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. Photo by Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer.
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.
An election monitoring group has developed a smartphone application to help voters get news about the upcoming July election and other political events, and to help them report irregularities during the campaign and polls. Srey Sopheak, a spokesman for the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, told Sok Khemera of VOA Khmer in a Skype interview that the Cambodian Voter Voice app also contains educational video clips, a calendar and other features to help Cambodians participate in the upcoming election.
Cambodian authorities have completed preparations for the cremation Monday of the country’s former king, Norodom Sihanouk, who died in October at age 89. Sihanouk was the father of Cambodia’s independence, yet his successes remain tarnished by his 1970 alliance with the Khmer Rouge.