The Words of the Yong Family
Hat Yai City, Songkhla Province, Thailand – Terrorist insurgencies have taken place in the provinces near the southern border of Thailand since 2004, with thousands of violent incidents, hundreds of people killed, and tens of thousands of people injured. On October 7, a new image challenged the news headlines -- inter-religious wedding and marriage rededication of 1,100 couples with the support of the highest political, community, women, and religious leaders promoting peace and healthy families in Hat Yai and Songkhla.
Hosted by the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification of Thailand, UPF-Thailand, and the Songkhla Provincial Administration Office with the support of the Hat Yai Municipality, it started with dozens of staff and volunteers visiting 80 districts in Songkhla province and 45 communities in Hat Yai to give lectures and explanations on the topic of the "Family as the School of Love and Peace," which is the teaching of Father Sun Myung Moon on ideal families, the significance of marriage and sexual love, spiritual growth, and the origin of suffering and conflict. This educational program continued for more than three months, and more than 8,000 people were educated.
The venue was the Auditorium of Hat Yai University. The participants were mostly Buddhists along with 30 Muslims. The delegates from the International Leadership Conference for Peace from 21 nations were witnesses.
A video presentation introduced the vision and work of Father Moon on building a family of love and peace. Then, Mr. Somyot Ketsrisang, Vice President of the Family Federation of Thailand, gave an explanation about the ideal family and meaning of marriage. He led the couples in a toast to love and harmony between wife and husband.
Prof. Kirti Buncheu gave welcoming remarks. He highlighted the family as more than just a private institution but a public organization that was fundamental to solving many social ills. In the family, he said, there are four types of love: the conjugal love between husband and wife, the parental love towards their children, children's love of their parents, and the siblings' love of brothers and sisters. In essence, healthy families are essential for a peaceful and prosperous society and nation.
Then, a remarkable part of the program was the prayers by famous Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Catholic, Hindu, Sikh, and Tienti leaders of blessing for marriage and strong families as the universal truth for all religions. The Buddhist and Muslim leaders represented the highest rank of religious leaders in the southern region of Thailand. Representing Buddhism was Most Ven. Phra Dhammawongsajarn, the highest monk governing five provinces on the southern border of Thailand, and representing Islam was Imam Asnavi Mukura, who is the chairman of the Central Islamic Committee of Krabi Province, the highest Islamic leader in the province near Songkhla.
"Although many people from different backgrounds are here today, there is one thing fundamental to all of us," said Mr. Utit Chuchuay, Chairman of the Songkhla Provincial Administration Office who gave Opening Remarks, "it is the family." He expanded on this saying that in order to build a family we have to live for the greater good. "In the same manner, to build communities we must go beyond the family; to build a nation we must also go beyond our communities; and build a world of peace we must go beyond our nation."
Dr. Chung Sik Yong, the regional chair of UPF-Asia, was officiator, and he led the couples in affirming blessing vows. A recording was played of the prayer by Father Moon at the Interfaith Peace Blessing Festival on March 24 this year in Korea.
Gen. Terdsak Maromme, Chairman of UPF-Thailand, gave congratulatory remarks. He worked hard as Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the festival and leadership conference.
H.E. Thaworn Senniam, former Deputy Minister of Interior and the most influential Member of Parliament in the Southern region of Thailand, also acknowledged the importance of the family. He commented that he especially liked the motto of Father Moon, that the bedrock character for building love in the family is "Living for the sake of others."
Mr. Boonchuay Jangsiriwattanathamrong, representative of the Mayor of Hat Yai, shared a congratulatory message which encouraged the strengthening of the family unit and the pure conjugal love between husband and wife.
Dr. Thomas Walsh, President of UPF International, Dr. Chung Sik Yong, Gen. Terdsak Maromme, Chairman of UPF-Thailand, and Dr. Lek Thaveetermsakul, Vice Chair of UPF-Asia, presented Ambassador for Peace certificates to seven top officials and community leaders who helped make the event successful.
Rev. Kamol Thananopavarn was Master of Ceremonies of the main program. The atmosphere was full of love and admiration between husbands and wives. Many couples testified that the rededication of their marriage and receiving blessings from top religious leaders and Father Moon was an unforgettable experience.
Also, the attendance of top politicians such as the Mayor of Hat Yai, the Chairman of the Songkhla Provincial Administration Office, the former Deputy Minister of the Interior, the Chairman of the Women Council of Songkhla, and the Chairman of the Council of the Local Community of Songkhla along with many chairmen of District Administration Offices, community leaders, and religious leaders had historical significance for the people of southern Thailand and encouraged them to work together to create an ideal family movement. Afer the event, these leaders discussed plans for future seminars events during the next 12 months in order to promote the vision of ideal families in the south of Thailand.