Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cambodia requests UNESO for including more temples and traditional dances for the World Heritage


The Royal Government of Cambodia has requested the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, France, to include more temples and traditional dances to be the World properties in order to preserve them for the next generations, said the Cambodia government official.

Him Chhem, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts (MoCFA), that that Cambodian government has requested the UNESCO Paris for inserting Banteay Chhmar and Sambor Prey Kub temples, along with other Khmer traditional dances including Lakhaon Polsrey, Lakhaon Kol, Cheang Torng (Gold smith) )Chapei Dangveng which are the prioritized Cambodian rich cultures to be the world property for the people in the world.

The Minister told The Cambodia Weekly during a telephone interview on October 3 that: “We have requested UNESCO for including Cambodian temples, theatres and dance for the world heritages because we wanted these things to be taken care and preserved by the people in the world and UNESCO which is an UN Agency for conservations.”

He said, “On the other hand, we wanted the people around the world to know that the temples and rich cultures were existed in Kingdom of Cambodia. An if they wish to see them, they fly to Cambodia.”

Som Sokun, Secretary of State in Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, said that the culture of Cambodia has had a rich and varied history dating back many centuries in the Southeast Asia.

Sokun said that Cambodia has hundreds of the landmarks both tangible and intangible cultural heritage such as Prasat (temples), Wat ( pagoda), music, traditional dances, folk dance, theaters and rivers which are the richest culture and nature in Southeast Asia.

He told the Cambodia Weekly that so far, Cambodian government had successfully included only five of the Nation’s prioritized traditional dances and temples for the world heritage.

He said that the five prioritized things which have been officially recognized by UNESCO Paris included Royal Ballet, Sbeik Thom, Tonle Sap Lake, Angkor Wat and its compound areas, and Preah Vihear temple.

He said that in order to include more temples, traditional dances and theatres for the world heritages, recently, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has submitted Prasat Banteay Chhmar, Prasat Prey Kub, Lakhaon Khol, Chapei Dang Veng and Cheang Torng to UNESCO Paris Office through the Cambodian National Committee in partnership with UNESCO for putting them as the world heritage.

He said that nowadays, the ministry was also planning to submit another Lakhaon Polsry which is a Cambodian theatre and which was disappeared for decades and which just re-survived in 2003, for the World Heritage.

“We strongly believe that through putting these Khmer classical dances and temples as the world and human being properties, we can conserve them for our next generating people in future.”

He pointed that in order to preserve Cambodian culture for the next generations, the ministry has been working hard to train the new students, teachers and researchers about their precious cultures and traditions.

He said that the ministry has also collaborated with involved ministries and institutions and other partners such as UNESCO in Cambodia to documenting all types of Khmer cultures and traditions including Lakhaon theatre, traditional dances ,music and other songs which have survived for archives.

Meas Sarun, Technical Secretary General of MoCFA, said that according to report, there are a total of 4,500 Khmer traditional dances and 256 traditional music in Cambodia.

Sarun said that due to the long-civil war in Cambodia, 102 traditional dances and 31 traditional theatres were disappeared.

However, he said that with hard working of the ministry, a total of 72 traditional dances and 27 traditional theatres were survived and are now re-playing in Cambodia.

He added that nowadays, MoCFA in collaboration other involved ministries and institutions, were working very hard research all those which had been disappeared during the war in order to document them for the future next generations.

Teruo Jinnai, UNESCO Representative in Cambodia, said that Cambodia was one of those countries in the world, extremely rich in both tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

Jinnai spoke at the Opening Workshop on the Basic of Royal Ballet at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts on November 30 that the Royal Ballet was proclaimed as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on 7 November 2003 and Sbeik Thom on 25 May 2005.

He said, “From these days, they became not only the Cambodian Intangible Cultural Heritage, but the Masterpieces of the World. They were the most exciting days for me in Cambodia.”

He said, “It is a pleasure to see that recently many Cambodian are coming to cultural events, and enjoying music, films and performing arts. We are ready to support the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts to promote the public awareness of the Cambodian intangible heritage. Perhaps we can make these performances as annual event, both in provinces and in urban area.”

“We are committed to continue to work with artists, masters and the Ministry officials for safeguarding, preserving and promoting cultural heritage in the Kingdom of Cambodia,” he added.

Festival in Celebration of Traditional Japanese Culture

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

The Embassy of Japan has organized a two-day Japanese Traditional Culture Festival from November 22-23, in Phnom Penh, according to Kaori Yoshimatsu, Secretary in Charge of Public Affairs of the Embassy of Japan in Cambodia.

Yoshimatsu said that Festival events will include a Japanese Fine Arts exhibition and a Japanese traditional concert performance. This 3-hour performance has taken place at the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center (CJCC) in the compound of Royal University of Phnom Penh.

“This is the first time that the Embassy of Japan has organized this important traditional festival celebration in the Kingdom of Cambodia,” she said. “The main objective of the festival is to celebrate the 55th Anniversary of Cambodian and Japanese Diplomatic Relationships.”

