Public altars set up for Thai citizens to grieve king’s death

Several cities in Taiwan announced Saturday the establishment of public altars for Thai workers and immigrants to mourn the death of Thailand's revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died on Thursday at the age of 88.

Public altars have so far been set up in Taoyuan, Kaohsiung, Taichung and Tainan cities.

Those wishing to mourn the king can visit these altars from Oct. 16-30 in the main concourse of the old Taoyuan Railway Station; from Saturday to Oct. 21 at the Labor Recreation Center in Tainan City; from Saturday to Nov. 14 at ASEAN Square near Taichung Railway Station and from Saturday at No.191, Baotai Road, Qianzhen District in Kaohsiung City, officials said.

Chang Pei-ling (???), a section chief with the Taoyuan City Department of Labor, noted that her city has the largest Thai population in the country, with over 15,900 Thai migrant workers and over 2,200 Thai immigrants.

The department has set up the altar because it recognizes the difficulties Thai immigrants and migrant workers face in returning to their home country to mourn, Chang said.

Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (???) is expected to attend a memorial service at the altar for the late king on Oct. 16.

Meanwhile, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (??) called the death of the king a "great sadness" for the Thai people and urged Taiwanese to make sure their Thai friends know about the public altar in Kaohsiung.

"I hope that the memories and historical emotions of all groups of people living in Taiwan are fully respected," she wrote on her Facebook page.

King Bhumibol, the longest-reigning monarch in the world, died in hospital Thursday after battling a long illness. He is highly revered in Thailand and was seen as a unifying figure in a country split by deep political divisions.

As of the end of August this year, there are more than 57,000 Thai migrant workers and over 8,600 Thai spouses and immigrants in Taiwan, according to statistics from the Ministry of Labor and National Immigration Agency.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel