Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cambodia Promotes Wrestling Woman

By BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Hok Chheang Kim, Technical Director of the Cambodia Wrestling Federation (CWF), said there are 16 wrestlers capable of representing Cambodia. Six of these are women and according to the Technical Director, the best if these is 25 year-old Chov Sotheara.
They are now under training at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh by Chheang Kim.

“Sotheara is the only Cambodian female wrestler to win medals in the SEA Games Competitions. She is a highly qualified wrestler and an honor for the Cambodian people,” he told the Cambodia Weekly during an interview on January 19.

“I am happy with Sotheara because she is the best wrestler in Cambodia. I believe that with her skill, talents and hard training, she will win more medals at future SEA Games and other international wrestling competitions.”

The Technical Director said that besides wrestling, Sotheara now works as a general sports coach for the 11th and 12th year classes at Doeum Thkov High School in Phnom Penh.

“I started Judo training in 1997 when I was 15 years old, earning a black belt in the discipline, though I decided to specialize in wrestling in 2000,” Sotheara said during an interview with the Cambodia Weekly on January 19.

Sotheara was born in 1984 and can depend on two brothers and another sister in her family. She became the Cambodian wrestling champion in 2000 when the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport provided her with financial support for training at the National Olympic Stadium. She is now Coaching Assistant as well as a wrestler with the CWF.

Sotheara said that she began training with the Cambodian Wrestling Federation in 2000 when she was 19 years old. She was trained by Hok Chheang Kim, a Cambodian wrestling coach, at the National Olympic Stadium, in Phnom Penh.

She pointed out that so far, she has attended six international wrestling competitions including the SEA Games, winning two bronze medals, the first in 2003 in Vietnam, the second in 2005 in the Philippines. Apart from this, she has fought every year in the Nationwide Wrestling Competition and has won every year.

“I am happy with my Champion’s title because I had the honor to attend the SEA Games and win two medals for my country. To promote wrestling for the younger generation, I will train hard, do my best in competition and hopefully win more medals at international level,” she said.

Try Sothavy, 26, who is also a wrestling champion, said that she understood the extent of Sotheara’s talents and experience.

“I have known Sotheara since 2001 when I started training with her in Phnom Penh. She is the best Cambodian wrestler in 48-kilogram class,” said Sothavy.

She continued, “I am happy to train with her. I pick up a wealth of information when I work with her and I wish her all the best in future competitions.” //






SAMPOV MEAS ISLAND BECOMES NEW TOURISM PLACE

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Sampov Meas (Golden Ship) is a symbol of Pursat province.Construction of a giant model of such a ship is already completedand it now waits in the waters off the province for an offi cial opening ceremony. This is according to Chea Kheng, wife of Suy Sem, Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy.

Chea Kheng said that the construction of the symbol of Sampov Meas Island began on January 1, 2007, and reached completion on December 31, 2008. She said that the ship was 228 meters long and 50 meters wide andis surrounded by trees, lotus branches and rivers.

She continued that there are also many apartments on the island, with glorious vistas concealing temples, bridges, electricity pylons, benches, toilets and gardens. It is hoped that they will attract visitors in their thousands. “The main purpose of the construction is to develop Pursat province which is my husband’s birth place and to attract national and international tourists to see the place,” she said.” Another objective of the Sampov Measconstruction is to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of January 7, 2009 commonly referred to as the second life of the Cambodian people.”

The lady hinted that to build the symbol of the ship and develop thesurrounding area, she and her husband had spent around US$ 1 million in construction. She said that the offi cial inauguration ceremony will be held on the 7th January 2009 under the auspices of Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minster of the Royal Government of Cambodia and his wife Madam Bun Rany.

Mao San, Chief of the Industry, Mines and Energy Offi ce in Pursat province, said that he appreciated the symbol of Sampov Meas Island and other achievements built by the Minister Suy Sem and the Cambodian government.

San said that the island construction will be responsible for a new and beautiful face for Pursat province. He also said that the island will also generate more jobs for the people there.

“Iam overjoyed by this achievement and I have high hopes that it will bring progress to my province,” he said. “I believe that from now the Island will become one of most attractive places for national and international visitors in Pursat. It will attract more tourists in future, of that I have no doubt.”

He continued, “I think that the Island will be welcomed by our people as a whole. I also hope that with this construction, provincial development activities and other achievements made by Cambodian government and people will generate more income to support families and to improve living-
conditions in Pursat.” (CW)

Cambodian Artists Perform African Dance


BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

A total of 30 Cambodian artists have performed dance routines influenced by the rhythms of African drum. The one day event was held January 23 at the Gasolina Restaurant in Phnom Penh, according to Preap Chanmara, Research Coordinator with the Reyum Institute.

Chanmara said the African dance and drum performance was organized by the Reyum Institute, with financial support from the Albert Kunstadter Family Foundation and the Rockerfeller Foundation.

“This is the first time that the Institute has organized African traditional dancing in Cambodia,” he said. “The purpose of the performance is to facilitate exchanges between international artists and encourage an appreciation for different cultures. Dialogues are encouraged on subjects such as tradition, innovation, and the role of the arts in fostering change,” he told the Cambodia Weekly during interview on January 21.

He said the event will promote traditional and contemporary arts and culture in Cambodia. He added that through the dance performance and drum training, Cambodian artists can gain a deeper insight into the importance and the values of African dances and culture. It will also strengthen the cordial relations that exist between African nations and Cambodia.

The event included performances from 30 Cambodian youths including 15 female artists from different artistic schools and organizations. There was also a chance to see models displaying African and Khmer traditional dresses. He added that Cambodian artists were taught by Geromanine Acogny, the artistic director of JAN-BI/ L’Ecole des Sables which is an international African Dance Center in Senegal.

