Long May He Reign
There is Biglove in Thailand
Arriving in Bangkok was somewhat stressful after more than 48 hours of no-sleep-hypnozone connecting flight folderol, said folderol not the least of which involving my big fat gate checked guitar going missing somewhere between Frankfurt and Singapore. Remember all that talk about letting go???? Guitar going missing and me on no sleep is a real test of this...lucky me! Enough on the ills and chills of gate checking a beloved instrument. Suffice to say that 'ol Miserlou and I are together again. I have now only to lug her about faithfully.
Now that is really the heart of the matter here in this post. We arrived in Bangkok to be immersed deeply and instantly into great roiling seas of BIGLOVE. Bangkok, this adrenaline charged organism is in a collective state somewhere between hyperactive and hypomanic and although this may be the norm for this surreal city it is rockin’ on down electric avenue at a pace and pitch far above normal, for you see, it is the King’s birthday. The Thai people love the King deeply, unreservedly and to a person....Faithfully. The King and the people are united.
Where does this national Biglove come from? It is quite something above nationalism, although it is essential to Thai nationalism; it is spiritual, familial, personal but not fully any of these. They call him Dad in the most loving way. Father's Day is his Birthday.
We are Awash
Waiting for a glimpse of the King we are awash in a sea of yellow. King's Birthday shirts are everywhere, on all the racks and anything that could suffice as a rack for sale, on everyone’s backs, his sigil proudly displayed, his beneficent visage beaming out to all. All shirts are yellow, all his flags are yellow, all bunting, ribbons and picture frames are yellow.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej was born on a Monday. Yellow is the auspicious color for Monday and as such is this wonderfully loved King's color. The King's Birthday belongs to the people, clearly. They turn out en masse to catch a fleeting glimpse. Seniors, mothers with babies, the wealthy, and the poor...all equal. Sleeping wild in the parks, on the sidewalks, in the road even is not too much to bear to be WITH the outflow of massive and FAITHFUL LOVE that is everywhere.
Bang Bang Thump Thump King King
We go the rooftop of our hotel and look out over the lights of the very surreal city skyline. Imagine something like being inside a starship of epic proportions with drones going this way and that to supervise the internal combustions of this great machine. Explosions rock the sky from virtually all compass points as each corporation (read mini kingdom) pays their homage to the King with their own unique "birthday card". Immense fountains of fire vault into the sky exploding into marigolds, scintillating dragons, bursting stars of love for this monarch, Rama XIV.
Fruit bats the size of turkeys fly in crazed gyre, oftentimes having to dodge panicked pigeons and the odd crane as all become unceremoniously loosed from their night moorings by this Biglove slamming the sky amid frantic lasers everywhere on the cloud ceiling...and at the end of it all, the full moon blesses the silence while the monks can again be heard chanting in their numbers from all the Wats in the Chao Phraya basin.
The psychology behind this Biglove is complex, but can best be distilled from some of Freud's writing on psychology of the group mind found across his collected works which I won't cite here, but the essence of which he calls "the illusion that the leader loves all the individuals with equal love", and that through a libidinal (understand this here as life affirming and generating rather than sexual) tie with the leader, the whole is bonded forever with Biglove. See The Golden Bough for much more on this than you or I may want to wade through at this time. Suffice to say that here in Bangkok, Krungthep, City of Angels that Biglove is in evidence everywhere tonight.
"It is Not Possible for Mara to Find Those Who Abide in Appreciative Awareness Who, by Perfect Knowledge are Freed and Live in Virtue."
The above quote from the Dhammaphada, Flowers 57 is illustrative that thus there is happiness, growth, fecundity and fulfillment in the Kingdom. And it is here that we can see King Bhumibol Adulyadej as a truly libidinal figure .His life force has held, propped, and driven this wonderful Kingdom for 67 years, coronated in 1946, making him the longest reigning monarch in history.
During his reign he has been truly generative making public works for the people, traveling extensively to see and be with the people. He is an accomplished and recorded jazz musician writing much of his own material, he is a renowned photographer, a polyglot in the fullest sense in arts, language, politics, socially and personally.
He is all one may ever want in a King, and in this writer's unsolicited opinion, certainly worthy of the Biglove every day, now and always, Long Live the King.