Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mourning A Beloved King Father!

Earlier this week as part of one of my regular routines to get some exercise, I took a stroll down to the Royal Palace. A couple weeks ago, the king Father Norodom Sihanouk died and his body was brought back to Cambodia as the nation mourns their king for the next 3 months. Since that time, there has been an outpouring of grief.

As I approached the palace, there was a crowd of people gathering around to pay their respects to their beloved king. Some people were sitting on the ground watching a TV screen that provided historical highlights of the king father's life.

But in the midst of all of this, one couldn't help but notice the vendors who were using this opportunity to sell all sorts of items. One vendor was selling flowers.

Several vendors had printed different photos of the king Father and were using this period of mourning to sell pictures of the the king. These vendors seem to be the most popular attracting crowds of people who were encircling them vying for the best photo.
Looking to buy a photo of the king father
As Cambodia is a Buddhist nation, many Cambodians came to offer up prayers. Candles were set up on several sections to help facilitate those individuals who had bought joss sticks to light and place in big jars in the area.

A vendor selling joss sticks

The entire area was filled with smoke as the incense from the joss stick floated up into the evening air.
The smoke however did not seem to affect those who came to mourn. People would light their joss sticks and would bow their knees where ever they happen to be to pray for the king father.

Some of the older female ''monks'' sat further back from the crowd sitting in a posture of humility. I couldn't help but wonder how long they had been sitting there but I suppose time was not important. What was more important was just sitting there reflecting on their beloved king who they revered.

It is not common to see these sights of public grief as in many Asian cultures, tears are often viewed as a sign of weakness and so they are often shed in private. Yet here were many openly showing their emotions. For a nation that is still recovering from the Khmer Rouge era and trauma from that period, scenes like this display emotional vulnerability in a corporate sense. Pray for the Cambodian people that through the sadness and loss they feel, they may experience comfort and strength from the One who can give meaning and hope to life's greatest losses.

No comments:

Post a Comment