Hun Sen Cancels Schedule to Grieve for Mother

Second Prime Minister Hun Sen canceled all public appearances this week to mourn the death of his 79-year-old mother, Di Pok, who died at his Phnom Penh residence early Tuesday of natural causes.

Prak Sokhonn, a senior Hun Sen adviser, said the second prime minister will return to work next week.

At 9 am Tuesday morning, a clergyman lifted a white cloth covering Di Pok’s face to allow the family and at least 50 guests to view the body for the last time.

“Mum, Mum,” Hun Sen and his wife chanted through their tears. “Please meet me again in the next life.”

A funeral procession is scheduled to leave from Hun Sen’s residence near Independence Monu­ment at 7 am Friday and conclude at the family’s stupa on Pochentong Road near Tuk Thla Market, Russei Keo district.

Norodom Boulevard, Ang Dung Avenue (Street 110), and Pochentong Boulevard will temporarily close Friday morning for the procession, Prak Sokhonn said. Several hundred cars are expected to participate.

Prak Sokhonn said Hun Sen received a condolence letter from King Norodom Sihanouk, who is in Beijing.

A government statement blamed Di Pok’s demise on her “shock” over the fighting of July 5 and 6. Since then, she has been in Calmette Hospital for the past seven months, Apsara Radio said.

Di Pok was born in Dei Do village in Stung Trang district in Kompong Cham province in 1919, Apsara radio reported. There, Di Pok worked as a farm­er and midwife, married Hun Neang, and gave birth to Hun Sen and his five siblings.

A biography from the government stated Hun Sen was separated from his mother from 1970 to 1979. During the 1975-79 Pol Pot re­gime, Di Pok was separated from her entire family.

In 1979, while foreign minister, Hun Sen finally found his mother in her native village.

Hun Sen will not shave his head, Prak Sokhonn said, but some of Di Pok’s grandchildren will. Cambodians follow a tradition of shaving their head after the death of parents. (Additional reporting by Mhari Saito)

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