Monday, July 04, 2005

Taufa'ahau Tupou IV

July 4th marks American Independence Day (Well USA anyway), but did you know it also marks King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga’s birthday? Yup, he was born way back in 1918 and at one stage of his life was known as the heaviest monarch in the world. I was thinking about other monarchs and I can’t really think of any fat ones. So if he is no longer the fattest, who is?

Tonga has the distinction in the Pacific as being the only nation never to be colonised. They are very proud of this.

The King is revered in Tonga where while there is a parliament, he wields the power and the country is more or less an absolute monarchy. There are always rumblings from opposition parties demanding more say, but as long as the King stays so popular they have very little chance.

The problem that the monarchy will face is that while the King is a well respected ruler, his children, frankly, are not. There are many stories about the different children taking part in many crazy schemes all in the name of money. One particularly frightening one was when the prince offered to use one of the Tongan islands as a toxic waste dump. Neighbouring countries protested and fortunately this plan was dumped. Once the King passes away, that is when I think there will be a change, and it may not be very pleasant.

So on his 87th birthday, I wish the King good health and a long life….

Tonga itself is a beautiful place and great for the budget traveller, i.e. San Nakji. You can find out more about it here.

San Nakji for President!


Oricon Ailin said...

A very Happy Birthday to the King of Tonga!

Thank you for sharing about this. I didn't know.

Sciubi said...

Part of my new plan if I can't think of things to write about. Who was born on a particular day...