A year ago on October 13 at 7 pm, Thai people throughout the country were glued to the television sets – many of them with tears rolling down their cheeks – as they awaited in silence and sadness the long-awaited announcement from the Bureau of the Royal Household.
Their eyes zeroed in the face of one man in black whom most of them didn’t know who was asked to read the most important announcement of the year.
The announcer of Channel 11, Mr Veerasak Khobkhet, was given the unenviable task that most announcers would prefer to skip if he/she had a choice.
“Why me?” Veerasak asked as he recalled to the Thai PBS the moment when he was told by his superior to read the announcement from the Bureau of the Royal Household on the night of October 13.
He said his boss told him he appeared to be the most well-prepared. As he went to get dressed properly for the most important event, he said he became hesitant and unsure whether he could do the job or not.
“But I thought then I had to do the job though I was sad, depressed and already shed some tears. But I had to do the job, officially. Some people were waiting for the official (announcement), others might not want to acknowledge it. But an official announcement is to announce to the world of our biggest loss. I thought over whether I could make it or not… whether I could control my emotions…It was the most stressful news announcement.”
At 7 pm sharp, all the other television stations were linked up with the broadcast of TV Channel 11 and Veerasak appeared on the TV reading the announcement of the passing of His Majesty the King on October 13, 2016 at 3.32 pm.
The image of Veerasak wiping his face of tears with a tissue paper was later shown in a TV programme about the background of this event.
Veerasak told Thai PBS that he was totally unaware that the cameraman took his pictures when he was wiping his face. He said he had an earphone receiving instruction from the programme director. “I just read and read until it was over and the director announced Cut. Then I cried and let out the pressure inside me. That was the saddest news of the whole country…”