August 12 is not only an auspicious occasion as the birth day anniversary of Her Majesty but is also the day on which the entire nation takes the opportunity to pay tribute to their mother-as Thai people regard the Queen as mother of the entire nation. Thus this occasion is also set aside as “National Mother’s day” which was previously celebrated on April 15 of every year. It was only in 1976 that the day was changed to coincide with the Queen’s Birthday which falls on August 12 and a white jasmine flower symbolises the mother whose love towards her children is white and pure.
held. However, little was actually done for the critical nderstanding of the Bicentennial Poet. First, the usual English spelling of his
name was arbitrarily changed to Sunthon.Then, arguments by critics centered around such peripheral matters as his ancestry, his birth place, the dates of his compositions, etc. Lack of evidence was writ large on their opinions. Soon afterwards, one compromise after another was made among the critics. In the case of Sunthorn Phu's parentage, for example, it was eventually agreed that his father was a native of Rayong, while his mother came from Phetchaburi. Hopefully, that would leave Sunthorn Phu himself a native of Bangkok, or of Them Buri, to be exact. As a true Buddhist, Sunthorn Phu has left no trace of himself. The only place that may be associated with him is a temple in Bangkok called Wat Thepthidaram in which he spent the last few years of his long monkhood from about 1840. While it is almost impossible to read the poet's works as an illustration of his life, it is actually misleading to extract the poet's life from his works. He was a fictionalist who could journey a long way from a small starting point. Did not he write one of his poems in his son's name? Another poem which was taken from his canon and ascribed to his student may one day be reinstated. And other works of Sunthorn Phu may be discovered, if old manuscripts are not destroyed or sold to ignorant people the way they are now.
Sunthorn Phu criticism was for a long time influenced by Prince Damrong Rajanubhab's brief biography of the poet, published in 1922. This piece of writing was evidently derived from an unpublished Life of Sunthon Phu by Phraya Pariyatithammathada. The main tenets of Prince Damrong's criticism had the poet pinned down as a commoner who could not have received a very good education. His verse, even though melodious and partaking of common speech, was simply "market verse." Besides, Sunthorn Phu had two bad flaws, namely, drunkenness and amorousness. To these was added the unusual pride and arrogance which caused him to offend the future King Rama III and thus earned his "dark period" during that reign. This theory of the "dark period" of Sunthorn Phu was a double-edged knife: While it made the poet appear in a bad light, it also hurt King Rama III's reputation for having done the "people's poet" an ill turn. Two later critics, Chant Khumvilai and Prince Chand Chirayu Rajani, tried to deny some, if not all, of these charges against the poet. Especially, Prince Chand's theory was diametrically opposed to that of Prin Damrong. Accordingly, two myths of Sunthorn Phu have been created. However,Prince Chand thought that he was a world-class bard like Chaucer or Shakespeare. At that time, only Prince Prem Purachatra believed in making Sunthorn Phu known to the world through translations.The present state of Sunthorn Phu criticism is very insecure. Any date or event given of the poet's life and works is necessarily compounded of critics's opinions. Even Prince Damrong's essay which serves as an introduction to every edition of Sunthorn Phu, is weighted down by additional notes of conjectural nature by later editors.It may be well to treat Sunthorn Phu as the Poet of Four Reigns, from Rama I to Rama IV, and see his career as a progression.
Information from "The Story of Phra Abhai Mani" by H.H. Prince Prem Purachatra Over two hundred years ago, on
June 26, 1786, the wife of a humble Rayong divine then living in Bangkok gave birth to a baby boy.In duecourse, the little boy was given the name of Phu.When he grew up, his genius as a poet was quickly recognised, and he won the esteem of kings dcommoners alike. Finally, after many vicissitudes in the course of a colourful career, he attained the distinction of Poet Laureate and was created Phra Sunthorn Voharn. Today, Sunthorn Phu is accepted as one of the greatest