What makes a king?

It was the King’s birthday — the last morning we were in Malaysia. More than half the ads in the newspaper were honoring his rule and the occasion.

Why is it that in the “west” we don’t honor our head leader like that? In the USA, I can hear shouts back about how he didn’t deliver what we asked. Or how he may not represent what some believe.

I lived in England for three years. They have a queen. The real head of the country is the Prime Minister. He gets scathing reviews in newspapers. The figurehead Queen? Not a bad word is heard (in comparison, anyhow.)

African countries? Sometimes a really terrible person can be the president, but somehow the people let him remain in power. Why?

I don’t really know the answers to these questions. I just thought it was interesting how different parts of the world treat their leaders. If you have any ideas on why these things happen, I’d love to hear your comments.

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6 Replies to “What makes a king?”

  1. Sorry to be a cynic, but people in Africa do not “let a really terrible person remain in power.” The corrupt leader will hold onto power with a death grip, changes the constitution, organizes the military, whatever it takes to stay in office for life. And in Thailand, you can be punished for saying bad things about the king. I remember being freaked out that they have a 5 — minute promo video at the beginning of every movie in Thailand, which everyone stands for. Stirring “Sandi Patty” style inspirational music plays while scenes of the king bringing rain to a thirsty land play. Ahem.

    1. Thanks for your observations, Tim. Interesting about Thailand & the way they revere their king, in some respects.

      I guess I’d differ with your comment about Africa, in one way. I do agree — the king will do everything he can to hold onto that power. But somehow the people could organize to rebel, if there were enough momentum. However, culture is very strong, and it’s most likely very anti-cultural to rebel like that.

      But I’d need training in sociology to comment intelligently. My musings are uneducated. And I *know* that you have WAY more experience in dealing with leaders in Africa than I do.

  2. Timely post, given the events in Tunisia.

    Could it be that people like the idea of a Supreme Ruler that can be kept at arm’s length, pulled out and dressed up for special occasions more than a leader who actually asks something of us?

  3. A more light hearted comment:
    We celebrate our Queen’s birthday every year with a public holiday. Yay!
    Quite frankly, most Australians would not give two hoots about the Queen normally, but it does mean a day off work.

    1. Yes, I love those kind of holidays. In Kenya, there were all kinds of holidays. My favorite was when the president announced a public day of prayer holiday two days before the actual date. You could never do that in the “west.”

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