Monday, November 12, 2012


On October 15, the former king of Cambodia passed away. King Norodom Sihanouk was 89 years old and had been suffering from poor health for a number of years. He had been living in China for many years as well. King Norodom Sihanouk abdicated the throne in 2004 at which point his son King Norodom Sihamoni took on the role. The former king's history is a bit controversial. But, I am not going to discuss that. If you are interested, I encourage you to do some of your own research.

What has been fascinating is to see the way the nation has mourned his death. On the day his body was transported back to Cambodia from China and taken to the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, thousands upon thousands upon thousands of Cambodians took to the streets to welcome his body. The streets were clogged for hours. People walked miles--people who typically balk at walking 500 feet. The nation declared a formal week of mourning during which all "happy" television programming was suspended, people were encouraged to wear white shirts with black ribbons pinned to their breasts, and thousands of monks in orange robes gathered in front of the Royal Palace to perform mourning chants each day at sunset. The nation will continue to be in mourning for at least 2 more months while the former king's body rests at the Royal Palace and people from all over the nation can come to pay their respects.

One one evening some friends and I headed down to the Royal Palace to see the events. Below are some of the images we captured...before the torrential downpour that soaked us to the bone and flooded the streets with knee-deep water and sludge.
A giant photo of the former king at the front of the Royal Palace

Rows and rows of motorbikes parked about half a mile from the Royal Palace

Cotton candy and popcorn for sale...right next to the incense sticks, candles, and lotus flowers

Incense and candles lit to honor the former king

People of all ages were paying their respects

The number of people in such a small area was astounding!

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