Norodom Sihanouk

How they see it, October 21, 2012

The legacy of Norodom Sihanouk, late king of Cambodia

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 October, 2012, 1:39am

1. China Daily

Sihanouk will be remembered worldwide as a towering giant in modern Cambodian history. In the darkest days, were it domestic troubles or foreign aggression, it was China and its government that offered the most generous and reliable support for his fight for national unity, reconciliation and independence. He had family-like personal relations with late Chinese leaders; and he himself was more like a close relative to the ordinary Chinese. At the core of the outstanding legacies Sihanouk has left behind is the time-tested kinship between the two countries. While we cherish the memories of this wonderful friend, we should also cherish this special relationship and make sure it thrives and prospers. Beijing


2. The Nation

Sihanouk will be remembered as perhaps the most adaptable king in modern history. Reigning over Cambodia during its most turbulent period, he witnessed its political transition from an absolute monarchy to a fledgling democracy. Sihanouk will be missed by many Cambodians who respected - even cherished - his leadership. To the outside world he will be remembered as a leader who struggled to maintain Cambodia's independence while forming alliances to protect it. He managed to avoid war with the US in the 1960s and 1970s, despite the battles raging across the border in Vietnam. He was, perhaps, unique as a leader who assumed so many roles while still managing to retain the aura of kingship. Bangkok


3. The Phnom Penh Post

[Princess Soma Norodom, the king's niece, writes] he will always be known in Cambodian history as the "father of independence". [He] was a complex political figure who dealt with multiple political regime changes. His courage was unmatched as he went against all the world powers of the fascists, the communists and the liberal imperialists. [He] was a true Khmer patriot and I am proud to be part of his family line. We block from our minds the fact that our loved ones will die. But the best thing to do is to prepare for when that time comes … Cambodia has been stricken with genuine grief due to his death. As I mourn with my family and the nation, I hope this loss will unite our country. Phnom Penh