Confusion Surrounds Memorial of Local Woman

Kneeling by his wife’s body, Seng Sovann seemed unaware of the crowd of hundreds of people who ga­thered outside the gates of Wat Ounalom crematorium on Thurs­day evening to see the wo­man ru­mored to have come back from the dead.

Meas Pov, 26, was pronounced dead Wednesday after about a week’s treatment at Phnom Penh Referral Hospital for lung and brain diseases, Seng Sovann said.

“I was preparing to push her into the cremation, but I felt her hands were still soft and saw red, fresh blood coming from her hand,” the 33-year-old widower said, his pale blue shirt soaked through with sweat. “I still hope 50 percent that she is alive.”

After he felt his wife had come back to life he returned to the hospital but was rebuffed.

“I gave her oxygen myself, and I want to try to keep her here [at the pagoda] for another one or two nights,” Seng Sovann said.

As dozens of onlookers stood by inside the pagoda, he applied a jar full of hot water wrapped in a kra­ma to various body parts, hoping to stimulate blood flow in the dead mother of his 2-year-old daug­h­ter.

“I have been working here for about 20 years, and this is the first case that the husband didn’t agree to let his wife be cremated,” said Tuoch Tith, 65, who cremates the dead.

He added that although the family felt that Meas Pov’s still-soft hands might be a sign of life, it was not uncommon to see that in the dead.

Despite the crowd outside climb­ing up the gates and gawking through the bars and the circle of onlookers and photographers snapping shots inside, a certain peace enveloped the modest mem­­orial at Meas Pov’s feet where offerings of incense, flowers and food surrounded a photo of her looking young, beau­tiful and alive.

Related Stories

Latest News