Monash University I was sixteen years old when I first read about Norodom Sihanouk1 and Cambodia. Jacqueline Kennedy's visit to Cambodia in November 1967 had been widely reported by the press in my homeland, Chile, where her assassinated husband was greatly admired. Through Jackie Kennedy's visit to Cambodia, I became interested in Norodom Sihanouk's fascinating life, totally unaware that, years later, our paths would cross and I would become his private secretary. My Cambodian friends often tell me that it was my destiny. In 1967, I wanted to know more about Cambodia. Since there was no information available, I wrote to the Cambodian mission at the United Nations. I found it unbelievable, but four months later I received a handwritten letter back from Sihanouk himself. That began our friendship, which was first conducted through correspondence.2 After Sihanouk was deposed in March 1970, I discovered that the local New China News Agency branch in Santiago, Chile, carried copies in Spanish of all of Sihanouk's statements made in the Chinese capital a day earlier. It didn't seem to make sense that a Communist regime would extend such courtesies to a former monarch. This led me to one aspect of Sihanouk's
Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Dec 30, 2012
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