At a time when he’s facing one of the tensest political periods since the 2013 national elections, Prime Minister Hun Sen last Saturday took time to tell a former bitter enemy he has a “very sweet” voice.
The enemy in question, royalist Funcinpec party leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh, was ousted from the first prime ministership by Hun Sen in a bloody 1997 takeover, but he didn’t let past hostilities stop him from sending the premier an album of himself singing 10 songs written by his father, the late King Norodom Sihanouk.
“I would like to express my highest admiration to the Prince, who sings all the songs very sweetly, suitable for continuing the special royal legacy and historical value of Samdech Ov [Sihanouk], the King Father of National Culture,” said Hun Sen, who is himself an accomplished karaoke songwriter.
In a separate letter to Ranariddh, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong wrote on October 21 that the prince’s voice “reminded me of the sweet voice of the King Father”.
Sihanouk, who died in China in October of 2012, was a prolific composer and filmmaker.
According to Thieng Vandarong, a senior Funcinpec member, most of songs included on the album were composed during Sihanouk’s heyday in the 1960s.
It also included Sihanouk’s last well-known composition, "Goodbye Cambodia", written shortly before his death, he said.