By Donna Faulkner

The humans of Siam (now Thailand) have been insulted while English governess Anna Leonowens, after spending 5 years as a royal teach to his little ones, wrote books depicting their loved King Mongkut as a tyrant. Insult grew to become to outrage while Broadway after which Hollywood tailored her tale because the musical The King and that i. in reality, King Mongkut used to be Siam's maximum ruler. Inheriting a rustic rife with medieval customs and feudal lack of knowledge, he nearly single-handedly introduced Siam into the 19th century. between his many accomplishments, he sparked the reform of the Buddhist faith; spoke 11 languages; mastered heritage, geography, astronomy, chemistry, physics, and arithmetic. the end result: He remodeled himself from a god-king to an approachable, tolerant chief. In a diplomatic triumph, he performed ecu powers opposed to one another so deftly that Siam, by myself one of the countries of Southeast Asia, by no means succumbed to colonial dominance. This short-form publication stocks the tale of...

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Sample text

At the semiannual ceremony of allegiance, at which his princes and officials swore loyalty on pain of punishment, the king’s innovation was to offer his reciprocal pledge of loyalty to the people. But he saw nothing amiss in his subjects’ centuries-old custom of approaching him on their knees, crawling across the floor, and prostrating themselves at his feet. He modified it only for farangs who might find the act distasteful, allowing them to choose between the Siamese custom and the way they would behave with their own sovereigns.

Mongkut was on the verge of turning in his robe when he found a Burmese monk of the ancient Mon race, who understood and practiced the doctrine in a pure form. From his new teacher, Mongkut learned the precepts he craved along with a new understanding of meditation and the quest for liberation. After three years, he did so well in the examinations in the sacred Pali tongue that he was promoted to head of the examining board. He founded his own school of Pali studies and became famed as a teacher, gathering both monks and laymen as disciples in his mission to reform the faith.

In part, this is because he reigned so long as Rama V – forty-two years – and was so much loved. But it’s also because he continued his father’s reforms and began his own modernizations, completing his father’s mission to keep Siam independent. A Thai taboo forbidding the nobility to travel had prevented Mongkut from seeing the modern world, but by the time his son was crowned in 1868, this was a dead letter. The new young king visited Singapore, Java, and British India to see colonial administration in action and developed ideas for reforming his own government.

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