The final days of the White Building

Pav Suy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
One of Phnom Penh’s iconic buildings will soon be torn down.

The iconic White Building, a visual representation of so many of the issues that face Cambodia, will soon disappear completely.

There are still about 20 families staying in the near empty shell of the building before the final deadline for all residents to vacate on July 17 when major demolition work starts.

For Sak Sophea, who lived in the building with his family for the past 10 years, these final day among the rubbish and rubble-strewn remains has been a time of reflection.

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“I have a lot of memories here for so long, memories since I was young, and I know a lot of people here, but we have to separate from our friends,” he said, lamenting on how many of his old neighbours have been scattered across the city.

“Some have to move to the outskirts, while some will still find a house in the city centre,” he said. “For me, I will move to Boeung Trabek, the rent price of which is $80,” That’s $10 more than he was paying for his home in the White Building.

For another tenant who was afraid to give her name, next week’s deadline may not be enough time to find a new home. “Right now I cannot find a house yet and we need to keep trying to find one before the deadline,” she said.

Once demolished and the final residents are moved on, Japanese firm Arakawa will develop a 21-storey mixed-use structure on the site.

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