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The last little one heads out

Mark Tilly / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Kaeou on his bike with his belongings. KT/Fabien Mouret

Amongst the ruin and rubble of the White Building, amidst construction workers in helmets and excavators, a child in flip flops wheeled a bicycle loaded with a garbage bag of his belongings through the chaos.

Kaeou said he was originally from Kampong Cham province, but his spent his nine years living in the White Building.

While City Hall said the demolition of the building was to start once all the families had vacated, Kaeou and his grandmother were among five of the families who hung on in the famous old building.

According to Sok Sothyra, the managing director of Pisnoka, the company in charge of the demolition, Kaeou was the last one in the building and he and the remaining families were squatters rather than residents.

“This one was the last,” he said.

“They don’t have a room, they don’t live there, the government only paid the people who had a room. These people just come here,” he said.

Despite this, he said his demolition team, which is using excavators rather than explosives to demolish the building, will move slowly as they tear down the structure, in the hope of not harming anyone who may be still inside.

“They just come from other places to stay here. We’re very careful, people check every day and we move slowly,” he said.

As Kaeou waited with his bicycle for his grandmother to find a tuk-tuk, he said they will go to the provinces to stay with friends.

“I like watching the excavators,” he said.

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