Source: Borneo Bulletin
On August 13, 2004 the Borneo Bulletin reported, "Thai Queen Sirikit, who turned 72 on Thursday, lauded Thailand's traditional values of generosity and tolerance for different religions in a speech delivered on the eve of her birthday. Thursday is a national holiday, marking Thailand's Mother's Day to honour the queen's birthday. The day was marked by celebrations and special events to commemorate the Thai queen, famed for her charity work and efforts to preserve Thai culture... Queen Sirikit... set the tone for her birthday in a speech delivered Wednesday night to 20,000 well-wishers when she praised Thailand's traditional values of generosity and religious tolerance. In the speech, filled with memories of her far-from-affluent childhood in Bangkok, the queen recalled her parents' praises for Thailand's tolerance for all religions. 'When I was growing up, father told me just look at Thailand, look at Bangkok...the Buddhist temples, the Islamic mosques, the Christian churches, which co-exist peacefully...Buddhism is the national religion but anybody can worship any religion,' recalled Sirikit. The comment comes at a time of rising religious tensions in Thailand's five southernmost provinces, where more than 300 people have died this year in clashes between Muslim militants and government forces."