|Thailand's King Bhumibol in the annual New Year greeting card.|
Sovereigns from all over the world welcomed New Year with high hopes that 2013 would be way, way better than 2012. After all, 2012 is one year than one won't wish to look back into. From tragedies and calamities to scandals and financial setbacks, indeed, last year was a tough one.
In his thoughts for the New Year, Japan's Emperor Akihito extends his compassion to those who were afflicted by calamity, especially for those "who up until now cannot return to the places they used to live because of radioactive contamination," as well as for "those who have to spend the cold harsh winter in temporary housing." Like any other country, Japan is still reeling behind the impact of global recession, although the Emperor "wish that the people's hearts will always be with the afflicted, and that everyone will support one another to overcome the various challenges."
|King Harald of Norway sends his New Year's greetings.|
Meanwhile, Thailand's King Bhumibol Aduyadej, in the annual greeting card released every new year, called on all Thais to extend compassion to one another as a way to lead a happy life, reports The Bangkok Post. The New Year card features the Thai King in casual dress, with his two royal pet dogs, Khun Thong Daeng and Khun Mali. In text was a poem of the royal message, as well as a royal blessing for his subjects. The King urged his subjects to show “compassion is a virtue which can bring happiness to all.” The card carries His Majesty's "Happy New Year" message on the right-hand side. The card is framed with lines of small human faces - all in smiles. The King himself also looked in kindred spirit.
In Norway, King Harald thanked his subjects for another year of love, loyalty and support. The king was very happy for "all the kind greetings we have received - and for all the warmth we have felt from the Norwegian people, both through sorrow and happiness in the year that has passed," although the year also hit a sad part, after the passing of His Majesty’s sister, Princess Ragnhild.
|Queen Margrethe of Denmark during her New Year broadcast|
In Denmark, Queen Margrethe II delivers her annual 15-minute New Year speech with caution and a spark of hope. "In times of crisis, problems can seem overwhelming and obstacles can feel like hindrances that cannot be overcome," the Queen said. She praised Denmark's tight-knit society and its small geographic size are assets that can carry the country through the continuing economic crisis. However, she warned: "The modern forms of communication, with the internet and Facebook, have tremendous opportunities, but there are also dangers associated with it. The very young can be so engrossed in it, it is as if they live in cyberspace while reality is lived in a kind of display window, where it is more about appearances than being ones self." On the other hand, Her Majesty also praised the importance of the European Community. She remarked that joining the EU was a big step for us, and one that has not gone unchallenged, but it is a proven fact that our continent and the European community has produced a prosperity that all have benefited from, and that we have experienced pervasive peace after centuries of war, strife and mutual mistrust."