Today’s The Nation carries another swooning endorsement of Bhutan’s former Crown Prince, now King, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. For aficionados of this new genre of Thai Royal biography, this episode’s special focus on Jigme’s time in Oxford makes it well worth a read in full. To whet your appetite, it begins by describing “a chilly evening in 2001 at an Oxford pub”.
The piece concludes with a brief description of “Jigmemania”:
Given his friendly and relaxed attitude and his good looks, it was no surprise he won the hearts of Thai women, and his charm won over men, too. His brief visits this year led to “Jigmemania”, perhaps little wonder given that the Korean wave and the Korean look are popular in Thailand at the moment. Although I was told he kept a nice house while up at Oxford, he more or less went about without security details. He was not shy about making cross-cultural contact…That is a positive sign of the good nature of the Crown Prince, and it is to be hoped he will rule as a benign king dispensing peace, prosperity and justice to the people of Bhutan and beyond.
The last time I wrote about the new Bhutanese King, who was Crown Prince at the time, two anonymous commentators gave their opinion here on New Mandala. One wrote, “He is the good example what a crown prince should be. Based on his speech & his conducts, he will be a great leader for Bhutanese”. Another argued that, “The only reason Thais are praising the Bhutanese Crown Prince is because they are so frustrated with the Thai Crown Prince”.
The Nation article hopes for “a benign King dispensing peace, prosperity and justice to the people of Bhutan and beyond”. It all begs the question, just how far beyond Bhutan is such “rule” expected to extend?
Note: This post has been updated to reflect King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck’s new status.