She continued that the celebration will provide a showcase for Japanese traditional culture so that Cambodians can gain a deeper insight into the importance and the values of Japanese culture. The result will be a strengthening of the cordial relations between the two countries.

The festival will also include Japanese traditional dances, a presentation on Japanese calligraphy and a display of Japanese traditional clothes, known the world over for their intricacy, said Yoshimatsu speaking to the Cambodia Weekly during a personal interview. She said that about 37 Cambodian youths will participate in the festival, modeling the Japanese traditional dresses.

She added that entry is free of charge for all national and international guests and that upwards of 400 visitors are expected to attend the events.

Yoshimatsu emphasized that in order to celebrate the 55th anniversary of Cambodian-Japanese diplomatic bonds, the Embassy of Japan will also organize two other events in Phnom Penh. She said the first event is the “55th Anniversary of Cambodia and Japan Workshop” scheduled for November 28 at the CJCC. The workshop will examine sustainable resources and agricultural development in Cambodia.

She said that another event will be the Japanese Scholarship Exhibition scheduled for November 30 at the CJCC in Phnom Penh. The event will publicize Japanese Scholarships open to Cambodian students and share information on a range of Japanese Scholarships for developing countries.

To promote Japanese culture and strengthen future relations between the two countries, she said the Embassy of Japan will organize a “joint traditional concert performance” and other related events in Cambodia for next year.

She noted that the diplomatic relationship between Cambodia and Japan as well as the bonds of friendship that exist between Cambodian and Japanese people are very close.

Fake Drugs a Persistent Danger to the Chronically Ill


Fake medicines that continue to be sold in Cambodia pose a potentially deadly threat to those suffering from chronic illnesses including malaria, tuberculoses and HIV/ AIDS. This is according to Sar Kheng, Deputy Prime Minster and Minister of Interior, speaking during a seminar on Counterfeit of Pharmaceutical Products.

During the three day seminar from November 17-19 in Phnom Penh, Sar Kheng said that fake medicines were circulating widely in cities and provinces throughout the country.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that the production and distribution of fake medicines threatened those who were already weakened by disease and constituted an attack of the most cowardly nature. He added that the production and distribution of fake medicines also had a detrimental effect on economic growth and carefully formulated social budgeting strategies. This gives the problem a national and regional scope and adds urgency to the fight.

“I note that there are more counterfeit medicines being hawked in Cambodia because these noxious products are mostly imported from free markets abroad. The problem is further compounded by the fact that our competent authorities lack medical materials to test all these imported medicines before clearing them for sale in the local markets,” he said.

He pointed out that in order to crack down on the circulation of the fake medicines and prevent further imports of theses materials, Cambodian authorities will cooperate as closely as possible with Interpol, the global policing organization, as well as with medical authorities from neighboring countries in the fight against fake medicines.

He said that the Cambodian government will implement stringent controls and take effective action to control the circulation of medicines. This will include the testing of all medicines imported from abroad and the punishment of those who sell fake medicines to patients in Cambodia.

He also said that the government will provide further training for health authority workers and involved officials in the latest developments in pharmacological control measures so that they can prevent these substances entering the country.

Chou Yinsim, Secretary of Sate at the Ministry of Health, said that according to an investigation which was recently conducted by Ministry of Health in 2008, a total of 26 counterfeit product lines had been detected for sale in private pharmacy shops in 9 cities and provinces throughout Cambodia.

He too recognized that the availability of these products posed a further threat to patients already fighting hard to combat the effects of debilitating disease. With proper medication, the battle against diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS was likely to be long but successful. Without them, he said, the prognosis was much less favorable.

He pointed out that since 2001, health officials had identified 90 counterfeit treatments offered for sale in Cambodia, including antiretroviral drugs for HIV patients and a range of worse than useless antibiotics. These items may come at an attractive price but can be partially or totally ineffective. Much better, he said, that the patient sources their medications from one of the seven licensed pharmaceutical factories that produce a total of 900 medications, or buy from one of the 148 importers currently licensed to import more than 7,000 kinds of medicines.

2008 has seen different types of counterfeit medications for sale in cities and provinces including Phnom Penh, Shihanoukville and Battambang province, according to Yinsim.

Aline Plancon, Interpol Officer, said that under Operation Storm, which ran from April 15 to Sept. 15, 2008, police made 27 arrests and seized more than 16 million pills valued at $6.55 million, including fake antibiotics for pneumonia and child-related illnesses.

Plancon said that the counterfeit medicines were seized in Cambodia, China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore. He added that about 40 percent of 1,047 counterfeit drug-related arrests worldwide last year were made in Asia.

According to a World Health Organization report of 2008, at least 200,000 people are killed every year in Asia, due to the use of counterfeit medicines. The report said global sales of fake drugs may reach $75 billion by 2010, an increase of more than 90 percent from 2005. It said that the counterfeits account for as much as 30 percent of all drugs consumed in developing nations and less than 1 percent of all drugs taken by the sick in developed nations such as the U.S.