Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Death of Sihanouk: Day 16

Brief update, notes.

Mourning continues at the front of the Royal Palace. There are never less than dozens of mourners present, usually hundreds, particularly in the evenings. Last weekend there were thousands all day. More people seem to be arriving in large groups now, often trucked or bussed in from the countryside. As before, people sit in groups in the road opposite the King Father's portrait to mourn and pray, they make flower offerings at the front of the Palace and incense offerings at the urns on the park sidewalk, some sign the visitor books and take photos of themselves in front of the Palace. A large LED screen showing scenes of the funerary proceedings and a placard with an image of the King Father's coffin have recently been affixed to the face of the Place Pavilion.

There are fewer journalists this week and more tourists and beggars about. Security and crowd control is a little tighter and more organized. Away from the mourners the atmosphere feels a bit more mercenary now. Street kids are working the candle tables. There has been a noticeable increase in vendors, most selling lotus flowers, incense, portrait pins, Sihanouk photos and snacks. At least a dozen child vendors are hawking portrait pins in front of the Palace, some in the same pestering manner they work the tourist districts, for example, putting their wares in front of your camera when you are trying to take a photo (see above.)

Several streets around the Palace were closed again today, snarling traffic once again.

Tomorrow, October 31, would be the King Father's 91st (90th) Birthday.

Phnom Penh Post: A cremation fit for a King
Phnom Penh Post: A cremation fit for a King
Phnom Penh Post: Statue of Sihanouk set for Dragon Park

'Norodom Sihanouk - A Rock Star King' by Kevin Barrington
(An inspired response to the Gourevitch piece in The New Yorker - 'The Fantasy of King Sihanouk')

'Bill Moyers, Prince Sihanouk (and Me)' by Michael Winship

Cambodian Reflections: Local Specifics and Global Concerns by Brian Stoddart

Royal Palace Pavilion, 3:30PM, October 30, 2012

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