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

  • Government set to slash holidays

    The private sector has welcomed the government’s move to reduce the number of public holidays in the in the Kingdom – known for having the most public holidays in the world – by seven days. However, the government had just added the “Day of Remembrance” on

  • Kith Theang being held in PJ prison

    Kith Theang, the brother of prominent businessman Kith Meng, was charged by Phnom Penh Municipal Court late on Monday and sent to the capital’s Police Judiciare (PJ) prison over the nearly 50kg of drugs found in a February 23 raid by authorities on the Rock

  • ‘Kingdom lacks up to 400MW in available electricity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the general public, hoteliers and businesspeople with generators to use them as back-up as the Electricity Authority of Cambodia cannot generate enough electricity to meet needs due to low water levels in power station reservoirs. On Saturday evening

  • Phay Siphan: Preah Sihanouk will become a second Singapore

    Government spokesman Phay Siphan said on Monday that Preah Sihanouk province will become a second Singapore, as authorities were warned that its development, fuelled largely by Chinese investment, was coming at a cost to locals. Siphan was speaking at a press conference after a seminar