King Father Communicated Through His Website Until the Very End

For almost a decade, King Father Norodom Sihanouk took to the Internet with aplomb, using his official website as a way to update the public on both his political and private life.

The former King scanned and posted his own handwritten letters on the site—often airing his gripes and grievances—as well as letters he received from an abundance of admirers from around the world. He also used his online presence as a way to frequently update the public about his cancer treatment.

Through it all, Norodom Sihanouk took on a diverse range of subjects on his website, ranging from his beloved dogs to his love of music, his impatience with French speakers who mispronounce their vowels in English, problems with his French bank, and his penchant for an afternoon nap.

However, postings this year have been less frequent, even as letters from heads of state and other supporters continued to come in.

In the latest posting, Norodom Sihanouk added a typed agenda poignantly entitled “How Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia Employs his Time,” the content of which reads like a diary of his many doctor’s appointments and medical examinations that took place last month.

“Monday 3rd September 2012, Royal Residence, Beijing, People’s Republic of China: Medical examination by a doctor of the People’s Republic of China. One injection by the chief nurse,” one entry reads.

In the same post, he describes the long succession of medical examinations, injections, visits from practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, and the taking of blood samples, giving an indication of just how much of the King Father’s last year was taken up by his ailing health.

Despite his health concerns, Norodom Sihanouk evidently still kept up with some of his interests, including reading. Earlier this month, he posted scans of several annotated pages of his book “Le Calice Jusqu’a la Lie” or “The Cup to the Dregs” on his website. In the margins of the heavily underlined pages, the former King added comments like “fascists,” “true!” and “patriots.”

The King Father also continued to schedule appointments at his residence in Beijing. His last meeting took place on September 22, when the former king and Queen Mother Monineath met with two Buddhist monks from a pagoda in China’s Guangzhou province.

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