Geromanine Acogny, a veteran dance teacher with over thirty years experience in performing and teaching in Africa, said that she arrived in Cambodia on January 19 under the auspices of the Network Partnership Program of the Prince Claus Fund and the Reyum Institute.

She said that during her one week stay in the country, she conducted a Modern African Dance and Drum training program for a group of 28 Cambodian dancers. They are already skilled in different forms of dance including Khmer classical dance, contemporary dance, drumming, and circus.

“I note that during my five days of teaching, all Cambodian dancers worked very hard, and performed well. I am very impression that I saw from all of them and I found them to be enthusiastic pupils capable of dancing to an African beat.” she said. “I hope that they can gain a deeper insight into the importance and the values of African dance and culture,” she added.

She also provided a short presentation on the history of African dance as well as demonstrations of her own dance steps. The smile on her face suggested that she was very happy to share her experience with Cambodian dancers.

“I am happy to teach African dance in Cambodia and I have had a very interesting experience,” she said. “There are many similarities between African and Cambodian dance and each and every gesture has a meaning.” she added.

Yiv Chhoy, 22, another Cambodian student from RUFA who participated at the African dance and drum performance, said that he enjoyed learning about traditional African dance.

“This is the first time that I have been exposed to the African form of dance.” he said. “The basic routines are a lot faster than I am used to but I enjoyed the experience and learned a lot”.

Colgate provides free tooth and mouth checkups


BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Colgate Palmolive Company, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Cambodian Dental Association (CDA) will provide free dental checkups according to Cheam Heng, General Manager of CP & A Training International Co., LTD, the key Colgate importer in Cambodia.

Heng said that the dental checkups were organized and financially supported by Colgate Palmolive, the Cambodia Ministry of Health and the CDA.

The General Manager said the checkups will be conducted from the 1st to 28th February 2009 in Phnom Penh and other cities and provinces across the country. He said that according to the company’s plan, over one million Cambodian people will be getting free checkups.

“It is the first time that Colgate has provided free checkups for the people in Cambodia,” he said. “The purpose of the checkup is to teach our people on how to take-care of their teeth and to promote overall health.” he told the Cambodia Weekly on January 23.

Heng Chan Sophal, Chief of Sales and Marketing and Supervisor for Colgate Palmolive, said that Colgate plans to spend about US$30,000 in this activity.

According to the schedule, the first phase will take place on February 1in Kampong Cham, Tratie, and Stung Treng provinces. The operation will then move to Kampong Thom and beyond until the end of operation. He said that checkups take place at over 50 dental clinics in 24 cities and provinces in Cambodia.

He continued to say that those who come to get the tooth and mouth checkups at the dental clinic will receive tooth paste and one toothbrush, free of charge.

“Our main target groups are the people living in rural areas and distant provinces. To reach theses groups, the company will prepare vans or motorcycles for transportation,” he said. “We will work very hard to cover all the areas.”

Sophal pointed out that from 2007 to 2008, in collaboration with Ministry of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYS), Colgate Palmolive also conducted free tooth and mouth checkups for students in 50 primary schools in Cambodia.

He said the company will continue to cooperate with MoEYS to provide more free checkups for students in other Cambodian schools.

“We hope that people living in rural areas and distant provinces will pay more attention to dental hygiene.” he told the Cambodia Weekly.

Now there is over 100 sales staff in the company, according to Sophal. He also said that over the past ten years, Colgate had become the leading provider of oral care in Cambodia, with 45 percent plus growth in 2008 and a forty percent share in the market.

He said that part of Colgate’s success was down to the introduction of many new and innovative products to the Cambodian market and an integrated marketing strategy.

He added that this enviable position in the market would not have been possible without the support and cooperation from Cambodian partners including CP & A Training International Co., LTD and the other 11 distributors over Cambodia.

RAJP to Recruit More Students of Law

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Koeut Sekano, Secretary General of the Royal Academy for Judicial Professions (RAJP), said that his organization plans to recruit 50 student judges, 63 court clerks, 36 bailiffs and 15 notary students in 2009. The Secretary General said that there were 81 court clerk students recruited by the RAJP in the previous year.

The students who want to apply for training must have been awarded at least a Bachelor’s Degree in law, said Sekano. He added that the judge and court clerk student selection examination will take place in February 2009; the bailiff student selection exam will in take placed in March; and the notary students’ selection exam will be in April.

“This is the first time that RAJP has recruited bailiff and notary students for study in Cambodia. The main purpose of the training is to provide the very specific set of skills that will help Khmer students fill in some human resource gaps in the legal sector.” he said during an interview with the Cambodia Weekly on January 19.

The Secretary General emphasized that the legal training will take place over two years; court clerk training will last for one year, bailiff training is for two years, and notary training will take place over 2 years and 6 months. He said that the training was to be conducted in both Khmer and English and classes will run at RAJP every morning and afternoon from Monday to Friday.

“I hope with the strict selection exams, my organization will able to select qualified students to attend the training courses this year,” he said. “As we aim to populate the Supreme Court, the Appeals Courts and Provincial Courts,” he added.

Training courses are divided into three phases; the first phase will provide eight months of classroom theory, the second phase will mark a year of internship and the third phase will provide the opportunity for legal specialization, lasting four months.

Regarding schooling for court clerks, training will take place over 5-months, followed by six months of internship and one month’s specialized training.

The Secretary General confirmed that to enhance judicial skills, the schools sent three students to serve as interns with the courts in Australia in 2007, and in 2008, the school sent 12 students to serve as interns at courts in France, Germany, Holland and Singapore.

The school has now sent students to work with the Supreme Court, Appeals Courts and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), and as well provincial courts in 24 cities and provinces across the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Successful candidates in the Judges Scheme will receive a qualification equivalent to a Master’s Degree”, and for those who completed the Court Clerk courses, there will be a “Diploma of Professional Court Clerkship”.

