Siem Reap provincial governor, Sou Phirin (C) kneels in homage to the memory of former King Norodom Sihanouk. Photograph: Thik Kaliyann/Phnom Penh Post
More than two thousand people are expressing daily their condolences over the death of former King, Norodom Sihanouk, by lighting incense in front of the Siem Reap Royal Residence.
Police blocked the road to enable residents to congregate and to listen to monks praying.
Monks, old people, students from various universities, and government officials as well as foreigners, joined the mourning ceremony adjacent to the sacred guardian statue Preah Ang Chek Preah Ang Chom shrines.
A saddened Sou Phirin, Siem Reap provincial governor, officiated and said Norodom Sihanouk will be Cambodia’s king forever. He added, “We will remember what His Majesty said about unifying the nation to develop our country.”
Mourner Chan Sari stood in front of the big screen with the King Father’s face that officials put in front of the Royal Residence and decorated with fresh flowers.
“Forever and always, he will be the King of Cambodia and the hero of the Cambodian people. I really cannot forget his face, his legacy,"she said while sobbing.
“I remember when he began demanding independence from the French colonialists. He was so brave to claim freedom for his people on the international stage without firing a shot.”
A university student, Neng Srey Mom, paid respects by praying and lighting incense.
She said she had never focused on the history of Cambodia’s kings, but after the death of her former King Norodom Sihanouk, she has decided to learn about his legacy.
“I am trying to find out about His Majesty’s background. I really would like to know the way he talked to the international world to claim independence from the French and the country’s development during 1955-1970.
“People feel deeply depressed about His Majesty’s death, but hopefully the unifying of our nation is still alive.”
She then bowed to the floor, saluted the photo, and added “He is my hero.”
Another Siem Reap resident, Kit Chantha, said that King Norodom Sihanouk is not only the greatest king, but also the greatest author. He has listened to many songs which have been written and sung by the former King such as Good Bye Cambodia, and Love without Hope.
“I cried many times while I was listening to Good Bye Cambodia,” he said, and then sobbed again.