Welsh restaurateur pays emotional tribute to autistic grandson of King of Thailand, killed in Boxing Day tsunami|
CARDIFF: A Welsh restaurateur paid an emotional tribute on December 29 to Poom Jensen, the autistic grandson of the King of Thailand and a close family friend, killed in the Boxing Day tidal wave.
The 21-year-old prince had strong links with the Ramasut family, who run The Thai House restaurant in Cardiff, and was planning another trip to Wales in the spring.
But the young prince and his private secretary were among the 1,500 killed in Thailand by the massive tsunami which struck the coastal regions on Boxing Day.
Arlene and Noi Ramasut, together with founding members of the Cardiff and District Restaurateurs Association (Cadra), have now set up an appeal to raise money to help those who survived the earthquake and tsunami in the 12 affected countries.
Mrs Ramasut, who has been involved in special-needs education, met the prince when the Thai Embassy asked her to help to find a college for young people with autism. Through that initial contact, they struck up a friendship and Prince Poom visited Wales twice - the last time in May.
Prince Poom, grandson of King Bhumipol Adulyadej, was brought up in America but had lived in Thailand, in the Grand Palace, since his teenage years.
Mrs Ramasut, who lives in Cardiff, said: "He was a lovely young man who, as many people have said, was a wonderful ambassador for Thailand and for young people with special needs.He was extremely courteous and polite to everyone he met and he had special gifts - as many people with autism do - and was physically very fit.
"It was a great shock to learn of his death - my husband had lunch with him three weeks ago in Bangkok, when he had asked if he could come to Wales again in the spring. He had a great affinity for Wales."
Wales’ First Minister, Rhodri Morgan, said: "The grandson of the King of Thailand, Poom Jensen, was well known in Wales, having spent his holidays this year and last year here."
The Ramasuts have friends and family in Thailand and have been in contact with them three times a day since the earthquake - their family live in Bangkok and although they experienced the earthquake, they escaped the tsunami.
"Poor fishermen drowned, the King's grandson and Lord Attenborough's grand-daughter," Mrs Ramasut said. "The people we are now so worried about are those who are in the inaccessible areas along the coasts, as we understand that all the foreign visitors have been very well looked after in Thailand.
"When you look at what has happened in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India, the scale of the disaster is almost incomprehensible."
The Thai House, along with the six other founding members of Cadra, have set up an appeal fund to support the millions of people left homeless by disaster. All the donations received will be sent to the affected countries.