Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mourning begins, officially

The crowd gathering at the Independence Monument to pay their respects to the King Father
The official mourning period of one week begins today, as the body of the King Father, Norodom Sihanouk, returns from China this afternoon. There will be a procession from the airport to the Royal Palace after 3pm, when estimates suggest 100,000 will line the streets. I reckon you can at least double that figure, and add more on top. From what little I've seen and heard, there is a massive outpouring of emotion by the population, both young and old, and that could generate serious numbers on the streets later today. The King Father stepped down in 2004 in favour of his son but is associated, in the minds of many, as fathering the golden age of Cambodia and its independence from France, and pretty much everything else has been overlooked. Obviously his life story encompasses considerably more than that, but the television is showing only the positive stuff, as you'd expect. There will be a week of official mourning and then the body will lie in state at the Palace for three months before cremation. That means the Palace, as a tourist site, will close though access to pay respects to the King Father will be allowed. The Water Festival races in Phnom Penh later next month have already been cancelled, though the public holiday will remain in place. I popped out to the Independence Monument at 3pm and the crowds gathering there were enormous.
The King Father had still not left the airport but the crowds were already 10-15 deep at Independence Monument.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting blog and info Andy!!! Love Cambodia! Cheers from Argentina.

October 17, 2012 at 8:54 PM  

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