The RAJP was established on January 21, 2005. The school now consists of five sub-departments including a Secretariat, the Royal School for Judicial Professions (RSJP), the Royal School for Court Clerk Professions (RSCCP), the Royal School for Bailiff Professions (RSBP), and the Royal School for Notary Professions (RSNP).

He said that the RSBP and RSNP were created in August 2008. He added that the RAJP is situated in compound of the Royal School of Administration (ERA), in Phnom Penh.

Up to now there have been a total of 110 judge students attending training courses. All of them have found jobs with the Supreme Court, the Appeals Court and Provincial Courts.

From 2006 to 2008, RAJP invited all judges, prosecutors, investigating judges, court clerks and lawyers who worked with Supreme Court, the Appeals Court and Provincial Courts across the nation to attend the RSJP’s training courses in Phnom Penh.

The training courses range form two weeks up to three-month duration. The training courses review new penal codes, new civil codes, child trafficking laws, domestic violence laws and related laws and documents, according to Sekano.

Sok Chakriya, 27, a law student graduating from the University of Cambodia (UC), said that she wanted to study as a notary in order to create a law firm in Cambodia in future.

“I have applied for Notary Studies with RSNP because I want to be a lawyer. If I pass the exam and complete my training courses, then I will establish a law firm as my own business in Cambodia,” she said. “To reach my goal, I will learn hard and do my best to pass the RSNP’s exam,” she added.

Yeth Colketya, 22, another law student graduating from the Royal University of Law and Economic Sciences (RULE) in Phnom Penh, said that he applied for training with RSJP to become a Judge.

“I have just completed a Bachelor Degree in law from RULE, and now I have applied to study with RSJP because I want to be a judge,” he said. “If I pass the exam, I will study hard, complete the training courses and then apply for work with the courts after my graduation,” he added. //

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Top Ten of the World Class Boxing Champion in Cambodia

By BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Oum Yurann, the President of the Cambodian Amateur Boxing Association (CABA), said that among the top ten Khmer boxers, Vorn Viva is the best qualified fighter, as well as the youngest heavy weight champion in Cambodia.

“I am very proud of Viva because he is the youngest heavy weight champion, and he has received many medals for boxing both at national and international level. Recently, he found success at the World Class Boxing Championship,” Yurann said during an interview with the Cambodia Weekly.

Yourann said that Viva was the only Cambodian boxer to win his bouts during the 2008 World Class Boxing Championship as a result of his natural ability, a rigorous training schedule and limitless patience.

Vorn Viva, 23, is the youngest of his family, along side three brothers and one sister. He comes from Khloy Village, Mean Commune, Prey Chhuor district, in Kampong Cham province.

Viva became the Kick-Boxing Champion for Cambodia in 2007 after receiving financial support from the Military Police Headquarters in Phnom Penh. He is now a boxer training with the Preah Khan Reach Club at the Military Police Headquarters.

“I started training in Khmer Kick-Boxing (Kbach Kun Boran Khmer) when I was 17 years old, and before moving to Phnom Penh, I was a boxer in Kampong Cham Province,” he told the Cambodia Weekly during an interview on January 12.

Viva continued to say that when he moved to Phnom Penh, he was trained by Troeung Sos Say, a veteran Cambodian coach working out of the Military Police Headquarters. So far, he has 48 fights under his belt, with 40 wins, 7 losses and one draw. Of these bouts, seven were international matches, leading to an impressive six wins and only one defeat.

“I had decided to continue training in Phnom Penh because I want to promote and to preserve the Khmer Kick-Boxing for future generations in Cambodia,” he said.

“I first participated in nationwide boxing competitions in 2007,” he said. “From then on, I have left the ring with a medal in the 73 kilograms category every year,” he added.

Viva, participated in the World Title Boxing Competition at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh in August 2008. He won the championship of International Sport Kick-Boxing Association (ISKA) in the weight of 75 kilograms.

“I am now very happy because I have just become a World Class Kick-Boxer in Cambodia. I think that to promote Kbach Kun Boran Khmer for the next generation, I will continue to train hard and will be boxing until I am retired,” he said.

Viva said that besides the boxing training, he is the boxing coach for Paddy’s Sports Center in Phnom Penh where he teaches youngsters in the noble art.

Troeung Sos Say, Viva’s Coach, said that Vorn Viva was the best heavy weight fighter in Cambodia.

“I have known Viva since 2006 when he started training with me at my club and I know him to be a strong young man and a hard trainer. I think that he is also the most outstanding heavy weight boxer in my club,” he said. “I am happy that he has been wining many medals in national and international competitions for my club. I strongly believe that with his hard work, skill, natural talent and fighting experience, he will be bringing medals home to Cambodia on a regular basis,” he added.
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Unusual cold season appearing in Cambodia

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology has issued a statement about the continuing cold weather, predicted to last until on January19, 2009, with temperatures ranging from 19 to 21 degrees in Cambodia.

Seth Vannareth, Director of the Meteorology Department at the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, said that because of a persistent high pressure zone and wind blowing from Siberia, the cold weather will continue for days to come.

“The reason for the unusual cold in recent days is the persistent high pressure zone and wind blowing from Siberia,” she said. “These are not unusual temperatures when compared to the previous year; however, the cold season will last a little longer. Cambodians must take care of their health given this weather forecast,” she added.

The Director said that according to Ministry weather predictions, the cold will continue throughout the country. Her Department notes that four zones in the country’s mountainous areas will experience temperatures between 7 and 10 degrees Celsius. The temperature will read between 12 and 15 degrees in Preah Vihear, Ratanakiri, Mondulkiri, Stung Treng, Oddar Meanchey, Pursat, Battambang and Pailin.

But in Phnom Penh and surrounding provinces such as Kandal, Takeo, Kampong Speu, Kampong Thom, Kampong Chhnang, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Kampong Cham and Kratie, the temperature is expected to range between 15 and 18 degrees. Finally, along the coastline, areas of Koh Kong, Kampot and Sihanoukville will be less affected by the cold snap, with temperatures ranging between 19 and 21 degrees.
Bun Sophy, 54, a motor taxi driver in Phnom Penh, said that he and his children were very cold during the past few days.

