The King's subjects share their thoughts on His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni and his role as monarch of the modern Kingdom of Cambodia as they join in his 56th birthday celebrations
Cheam Yeap, CPP lawmaker:
"King Norodom Sihamoni represents all Cambodian people and provides shelter to us all as mentioned in the Constitution in 1993.
"According to the Constitution, the King ensures the neutrality, independence and integrity of the Khmer nation.
"Since his coronation in October 2004, the King has helped Cambodia move towards economic development, judicial improvements, political stability and peaceful living conditions for all people.
"Even when Thai soldiers enter Cambodian territory by force, we try to resolve the problem through a peaceful strategy. King Sihamoni is a highly respected monarch for all Cambodians."
Sun Chay, SRP lawmaker:
"His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni is a good King due to his good attitude and because he does not interfere in political issues.
"Cambodia is lucky to have a king like His Majesty Sihamoni because the monarch loves and respects his subjects. But the King is still unable to accomplish all his constitutional duties such as ensuring the independence of the judiciary and the army, which he is president of, because the Parliament and government haven't transferred constitutional powers to the King.
"Cambodia should write a specific law on the King's rights and constitutional duties to make sure that the constitutional powers of the King are respected and the King is able to complete all his duties."
Sem Sinath, 74, a villager from Kandal province's Kean Svay district:
"I love so much all the kings, especially King Sihamoni, who is a respectful, smiling and very gentle king. I respect the King and consider him like the Buddha, who protects and defends me.
"When the country has a reigning king, the people feel confidence, security and prosperity because the monarch is our protector.
"I have never met King Sihamoni but when I see him on television,
I feel so happy; I love and respect him.
"With our King Sihamoni in place,
I hope that our country will develop quickly in the future and the people will be happy, rich like in the King Father's era before the civil war."
Suon May, 76, a villager from Veal Sbov commune in Kandal province's Kean Svay district:
"I was one of the servers in the Royal Palace in the era of King Father Sihanouk.
"I have known King Sihamoni since he was young, and I love and respect him very much.
"The monarchy is very important for Cambodia because our country has had a King for a long time.
"However, I pity our current King Norodom Sihamoni and I am not happy because he doesn't have full rights of rule. He doesn't have the power."
Hem Horn, 62, a villager from Veal Sbov commune in Kandal province's Kean Svay district:
"The King is a peaceful and gentle person who is always smiling. He is very generous and I, like all people, love and respect King Sihamoni.
"Cambodia needs to have his reign because the country relies on the monarch for its prosperity, as it has done for a long time. When Cambodia last did not have the King, the Cambodian people suffered great turmoil and civil war.
"Following in the footsteps of the King Father Norodom Sihanouk, the new King Norodom Sihamoni is a good and peaceful monarch.
"I think Cambodia, our country, will have great prosperity, happiness and development in the near future."
Sry Kreng, 85, committee chief at Niroth Raingsey Pagoda in Phnom Penh's Meanchey district:
"Our King Norodom Sihamoni has a pure heart and a gentle soul.
"He has full respect for the state's laws and is a devout practitioner of Buddhist disciplines. King Sihamoni has compassion, pity, sincerity and grace for his subjects. In King Sihamoni's reign, like in the King Father Sihanouk era, Cambodian people have been happy and lived in peace.
"On the occasion of the King's Birthday, I pray to Buddha, God and all effective things to bless our monarch for good health and longevity so that he may continue to provide shelter to the Cambodian people and help to develop the country in a civilised way."
Srey Sokha, a monk at Niroth Raingsey Pagoda:
"We monks are delighted with the royal crusade of King Norodom Sihamoni on humanitarian, social and religious activities.
"He pays much attention to these issues, and he is very active in helping poor people.
"In religious affairs, the King helps the monks develop and promote Buddhism.
"He feels the happiness and prosperity of his subjects, and their suffering too.
Cambodian people need the King because he is the head of state and is a leading figure in the good development of the country and in reducing poverty.
I appreciate so much the attitude of our King. He is a moral and knowledgeable king with respect from all of Cambodia as well as the rest of the world. Our King Sihamoni is a peaceful king."
INTERVIEWS BY NETH PHEAKTRA, PHOTOS BY HENG CHIVOAN AND SOVANN PHILONG