In a quiet corner of the third floor of my local shopping centre, Thai people have been gathering in groups for several months now. Together they sit quietly making Dararat flowers in preparation for the cremation of their much-loved King Rama IX on 26 October at the end of a year of mourning. It is anticipated that millions of flowers will be made in towns and villages across the nation and sent to Bangkok for the funeral which will take place over five days.
Different types of flowers, including daffodils are folded and sculptured from corn leaves and banana leaves.
Last week as I was walking past the preparation area, I noticed it was being shared by the Red Cross for their monthly blood collection at the shopping centre. Every time there is a collection day, shoppers and workers generously donate their time and blood in such a public area oblivious to the surroundings.
During the year of mourning for the late king, school teachers and public servants have worn black as a sign of respect and buildings are still draped in traditional black and white satin ribbons. In contrast to their teachers, the uniforms worn by school children are colorful and worn with such pride. It is not unusual to see children wearing their uniforms on weekends because they love to be seen wearing them.
This is a nation steeped in tradition for future generations to learn and respect.