The funeral procession for Cambodia’s former king, Norodom Sihanouk, began Friday, starting in the pre-dawn hours as soldiers and military in ceremonial garb gathered in Phnom Penh, where between 1 million and 3 million mourners are expected to travel in coming days. Sihanouk will be cremated Monday, after days of ceremony, as Cambodians remember his legacy, which began with the country’s independence from France in the 1950s, carried into the Khmer Rouge era, and only ended in 2004, when he abdicated and passed the throne to his son, Norodom Sihamoni. (VOA Khmer’s Say Mony reports from Phnom Penh)
Funeral procession ceremonies begin Friday for former king Norodom Sihanouk, whose body will be cremated on Feb. 4. Up to 1 million people pour into the streets of Phnom Penh to mourn the former monarch, known to many as “King Father,” who died following a heart attack in Beijing in October. (VOA Khmer’s Heng Reaksmey, Phnom Penh and video footage from Reuters and AP)
Norodom Sihanouk, the revered former king whose cremation ceremonies begin on Friday, was a music lover, singer and composer. In Phnom Penh, two separate groups of music students have decided to pay tribute to the former monarch by performing some of his favorite music. The musicians say that though the “King Father” is gone, his songs remain. Opera student Hy Kimchanthavuth, recently performed in Phnom Penh, singing three Sihanouk classics: “Charming Lady,” “November Breeze” and “Love Without Hope.” VOA Khmer’s Say Mony reports from Phnom Penh.
As US government attorneys continue to seek the return of a Khmer statue to Cambodia from the noted auction house Sotheby’s, court documents say a second statue, which is held at the Norton Simon Museum, in Pasadena, Calif., was stolen in the 1970s. Chheang Sophinarath reports from Pasadena.
"A River Changes Course," a documentary about the lives of three Cambodians suffering under the rapid development of their country, is now screening at the Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah. VOA's Men Kimseng talked to filmmaker Kalyanee Mam via Skype from the festival.
A renowned Cambodian artist has put on display four pieces of his latest work to honor and remember the late former king, Norodom Sihanouk, ahead of the monarch’s cremation ceremony next month. The Sihanouk works are mixed media hangings on pieces of cloth, hung on the walls of a gallery for artist Leang Seckon. They combine incense sticks and scraps of paper taken from gatherings of mourners outside the Royal Palace. VOA Khmer's Say Mony reports from Phnom Penh)
Cambodian filmmaker Chhay Bora, who debuted in 2010 with “Lost Loves,” has produced a new film that explores the impacts in the country of prostitution and human trafficking. The new film is an attempt to inform Cambodians, especially those in rural areas, about the dangers of sending their daughters to work in Phnom Penh or abroad. “Many people in the rural areas have often been deceived by a small number of people who told them their daughters would work in a restaurant, when in fact they were forced into prostitution,” Chhay Bora told VOA Khmer in a Skype interview. “We want to send them an important message, and that message is that you have to be smart, you have to know who the recruiters really are, where they actually live, and how to contact them,” he said. Families should look for local jobs that may be better than jobs far from home, he said. Another important message of the film is to encourage Cambodians to respect and value the lives of others, and to not purchase young girls at the cost of their future, he said. “We also do not want the world to think of Cambodia as a sex industry,” he said. “We want the world to think that we have a respectful culture and civilization. People should come to visit Cambodia as real tourists, not as sex tourists.” Chhay Bora is currently in the US, attending the Palm Springs International Film Festival to screen “Lost Loves.” (Poch Reasey, Washington)