Monday, May 25, 2009

Khmer Boxers Prepare for World Taekwondo Competitions

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Cambodia plans to send 10 taekwondo fighters to represent the country in five different international taekwondo competitions. The venues for the three competitions scheduled for this year include Vietnam, South Korea and Thailand. The Plans were revealed by Choi Yong Sok, Coordinator and National Team Head Coach for the Cambodian Taekwondo Federation (CTF). The Cambodian Taekwondo Federation was established in 1995. It aims to promote Taekwondo, a traditional Korean martial art. Aside from learning a useful self-defense technique, members also enjoy the benefits of healthy exercise and good company.

Yong Sok, a Korean national and highly experienced Taekwondo Coach has attained a Black Belt; Sixth Dan, awarded under the authority of the Korean Taekwondo Federation in Seoul, South Korea. He said he was thrilled by the prospect of seeing his trainees in action at the South East Asia Taekwondo Championships.

The first of these competitions will take place in Ho Chi Minh City in July. The next bout will take place in early August in Bangkok, Thailand. August 12-15 will see the contenders in action at the 2009 World Taekwondo Handmadang Championship that will be hosted on in Seoul, South Korea. The fifth Korea Open International Taekwondo Championship will be held over August 18-22, again in Seoul, South Korea. Finally, to round off an exhausting schedule, the 2009 South East Asian Games will be held in December in Vientiane, Lao, according to Yong Sok.

Yong Sok said that 188 member countries of the World Taekwondo Federation would also send their boxers to attend the competitions in South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam for this year.

“This is a huge fighting event and an honor for Cambodian boxers to participate. To prepare for these competitions our competitors have to prepare and train hard from now on,” Yong Sok said during an interview with The Cambodia Weekly on May 19.

Yong Sok said that the national taekwondo team now is undertaking a rigorous training schedule that sees them in action from Monday to Saturday. The training is conducted under the steely gaze of Yong Sok at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh. The weekends see full combat between national team members and round table discussions, where fighters discuss techniques and share experiences.

“I hope that with this training schedule and with the patience and hard work of the national team, Cambodia can look forward to some taekwondo glory and a pleasing haul of medals,” he said.

Yong Sok emphasized that currently there 20 members in the international taekwondo team. Five pugnacious female combatants join fifteen male fighters to represent the nation and the CTF.

Since its establishment in 1995, the CTF has grown until today it has over 5,000 members. Roughly 100 members have attained a first level black belt, said Yong Sok. He also said that from 1996 to 2008, the national Taekwondo team has won 20 medals for Cambodia in international competitions such as the SEA Games. Last year for instance, the national team was in action in Seoul, they won three medals - one gold, one silver and one bronze. In 2005, Cambodian fighters were in action in Thailand, bringing home six medals including one silver medal and five bronze medals.

He added that there are a total of 30 taekwondo clubs and associations with over 1,000 trainees in Cambodia.

Chhoeurng Puthearim, 20, is a member of the national team. Puthearim started training with CTF in 2004. She has represented her country in five international competitions in South Korea, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Qatar. She has three bronze medals to show for her commitment to her country and the martial art.

“I am happy as I won the medals for my country. I will train hard and try my best to win more medals for Cambodia,” she told The Cambodia Weekly.

Sorn Elit, 22, another member of the national taekwondo team has one silver medal from the Korea Open Championship and one bronze medal from the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand. He too spoke of his preparedness for more experience at international competition.

Elit said that he now is training for three hours every day from Monday to Saturday.

In addition, he also runs from 10 to 20 kilometers every day around the National Olympic Stadium, in Phnom Penh.

“I am happy to train harder for future competitions and I look forward to more combat, more medals and more glory for my country,” he said. ///

Cambodian Traditional Music Artists Perform in South Korea

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

In accordance with a gracious invitation from the Korean Government, six of Cambodia’s veteran traditional music players including composers Tro Sau, Tro Ou, Khloy, Roneat and Ta Khe will perform in Seoul. The artists left Cambodia on May 20 for the ASEAN-Korea Traditional Music Festival. These performances will take place on May 31 and June 4, 2009, in Seoul, Republic of Korea, said Dr. Sam Samang, Personal Advisor to the Minister for Culture and Fine Arts, Him Chhem.

Dr. Samang who is the Head of Cambodian traditional music artist group said according to the invitation, the artistes will stay in Korea from May 20 to June 5, 2009. They will join 70 other traditional music players from 11 countries. There will be representatives from all ASEAN member countries as well as Korea, the host nation.

“This marks the second occasion that we have been honored with an invitation from the Korean Government to play traditional Cambodian music,” he told The Cambodia Weekly during a telephone interview on May 20.

Dr. Samang pointed out that the central purpose of the joint traditional music performance is to honor, congratulate and entertain the ASEAN Heads of States. These dignitaries will be attending the ASEAN-Korea Summit on May 31. This summit will be graced by the presence of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen.

The festival will also mark a debut performance for the ASEAN-Korea Traditional Music Orchestra. This orchestra will be formed on June 4, 2009 in Seoul, the Republic of Korea.

“This first meeting of international authorities from the world of traditional music is an historic event. We are all aware of the great honor in being asked to perform for the ASEAN heads of state as it is also a good opportunity for us to learn and exchange ideas on how to develop our traditional music and arts,” Samang said. “The formation of this orchestra will also strengthen friendship and solidarity across the entire ASEAN-Korea region. Political harmony will be achieved as usual in the summit meetings. The musicians will create musical harmony after the talking has ended.”

Dr. Samang said he had composed a new piece of music to commemorate the formation of the ASEAN-Korea Traditional Music Orchestra. Going under the simple but elegant title “Concerto” this new piece is inspired by the richness of ancient Khmer music. He added that his “Concerto” will form part of the ASEAN-Korea Orchestra’s repertoire and the international orchestra will perform it regularly at future concerts.

Yun Khean, Professor with the Faculty of Music at the Royal University of Fine Arts, has already left for Korea. He said he was looking forward to shining an international ray of light across the oeuvre of traditional Cambodian music. He said he would be paying close attention to the techniques and styles used by the region’s musicians. He said he foresaw a time when traditional Cambodian music would reclaim the significance it once had, based on its Angkorian purity.

Khean said that this event will help him ensure this happy outcome; and like all good instructors, he was looking to learn as much as teach.

“I am very proud and honored to be invited to the inaugural concert for the ASEAN-Korea Traditional Music Orchestra. I will work hard and play my best during all the performances. I hope that I will learn new skills and I am thrilled at the prospect of such an enjoyable experience. As William Shakespeare said, music is the food of Love. Today, music is also the gentle, sustaining force of international harmony,” he told The Cambodia Weekly. ////

Cambodia Takes Measures to Reduce Traffic Accidents


BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested the Minister of Interior, Minister of Justice, and Minister of Public Works and Transports to work together and examine articles of Traffic Law to encourage all motorbike riders to wear helmets whenever using the road. Road traffic accidents are now a major concern for the government.

Speaking before the ministry of the Interior, May 19 he said “Road traffic accidents are a national scourge. To reduce the rate of deaths and injuries I suggest that all relevant officials and ministries work hard together and take immediate measures to reduce the rate of road fatalities.”

The Prime Minister said that early his year, motorcyclists were informed that they must wear helmets. However, only 50% are currently doing so. Hun Sen suggested that relevant authorities examine the possibility of confiscating motorbikes from those riders who ignored the law.

“I think that the system of fines has not worked. Confiscating the machines until such time as the rider is willing to obey the traffic laws may be more effective”.

El Narin, Deputy Chief of the Municipal Traffic Police Office in the Ministry of Interior, said that currently about 55 percent of Phnom Penh’s motorcycle riders wear helmets. When the helmet campaign began in early January 2009, 90 percent of motorcyclists wore helmets. The reason for the decrease he suggested was a lack of manpower that prevented permanent staffing of checkpoints.

HE continued that to reduce the rate of road traffic accidents his personnel have been educating road users about traffic law and how to ride defensively.

He also said that the Municipal Traffic Police have installed ten Speed Cameras on main roads and checkpoints in Phnom Penh. The traffic police have also been provided with breathalyzers to detect drunk drivers.

Pea Kimvong, Road Safety Awareness Officer with Handicap International Belgium (HIB), said since road traffic laws come into force in September 2007, enforcement had been patchy resulting in modest improvements.

