Published on August 30, 2007
In his speech to ambassadors, consul-generals and senior Foreign Ministry officials gathering for an annual Royal audience at Dusidalai Throne Hall, His Majesty expressed concern over the fact that some Thai citizens in foreign countries could not speak Thai after leaving their homeland for just a short time.
"You diplomatic heads must feel uneasy to see that some Thais cannot speak Thai after leaving the country for just a short while. You must help them by making them proud of the Thai language, which has been in existence as part of Thai culture long before that of many other countries," he said.
Citing himself as an example, the King said at first he could hardly use the Thai language while spending his childhood overseas since he was five.
"When I was back to Thailand at the age of 11, my knowledge of Thai speaking was derived from what my mother taught me. She would only speak Thai to me. I started learning Thai writing and reading at 11 and I could master the written language at 18, while getting fluent in reading took longer," His Majesty said.
Remarking on how people should live a happy life on the occasion of his 80th birthday this year, the King said the key to their happiness is sufficiency. "Suffici-ency is happiness. When you feel sufficient, you feel happy. When you do not feel you have enough, you can't be happy. But sometimes sufficiency for different people is differently defined."
His Majesty said it had been almost a year since he talked publicly about the sufficiency economy, the modest living philosophy he once suggested, which has since become a guideline for government grassroots policies.
"Everyone has talked about sufficiency economy. Some have argued that only applying sufficiency economy is not enough but in fact it is enough if they know how to get sufficient. The problem is that they do not know how to be sufficient, not that the theory does not work," he said.