King Bhumibol reigned for so long he was the preeminent symbol of his country, yet he remained an enigma—a culture's outwardly modern monarch with few legal powers but with the status of a semidivine feudal ruler. Throughout his reign, he enjoyed lavish public affection, yet a true assessment of his popularity was never possible because of the severe laws banning any negative comment about the royal family.
He ascended the throne in 1946 after the still-unexplained shooting death of his brother. The Thai monarchy was weak back then—its status diminished. The young king set about rebuilding its prestige. King Bhumibol presented himself as a caring monarch interested in rural development—a softer side to the military dictatorships that ran Thailand for much of his reign. He became an indispensable figure of national unity, using his revered status to reach out to remote areas during the Communist insurgency of the Cold War. He gained a reputation as a mediator during periods of political upheaval. It was after that that Thailand enjoyed its longest period of democratic rule.
他在 1946 年登基，在他哥哥迄今仍原因不明的槍擊身亡案後。 泰國君主政體那時疲軟不振－－君主制的地位下降。這位年輕的國王著手重建君主聲望。泰皇蒲美蓬表現出自己是一位注重偏鄉發展、愛民的君王－－相較於他當政時大多時候實質運轉泰國的軍事獨裁統治，他是比較溫和的一方。他成為國家團結不可或缺的形象，在冷戰期間共產黨叛亂時利用自己受崇敬的身份支援偏遠地區。他在政治動盪時期獲得調停者的名聲。正是在那之後，泰國享有了最長一段民主統治時期。
However, the rise of this man, Thaksin Shinawatra, a tycoon-turned-politician, proved to be a watershed. Through populist policies and slick marketing, he gained unprecedented electoral power. But the brash and ambitious Mr. Thaksin was too much for the conservative establishment that surrounded the king. King Bhumibol himself was clearly uncomfortable with him. He was ousted in a military coup in 2006. Like previous coups, it was quickly endorsed by the palace. Pro-Thaksin governments that were elected after the coup were also forced from office, angering his supporters and tarnishing the monarchy's once-untouchable reputation.
然而，這個男人的崛起，塔克辛‧欽瓦那，一位由商轉政的政治人物，證實是一個分水嶺。靠著平民政策和油滑的行銷手段，他取得空前的選舉勢力。但這位傲慢且野心勃勃的塔克辛先生對泰皇身邊的保守派來說太難忍受。泰皇蒲美蓬自己對他的存在顯然感到不太自在。塔克辛‧欽瓦那在 2006 年一場軍事政變被推翻。和以往的政變一樣，這很快就被王室認可。政變後選出的親塔克辛政府也被迫下台，激怒了塔克辛支持者且讓君主政權一度不容動搖的聲望變得黯淡無光。
In later life, King Bhumibol became more remote. He was often hospitalized for his various ailments. He remained a near-sacred father figure for many Thais, but one whose ability to influence events had faded. His legacy is a highly personalized monarchy that will struggle to redefine itself now that he's gone.
- 「開始做、開始處理」- Set About
The young king set about rebuilding its prestige.