Friday, January 11, 2008

Envoys pay glowing tributes

Envoys pay glowing tributes

Three foreign ambassadors joined tens of thousand of Thais paying tribute to HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana at the Grand Palace's Saha Thai Samakhom Pavilion yesterday.

Published on January 6, 2008

"I still remember how impressive her friendly and casual personality was," Swiss Ambassador Rodolphe Imhoof said of an occasion when he welcomed HRH Princess Galyani for a meal in his homeland.

"May I convey the co-sorrow of the Swiss people to the Thai Royal Family and Thai people," he added.

Cambodian Ambassador Ung Sean said the good work of the Princess had proved beneficial to society and both Thai and Cambodian citizens.

"On behalf of the Cambodian people, let me express sorrow for the great loss to Thai society," he said.

Peruvian Ambassador Carlos Velasco Mendiola also signed the album of condolences in front of the late Princess' portrait.

"Personally, I am very impressed how Thais show their loyalty towards the Princess," he said.

At the pavilion, funeral activities began at 6.32am when HRH Maha Chakri Princess Sirindhorn offered food to Buddhist monks before their daily chanting. The Fine Arts Department sent musicians to perform Thai traditional funeral music, pee phat nanghong, every three hours.

Over 40,000 Thais visited the pavilion, most of them Bangkok residents, along with groups from upcountry who had travelled to the capital to write messages honouring the Princess, including 120 students from Samut Sakhon's Om Noi Sophonchanupatham School and 39 students from Chiang Rai's Mae Yao Wittaya School.

Besides the foreign envoys, many prominent public figures also showed up at the pavilion, including Swiss businessman Chark Never, owner of the Boulevard Hotel, ML Sakul Malakul, Finance Ministry permanent secretary Suparut Kawatkul, 2007 beauty queen Angkhana Trirattanathip, Phatra Thephassadin na Ayudhya and Phicharm Khieothong.

Among the politicians seen at the pavilion were Democrat Nattaya Benjasiriwan and former Thai Rak Thai executives Chaturon Chaisang, Prommin Lertsuridej and Boontham Vejjayachai.

Memorial services were also held in most provinces, in Yalaby the Border Police, in Narathiwat by Buddhist and Muslim residents, in Chumphon by doctors, in Chon Buri by Khao Kieo Zoo workers, in Lampang by tambon administration organisation staff, in Trang, by residents and in Chiang Mai by tourists in the Huay Nam Dang National Park.

The Fine Arts Department is designing a new crematorium for the Princess instead of choosing from 12 traditional designs in recognition of her great contribution to society.

"The design will be new but adapt some features the existing designs," the department said.

All scheduled performances and activities at the National Cultural Centre will be suspended during the 100-day mourning period, said Preecha Kanthiya, secretary-general of the National Cultural Commission.

"We did not order the postponements, but all the organisers agreed voluntarily to do it. However, we'll try to compensate later by reducing the rent. We also plan to redecorate and improve the centre's building during this period," he said.

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