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Expectations high for King

King Norodom Sihamoni
Expectations high for King

Kings are not crowned everyday. The last was Norodom Sihanouk in 1993. Before

that, nearly four decades passed without a coronation.

The Cambodian King is a revered, almost holy figure. For many, his wisdom is beyond

reproach and his motives always pure. He is given deferment afforded no other.

But with the title of King and the reverance delivered with the nation's most coveted

role comes the undeniable responsibilty of carrying the hopes and dreams of the people

of Cambodia, a country that struggles to provide the most basic needs of its citizens.

Former-King Sihanouk was well-known to involve himself in local politics. He cajoled.

He demanded. He pleaded. He published letters openly critical and often chastizing

government officials.

History will determine his effectiveness.

It is now his sons turn to head the state. But King Sihamoni is unschooled in politics

and unitiaited in the workings of local statecraft.

As newly-crowned King Sihamoni looks to the future, The Post interviewed people in

the street about their expectations of the new King.


Choumneth

Vichetphearkdey, 22, monk:

He has to visit the people and help us. [He could] provide presents or build a school

for the children. A king should stay out of politics and not support anybody. He

should be familiar with Buddhism and also support the Buddhist sector.


Khek

Phan, 74, temple layperson from Kampong Thom:

I want the new king to help the poor people, especially in the remote areas, [and

to] build schools for the children. I want to watch the parade of the ceremony because

I've never seen it before. After the coronation, I want the new king to make the

country peaceful with his people living in happiness.


Prak

Ly, 26, Cintri sweeper in Phnom Penh:

I want the new king to build new roads without rubbish or puddles. All roads should

be made from concrete. I hope that the incoming king will change everything and the

country will be more prosperous.


Sovan

Visal, 26, barber:

The main point is to solve the border problem and to reduce the price of gasoline

because it's difficult for the people. Regarding the illegal immigrants, there are

many Vietnamese people in Phnom Penh who take the Cambodians' jobs.


Un

Sokoun, 27, staff at the Khmer Writers Association:

It's important for him to have regular contact with the people, to show he's kind

and let them see him. All the people love the king and don't want the monarchy to

be lost. I want the king to stay neutral, not involved in politics, just be the head

of state and look after the people.

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