AP Photo -- looks like the islands of Kao and Tofua, but I could be wrong.
Here are 13.5 remarkably excruciating moments, from the BBC, with the new King of Tonga, Taufa'ahau Tupou V (George V). He was crowned just last Friday. Sleepy Monarch
I'm interested in this quirky story because I spent two of the most memorable years of my life in this eccentric kingdom 3,000 miles southwest of Hawai'i. It was a time when Tupou V's father, Tupou IV, was about the same age as the new king is now. At least his father, a huge man with catcher's mitt paws for hands, kept life interesting: he cracked a smile once in a while and occasionally hoisted his 400-foot frame onto a specially-made surfboard. Meanwhile, this fellow, whom we always called Tippytoes, spent most of his time in London.
From the sound of it, he's ceding some monarchical powers to the Parliament. That may be the effect of pro-democracy riots and fires that destroyed much of the downtown of the capital city, Nuku'alofa, two years ago. While George V lethargically bemoans the instigators as demagogues, he reportedly feared for his life in the aftermath. Perhaps he felt deadened , facing the apparently enervating ordeals of his figurehead position. Or perhaps, being the imperious royal that he is, he simply didn't think he had to say much of anything to a mere reporter.
Thinking about this later in the day, I feel more empathetic. At the beginning of the interview, he says something like "One doesn't choose the job. The job chooses you." He follows this with a small, wry smile -- in my different mood tonight, I almost see it as poignant. Whether he wants this job or not, it has chosen him, and it must indeed be a heavy burden to bear.
So, in short, I wish the people of Tonga -- and George V -- much prosperity and happiness in their beautiful kingdom. It's a remarkable place and a remarkable culture. I wish them the best.
The soft or shrill voice within us
7 years ago