Friday, June 14, 2013

King Bhumibol Adulyadej and the Cinema

I had an incredible experience at the movies last night. As I was sitting through the 25 minutes of pre-film commercials... yes... 25 minutes... I started to doze off. As my head was dipping into sleep a pleasant song starting to play over the speakers and the entire audience of about 250 people stood up quickly. I didn't know what was happening but I jumped up as well and focused on the screen. It was showing a tribute to Rama IX, the King of Thailand. I peered around as the audience watched with respect. I enjoyed the moment. It seemed, at least to me, like a sincere moment of pride and honor by the audience for their King. The moment felt free of cynicism. It's often hard to show national pride these days (for many reasons of course), but I think it can still be quite a sincere and positive expression. Again, this is how it felt. I couldn't tell you what was going on in the minds of the audience or what the larger feelings of Bangkok's youth today is like, but the vibe of the experience was very positive for me.

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