Saying that the Thai people have "a lot of" respect for their king is far from the truth. Take Obama's approval rating and double it, and you're getting closer. [The NSA is now tracking my blog :) ]
Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) is the current reigning king of Thailand. And he's not new at his job. Having held the office for the past24,506 days (that's over 67 years), he is the world's longest-serving current head of state, not to mention the longest in Thai history.
I recently saw Monster's U (awesome) and they had a short animated film before the main feature about 2 umbrellas falling in love (pretty good). In Thailand, before the main feature, they show a short film about the king --- and everyone stands out of respect.
And respect they do. This past January, a magazine editor was charged with lèse majesté and sentenced to 11 years for defaming the king. Talk about a way not to spend your 50s. A Swiss man entered into an early retirement after he drunkenly spray-painted posters of the king just down the street from here, in Chiang Mai, because he couldn't buy booze.
The Thai hymn is played every morning via a loudspeaker in Mae Wang at 8am and again in the evening at 6pm.
And just in case anyone from the Thai government is reading, I stand every morning; here's one very good reason.
Oh, and here are some pictures from Hua Lamphong Railway Station in Bangkok before I boarded the 12 (read: 14) hour train to Chiang Mai.