Kimvong said that according to the Road Traffic Accident and Victim Information System (RTAVIS) report 2009, on average, 4 people die and more than 75 are injured daily on the roads of Cambodia.

He pointed out that over 90 percent of accidents are caused by human error. Speed, particularly along the national roads, drink-driving and dangerous overtaking maneuvers are the main causes of accidents.

He continued that motorcycle riders are particularly vulnerable: 72 percent of road traffic casualties are motorcycle riders and most of them were not wearing helmets. Pedestrians and children are also increasingly vulnerable on Cambodian roads.

He emphasized that road accidents and casualties also hinder development by killing and disabling economically active members of the population.

He added road traffic accidents have an enormous impact on the social and economic welfare of Cambodia with an estimated annual cost of USD 116 million, representing around 3% of the country GDP.

According to Ministry of Public Works and Transport, there are over one million vehicles and motorcycles in Cambodia. However, only 50 percent of drivers have driving-licenses.///


Scholar Student Sok Mey Tells About Her Future Dream

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Dok Sok Mey, 18, one of The University of Cambodia’s “Samdech Hun Sen-Handa National Scholarships 2008” students, has described her future dream while speaking to The Cambodia Weekly during an interview on May 18. Sok Mey lives in Phnom Penh, where she was born in 1990. Her father is a motor mechanic and her mother sells clothing in Kandal market here in Phnom Penh.

Sok May is now studying English Literature with the University of Cambodia (UC) and also studying Economics at the Royal University of Law and Economic Sciences (RULES). She passed the scholarship exams offered by UC on September 22, 2008.

“It was a great achievement for me to have passed the UC entrance exams. They were a challenge and I was very pleased with my results,” she told The Cambodia Weekly May 18. “With this preliminary out of the way, I am now free to enjoy the many benefits that UC has to offer.”

Currently bringing her first year at UC to a profitable conclusion, Sok Mey said that she cut her academic teeth at Preah Sisowath High School in Phnom Penh, earning a Baccalaureate in 2008. She applied to study English Literature with UC following the introduction of the “Samdech Hun Sen- Handa National Scholarships”. She took this step, confident that a further humanities qualification would ensure eventual employment with a prestigious organization, as befits a UC graduate.

She added that this course gave her all the practice she needed to bring her English language skills up to speed. She said she now felt perfectly comfortable using English and that she was equal to any communicative challenge in the professional arena.

She noted that the University’s degree scheme encourages students to study “elective subjects” that were not necessarily linked to the major field of study. Apart from the wealth of literature topics on offer, Sok Mey will strengthen her repertoire of transferable skills with subjects such as Business Communications and Computer Literacy.

The ambitious student said that besides the study of English Literature, she is also studying Economics. “I enjoy the study of English Literature, but it also has a practical value. Study with UC has given me the confidence to seek out research material relevant to economics. My literature course has also increased my sense of cultural literacy and I no longer find the Western way of thought such a confusing matter, ”Sok May said. “The degree in economics will open some doors; but the study of literature has opened my mind.”

Sok May said that she studies very hard to maintain her position somewhere near the top of the class. Once she has graduated, she will seek employment for a year or so, save the money and then use it to fund postgraduate study abroad. She intends to continue the study of literature in Australia, New Zealand or the U.S. She is currently assessing the range of scholarships on offer from various institutions to help her forward her intentions.

She said that study abroad would provide her with a unique insight into the habits and mores of a developed nation. She intends to bring these discoveries home to Cambodia and apply them to the personnel needs of the nation.

Sok Mey also said that besides her studies with UC and RULES, she is also in the fifth year of a course in Chinese Literature, conducted by the Tuan Huo School in Phnom Penh. As if an in-depth knowledge of English and Khmer was not accomplishment enough, she is also a fluent speaker and writer of Mandarin.

Nhean Sokhon, 49, father of Sok Mey, is understandably proud of his daughter’s achievements. She joins her brother who is studying third year Banking and Finance at the National University of Management in Phnom Penh.

“I am very proud because I have a good daughter and I wish her all success in the future. My duty as a father is to support her and her brother help them become the best they can be. I will therefore encourage her to take her studies as far as she can,” he told The Cambodia Weekly. “Abilities such as hers should not be wasted. They should be placed at the service of the best professional organizations, though I would be overjoyed if she would consent to work for the government.”

