal Contributions

    1. Slave Abolition Act

    The most important royal contribution was the announcement of the Slave Abolition Act. Slave Abolition made him the Beloved Great King of all the people of Siam.

    In the beginning of his reign, more than 1/3 of the Thai population were slaves. This was so because there was an endless continuity of offspring from slaves, who became slaves for the rest of their lives, as children of slaves also became slaves.

    The Law at that time fixed the value of slave’s children as follows.

    1. Boy’s price was 14 Tamluengs (1 Tamlueng = 4 Baht)
    2. Girl’s price was 12 Tamluengs

    The price could not be reduced between ages 1-40. The price of a male slave who was 100 years old was 1 Tamlueng, and for femaleslaves, the price was only 3 baht. Accordingly, a slave who could not pay money to withdraw himself from slavery became a slave through out his life.

    The Royal Act was issued by King Chulalongkorn the, Great on August 21, 1874. This law, began in the year of the King’s coronation, (1868). Therefore, a slave’s child who was born in the year, 1868, had the right to reduce the price each year. The Act fixed the price of a slaves’s son as 8 Tamluengs and a Slave’s daughter as 7 Tamluengs. All children who were born in the year, 1868, became free in 1889, when they were 21 years old.

    In the year 1905, “Slave Act R.E. 124” (1905) was passed by King Chulalongkorn definitely prohibiting slavery for offspring of slaves and the slave-trade. Slave-trading became a crime. Masters had to reduce their slaves’ prices by 1 baht per month until their debt was nullified.

    2. Political Administrative Reform

    In the beginning of Ratanakosindra period, the administration of the Kingdom of Thailand was just the same as that of the Ayutthaya Period.

    The difference was that there were more departments. For general Administration, there were two Chief Ministers; a Chief Minister of Defence and a Chief Minister of Civil Affairs which, in turn were divided into 4 Departments:

    1. City Department or Urban Control Department
    2. Royal Household Department
    3. Treasury Department
    4. Land Department

    After the second coronation in the year, 1873, at the age of 20, when King Chulalongkorn the Great from the experience of his state visits to Singapore, Jave (Indonesia) and India learned more about the administrative systems of European Governors in those countries, he thought that the Central Administration of the Thai Kingdom should be reformed into a modern system such as in civilised countries. The bureaucratic classification should be divided into Departments, Divisions and Sections without overlapping one another.

    <center><object width="420" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/_OqXt-_J96Q?version=3&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/_OqXt-_J96Q?version=3&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="420" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object></center><br />

    So, in the year, 1875, he founded the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, separate from the Department of Harbours. Then, he founded the Hoh Rachadakornpiphat or Customs House to collect taxes in the kingdom for the first time.

    King Chulalongkorn reformed the administrative system into Ministries, Departments, Divisions and Sections respectively. Position classification was also modernised.

    In his early reign, there were six ministries:

    1. Ministry of Interior to govern the cities in the North.
    2. Ministry of Defence to govern the cities in the South and to control the
    Army and Navy.
    3. Ministry of Metropolitan Affairs to be commander of peace-keeping.
    4. Ministry of the Royal Household.
    5. Ministry of Finance to manage foreign affairs and the royal treasure.
    6. Ministry of Agriculture to manage the farms and rice fields of the
    Kingdom.



    After that, he founded 4 ministries :

    1. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    This separated affairs from the Ministry of Finance. Its affairs included the appointment of ambassadors to various countries. In fact, during this period, European countries appointed consuls to be their representatives in Bangkok. Prince Devavongvaropakarn (Somdech Krom Phraya Devavongvaropakarn) became the first minister of Foreign Affairs. Saranrom Palace was the office of foreign affairs. Here he started the official documentation system. Moreover, all royal officials began to record their working-time. This system was an example of other ministries afterward.

