Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Up my street

By accident, I recently realized that the street where I live in Phnom Penh not only has a number but a name as well. Rue Samdech Louis Em No 282. So the next question is - who was Louis Em? A quick google search reveals that he was a much revered Buddhist monk and scholar, who passed away in the 1950s, having attained the third highest ranking in the Buddhist hierarchy in Cambodia and attaining such names as Ven Preah Krou Vimolpanna Louis Em, Preah Nhean Bavar Vichea Louis Em, Preah Serei Sammatevong Louis Em and HE Samdech Preah Dhammalikhet Louis Em. Quite a mouthful. I gather that his name changes coincided with the higher he moved up the Buddhist ranking. Originally the head of Wat Sithor, he later became head of Wat Lanka, and the road itself begins behind the wat, running from Norodom Boulevard through to Monivong Boulevard. A visit to the Buddhist Centre near the Council of Ministers would surely throw more light on this particular gentleman, but for now, this is the origin of the name of the street I live on.
The street sign, on the corner of St 51, opposite Wat Lanka, with spirit house underneath



Anonymous Anonymous said...

But who is Abdul Karim (st 21)? I never could find out...

November 23, 2009 at 4:35 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

'fraid that one (Abdul Karim) is a mystery to me.
I did discover that one of the priceless Buddhas in the Silver Pagoda was donated by my very own Samdech Louis Em following a trip to Sri Lanka in the 1950s, if my memory serves me right. I wrote it down and then lost the slip of paper it was written on. Silly me.

November 23, 2009 at 5:09 PM  

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