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King's birthday a cause for celebration

    The face of Thailand in recent weeks has been one of disarray and protest, while the face of Thailand Thursday night in Los Angeles was one of progress and celebration.
While some 250 guests attended the observance of 86th Birthday Anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and the National Day of Thailand, at the Beverly Hills Country Club, for the first time two key government officials representing that country overseas were women –  Pilai Siripanich, Thai Trade Center, Los Angeles, and Kulpramote Wannalert Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in Los Angeles.
For those who haven’t been following the protests in Thailand, they have been against another woman, Yingluck Shinawatra, the duly elected prime minister. Her problem is that she’s the sister of Taksin Shinawatra, which is enough to get a large part of the country protesting because she helped usher an amnesty bill through Parliament which protesters see as opening the door for her brother’s return. Thaksin was ousted by an Army-led coup in 2006 and has been living in exile.
That being said, the host for the Thursday gathering in L.A., Consulate General Jesada Katavetin, opened the celebration with the message that the king is so venerated in Thailand that even the protests, which had begun to grow violent, were called off in observance of his birthday.
Both Ms. Siripanich and Ms. Wannalert actively joined the consul in greeting visitors attending the celebration, which included representatives from the city and county of Los Angeles and area business leaders.
Memorable, as at most Thai events, was the food, as was a generous dose of Thai pride and culture in the form of dance, depiction of a scene from the Thai costume drama “Khon” and Muay  Thai, all of which drew hearty applause.
The face of Thailand may be one of disarray and chaos these days, but the face of the country in Los Angeles, indeed, was celebratory and warm.

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