    2. Ministry of Justice.

    Previously, the consideration and delivery of judgement were not much different from the method of consideration and judgement of lawsuit in various ministries. So, King Chulalongkorn founded the Ministry of Justice to gather all judges together in one unit.

    3. Ministry of Public Works.

    This brought the Public Works of various ministries into the same office by the King’s Command. The Department of Post and Telegraph and Royal State Railway were under the control of this ministry.

    4. Ministry of Public Instruction.

    This separated the affairs of the former Department of Public Instruction and Sangha (religious) Affairs from the Ministry of the Interior and joined them with the Department of Education. It’s function was to build a Teachers’ Training School; to train persons to be teachers, to teach the subjects according to the European method, to compile and write the academic texts and to construct schools throughout the kingdom.
    For royal official classification, he started the position classification in 1888. There was a Ministers’ Council the members of which consisted of 10 ministers. The status of the Department of Soldiers and Department of the Royal Secretariat were equivalent to Ministries. So the Directors of above two Departments became members of the Ministers’ Council, too. All in all there were 12 members.

    King Chulalongkorn became Chairman of the Ministers’ Council for more than 3 years.

    Previously, the grade of ministers were classified into three:

    Minister of the Interior and Minister of Defence were calle “Agramaha Senabodi or Chief Ministers.”
    Minister of Metropolitan Affairs, Minister of the Royal Household, Minister of Finance and Minister of Agriculture were called “ Chatusadom” Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Justice, Minister of Public Instruction and Minister of Public Works were called “New Ministers”. After the royal announcement on April 1, 1892, all Ministers were called “Ministers” equally. They were no longer called “Chief Ministers” or “Chatusadom”



    3. Education

    More educational expansion was done in the time of King Chulalongkorn. He gave orders to build a Royal School in the area of the Grand Palace and instructed the Royal Family’s members and the court officials to send their children to study in this school. Phraya Srisunthornvoharn (Noi Achariyangkura) was appointed the Principal of this School. At the same time, an English School was built separately, and Mr.George Patterson became the Principal. Both Schools were under the control of the Royal Household Bureau.

    Meanwhile, he built a Royal School for people in general and supported open schools at various monasteries according to old Thai traditions. The Royal School for the people was established for the first time at Wat Mahannapharam and expanded to local cities in various parts of the Kingdom. The Department of Education was founded in 1885, and the first general examination was held in the year, 1890. The 6 elementary texts written by Phraya Srisunthornvoharn were replaced by new quick-learning texts of Prince Damrongrajanubhap. Lastly, King Chulalongkorn founded The Ministry of Public Instruction to manage academic and religious affairs in the year, 1892, and educational progress continued.

    4. Court

    Formerly, different departments had the courts under their control in case of personal conflict within the department. However, it was a nondisciplined system. In the year, 1891, the Ministry of Justice was assigned to unite all court affairs in the same office. Moreover, King Chulalongkorn lifted the old tradition of lawsuit consideration called “torturing method” by using violent action forcing defendants to confess such as fastening heads with an iron belt, putting iron-nails in the nails etc. In this way, the defendants could not endure the pain and accepted the charges because of severe suffering. So, the king passed the law to consider lawsuits y finding the fact by the documental or personal witness.

    The Police court of Bangkok was founded by King Rama V in the year 1892. Then, he founded Monthol Court or Regional Court in Ayutthaya for the first time and in other regions later.

    5. Communication

    A lot of bridges and roads were constructed by the Royal Command of King Chulalongkorn and the Bamrung Muang Road was also expanded. The following roads: Yaowaraj, Rajadamnern Klang, Rajadamnern Nok, Dinsor, Burapha, Unakan, etc., were constructed. On the occasion of His Birth Day, he allotted royal budget to build the bridges such as Chalerm Sri Bridge, Chalerm Sawan Bridge, etc. The word “Chalerm” means to celebrate the King’s Birth Day. Other important bridges such as Maghavan Rangsan, Devakamrangsan, etc., were constructed. He also gave Royal Commands to dig canals for transportation and agriculture.