“I noted that it was very cold for the past few days. I do not know the cause of this unusual weather pattern that has settled over Cambodia,” he said. “I think that if the cold continues over January I will not be able to continue with my business,” he added.

Taing Pheng, 56, a farmer living in Preah Vihear Province, said that now it is unusually cold. He has been forced to buy coats for himself and his family and they wear them night and day.

Kim Ly, a coat seller in Phnom Penh, said that recently, due to the unusual cold, she was able to sell out about 170 second-hand coats per day. She said before the onset of the cold spell, she was selling from 50-100 coats per day.

“I am happy that I can sell so many coats and earn more money. The cold spell can last a couple of months more as far as I am concerned.///

RUPP Plans to Select More Journalist Students in 2010

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Cambodian Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said that the number of journalist students attending classes at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) is too low. He said the reason for this is because there are no scholarships to help students get into the university.

“I think that although the number of Khmer journalist students who attend the Media and Communication Department in the University is less than other subjects, it remains a suitable career given the economic environment in Cambodia,” he told The Cambodia Weekly.

He added, “However, I would be glad if the Royal University of Phnom Penh would expand the scholarship program for our students or provide alternative training courses for the students every evening or weekend.”

Tieng Sopheak Vichea, Co-Director of the Media and Communication Department (DMC), and Director of the Cambodian Communication Institute (CCI) under RUPP, said that the University plans to recruit more journalist students in 2010.

The Director said that there are about 35 students below the age of 24 that receive scholarships from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) every year. He said they attend classes for four years under the training program at the DMC.

“The reason why we are not able to choose more students for DMC training courses concerns the shortage of human resources and learning materials” he told the Cambodia Weekly during interview.

He hinted that now the school has only five professors and a limited supply of learning materials, so the center is not able to teach more students. However, he hopes that with financial support from MoEYS, he will be selecting more students for the DMC in 2010.

The Department of Media and Communication was established in 2001 after RUPP and the Royal Government of Cambodia recognized requirement for professional media studies.

The Director said that the first Bachelor of Arts in Media Management program began in September 2001, with the support of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, which provided resources, staff, aided in curriculum development, and provided related materials.

Concerning the training courses, he said that the training was conducted in both Khmer and English. It takes place in RUPP every morning and afternoon from Monday to Friday.

He said that training courses included writing skills, mass media studies, print media studies, media management, visual arts, radio journalism and TV journalism, radio and TV production courses, media research and analysis, English skills and Online journalism.

He added that students have to pay an US$ 80 contribution per year for the training.

He said that to enhance journalistic skills, the university sends around six students to serve as interns with the Nation Newspaper in Bangkok, The Star in Malaysia and other newspapers in European countries every year. He also said that the university sends students to work with national newspapers and international media outlets based in Cambodia.

He noted that besides internships, the university also invites many guest speakers and lectures from local and internal non-governmental organizations or foreign embassies to speak about their working experience or other matters related to journalism. These talks take place every Friday.

He emphasized that since the establishment of the DMC in 2001, over 100 students have attended DMC training courses. He said that most of them have found jobs with local or international newspapers, local or international companies or non-governmental organizations and Cambodian government ministries. He added that some students continued to study abroad to obtain a Master’s degree in professional journalism.

“The majority of journalists and media managers in Cambodia do not have sufficient or relevant qualifications to operate effectively in their field. Many have expressed their desire for more opportunities to engage in advanced academic studies so as to become recognized experts in their field,” he said.

He continued that in recognition of this need, RUPP will prepare a Master’s degree in Journalism in 2012.

Ben Sophoan, 21, a second- year Khmer Literature student at RUPP, said that he wants to study journalism but he failed his entrance examinations last year.

“I prefer to study Journalism but I failed to obtain results high enough to justify my place on the very limited scheme. I think that I will attend the private classes when they open at some stage in the future,” he said.

Doung Phallen, 23, a history student at RUPP, said that she also wants to study Journalism, a dream she has held since childhood. She too failed to secure a place on the scheme.

“I think that to reach my goal, I do my best to pass the next MoEYS’s Journalism Scholarship Program Entrance Exam. If fail again, I will study at a private school,” she added.

PSE Provides Free Training for Poor Students

By BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Many national and international humanitarian organizations have provided free training to poor students in Cambodia, according to Ton Sa Im, Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports (MoEYS).

The Under Secretary of State said that among these humanitarian organizations, Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE) is one international organization which has freely offered training and other life skills to the poor, with concentration on disadvantaged children in Cambodia.

“I am very proud of PSE. It has been helping the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports in providing basic education to the poor in Cambodia,” he said. “I think PSE’s activities really helped the Cambodian government to improve and promote the educational system in Cambodia,” she told The Cambodia Weekly during an interview on January 15.

The Under Secretary of State has appealed to PSE’s Director and Managers and other local and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to continue their support and increase scholarships for poor children so that they can access the benefits of education together.

Pin Sarapich, PSE’s Program Director, said that PSE is a non-political and non-religious association, created in 1993, which supports underprivileged and undereducated children. He said that since 1996, children working and living in hard conditions in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville have been the organization’s focus.

The Program Director said that PSE plans to select a further 500 children to attend PSE’s center at Stung Mean Chey, Phnom Penh this year. He also said that currently there are about 6500 children supported by PSE. The organization also has 500 employees including teachers, workers and office employees.

Most of children are underprivileged and come from rural areas, provinces and cities across the Kingdom of Cambodia, said Sarapich. He added that to date, roughly 1,200 students have graduated from the schools and embarked upon a professional life.

