Thailand is blessed with a knowledgeable and sagacious monarch who has personally conceived, nurtured and supported more than 3,000 royal innovation projects intended to benefit the well-being of each and every devotedly loyal subject, setting an inspiring example for one and all. One of His Majesty the King’s most impressive ideological contributions to help solve the complex problems related to flood management is known as the Monkey’s Cheek (Kaem Ling). Based on childhood memories, His Majesty observed that most monkeys, when given bananas, first store them in their mouths, then gradually chew and swallow them. This metaphorical model, intended to help alleviate the annual monsoon season overflow, aims to temporarily store excessive levels of rising water during heavy rains and afterwards, draining canals and water gates, flushing excess out to the sea.
Suggested strategic options to control flooding in Bangkok and up-country have mainly focused on building more dikes to prevent overflow, enlarging existing canals, digging up new ones and constructing reservoirs at various chosen sites where appropriate. In 1995/2538, the initial experimental Monkey’s Cheek project was successfully undertaken in Thonburi, and subsequently replicated in dozens of provinces. Presently, the likelihood of extreme rainfall and severe weather disasters has been significantly increased by rising greenhouse gas levels related to Climate Change, causing havoc to predicted expectations, and calling for adjustment to nature-related conditions and accommodation to rapidly evolving contemporary Information Technology demands.
Thai contemporary society has become increasingly urbanized and prosperous, whereas the country’s rural eco-environment has deteriorated, resulting in abusive overuse and misuse of valuable natural resources and an inequitable gap between rich and poor; haves and have nots; agriculture and industry; overdeveloped greedy and underprivileged needy; top-down Bangkok-centric power and bottom-up decentralized local community authority.
The daunting challenge for progressive water conservation and water management visionary planners is how to best implement and expand His Majesty’s innovative sufficiency approach in order to ensure sustainable development. The key objective of shared Information Technology theory is to reinvent policy guidelines which are eco-friendly and respectfully perceptive of nature, by empowering rural cooperatives to utilize state-of-the-art practical common good decision-making techniques, with open brainstorming input from all parties involved, regarding crop production, processing, marketing, education, health, social welfare and fair trade.
Long Live The King!
Dr. Charles Frederickson