Cambodia Mourns the Death of King Father Norodom Sihanouk

Cambodia is mourning the death of King Father Norodom Sihanouk who died last October 15, 2012. Sihanouk is known as a hero of the Kingdom of Cambodia for his achievements which include the peaceful claiming of the country's independence from the French colonization in 1953, for steering the country's road to prosperity during the Sangkum Reastr Niyum, for winning a case in the International Court of Justice in 1962 which recognized Cambodia's ownership of Preah Vihear Temple near the Thai border, and particularly his role in the Paris Peace Agreement in 1991 which marked the end of civil wars that brought peace to the country.

“You are our hero, you will be missed” is the common message expressed by citizens and netizens who are all mourning the death of the King. His body was brought back to the country from Beijing where he often went to seek medical treatment.

Cambodians were mourning the late King Sihanouk

Cambodians waited in line along the Russian Boulevard near the Council of Ministers for the return of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk. Photo by author

On October 17, 2012, millions of people waited in line along the way from the international airport to the Royal Palace to pay respect to the King reminiscent of Sihanouk's historic return to Cambodia in November 1991 after being out of the country for 13 years.

The news of Sihanouk's death broke out during the long holiday of Pchum Ben Festival. The mood suddenly changed in the internet as people started to send their tributes to the late King. Cambodians used the twitter hashtag #RIPKingSihanouk to express their mourning:

@Cambodian_VIPz #RIPKingSihanouk We're sad and we're crying, you were leaving us. Father king of independence Norodom Sihanouk.

‏@lanycassie #RIPKingSihanouk My hero grandpa smile the best in this world <3

@Nida_CamELF Without him, Cambodia are now may still be the slave of French Colonization. #RIPKingSihanouk

@PinkyElevenShi Even It's Raining But Cambodian Still Stay in front of The Royal Palace This Made Me Crying #RIPKingSihanouk

There are also Facebook pages which were created in honor of the King Father:

RIP Norodmo Sihanouk

King Norodom Sihanouk

Cambodians coming from various provinces and regions were united in mourning the death of King Norodom Sihanouk. Photo from the Facebook photo album of Rip Somdech Ta (King Norodom Sihanouk)

Khmerbird hopes to see Cambodian politicians to follow the teachings of the late King:

The King Father once said (Source):

I want my country to be independent, always independent. I have done my best, but as a human being I cannot be perfect, nobody is perfect.

I hope all Cambodian politician would follow this statement. The King Father accepted that he is not perfect but he has a clear vision to put his country independent.

Khmerbird identifies the legacy of Sihanouk:

He built a very beautiful country and made Cambodia once as the most beautiful country in Asia. There’s one thing we know it is true is that he loves his country and he wants to bring happiness to his people.

The King's death inspired citizens like Koh Tha to contribute more for the progress of the country:

I watched TVs broadcasted the ceremony and historical films and documents of my late great King. I don’t know why my mind feel so mixed, sad and sorrow. My tear dropped silently. I deeply feel that I myself as well as my country lost the great hero. Then, a very strong power come into my heart and talk my that “Kok Tha, there is something that you need to put more effort to help and develop your country”. I just feel that what I have done so far is not enough and even much less than my king. I need to continue my hard-work and my well-being to colleague, youth organizations, role models, my friends, youths, family and my love.

The National Mourning Ceremony for the King will take place until October 23, 2012. The public can pay their last respects by visiting the Royal Palace in the next three months. After this period, the King's body will be cremated according to Buddhism ritual.


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