Updates

Total death toll is now over 44,000. 62,000. 68,000. 120,000. 135,000.

Thailand

4500 confirmed dead. About half of them foreign tourists. Another 6500 are still missing.

Even when we’re facing the atrocity ourselves, the country still has the mind to set up a fund to help our neighbor Indonesia.

King Bhumibol made his yearly New Year television address:

“Yet this incident demonstrates the compassion of everybody in the Kingdom, be they civilians or soldiers. They are in harmony and feel compassion for others. They are determined to live in peace. They don’t leave others in the face of disaster. They are ready to help others with compassion, both locals and foreigners,” said His Majesty.

We Thais are so lucky to have such a great leader. Suffering his own loss, the King is still out there, letting his people know he cares, that he is thinking of the rest of us as well. I bet if his health permitted, the King would be out there to visit the south soon after the funeral of his grandson. King Bhumibol, he’s one the reasons why I am so proud to be a Thai, to live under his rules, to be one of his subjects. And even sharing a few strands of his DNAs. (For those who didn’t know, I am somewhat related to the Thai royal family.)

On a different note, despite the tragedy, more violence erupted in the deep south. “Muslim” rebels struck again. More innocent lives are lost. Again, a rare few people who hide behind religion as a cause to commit murder.

Another lesson on terrorism, like Death, it doesn’t take a holiday. It doesn’t know mercy.

Elsewhere

Aids are arriving in the affected area. The world is pouring their hearts and their wallets into several funds to help out.

Indonesia alone lost 80,000 lives, combination of earthquake and tsunami. Almost 41,000 in Sri Lanka. 3000 Americans are still unaccounted for.

Khum Poomi

Here’s the account of Princess Ubolrattana on Khum Poom’s death.

“The princess told Thai Rath daily newspaper she had never thought she was about to lose Khun Poom as she saw him running in front of her as the waves struck. He was not riding the jet ski as reported. He had finished with it and was already
back at the hotel.”

The rite/wake continues until next Tuesday, traditionally 7-day wake but there will be no rite performed on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and it is open for the public. Thousands of Thais and foreigners have come by to pay their respects, including a group of autistic students.

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