    In the year 1890, the railway between Bangkok and Nakhonratchasima was constructed by his command. He also opened a railway for transportation between Bangkok and Ayutthaya. In 1896, other railway lines were constructed, such as Bangkok-Petchaburi, Bangkok-Chacherngsao, Bangkok-Bandara Junction of Uttaradith, etc. He gave permission to a foreign company to run electric an tram and train in Phra Buddhabad District.

    The Postal Service was set up in 1881, and was operated by the Telegraph Department, which was started in 1869. The first telegraph line linked Bangkok and Samutprakarn.
    6. Public Health

    To support public health care, King Chulalongkorn organised a Working Committee to construct hospitals such as Sirirajphayabal, Bangrak Hospital, Psychic Hospital for mental disorders and a Children’s Nursing Home, etc. At the same time, he sent physicians to vaccinate people free of charge to prevent smallpox and cholera. In 1893, Queen Sribajarindra founded the Red Cross Council. This council later became Thai Red Cross. Then, the Council of Thai Red Cross constructed a hospital. This hospital was not completed in the reign of King Chulalongkorn, but it was completed in the reign of King Rama VI, who named the hospital Chulalongkorn Hospital, in 1914.

    In 1903, a French specialist of Public Health was requested by King Chulalongkorn to construct and manage the Water Supply for Bangkokians. In the reign of King Rama VI, the Water Works Office was named the Water Supply Authority. King Chulalongkorn gave Royal Command to construct a medical House to prepare royal medicine with low cost to the people.



    War and Loss of Some Pieces of Land

    During the reign of King Chulalongkorn, although he had reformed the administration of Thai Kingdom, Siam was still not safe from imperialist powers who came to set up their colonies in Southeast Asia. In the last period of King Rama V’s reign, Thailand lost land on several occasions to France. Here is the story in short. Due to influence of the Imperialist French Leader, we had to maintain independence by giving some parts of Thailand to France as the following details:

    1. In 1888, Thailand lost approximately 87,000 square kilometres in the areas of Sibsongchuthai and Huapanthanghatanghok.

    2. In 1893, Thailand had to give up land of approximately 143,000 square kilometres on the left side of Mae Khong River. Thailand was charged by French Imperialists of about 2 million francs in exchange for withdrawing military forces from the land of Siam. Even so, French force continued to occupy Chanthaburi province as a guarantee.

    3. In 1904, Siam lost land of approximately 12,500 square kilometres on the right side of Mae Khong River particularly on the opposite area of Luang Pra Bang and Pak Se, in exchange for Chanthaburi province. The French force, however, continued to occupy Trat province, without relevant reason.

    4. The Thai Kingdom had to exchange the land of Trat province for the Land of Batambang, Siamrath and Srisobhon to the French Imperialists in 1909, according to a treaty dated March 23, 1906. French forces returned Dan Sai Town, Trat Town and all islands in Laem Singh up to Kood island, to Thailand. The total lands lost to French Imperialists totalled approximately 51,000 square kilometres.

    However, the last loss of the lands in the Thai Kingdom gave some benefits to Thailand, e.g. the French Imperialists gave up extraterritorial rights in Thailand and French defendants no longer went to the Consular Court of France in the Thai Kingdom.

    More on the French Occupation of Siam (French occupation of Trat and Chanthaburi) here.

    For the English side, there was no definite mark of territory between Thai kingdom and Malaya of England. In 1898, Siam held talks with the government of England which also included extraterritorial rights. In 1911, England agreed to give the right to Thai courts to consider the lawsuits of Englishmen and all persons belonging to English companies in Thailand. The Government of England in Malaya also gave credit to the Thai Kingdom to borrow money for construction of railways in the South from Bangkok to Singapore. For this benefit, Thai Kingdom gave the Land of Kelantan, Taranganu and Thaiburi to the United States of Malaya of England.