Sokhon said that his daughter developed the study habit from an early age. She was supported in this by excellent teachers at primary and high school in Phnom Penh. This habit has stayed with her and she brings home glowing reports from her instructors on a monthly basis.

“I am very happy and honored by my daughter’s sense of purpose and strong will,” he said. “I am confident that my daughter will realize her dreams and became a manager in future.” All who know her at The University of Cambodia share her father’s confidence. ////

Cambodia Marks 30th Anger Day to Remember the Killing Field

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Roughly 6,000 government officials, students and teachers have gathered at Choeung Ek Museum, a former Khmer Rouge murder facility pockmarked with mass graves, located in Dangkor district, about 15 Kilometers Southeast of Phnom Penh. The Khmer Rouge regime was in power from 1975 to 1979.

The 30th memorial ceremony was organized by the Phnom Penh Municipality and presided over by Chea Soth, a member of the National Assembly of Cambodia. Parliamentary member, Sim Ka, and Kep Chuktema, Governor of Phnom Penh Municipality accompanied him on this searing occasion.

About 40 students from the Royal University of Fine Arts and the National School of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh re-enacted torture and execution scenes in painful recreations of atrocities inflicted by woefully misguided Khmer Rouge cadres on countless innocent victims.

The performers wore black uniforms, the standard attire of the Maoist-inspired movement. Some of them acted as executioners, swinging bamboo sticks at the heads of victims whose arms were bound behind their backs.

The performance took place just a few meters away from Choeung Ek Museum’s memorial, filled with victims' skulls and mass graves – the final resting place for around 16,000 people.

The Phnom Penh Municipality Governor said that the central objective of the event was to honor the memory of the victims, cleanse the site of any residual terrors and to wish their souls an infinitely happier rebirth.

He added that the ceremony stood as a lesson to all the planet’s nations, warning them against acceptance of cruel regimes. The ceremony also called for just punishments for all those anomalous pieces of human nature who have perpetrated genocide since.

“When Khmer Rouge leaders occupied the country, they killed millions of people and destroyed as much of our nation’s cultural heritage that they could lay their unholy hands on. Thus, we cannot forget all these things until the remaining Khmer Rouge leaders now under prosecution take responsibility for their contemptible behavior. We have to find justice for all victims who were killed during the insane times of the Khmer Rouge,” Chuktema said at the Anger Day.

The Governor pointed out that no Cambodian who had survived the terrors was able to forget those disjointed times. Recently, about two million Cambodian people requested that the Day of Anger should be included in the list of national holidays. Chuktema said that he would write a request to Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, describing the proposal.

Keo Buntha, 45, of Stung Meachey commune, Phnom Penh, who attended the Anger Day at Choeung Ek Museum, said that he was traumatized by the sight of 21st century students re-enacting Khmer Rouge atrocities.

Buntha said during those dark days, his family lived in Takeo province. He was separated from his family and forced to stay and work hard in Baseth district, Kampong Speu province.

He emphasized that in a period lasting 3 years, eight months and twenty days, he was exploited seven days a week. Hunger was his constant companion and he was never permitted a moment’s peace. He added that Khmer Rouge thugs executed his father, two uncles and five other relatives.

“I never forget the nightmare of torture, execution and countless other obscenities too painful to mention, even after all these years,” a noticeably perturbed Buntha told The Cambodia Weekly during the memorial. “They were vicious and miserable individuals who killed their own people as if they were as numerous and as unimportant as flies.”

Sem Vanna, 24, a third year law student from the Royal University of Law and Economic Sciences who also attended the ceremony, said although he was not born during the Pol Pot regime, he was too familiar with it, having listened to the tales of family members. He concluded that no regime before or since could equal the Khmer Rouge for its brutal ignorance.

Vantha said that the actions of the Khmer Rouge leaders illustrated humanities capacity for inhumanity towards frightened and isolated children, women and men. He praised the organizers through gritted teeth, thankful for their efforts to stir the memory and thus guard against this ever happening again. He also said he looked forward to the day when all the guilty would be brought to justice.