PSE now has nine schools and provides classes in 19 broad areas including Home and Food Management, Mechanics, Information Technology, Hairdressing, Beauty Care and Spas, Management, Business, Hotel Management, Construction and Agriculture.

“PSE provides free training for less well-to-do children from primary school up to high school. The training follows MoEYS curricular and systems,” he said.

The Center also has three additional programs including the Center for Catching Up for children whose situation in the past has prevented them attending formal schools; there is the Center for Schooling at Local State Schools which aims to assist poorer families whose children qualify for local schooling but cannot afford school fees; there is also the Vocational Training Center which aims to provide professional training and life skills to children.

“The student will complete two grades in one year for the first six grades (from grade 1 to grade 6).Then, they will follow the normal courses (1 grade completed in 1 year) from grade 7th to grade 12th. The goal is, with appropriate teaching, to help children catch up as far as the learning abilities of the individual child will permit; two grades are completed in one year,” he told the Cambodia Weekly during an interview on January 14.

He added, “We now cover kindergarten, all six grades of primary school, the three grades of junior high-school, and the three years of high-school leading to the ‘baccalaureate’. We follow Government designed curricula and enroll our students in the official state examinations with a gratifyingly high degree of success.”

He emphasized that to date, more than 90 percent of the children are able to join the catch-up system and many have reached grade twelve for the senior year of high school within eight years.

Referring to PSE’s training, he said that foreign languages, geography, astronomy, mathematics and physics classes are taught with much use of interesting supplementary material in the form of videocassettes and DVDs which allows fort a better understanding. The physics, chemistry, and biology labs are in continuous use.

Sarapich said PSE also provides training in theater and traditional dance, courses in morality and Human Rights, the Rights of Children, Family Life and Citizenship. These encourage the development of social values and a sense of the richness of Khmer culture. The list of courses is rounded off by training in general sports, health, hygiene and sex education; the latter includes classes that promote awareness of the dangers of AIDS, tuberculosis, and other serious diseases.
He added that all children who attended PSE classes also received two meals and two snacks per day, along with other benefits including healthcare, school materials, school uniforms and rice compensation for certain families in need of a little extra help. For the homeless or orphaned student, there are also dormitories at the PSE Center.
Hem Simany, 21, a PSE’s Sales and Marketing Student from Kandal Province, said that he and his younger sister have been attending PSE classes for seven years.

“I am very happy to be supported by PSE and enjoy living and studying at the center,” he said. “I was orphaned and therefore very poor, so I could not go to school. I will try my best to respect the center’s rules, do my home work and complete my courses.”

Ith Borey from Prey Veng province, 18, another PSE student studying the culinary arts said that she is also happy to attend PSE classes. She said that she was financially supported and has attended PSE classes since 2007.

“I am very pleased that I have found a qualified school in Phnom Penh. I prefer to study at PSE. I hope that I will able to find a job as cook with a restaurant or hotel in Phnom Penh after I complete my course in next year,” she told The Cambodia Weekly during an interview on January 15.

She said that she used to attend the state high school in Prey Veng province before moving to PSE in Phnom Penh. She added that PSE training programs were interesting, the teachers strict though approachable and she recommended it as a place for disadvantaged children to learn.
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Friday, January 16, 2009

World Vision Offers Internships for Khmer Students

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

World Vision, a Christian relief organization, active amongst the children of Cambodia, and serving the poor of the world in general, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender, has agreed to provide internships for poor students in Cambodia.

Haidy Ear Dupuy, Advocacy and Communications Manager of World Vision Cambodia (WV), said that her organization has a long tradition of helping Cambodian students realize their full potential by offering internships to pupils and graduates every year throughout the nation.

She said that more than 10 students from different universities, institutes and colleges will be offered vocational training in areas such as Administration, Human Resources, Finance, Information Technology and Advocacy.

“Last year, the organization offered about 10 internships for students, covering periods from six months up to a year,” she said. “We now plan to recruit a further 10 interns for 2009,” she told the Cambodia Weekly.

She stated that the main purpose of the internship program for students is to provide vocational training that builds upon and supplements the intern’s academic qualifications. This is in accord with the drive to develop the full range of national human resources and will provide the individual with experience and an improved chance of finding well paid work after graduation.

She said that interns work closely with the organization’s Managers and receive practical advice to help them reach their goals. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement with both staff and students working towards a better future for everyone.

“We hope that through learning to work from internship it will provide the experience to enable our students to find real jobs with national and international companies, and organizations in Cambodia as soon as they have graduated,” she said.

From 2002 until now, there have been a total of 75 Cambodian students serving with the internship program in various capacities for World Vision Cambodia, according to the Communication Manager Ear Dupuy.

She said that approximately 80 percent of the interns who had been working with the Organization have now become full-time staff members whilst other interns also found employment with private companies, NGOs and international organizations in Cambodia.
Regarding the selection criteria, she said that the organization’s internships are open to all students and graduates in Cambodia.

“We use the usual set of recruitment criteria for all staff except in cases where we consider that students or fresh graduates have no industrial experience,” she said. “All students who apply for internships with the organization will be examined and must pass the tests set out by our Human Resource Officers.”

Khan Rethiya, 23, a Program Officer with World Vision, and also a former student from the Royal University of Phnom Penh, said he became a World Vision intern, serving for one year before he got a job with the organization in 2007.

“I applied for work as an intern with the organization in 2006 when I was studying at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. When I started with the organization, I noted the difference between theories presented in schools and the reality on the ground,” he said.

He continued, “I have learned a lot from my time with World Vision, especially about job responsibilities, effective communications, networking, and hostility. I was delighted to be offered a full time position with the organization in 2007.”

Rethiya is optimistic that World Vision provides the right environment for him to continue learning new lessons, both for his own benefit and more importantly, for the benefit of Cambodia as a whole.

Hout Rithy, Administrative and Finance Assistant of the Western Management Institute (WMI) in Phnom Penh said that in 2006, he too was an intern with World Vision.