    The Royal Visits

    The foreign visits were the important royal activity of King Chulalongkorn. When he was young, the king visited Java and India to see the examples of European Governments’ rules on their colonies and apply a suitable system of administration in Thailand. As the king expected, he was able to bring administrative system from those countries to be used in Thailand and to replace the 400-years old political system. Because of the conflict with the French force, he went to visit Europe twice in 1897 and 1907 to cement relationship with various countries in Europe including France.

    For the first visit to Europe in 1897, he mentioned that he himself had been to the foreign countries such as India, Burma, Ramanya, Java and Malaya in order to adapt the best form of administration from those countries which were colonies of Great Power in Europe to improve Thailand. Therefore, if he visited the European countries, the benefit would be increased. He had an intention to make friends and to be familiar with Kings and Governments of Big and Small Countries and the visit would strengthen relations between Thailand and those countries. He fixed this programme of visit for 9 months from April 7, 1907 onward.

    During his long visit to foreign countries, he appointed Queen Saowabhaphongsri as his Regent. (Later Queen Sribajara). At that time, she was mother of Crown Prince Vajiravadh. Four advisers were appointed to assist the Queen. They were Prince Chaturonrasami, Prince Bhanurangsri Sawangvongse, Prince Devavongvaropakarn and Prince Damrongrajanubhap. There was also foreigner appointed to help these advisers, his name was Rolyn Jacquemins. He was born in Belgium and later was appointed Chao Phraya Abhairaja, a nobleman of high rank.

    For the first royal visit, King Chulalongkorn kept up correspondence with the Queen. These letters were later collected and printed in a book under the title of “Far From Home” (Prarajanibondh Klainban) which gave the details of various places throughout his journey.

    During the second visit to Europe, Crown Prince Vajiravudh who had already returned from England was appointed the King’s Regent.

    For internal visits, King Chulalongkorn visited the people both formally and privately. The private visits were called “Prapas Ton” in Thai. Their purpose was to see the real-life situation of his citizens. These private visits were made twice, in 1904 and 1906.

    Religious Affairs

    In support of religious affairs, he was the supreme patron of all religions. For Buddhism he was ordained as a novice and a monk and gave support to both Sects of Bhikkhu Sangha (Mahanikaya &Dhammayuttika Nikaya) as his father had done. In 1902, he passed “the Sangha Administration Act R.E.(Ratanakosindra Era)121” to become the Rules of the Sangha Administration throughout the Kingdom. The Ministry of Public Instruction was assigned to supervise the religions. The king also invited senior monks and Buddhist scholars to revise the Tripitaka (The Three Divisions of the Buddhist Canon). Then he gave orders to print the Pali Tripitaka in 39 Volumes for the first time in Siam totalling 1,000 sets, using the Thai alphabet. He donated this Tripitaka to various temples in Thailand and some foreign countries. In 1899, he repaired Wat Benchamabophitra and made a replica of Phitsanulok to install in the great hall of this temple. He restored other temples and reconstructed new temples such as Wat Rajabophitra, Wat Debsirindravas and Wat Nivet Dhammapravati at Bang-Pa-In Ayutthaya province, ect.

    For other religions, the king gave suitable support such as donating money to construct Masjid of Muslim, donating money to Christian Missionaries and giving land to construct a church on Sathorn Road.

    Literary Affairs

    In this period, there was literary reform from poetic style to prose style. Several printing houses were set up, books thus gained popularity among local readers, who no longer had to copy written texts by hand. King Chulalongkorn himself was a famous author. He wrote both prose and poetry e.g. Klai-Ban, Nitra-Chakrit, Ngoh-Pa and a guide to ceremonies for the twelve months (Phra Rajabidhi Sibsong Duan) which is recognised by the Literary Club as his best composition.

