His Majesty's Full Birthday Speech
His Majesty the King delivered a speech on December 4, 2006 on the occassion of his 79th birthday on Tuesday. The following is an unofficial translation of the speech:
Thank you all for being here today to wish me a happy birthday. The well wishing as expressed by the prime minister is especially encouraging. I did not stand up to acknowledge your well wishing gesture since my physical strength did not permit although mentally, I am fit enough. I hope you understand that. Physical strength has its use.
For our nation, both physical and mental strength is essential. For the prime minister, he has to exercise both physical and mental strength to show how useful it is. Every other people must also use their physical and mental strength to save the country from perils. Do not leave it to the government alone since the government is not all that powerful. This government in particular is run by the elderly but being elderly is in fact a power.
For me, I am still 78 years old today and will be 79 tomorrow. I am not 80 yet and the prime minister is not yet 80 either. At the age of 80, some still can work vigorously. Old age can be an advantage in terms of accumulated knowledge and experiences. Young people who look down on the elderly are in fact inferior themselves. Old people who well maintain their intelligence and moral integrity can help the country prosper. But for those who do not know how to make use of their old age, they are just like children mentally.
This kind of people can be very dangerous. Their immaturity and inferior feeling about their old age could lead to the fall of the country. It is sad for those who keep regretting about getting old without trying to make use of it. Elderly people can make use of their old age and experiences to help other people and the country. I hope old people with good experiences will successfully work for the nation.
For old people in the government, they have no greed for themselves and deserve a compliment for their willingness to continue to serve the country although they have long worked and should have their retirement time. Although they have never taken this kind of job before, they will likely do it well thanks to their experiences.
Those people took the job in time of trouble. It is not politics that I am talking about. I do not want to talk about politics now. I am bored with it. It is the flooding that I will talk about.
Although the overall volume of rainwater this year is lower than the 1995 record, floods this year are more serious because of poor water management. With better management, the flood problem should not be as serious as it is now. I have information about flood and natural water situations with me here. With better equipment nowadays, floodwater can be drained out faster than in 1995.
This can be done in many areas especially at the Chao Phya River estuary. Existing floodgates in Phra Pradaeng can be effectively used to block a high tide from overflowing the river and flooding Bangkok. Under good timing management, the facilities can also drain out a groundwater overflow from the city at the time of low tide. The same method should be used in other areas too with some investment and labour required. When to open or close floodgates holds key to effective flood prevention.
Back in 1995, I sent out a Royal guard to check out a seaside flood station one night and he reportedly found the floodgate keeper sleeping while the tide was rising. The man said he was not aware of the timing of low and high tides but just followed his superiors' orders on when to close or open the floodgate. This explained how a high sea tide could then cause the canal linked to the floodgate to overflow and thus flood part of Bangkok. There is still about one more month left to correct what was wrong in flood prevention and it is not too late though. I just pick up the flood topic today since my tired voice about it might not be well heard once before. Today my voice gets clearer thanks to good medicine and I want to let you know about it.
Too much talking is like flooding and I do not want to talk too much myself. But I cannot miss talking about Prime Minister Surayud for the sake of his good intention and honesty in serving the country. I hope everyone will do their duty well and I will be as happy as I am at the age of 80. May everyone who works with determination and honesty and realises in the use of their old age succeed in their jobs.