Quantcast
Latest Stories

Cambodia to cremate beloved former king

By

Thousands of mourners offer prayers by the streets surrounding the cremation site for the late former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk in Phnom Penh, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013. The cremation, the climax of seven days of mourning, will take place Monday. AP/WONG MAYE-E

PHNOM PENH—Cambodia is due to hold an elaborate cremation ceremony on Monday for its revered former king Norodom Sihanouk, part of a weeklong funeral for the colorful late royal.

Foreign dignitaries including French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, Japan’s Prince Akishino and several Southeast Asian leaders are due to attend the ceremony, which starts at 0900 GMT, along with relatives of the late royal.

“It’s the last day for us all to pay homage to the great hero king and to send him to heaven,” said Sihanouk’s long-time personal assistant Prince Sisowath Thomico.

“It is the day for the whole nation to say goodbye to his majesty. He is the hero of Cambodia,” Thomico told AFP, but added that only officials and guests would be allowed inside the actual cremation site in Phnom Penh.

Sihanouk, who towered over six tumultuous decades in his nation’s history, died of a heart attack in Beijing in October, aged 89.

Crowds of mourners lined the streets of the Cambodian capital Friday for a lavish funeral procession for Sihanouk, though attendance appeared to fall well short of the one million people predicted by the government.

Sihanouk’s embalmed body had been lying in state at the palace for three months before it was transported to a specially built crematorium in a Phnom Penh park.

After religious ceremonies on Monday, his widow Monique and son King Norodom Sihamoni are expected to symbolically light the pyre, although Thomico said that “modern techniques” would be used in the cremation.

More than 400 recently pardoned prisoners will also attend the event, which will be marked by a 101-gun salute.

After the cremation, some of Sihanouk’s ashes will be scattered where the Mekong, Tonle Sap, and Tonle Bassac rivers meet. The remainder will be taken to the royal palace on Thursday where they will be kept in a royal urn.

A father of 14 children over six marriages, Sihanouk abdicated in 2004 after steering Cambodia through six decades marked by independence from France, civil war, the murderous Khmer Rouge regime, his own exile and finally peace.

Many elderly Cambodians credit him with overseeing a rare period of political stability in the 1950s and 1960s, following independence, until the Khmer Rouge emerged in the 1970s.

Up to two million people died under their reign of terror, including five of Sihanouk’s own children.

But even though the ever-changeable monarch had allied himself with the Maoist movement, Sihanouk—a self-confessed “naughty boy” who loved to direct films, write poetry and compose songs—remained hugely popular among Cambodians.

“I’m really in shock. But I’m glad that I had a chance to see him off,” said Sum Seun, 60, one of thousands of mourners over the weekend who visited the crematorium site to pay respects to the gilded casket which could be glimpsed through its doorways.

“Since I was young, I saw him doing good things for the country,” he said. “He earned independence, peace, and prosperity for the country. Now he has gone, I’m worried that peace might vanish in the future.”


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Cambodia , Funeral , Norodom Sihanouk , Royals




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  4. SC suspends proctor in 2011 bar exams
  5. Senator Pimentel backs German think tank’s stand vs dynasties
  6. Bar proctor suspended for photographing test papers
  7. Collector Danny Garcia says Inquirer worth more than news
  8. Meteor shower to light up PH skies
  9. What Went Before: Enrile denies Gigi Reyes was ‘other woman’
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • Man wins half marathon, dies in Argentina
  • Clouds to bring slight relief from summer heat
  • Canadians rally to legalize marijuana
  • S. Korea ferry transcript reveals evacuation panic
  • Obama, family cause a small stir at Easter service
  • Sports

  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Ageless Hopkins pitches 50-50 Mayweather deal
  • Goodbye MGM, Las Vegas for Pacquiao?
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Unmerry mix of attention-calling moves on ‘Mini-Me’ TV tilts
  • Persistence pays off for The 1975
  • Business

  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Bourse to woo Cebu stock mart investors
  • Supper power
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement