Message from the Ambassador of Portugal to Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam on the occasion of the National Day of Portugal, 10 June 2020

Dear Friends

Today we celebrate the National Day of Portugal. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we celebrate in a very different way this year, without our traditional reception on the banks of the mighty Chao Phraya River. But even if we cannot be physically close to each other this year, I’m sure we are closer than any year before.

As you know, on this special day Portugal commemorates the memory of our most famous poet, Luís Vaz de Camões. The day is also an opportunity to honor and celebrate our Portuguese communities abroad. We also celebrate their sacrifice and incredible efforts which have added greatly to the benefit of our nation and to the development of our relations with other nations, such as Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

The bilateral relations between Portugal and each of these six countries are solidly rooted in history. We can proudly say that we have been friends for more than 500 years since my ancestors arrived on this side of the world at the very beginning of the 16th century. This long friendship has grown even stronger during this time of crisis. I want to acknowledge and deeply thank all the words of support I received from our friends in all the countries I’m accredited as Ambassador of Portugal. This support came from all levels: from government authorities, from politicians, from members of civil society and from regular citizens.

Now that the pandemic seems to be waning, Portugal is getting ready to reopen her doors to welcome our friends again: to visit, to study, to trade and to invest, in a safe and secure way. My compatriots are also anxious to be able to come and visit the beauties of all your countries, and to be able to reengage in the routes of trade that originally brought us together. We look forward to continuing and developing even further our long and lasting friendship, helping each other to overcome the consequences of this pandemic - both bilaterally and as proud members of the European Union working with ASEAN.

This year is special for us as we commemorate a very important event for the Portuguese Embassy in Bangkok. It is the 200th anniversary of the granting of the Embassy property - where we still live and work today – in 1820 by His Majesty King Rama II of Siam to His Majesty the King of Portugal, D. Joāo VI. Our original plan was to launch today a beautiful book we have prepared, with the unconditional support of ThaiBev and Amarin Publishing, about this magnificent property and its history. But, don’t worry, we will do it a little bit later this year!

The growth and development of our relationships is always our goal. The Portuguese Embassy team, including myself and Kevin – work towards this goal every day. Let me also take this opportunity to thank all of them. ‘We are few, but we are mighty’ as I always say! Without them, none of our good work would be possible.

Today, let’s celebrate this friendship, its continuance and the deepening of our relationships ever closer as we move into a brighter future!

Let me finish informing you that, as this year we cannot celebrate together, the Embassy of Portugal is presenting a digital week on its social media dedicated to Portugal, Portuguese culture, and the Portuguese communities abroad. Today, the Portuguese Television Channel, in cooperation with the Portuguese Foreign Ministry, is broadcasting a special live event to celebrate the National Day of Portugal. This event will be accessible through links that will be available also on our social media.

I leave you with some inspiring music, from José Mário Branco, a famous Portuguese singer-songwriter, using one of the most acclaimed sonnets from the poet we celebrate today, Luís Vaz de Camões – “Omnia Mutantur / Mudam-se os tempos, Mudam-se as vontades” (Sonnet of Change / Time Changes, Desires Change).

Happy National Day of Portugal!

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