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Khmer Republic information minister passes away

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Chhang Song, former Minister of Propaganda, Culture and Information under Marshal Lon Nol’s Khmer Republic regime. FB

Khmer Republic information minister passes away

Chhang Song, former Minister of Propaganda, Culture and Information under Marshal Lon Nol’s Khmer Republic regime, passed away in a US hospital on August 21, according to his wife Sum Sarun.

Sarun said doctors at the hospital in Long Beach in the US state of California had diagnosed him with serious kidney disease.

“Unfortunately, his condition was critical and he passed away at 3am at the age of 83,” she said.

News of Song’s death has prompted many of his relatives and close friends, including current Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith, to post messages of condolence.

“Please go gently to heaven. We shall not forget you!” he said.

“Ten days ago, he told me that he wanted to return to Cambodia and eat num ansom [sticky rice cake]. He never got the chance, and I feel terrible for him,” one of his relatives, Men Sam An, told The Post.

Elizabeth Becker, author of “Cambodia after the War and the Khmer Rouge Revolution” and a staff member for The Washington Post, recalled Song’s contributions.

“Journalists relied on him during the war and remained his friends for many years afterwards. He loved his country.”

Born in 1939 in Takeo province’s Prey Kabas district, Song won a scholarship to study in the US and graduated from Louisiana State University in 1967. During the Cambodian civil war of the early 1970s, he served as deputy speaker of the Military Press and in 1974 as information minister.

He was an important source of information for the Cambodian government on disputes for national and international media. Shortly before the Khmer Rouge takeover on April 17, 1975, Song fled with Marshal Lon Nol to the US state of Hawaii. He was the only Cambodian official to flee with Lon Nol at the time. During his more than 40 years in the US, and while still in good health, he frequently returned to visit Cambodia.


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