Rumours on HM’s health are deplorable

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False hearsay regarding the King could have been started for political, even financial gain.

The stock market tumbled two days in a row on planted rumours. On Wednesday, the index shed 2 per cent as the Dow Jones breached the 10,000 mark. Yesterday the Thai index plunged more than 8 per cent amid concerns about the King’s health. In afternoon trading, the benchmark index fell 8.3 per cent to 670.72 despite the Palace saying that 81-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, receiving treatment at Siriraj Hospital since September 19, was recovering from a lung inflammation.

The market later trimmed those losses to down 6.1 per cent. The unfounded rumours about the health of His Majesty had circulated for more than three days. The Nation’s office received several phone calls on Wednesday. One call was from Hong Kong, where investors were trying to inquire about the monarch’s health. Another call came from Singapore, again inquiring about the King’s condition. The rumours were so widespread that the Palace was prompted late on Wednesday to issue a statement saying that the King’s doctors asked him to stay in hospital “for dietary supplements and physical therapies”. The statement said his “general condition is good. However, lung inflammation, which has reduced, will require some time to fully recover, as is the case for the elderly”.

We condemn the source or sources of rumours that play on this subject. King Bhumibol is a constitutional monarch with no formal political role, but he has repeatedly brought calm in times of turbulence and is widely revered as the country’s moral authority and a unifying figure. Thousands of well-wishers have crowded daily outside Siriraj Hospital, and events have been organised around the country in honour of His Majesty.

The ill-conceived source(s) of the rumours have apparently gone so far as to plant them in the Hong Kong and Singapore markets. But the truth of the matter is that the 81-year-old King has gone to Siriraj to receive treatment for fever, fatigue and lack of appetite. He is now recovering at a pace that is natural for his age, and he certainly will be able to resume functions and his role sooner rather than later. There is nothing more to this fact.

The rumours were designed to create panic and speculation on Thailand’s politics. The political situation indeed remains divisive, with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva trying to hang on to his job. There is growing conflict over how the constitution should be reformed. Red-shirt protesters have been trying to rock the boat again, while the government has threatened to invoke the Internal Security Act to subdue protesters at the upcoming Asean Summit in Hua Hin.

The various factions in Thai politics should not exploit the health of the King for ambition or advantage. Again, we condemn those who began the rumours and call on them to stop playing tricks on public sentiment as the nation sends its best wishes to the beloved monarch.

By The Nation
Published on October 16, 2009

 

Princess says King ‘doing well’

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Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn has confirmed His Majesty the King is recovering from his illness and his condition is not serious.

The princess told an audience at the Thai embassy in Berlin yesterday His Majesty was making steady progress.

Her statement was the first time a member of the royal family had spoken about His Majesty’s condition since he was admitted to Siriraj Hospital for treatment for inflammation of the lungs on Sept 19.

The princess was in Germany to receive the Windaus Medal from the University of Georg-August Gottingen on Thursday in recognition of her role as an outstanding scientist. She left for Germany on Tuesday and will return to Thailand today.

Princess Chulabhorn said the King had a high fever during his first week in hospital which kept him confined to his bed.

“His Majesty was out of strength when he had the high fever. But now his temperature has come down,” she said.

Doctors are keeping a close eye on His Majesty’s health and the condition of his lungs.

X-rays show the fluid in his lungs has cleared up. His heart is also in good shape, she said.

The princess said His Majesty was undergoing physical therapy, which was normal for an elderly person who has spent many days in bed.

The physical therapy is performed so the King can stand up and walk about normally. “The therapy will take some more time. That is why His Majesty has not been discharged from hospital. As far as his condition is concerned, the doctors say there is no danger.

“Now, His Majesty speaks and takes his meals almost as normal. He has a very healthy appetite,” she said.

Princess Chulabhorn said Her Majesty the Queen was always at the King’s bedside. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn also spends the night at the hospital.

The princess said she had also stayed over at the hospital.

“There is a funny moment. I went to see the King at meal time and His Majesty challenged me to an eating duel.

“His Majesty knows that since childhood, I haven’t been fond of vegetables. I don’t take vegetables.

“A spinach soup was served that day and I agreed to the duel … I had one portion of the soup and His Majesty had another.”

The Royal Household Bureau yesterday said the King now only had an intermittent fever. His Majesty has a normal appetite and sleeps well.

X-rays show the inflammation of his lungs has reduced and doctors only take his temperature when needed.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand index fell 2% on Wednesday and 5.3% on Thursday on concerns about His Majesty’s health, but rebounded 3.5% yesterday.

Special Branch Police commissioner Theeradech Rodphothong said the branch was trying to identify the source of the rumours that caused the stock market to dive.

Bangkok Post / Published: 17/10/2009

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