A highlight of any visit to Thailand and being here is the national pride. The Thai National Anthem is played each day at 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. By played, I mean broadcast on every local and national TV and Radio channel and from speakers in train stations, subway stations, public parks, civic and government buildings.
While the national anthem is played all activity stops in public areas like parks and train stations. There is an alert the national anthem is going to be played- there will be the sound of the bells of a clock striking the hour and then a “countdown”. At the first notes of the national anthem, all people that are sitting will stand and activity stops.
If you are exercising in the park, you stop exercising while the anthem is played; buying an orange juice- as I was yesterday morning in a Sky train station- you stop. You stand quietly during the anthem and resume your activity once it is completed.
It is fantastic to be in the middle of the Sky train station around hundreds of people, about to approach the turnstile and exit and suddenly the national anthem comes through the speakers and everyone stops. In a setting like this you can witness the peer pressure of a large group- if a foreigner doesn’t know the protocol and sees a few hundred people stop, they stop. Yes, they might have a puzzled look on their face for the first few seconds, but most gleams what is happening through the music.
I never tire of the playing of the anthem and showing of national pride, I make a point of trying to be in a busy place at 8a and 6p for the playing of the anthem stop. My favorite places: Lumpini park for the morning and the Siam stop on the Sky Train during the 6p rush hour.
To hear the anthem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBDKah2nnvw
The words of the anthem (hopefully this is correct):
Thailand unites flesh and blood of Thais.
Nation of the people; belonging to the Thais in every respect.
Long maintained [has been] the independence
Because the Thais seek, and love, unity.Thais are peace-loving;
But at war we’re no cowards.
Sovereignty will not be threatened
Sacrificing every drop of blood for the nation
Hail the nation of Thailand, long last the victory, Chai Yo (Cheers).