News shocks the Nation
King Norodom Sihanouk, the former king of Kingdom of Cambodia passed away on 15 October 2012, which also happened to be the last day of Pchum Ben this year. His 90th birthday was on this 31 October; yet, he passed away after suffering from health problems, including cancer, diabetes and hypertension in a Beijing Hospital at 1:25 a.m. Cambodia time.
King Norodom Sihanouk was one of the Asia's longest-serving monarchs; the former king abruptly quit the throne in October 2004 in favor of his son, King Norodom Sihamoni, citing old age and health problems. Despite abdicating, the ex-monarch sometimes used his website (http://www.norodomsihanouk.info) to communicate with the outside world. His people dubbed him “King Father” for he was the king who led Cambodia to independence from France.
A week of national mourning began on Wednesday, 17th October, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said. However, a crowd of hundreds of people flocked to the park in front of the Royal Palace to mourn their beloved former King since the official announcement of the death of the king in the morning of 16 October. Moreover, a large number of old people took a place at Royal Palace Park as home to stay overnight praying for King Father.
CambodiaCircles.com, under the 360-degree coverage of 7 days mourning to King Father, would like to share condolence and pay tribute to him by sharing news to all Cambodian, both stay in and out of Cambodia to know how it was like and what had happened and the summary of events during 7 days of mourning.
17th October 2012
Farewell to the King Father
Cambodia became a ‘White City’ when most people started to wear white shirt after hearing the shock and sad news of King Father Norodom Sihanouk’s death. The whole nation pays respect to King Father by first making black ribbon and patching on their white shirt.
King Norodom Sihamoni, accompanied by Prime Minister Hun Sen and some senior officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia headed to Beijing on a special flight at around 9:30 a.m. on 16th October. They came back with King Norodom Sihanouk’s body along the presence of the Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk on 17th October at around 2:30 p.m.
More than 1 million people, reported by Ministry of Information, lined up the street, both large and small, of Phnom Penh along Russian Boulevard to Norodom Boulevard, round Independence Monument, and to Royal Palace to bid farewell to King Father, started from as early as noon to 5:30 p.m.
Price goes high
According to news article from Phnom Penh Post, flower price soared considerably due to the official mourning period. It got from 2,500 riel to 3,500 riel, said Lach Sophea, a 32-year-old vendor near Preah Puth Mean Bon pagoda. She added that white shirts and ribbon have been sold out like a hot cake.
Thai reporter blamed by Khmer Facebooker
According to Bangkok Post newspaper, a Thai Channel 3 reporter stood near a copy of a local newspaper printed on its cover with picture of King Sihanouk which was placed on the ground. This led to general criticism among Cambodian Facebookers that she did not show respect to the King Father. Now her picture showing this act has been shared across the country along with negative comments.
Cancellation of Water Festival
Cambodian government has decided to cancel this year water festival (Nov, 27-29), Prime Minister Hun Sen announced on Tuesday. Still, the notice added that government officials, employees and workers still have 3 days holiday from work.
18th October 2012
According to Bangkok Post, about Thai Channel 3 reporter case, Thai Prime Minister Yinluck Shinawatra called to Prime Miniser Hun Sen to stress that there had been no malicious intention from Thais.
Shaving hair to show respect
There were a few men having their heads shaved in front of the Royal Palace to show respect and pay condolence to the King Father.
19th October 2012
The Kingdom of Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, and Lao People’s Democratic Republic Prime Minister H.E. Thongsing Thammavong paid a tribute to King Father at the Royal Palace.
20th October 2012
Thousand of monks mourn
A surprised visit
At 21:40, Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk and King Norodom Sihamoni gave a surprising visit to people who still mourn King Father in front of the Royal Palace.
21st October 2012
King Father’s face in the moon
Around 7p.m., many people claimed they saw King Father’s face superimposed on the moon, the same face in 10,000 riel note.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s vice chairman Yang Hyong-sop, Republic of Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Madam, and Republic of Philippine’s National Assembly president Feliciano R. Belmotejr and special envoy of president paid a tribute to King Father at the Royal Palace.
22nd October 2012
According to the Phnom Penh Post newspaper, a Chinese woman, Wang Xiao Jiao, an operation manager of Top World Garment Factory, destroyed two photos of King father by using scissor, in front of hundreds of workers outside the factory gate. More than a thousand of employees stopped working and launched immediate strike in front of the factory to demand apology. She was brought to police headquarter for questioning afterward. Chinese Embassy stated, “I think the behavior of the lady is very ******, and we are also very angry about this.”
The photo of King Father’s face superimposed on the moon has been sold across the country, especially in front of the Royal Palace. According to a street vendor Sor Sopheak, 41, she had sold about 100 photos for 1,000 riel each.
New Public Holiday
The republic of Union of Myanmar’s Vice president H.E. Dr. Saii Kham and the Republic of Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Minister , Dr. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa paid a tribute to King Father at the Royal Palace.
First Raining day
Out of the 7 days of mourning to King Father, this was the first raining day. The old people who took Royal Palace Park as their house were hard to find where to sleep under the rain.
23rd October 2012, the last day
A crowd estimated at more than 100, 000 lined both side of Sothearos Boulevard and stretched back across Preah Sisowath Quay towards the Tonle Sap River, bidding the last day of mourning. About 10, 000 monks chanted in unison in front of a crowd, Royal Palace park. The crowd marked the final day of official mourning.
King and Queen Mother joint the crowd
Around 5 p.m, King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Minineath Sihanouk spent an hour greeting, consoling, and receiving condolences from tens of thousands mourners who shown up in front of the Royal Palace.
The Likeness of King Father’s face in cloud
23rd October becomes a public holiday again
Another pubic holiday, 23rd October, was set by Cambodian government in order to remember one of the king’s most remarkable achievement that he contributed his great effort to build peace for Cambodia.
Final Result of Chinese woman
Phnom Penh municipal court charged, and sentenced Chinese woman to a year in prison on a charge of intentionally causing damage.
The sentence was immediately suspended, and she would be deported to China on 24th October and was in blacklist of not being allowed to return to Cambodia.
Heavily rain out bid the last day
There was a second, and the biggest one, raining out of the 7 days. It started from 6:45pm till mid night, on and off. Still, a lot of people stayed in front of the Royal Palace to mourn for a king as the last day. They prayed for the king under the rain.
Besides 7 days
In one week, a total of 233 people were hospitalized because of fainting, according to the Phnom Penh Post.
The Royal Palace was opened to the public visit, said Nhek Bun Chhay, deputy leader of the royal committee coordinating Sihanouk’s funeral. In order to be well-organized, people who wished to mourn the King Father in the palace were required to submit a written application, and the palace visit application opened on 24th October.
Even the news of King Father Norodom Sihanouk’s death shocked the nation and brought sadness to all Cambodian, there was one thing we all should know and be happy for, a unity of Cambodian happened as the first time in history after a long fight with wars.
Both young and old people come to share their helping hands by providing foods and water to old people who stayed in front of the Royal Palace without any orders from authorities or government.
Some youths are working on environmental matter by cleaning rubbish. Moreover, even under the raining day, they still came to pray and help people in front of the Royal Palace. To me, “Real Khmer is back”.
Rest in Peace our beloved King Father. We will make you proud.