Chulalongkorn Memorial Day
Chulalongkorn Memorial Day is an important holiday that gives Thai citizens an opportunity to pay respect to King Chulalongkorn. King Chulalongkorn revitalised Thailand for the 20th century. He was loved due to his progressive policies and diplomatic measures. Chulalongkorn Memorial Day celebrates his life and accomplishments.
Chulalongkorn was born into the House of Chakri as the son of King Rama IV. As a child, Chulalongkorn held a position in the royal court of Siam. Along with this political experience, Thailand’s most beloved leader learned much through formal schooling. As a student, he studied biology, swordsmanship, engineering, English, and anthropology.
According to his teachers, Chulalongkorn was a man of many talents. When he became King, he toured colonised areas like Singapore. After studying European politics and military science, he westernised the Thai government and military. Many scholars believe that Chulalongkorn’s actions allowed Thailand to maintain much sovereignty during the peak of global colonisation efforts by European powers.
Economic reform. During King Chulalongkorn’s 42-year rule of Thailand, he implemented many policies that bolstered the Thai economy. These measures helped Thai people from across all social classes. By using a Western economic model, Chulalongkorn was able to increase the per capita income of many Thai citizens. These pure economic efforts were aided by policies that removed institutions that extracted resources and income from the people of Thailand.
Abolition of slavery and the corvee system. For moral and economic reasons, King Chulalongkorn introduced many laws that made the extractive institutions of slavery and the corvee system illegal in Thailand. In Thailand, the corvee system was a forced labour model that forced certain groups in Thailand to work for the Thai government with limited compensation. Chulalongkorn viewed this system to be as immoral as slavery. To ensure that Thai citizens would be able to enjoy the freedom of choice and the fruits of their labour, he eradicated all forms of forced labour in Thailand.
Implementation of western values. Since Chulalongkorn was well-versed in the teachings of Western philosophers like Hobbes and Locke, he sought to expand positive European values to his people. During his reign, people enjoyed many rights, including freedom of speech and the right to assembly.