Funeral of King Norodom Sihanouk
October 23, 2012
by John Vink
King Norodom Sihanouk, age 89, died in Beijing on October 15th 2012. He became King of Cambodia at 18 and obtained independence from the French in 1953. The flamboyant 'Papa', as he fancied calling himself, would be dragged, together with the country he loved so much, in the Indochinese turmoil of the '60s, and finally, despite successive and controversial alliances, one of them being with the Khmer Rouge who eventually 'spit him out', could not prevent Cambodia from sliding into the abyss of genocide. He came back from exile in '91 and abdicated in 2004 in favour of his son Sihamoni. About 350,000 Cambodian attended the funeral procession from Pochentong airport to the Royal Palace, and every day since the public comes to pray in front of the Royal Palace. But more than greeting the memory of the King, people are praying for a chimera, expressing their nostalgia for the bygone times of the 60's.