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Remembering a great man who cared about his people

Over the past few days the mood at the Royal Palace has been somber and chaotic, despite the Pchum Ben holiday. The announcement of the death of His Majesty King Father Norodom Sihanouk last Monday has created conversations, both positive and negative.

But for many of us, including myself, his death marks the passage of a remarkable survivor and the greatest king of Cambodia.

On June 28, 1953, His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk returned to Cambodia and more than 400,000 people joined him in Battambang to be trained for military duties.

The French government was forced to rethink its position, and on July 3, 1953, France declared it was ready to grant independence to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

On November 9, 1953, Cambodia was finally granted its independence from France. His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk’s greatest achievement was being able to restore independence to his country without shedding a single drop of blood.

He will always be known in Cambodian history as the Father of Independence.

His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk was a complex political figure who dealt with multiple political regime changes. His courage is unmatched as he went against all the world powers of the fascists, the communists, and the liberal imperialists.

His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk was a true Khmer patriot, and I am proud to be part of his family line. Now you know where I get my feisty and outspoken personality from.

For the Royal Family members and high ranking officials, the funeral service will last more than three days. For the average Cambodian, a funeral service can last between one to three days, depending on the family’s financial situation, as the longer the body is kept, the more expensive it is.

In the Buddhist tradition, you pay respect on the seventh and the 100th days after death as a remembrance ceremony.

No matter how rich or poor you are, no matter your age, race or religion, we all have a date with death.

We block from our minds the fact that our loved ones will die. But the best thing to do is to prepare for when that time comes.

Ask a loved one what their wish is. The worst time to make funeral plans is at the time of death, as the family is very emotional and grief stricken.

My father’s wish is to pass away in his homeland of Cambodia, be cremated and have his ashes spread where the Tonle Sap and the Mekong rivers meet. This is the reason why I moved to Cambodia.

This week Cambodia has been stricken with genuine grief due to the death of His Majesty King Father Norodom Sihanouk. As I mourn with my family and the nation, I hope this loss will unite our country together.

My beloved great uncle, King Father Norodom Sihanouk, you are finally at peace and I hope that your wish for our Khmer people to find peace and stability will one day be fulfilled.

The Social Agenda with Soma Norodom
The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.

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