Royal Pavilions Reduced to Rubble at Veal Mean

One month after workers began removing the dilapidated funeral pavilions put in place in Veal Mean for the 2013 funeral of King Father Norodom Sihanouk, the park is—slowly—being restored to its original grassy state.

The million-dollar construction was meant only to be temporary, but it took more than a year after the funeral before workers began tearing down the crumbling structures in early April.

Piles of rubble mount in Veal Mean, where the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk was cremated in February 2013. Workers began pulling the crumbling structure down last month. (Siv Channa)
Piles of rubble mount in Veal Mean, where the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk was cremated in February 2013. Workers began pulling the crumbling structure down last month. (Siv Channa)

On Tuesday, piles of rubble and trash—some knee high—remained scattered throughout the park, and twisted steel frames were laid around the piles.

About a dozen workers loaded frames into a dump truck, while others tended to young children who were in the park.

A man who identified himself as a manager for Vispan, the company contracted to construct and clean up Veal Mean, said his company was only responsible for removing the frames of the pavilions and not the trash.

“I don’t know who will come to collect the trash. We are done with the removing of these pavilions,” he said, giving his name only as Pov.

He said clearing the park has been slow because some of the workers were preparing a stupa in the Royal Palace compound ahead of a July ceremony to move the King Father’s remains.

“We don’t have a fixed number of workers doing this job. There are sometimes seven workers and sometimes 20 workers doing this job,” he said.

Oum Daravuth, an adviser to the royal family, said the remaining trash in the area would be cleaned up after the pavilions are removed.

“We removed all already,” he said in reference to the pavilions. “We did it step-by-step because first, there is the lack of workers, and second, some workers go to clean a stupa [in the Royal Palace]. We will now just wait for the rubbish truck to take out the trash,” he said.

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