Long-term expat Martin Wheeler shares life lessons adopted from King Bhumibol

For Martin Wheeler, a British expat who has lived in Thailand for 25 years, what he remembers most about the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej was the lessons that he taught his people about living a happy, simple life.

Wheeler, a 54-year-old resident of Khon Kaen, mourns the loss alongside all Thais. When he first came to Thailand, he knew his love for the king was immense and he felt like the monarch was a father figure. Little did he know, he himself would be following the King’s roadmap.

One of the king’s teachings that impressed Wheeler the most was the philosophy of Sufficiency Economy. Widely popular among Thais, this belief centers around making use of what you have, spending inconspicuously and achieving things within your capabilities.

Wheeler, who has been featured in media and occasionally appeared in Thai movies as a foreigner who can speak Isaan-dialect Thai, said the late HM the King’s idea reflected his own:

“The idea that best reflected with me was a short sentence that the late king once wrote:

‘Do not distress yourself, Do not distress others.'” Wheeler said in his Isaan-accented Thai.

“I don’t want much in life because if we want more, we distress ourselves…so I live a simple life and eat simple food because I think my life is already good. I have a small house. I have a job. I have food. I have nice neighbors. I’m in a good environment.”

“I am satisfied with my life and living sustainably.”

Wheeler believes Thailand will continue to prosper, with all the cherished memories and teachings of our late king.


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