Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - White Building locals get Ministry send-off

White Building locals get Ministry send-off

Land Minister Chea Sophara speaks to White Building residents during a farewell party on Saturday morning in Phnom Penh.
Land Minister Chea Sophara speaks to White Building residents during a farewell party on Saturday morning in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

White Building locals get Ministry send-off

The Land Management Ministry hosted a farewell party for residents of Phnom Penh’s iconic but crumbling White Building Saturday, serving up large quantities of noodles and bringing in Buddhist monks to bless the residents before they move.

More than 95 percent of the building’s 493 families have begun the process of packing up their belongings and leaving the building, which Japanese firm Arakawa plans to turn into a 21-storey mixed-use complex.

The residents agreed to $1,400 per square metre as compensation for their homes, despite many wanting upwards of $2,000.

Land Minister Chea Sophara attended the party and spoke with some of the departing families, but did not address the crowds, despite having announced the event on Facebook. “In order to move to a new home, I would like to invite residents of White Building and the media to have a noodle party and fun together,” he wrote.

White building residents feast on the farewell noodle party thrown by the Ministry of Land Management on Saturday in Phnom Penh.
White building residents feast on the farewell noodle party thrown by the Ministry of Land Management on Saturday in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

In the morning, residents were blessed by some 50 monks, and then ate lunch while being entertained by live music.

As of last evening, 284 families had vacated their apartments, according to Hue Chenda, deputy director for the ministry’s housing department. Less than 20 families have yet to accept any compensation, and Chenda said he was unaware if any had changed their decision.

Tuy Channa, 35, said she had already relocated, but came back to join in the celebrations. “Living at the White Building was a happy [time], because we knew each other very well and now I feel nostalgic.”

See morehere.

MOST VIEWED

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Prime Minister: Take back islands from inactive developers

    The government will “take back” land on roughly 30 islands from private companies that have not made progress on planned developments, Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a speech on Monday that also targeted land-grabbing villagers and idle provincial governors. Speaking at the inauguration of the

  • Land on capital’s riverfront is opened up for investment

    The government has signed off on a proposal to designate more than 9 hectares of land along Phnom Penh’s riverfront as state-private land, opening it up for private investment or long-term leasing. The 9.25-hectare stretch of riverfront from the capital’s Night Market to the