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I've just read the book about Phnom Penh named "Phnom-Penh d'Hier à Aujourdh'ui"

by Michel Igout, published in 1993 by White Lotus Co., Ltd, G.P.O. Box 1141, Bangkok


It is indeed a very interesting book about the history of the city since its foundation

in 15th century to 1993. The author had done a very extensive research for information

and documents. He mentions all the names of all French administrators in the colonial

period who had brought energy to build the city of Phnom Penh: Doudart de Lagrée,

Pottier, Philastre, Aymonier, Moura, Huyn de Verneville, etc. He even takes time

to recall the proposition made by a rich Chinese businessman from Cholon named Tea

Maj Yan in 1920 to fill up the Beng Decho to build a big public market. The colonial

authorities turned down the proposal but realized the project by themselves 15 years


But I feel very sorry about the fact that the author did not mention that the development

of Phnom-Penh during the Norodom Sihanouk's Sangkum Reastr Niyum was conceived and

realized mainly by Khmers, especially Khmer Governor Tep Phân and Khmer architect

Vann Molyvann. Someone could think that even after the independence gained from France

in 1953, Phnom Penh continued to be developed by foreign experts. Is the author lacking

this information?

To find a remedy for this uncomfortable situation, I recommend a publication (2001)

by the Institute of Arts and Culture "Reyum", "Cultures of Independence".

This book relates the efforts of Khmer government, and artists and experts to develop

all the fields of Khmer culture, including the urbanism of Phnom Penh and Khmer architecture,

under the great leadership of Samdech Euv Norodom Sihanouk.

Khun-Neay Khuon, Architect and town planner, Quebec, Canada.



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