    The Royal Memorial Monument

    Thai people recognised the great tasks and significant contributions of the Beloved Great King. Therefore, they donated money to the king for the construction of a monument in his honour. Having been impressed by an Equestrian Statue of King Louis during his second visit to Europe and to fulfil the sincere desire of his citizens, the king ordered a French artist to cast an equestrian statue in bronze for him similar to that of King Louis and brought it back to Thailand. The statue was installed in front of the Dusit Palace and the king unveiled it on November 11, 1908.

    Actually the sing of the statue is bigger thon the life size of the king and the horse. The statue, made in bronze, stands on a marble foundation which is six metres high, two and half metres wide and five metres long.

    At the marble stone foundation of King Chulalongkorn’s Monument in front of the National Assemble Hall, there is an inscription mentioning his great glory and honour, towards which he devoted his whole life for the happiness and prosperity of the country. The statue was unveiled on November 11, 1908.

    King Chulalongkorn the Great died on October 23, 1910, at the age of 58 and after forty-two years of his reign, the first long-reigning monarch in the Thai history.
    Cultural activities suggested on King Chulalongkorn the Great Day

    Cultural activities to be held on this day include:

    1. To hold academic seminars for better public understanding of the royal
    activities of the king and the significance of this day.

    2. To hold an exhibition about the king’s life and works.

    3. Other appropriate activities are:

    - Wreath-laying or flower-offerings to the king’s Equestrian Statue of at a designated place.

    - The flying of national flags at government offices and houses.

    - Merit-making dedicated to the king.

    - Performances in honour of the king.

    4. Other suitable activities.

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    (Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

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    วันเสาร์ ที่ 23 ต.ค. 2553

    HM the King will lay wreath at King Rama V Statue at Siamindra Building, Siriraj Hospital this evening, marking Chulalongkorn Day

    mcot.net

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    Pattaya celebrates Chulalongkorn Day

    Pattaya celebrates Chulalongkorn Day

    October 23rd is the anniversary of the death of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), one of Thailandís greatest monarchs.

    King Chulalongkorn ruled Siam from 1868 to 1910.

    His reign was characterized by extensive social and economic development, including the abolition of slavery and the state labor service.

    He is also famed for his ardent Thai nationalism, and for his skill in fending off the threat of European colonialism, despite the fact that large tracts of Siam were ceded to the Europeans during the period.

    Saturday marked the 100th Anniversary of his passing and a special ceremony was held at Banglamung District Hall, in front of a statue of King Rama V.

    Local public and private sector organizations were joined by Local Police Divisions and members of local government who placed wreaths in front of the statue.

    The ceremony was led by Khun Mongkol, the Chief of Banglamung District.

    Pattaya One News

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    Hundreds cheer HM on Rama V Day
    24/10/2010

    His Majesty the King has marked the 100th anniversary of his grandfather's death by paying his respects to the statue of King Rama V at Siriraj Hospital.


    MAJESTIC: His Majesty the King, accompanied by his dog, Khun Tongdaeng, goes to pay his respects at the statue of HRH the Princess Mother at Siriraj Hospital. The Kingís presence at the hospital brought joy to the hundreds there to greet him.
    PHOTO: PAWAT LAOPAISARNTAKSIN

    After laying flowers in front of the statue, His Majesty paid respects to the statues of other deceased members of the royal family.

    Wearing a pink-striped shirt and a pink suit jacket, the King smiled and waved to a crowd of hundreds chanting "Long Live the King".

    The King, who was accompanied by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, photographed spectators as he moved to the hospital's pier where he spent 20 minutes observing the water level on the Chao Phraya River.

    He has been closely monitoring the flood crisis, checking maps to evaluate the situation daily, said Chai Pattana Foundation secretary Sumeth Tantivejjakul.

    His Majesty was admitted to Siriraj Hospital with a lung infection in September of last year and has remained there for physical therapy.

    bangkokpost.com

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    Chulalongkorn Day 2011
    October 23, 2011



    2bangkok.com

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