Cambodian unity around King Father Norodom Sihanouk death

The front yard of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh city has been commonly known as a place where people come and visit during their free time. However, ever after the death of His Majesty King Father Norodom Sihanouk, it has become a place for people to mourn and pay respect to the former king. Here and there, you can see people wearing black and white, and some are with white lotus in their hands.

A unity of Cambodian happened as the first time in history after a long fight with wars. / Photo by Rithy Lomorpich (Yoki Coco) During the seven days of mourning, from 17th to 23rd October, along with the crowd of the poor, middle-class, and rich who offer condolences to the King Father present public and private sectors doing charitable work by various means. What led them to perform these generous activities?

ABC Cambodia, a local radio station, was one of other charity teams helping provide people with some basic needs. Oum Chanvetey, the general manager of ABC Cambodia radio, said, “As there are some listeners calling into ABC program saying the price of the incense is increasing. Therefore, ABC starts its own task by providing free incense to the public.”

Chanvetey said most of the volunteers are ABC radio staffs. However, there are around other 100 volunteers who are mostly the radio listeners came and joined the team. Then the activities progressed by sharing the mineral water, food, bread, patent and so on. She added, “I am so surprised to see people starting to work for their society.”

She continued, “Though there are always difficulties faced in the real situation, we should proceed. We should contribute what we can so that the progress will be well underway.”

Heng Pisith, a sophomore at National University of Management (NUM), also did the contribution in front of the Royal Palace during the mourning period.

Some people using their own resources to donate to others who go to join the mourning in front of the Royal Palace. / Photo by Rithy Lomorpich (Yoki Coco) “It is my idea at the early step since I feel so pity for older people when I come to the Royal Palace,” Piseth told his reason why he joined this charity work. After coming up with the ideas, he has spread this information through Facebook and contacted his friends who he believed would have the same ideas.

Around ten friends joined the action, and this team has delivered things such as bread, incenses, flowers, medicine and raincoat.

Piseth added, “Though rainy and sunny, we still do it since it is our desire to do these activities.”

“I have never seen Cambodian people gather together like that,” said Ouy San, 72, adding that it was the biggest funeral he has ever seen in life.

Nak Bunna, 19, is one among other Cambodian youths who want to join the king funeral. “As a new generation of Cambodia, I want to attend his funeral because he is a respectful and beloved king for others and me. It is unbelievable that there is a great number of people who have shown their sadness during the days,” said Bunna.

Sok Touch, an independence analysis and a director of Khemarak University said, “It is good that people gathering together.”

Talking to the CambodiaCircles reporters, he also pointed out the reason behind people gathering was the remaining admiration of King’s achievement in their own mind. He reminded that the King Father remarkable achievements was claiming independence from French, increasing local products rather than importing and getting some of Cambodian provinces back.

Touch added, “All leaders always have both good and bad points, and we must accept both. This encourages the next generation to accept positive aspects and avoid the same mistake.”

Article by: KIM Kotara & UNG MengYean
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Photo by: Rithy Lomor Pich (Yoki Coco)

About Writers:

KotaraKIM Kotara is a junior of Media Management at the Department of Media and Communication (DMC). She said if she was asked to choose whether to write or speak about her mind, she would choose to write because she could express her ideas more clearly in writing. She started working for the CambodiaCircles in November 2011. "By starting writing from today on, I hope that I can sharphen my writing skills and inform, educate, and entertain my readers through my articles," said Kim Kotara.

MengYean's photoUNG MengYean is now a junior of Media Management at the Department of Media and Communication (DMC). She has experiences working as a freelance reporter for the local magazine, and she has joined the as a reporter since early 2012. “I choose to study in journalism because I like exploring, writing, and networking,” said MengYean, adding that she hopes her writing could function as a window of information for general people around the world.