Rithy, who graduated from the Royal University of Law and Economic Sciences in Phnom Penh in 2006, said that he secured employment with WMI following the completion of his year-long internship with World Vision early in 2007.

“I think that because of current working conditions and job opportunities, internships or voluntarily work with local or international NGOs is the best way for students and fresh graduates to find jobs in the future.”
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Maiden Horse Back Riding Contest holds in Phnom Penh

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Equestrian Contest is one of Cambodia’s most popular sports according to Bou Chumserey, Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports (MoEYS).

However Chumserey said that due to over two decades of civil war, the sport has all but disappeared in Cambodia. Nevertheless, due to progress and development, the sport has been re-introduced by a French Equestrian Club in Phnom Penh.

“I am delighted that the sport has been reintroduced to our people and I hope that they will take a keen interest in the sport. I hope that we will have potential to compete at international level in future,” he told the Cambodia Weekly.

Soraya Ourrais, Director of the Cambodian Country Club (CCC), which is managed by a French group in Phnom Penh, said that about 80 youngsters from Cambodia, France, the US and UK will attend the Norodom Sihanouk Show jumping Competition 2009 in Phnom Penh.

Soraya, who has 20-years working experience with horses in European Countries, said that the competition will be held on January 11 at the CCC club, situated in Sangkat Teuk Thla, Khan Russey Keo, Phnom Penh.

“The purpose of the Norodom Sihanouk Competition is to select good riders for Cambodia. It is also a good opportunity to promote horse riding for future generations,” said Soraya.

“I hope with this competition, the kids will experience horse riding and will be able to compete at competition level in future,” she told the Cambodia Weekly.

Soraya said that the competition was organized over three separate days January 11, January 25, with the finals being held on February 7, 2009. She said there were gold, silver and bronze medals plus a range of other gifts for the winners all of which were generously provided by the CCC.

Soraya emphasized that to promote the equestrian sport in Cambodia, the CCC will send four of the best riders to participate in the International Horse Back Riding Competition in Thailand in this year. She said that CCC will also send Cambodian riders to participate in the SEA Games Competitions in future.

“I hope that this year we will send some representatives to Thailand. In future, we would like to participate in the SEA Games Competition, too, but we have to attend more international competitions before we can send competitors to the SEA Games,” she said.

She added, “We would like to hold the first competitions for teenagers, and we will look around South East Asia for other competitions that accepts teenage competitors. But as soon as we have achieved the prerequisites, we will be training hard for Cambodian representation at the SEA Games.”

Referring to the Equestrian Center, Soraya said that it was established in 2005. She continued that it helps young riders grow to be stronger, less stressed, and more in control of their lives. She added that another objective of the center was to link with the history of horse riding in Cambodia.

“With history in mind, we asked the former King Norodom Sihanouk to help us by lending his name to the championship. He accepted and now we used the name of King Norodom Sihanouk in our championship competitions,” she said. “We are a part of the Equestrian Federation in Southeast Asia and we work with Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Philippines and Vietnam to promote competition riders,” she added.

Soraya continued that there are about 24 horses and ponies in the center with 90 percent of ponies bought from the Cambodian countryside. She said that the horses were imported from Thailand, Australia, and France. There are now over 100 young members including 60 foreign riders and over 50 Cambodian riders in the club. She said the fees range from $13 to $16 for a one hour lesson.

Sim Narith, 15, a Cambodian rider, said he has been training since 2006.

“I am happy to be a riding student of CCC. I decided to train in horse riding because I love horses and want to make a name for myself as a Cambodian equestrian.” he said. “I hope with training and experience, I will win the Champion Competition 2009’,” he added.

Narith said that he has already won two medals from horse riding competitions in Cambodia, the first in 2007 with a second in 2008.

Ellen Nordlund, 11, a rider from Sweden, said that she and her sisters also train with CCC.

“I have only been riding for three days so I will not attend the competition. I like horse riding because it is a fun way of getting regular exercise,” she told the Cambodia Weekly.

Business Booms under Good Management

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Ly Sok, 28, is an experienced business dealer, strategist, and entrepreneur with an impressive track record in marketing operations. He was born on May 6, 1981 in Kampot province, and is the second son in the family, alongside his brothers and sisters.

Sok, graduated in the field of Hospitality and Tourism in 2004, and was awarded a Master’s Degree in Marketing in 2006.

Sok’s extensive career in high profile marketing and public relations positions began with his work for Mobile Phone Magazine (MPM). In his recent promotion as Chief Executive Officer with MPM, he and his team were able to deliver a record profit, introduce new product lines, and position the company as the leading guide for mobile phone education and purchase.

Sok has national and international experience in leading teams and managing businesses. However, he singled for special praise the Entrepreneurship and Creative Business Ideas Model for Successful Start Up Companies, conducted by Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center (CJCC).

He now is the Chairman of the Whale Group, a local business established April 9, 2008. This company aims to promote domestic and foreign products and services through exhibitions and customized promotional events in Cambodia. It employs a total of thirty young, experienced and committed staff members. They work to create promotional events for the Real Estate, Education, Health and Lifestyle International Trade, Technology, and Food & Beverage sectors.

“My ambition for the future is to create a one-stop service for all kinds of customers, creating strong ties between local and international investors and entrepreneurs. Hopefully, our company will spread into the wider South East Asian region, with designs on entering the top ten list of Asian Businesses,” he said.

He added, “It is also my intention to help the next generation in finding creative ideas to run businesses and thus set a greater distance between themselves and poverty.”

“I have received success both in my studies and my career because I have been prepared to work and make the most of all opportunities that come my way,” he told the Cambodia Weekly during an interview.

He added, “I got a real job after High School graduation. Following graduation, I was employed as a sales representative and my starting salary was US$60 per month. Given my experience and my willingness to work hard, this soon rose to US$850 per month.”

There followed a period where he worked as a Sales and Marketing Representative with six organizations including the United Nations and the Mekong Private Sector Development Facility (MPDF) in Cambodia.

Sok said that this provided him with useful experience, an extended network of contacts and a wide range of other skills. He went on to say that he wanted to share his skills and experience with the next generation of business students.

He emphasized that from his point of view, the educational system in Cambodia provides an excellent theoretical framework, but this needs to be supported with improvements to the schedule of practical activities and exercises.

Many students opt to study subjects that have little relevance to their eventual careers beyond equipping the candidate with a limited range of generic skills, said Sok. He advised students to pay extra attention when thinking about courses of study and their long term future.

Tum Bandol is the Creative Manager of the Whale Group and working life with his boss.

“I started working with Ly Sok in 2005 and quickly noted his cleverness and capacity for hard work.” he said. “Sok has made changes and the company progress. He has organized many successful exhibitions and events in Cambodia and I hope that he will continue to bring further changes and success to the company,” he added.

Another Sok’s friend, Loeung Chhay said that he also appreciated Sok’s work.

“I have known Ly Sok since 2002 when he was studying with me at NUM. He was a brave young man but was very gentle and friendly,” he said. “I hope that he will become a successful business leader in Cambodia. I wish him all success in future,” he added.

Hem Bunting hopes to bring more medals for Cambodia

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

There are more than ten world class marathon runners in Cambodia, according to Yem Oddom, General Director of the Youth and Sports Department in the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports (MoEYS).

The General Director said that among the top ten athletes, Hem Bunting is the best marathon runner and he is also at the forefront of those sportsmen and women best qualified to attend international half and full marathon competitions.

“I am proud of Bunting. He is our youngest runner but he has won many medals whenever he attends an international competition. He is the honorary champion of Cambodia,” Oddom told the Cambodia Weekly during an interview on January 5.

He added, “I believe that with his hard working, patient and talented runner has a long future bringing medals back home from international competitions.”

24-year-old Hem Bunting is the youngest Cambodian Marathon Champion. He is the youngest of five brothers and three sisters in his family and was born in Srah Russey Commune, Stung Treng district, Stung Treng province. Bunting became the marathon champion in Cambodia in 2003 after he received support and training from MoEYS in Phnom Penh.

“I started taking all sports seriously when I was 15 years old, and decided to specialize in the marathon a little later. Before this I was a football player, watching the nets for a local team in Stung Treng province,” he told the Cambodia Weekly during an interview on January 5.

Bunting continued that he began training for the marathon at Phnom Penh in 2003 when he was 17 years old. He was trained by Thai Sok, a Cambodian Marathon Coach, at the National Olympic Stadium.

He pointed out that so far, he has attended 10 marathon races, with an international line-up of competitors in Cambodia, winning six consecutive races in the half marathon discipline.

“I have been in competition since 2003 and have won a gold medal every year,” he said. “Last year, I participated in the half marathon competition in Siem Reap province. I won a gold medal, beating hundreds of runners from 32 countries. The reason for my success is my rigorous training schedule and my patience.”

Bunting also noted that he had attended the 2007 Southeast Asia Games (SEA Games) in Thailand and as a result, he won a silver medal for the half marathon competition over a 21 kilometer distance; he won bronze in the 5- kilometer competition. He noted that success in 2007 was a result of his training in Vietnam.

Relating to the SEA Games of November 2009, to be held in Vientiane, Lao, Bunting said that he is training very hard in the hope of continuing his success.

“I am confident that I will win another medal at the ’09 SEA Games Competition if the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will send me to Vietnam again for marathon training,” he said.

However, Bunting thinks that to win medals for Cambodia, he believes he must count on his experience of past competitions and stay with his grueling training schedule. This will be in addition to the position he holds as sports coach in the 11th and 12th classes at Tuol Svay Prey High School in Phnom Penh.

Bunting’s friend, Cheng Chandara, 25, also a marathon runner, said that he appreciated the scope of Bunting’s experience.

“I first met Bunting in 2003 when I started training with him in Phnom Penh. He has a set of clear objectives and is the most outstanding runner in my group,” he said. “I am happy to be training with him. His skill, experience and patience make him the best marathon runner in Cambodia and he has a long future of success ahead of him,” he added.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Bou Sra Waterfall Becomes Special Economic Zone

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Bou Sra is the original name of the largest waterfall in Cambodia, situated in the pleasant surroundings of Mondulkiri province. In the near future, this place of beauty will become a special economic zone. The Waterfall is located in Pich Chinda district and stands about 43 kilometers distant from the town of Sen Monorom, according to Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce.

The Minister said that his government will develop the Bou Sra Waterfall area following the introduction of other special economic zones in Dangkor district, Phnom Penh, and latterly in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

The Royal Government of Cambodia will open joint-checkpoints between the Cambodian and Vietnamese borders located in Mondulkiri province in the near future, according to an ambitious plan revealed by Minister Prasidh, speaking to the Cambodia Weekly during a telephone interview on December 25.

The Minister said the two governments are going to establish the joint-checkpoints to facilitate the flow of trade between Cambodia and Vietnam and promote the area as a tourist destination.

“Bou Sra Waterfall is a traditional cultural zone of outstanding natural beauty and it has an international reputation as such. This area is a potential economic zone for people in Mondulkiri province,” he said. “I think that if we can develop this area, it will be able to generate more jobs for our people and to reduce poverty in the province.”

The Minister said that to pave the way for development of the Bou Sra Waterfalls, the government had recently approved an arrangement with the Cambodian Sorla Investment Company to develop this pleasant place.

According to the agreement, the Sorla Investment Company will have full rights to manage the Bou Sra Waterfall complex on a 99-year lease. Ngin Sroeun, Vice President of Sorla Investment Company confirmed this fact.

The Sorla Investment Company had initially planned to spend over $8 million on construction and renovation of the waterfall surroundings, according to development plans revealed by Sroeun.

The Vice President said that construction has already started as of December 18, 2008 and the building project will be completed over a three-and-a-half year period.

In the first phase, he said the Company has planned to construct 2 escalators, 2 cable cars, 50 motels, restaurants and marketplaces; they have also pledged to place about 100 benches in strategic sites surrounding the waterfalls.

“We are also planning to build one clinic, one technical school and one hydro electric power station for the people there,” he told the Cambodia Weekly,

The Vice President said that besides the Bou Sra Waterfall construction plans, his company is being built a 36-kilometer long road from downtown Sen Mornorom district to the site. He hinted that the road construction will cost up to $3 million to complete. He added that this project is now about 85 percent complete.

He continued to say that to generate jobs for the people there, his company has hired an exclusively local labor force. He emphasized that about 95 percent of his staff and workers are chosen from the poorer members of the community in Mondulkiri.

“I am very proud to say that after the renovation and construction is complete, Bou Sra Waterfall will become a haven of peace for people in Cambodia and further afield. We can expect to see the region thronged by tourists.” he said. “I hope that people in this area, especially young people will have jobs and will be able to make money for their families. This will have a measurable impact on poverty levels in the region.”

The Sorla Investment Company was established in 2000, when the company was involved in a $US1.2 million project to build schools, libraries, pagodas and roads throughout the country, said Sroeun.

Lay Sokha, Governor of Mondulkiri province, spoke of his appreciation for the company’s development projects. He said that the project will help to improve the people’s living-standards and reduce poverty in the province.

The Governor said that about 80 percent of the province’s population is made up of ten tribal minorities. The largest of these is the Phnong community. Others include Khmer, Chinese, Muslim and Islamic communities.

He said that the population lives off the land, planting rice, fruit trees and a variety of vegetables. Others grow strawberries, coffee, rubber and cashew nuts.

Dateline for Mandatory Helmet Use on January 1, 2009

BY REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The introduction of traffic laws requiring mandatory crash helmet use will come into full effect on January 1st 2009, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. The new laws will be administered by the Phnom Penh Municipal authorities and there will be a system of fines for motorcyclists who disobey.

The Prime Minister revealed these measures during a speech delivered to an audience of instructors and graduates at a degree ceremony held December 22nd in Phnom Penh.

“I appeal to all Cambodian motorcyclists to wear crash helmets whenever they use our roads. If you haven’t got a crash helmet, I advise you to get one now to avoid the fines and more importantly avoid becoming a traffic accident statistic. From 2009, we will see big reductions in the number of fatal accidents on our roads and you cooperation is vital,” he said.

“The state spends more money on clearing up the aftermath of traffic accidents than it does on combating the threat of AIDS and landmines combined. Clearly, we have more important things to spend our money on than avoidable traffic accidents. Therefore, our nation’s civil servants will be the first to set an excellent example and will wear helmets whenever they take their motorbikes on the road. Each Ministry will be checking to make sure that their personnel are obeying the laws. If individual civil servants cannot respect this basic and humane law, they will soon find their positions filled by a new employee who does understand the importance of respect for the rule of law,” Hun Sen said.

The Premier continued that crash helmet sellers should not use this announcement as an excuse to increase prices. These laws have been introduced for the benefit of all Cambodians and should not be interpreted as an invitation to make more profit.

Many helmet wholesalers in Phnom Penh have confirmed that business is good following the Prime Minister’s announcement. Many reported that they had sold out of crash helmets since the media broadcast of the announcement on December 22.
Seng Bunly, 57, a helmet supplier in Phnom Penh, said he was having trouble keeping up with demand. He said he was selling upwards of 100 skid lids per day, whereas previously he was lucky to sell more than ten. Naturally, Bunly was happy with developments.

Moeung Kimleang, 45, another helmet vendor in Phnom Penh, reported even greater increases in the helmet trade, following the Prime Minister’s announcement.

She reported sales of up to 60 helmets per day. She also mentioned that prices ranged from $5 for a poor quality bone dome offering little protection in an accident to $30 for a top-of-the-range model. She also noted that the majority of products were imported from Thailand and Vietnam.

The sale of second hand helmets is also increasing, according to Heng Lida, 47. She reported that she had to place larger orders from her suppliers to keep up with demand. On an average day she said she was selling up to 80 helmets at prices ranging from $2 - $10 per item.

Chea Vutha, 36, is one of the hundreds of thousands of Cambodians who rely on motorbikes for travel. He said that he paid $7 for a second-hand helmet. He spoke of his complete support for the Prime Minister’s initiative and looked forward to hearing of reduced fatalities on the roads as the laws come into full effect.

Tin Praseu, Chief of the Municipal Traffic Police Office in the Ministry of Interior, said that his authorities will start to carry out routine checks on all public roads in Phnom Penh.
“The police will implement a system of fines for all motorbike drivers who do not use helmets and the dateline for mandatory helmet use will start from January 1, 2009,” he told the Cambodia Weekly by telephone on December 24.

He continued, “January will mark the full implementation of fines for people who not use helmets whilst riding in Phnom Penh. We hope that all people will welcome and applaud our activities. We also hope that with these measures, we will be able to make significant reductions in road accidents and improvements to the safety of travelling.

On an average day in Cambodia, four to five people die in road accidents whilst 70 people suffer severe injuries. The annual cost of this to the nation, with all considerations factored in, is over US $100 million, according to a report of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.

From January-September 2008, according to Handicap International, 17,916 casualties were recorded, resulting in the deaths of 1,114 people, and if compared to the whole year in 2007, there were recorded with 9,449 accidents, resulting the death of 1,545 fatalities.

Currently, the fines are pegged at 3,000 riel (about $0.70) for a motorbike rider without a helmet.