“I think that Khmer Rouge leaders went far beyond the petty cruelties we are all sometimes capable of. The result was millions of corpses, millions of innocent lives ruined and millions of broken hearts. Their actions will not be forgotten and they shall answer for them to every citizen of Cambodia,” Vantha said. “I appeal to the Khmer Rough Tribunal to speed up the trial process and find justice for all victims.”

Vanthan Peou Dara, Deputy Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (CD-Cam), said that Anger Day is important for all peoples because it recalls the devious path to power of a genocidal regime. When such groupings grasp authority, mass murder, starvation, torture, crime and social decomposition are the order of the day.

He added that to support the ECCC trial process, the C CD-Cam has provided a total of 530 microfilms, 200 documentary films and thousands of photos and documents.

Cambodia Marks 30th Anger Day to Remember the Killing Field

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Roughly 6,000 government officials, students and teachers have gathered at Choeung Ek Museum, a former Khmer Rouge murder facility pockmarked with mass graves, located in Dangkor district, about 15 Kilometers Southeast of Phnom Penh. The Khmer Rouge regime was in power from 1975 to 1979.

The 30th memorial ceremony was organized by the Phnom Penh Municipality and presided over by Chea Soth, a member of the National Assembly of Cambodia. Parliamentary member, Sim Ka, and Kep Chuktema, Governor of Phnom Penh Municipality accompanied him on this searing occasion.

About 40 students from the Royal University of Fine Arts and the National School of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh re-enacted torture and execution scenes in painful recreations of atrocities inflicted by woefully misguided Khmer Rouge cadres on countless innocent victims.

The performers wore black uniforms, the standard attire of the Maoist-inspired movement. Some of them acted as executioners, swinging bamboo sticks at the heads of victims whose arms were bound behind their backs.

The performance took place just a few meters away from Choeung Ek Museum’s memorial, filled with victims' skulls and mass graves – the final resting place for around 16,000 people.

The Phnom Penh Municipality Governor said that the central objective of the event was to honor the memory of the victims, cleanse the site of any residual terrors and to wish their souls an infinitely happier rebirth.

He added that the ceremony stood as a lesson to all the planet’s nations, warning them against acceptance of cruel regimes. The ceremony also called for just punishments for all those anomalous pieces of human nature who have perpetrated genocide since.

“When Khmer Rouge leaders occupied the country, they killed millions of people and destroyed as much of our nation’s cultural heritage that they could lay their unholy hands on. Thus, we cannot forget all these things until the remaining Khmer Rouge leaders now under prosecution take responsibility for their contemptible behavior. We have to find justice for all victims who were killed during the insane times of the Khmer Rouge,” Chuktema said at the Anger Day.

The Governor pointed out that no Cambodian who had survived the terrors was able to forget those disjointed times. Recently, about two million Cambodian people requested that the Day of Anger should be included in the list of national holidays. Chuktema said that he would write a request to Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, describing the proposal.

Keo Buntha, 45, of Stung Meachey commune, Phnom Penh, who attended the Anger Day at Choeung Ek Museum, said that he was traumatized by the sight of 21st century students re-enacting Khmer Rouge atrocities.

Buntha said during those dark days, his family lived in Takeo province. He was separated from his family and forced to stay and work hard in Baseth district, Kampong Speu province.

He emphasized that in a period lasting 3 years, eight months and twenty days, he was exploited seven days a week. Hunger was his constant companion and he was never permitted a moment’s peace. He added that Khmer Rouge thugs executed his father, two uncles and five other relatives.

“I never forget the nightmare of torture, execution and countless other obscenities too painful to mention, even after all these years,” a noticeably perturbed Buntha told The Cambodia Weekly during the memorial. “They were vicious and miserable individuals who killed their own people as if they were as numerous and as unimportant as flies.”

Sem Vanna, 24, a third year law student from the Royal University of Law and Economic Sciences who also attended the ceremony, said although he was not born during the Pol Pot regime, he was too familiar with it, having listened to the tales of family members. He concluded that no regime before or since could equal the Khmer Rouge for its brutal ignorance.

Vantha said that the actions of the Khmer Rouge leaders illustrated humanities capacity for inhumanity towards frightened and isolated children, women and men. He praised the organizers through gritted teeth, thankful for their efforts to stir the memory and thus guard against this ever happening again. He also said he looked forward to the day when all the guilty would be brought to justice.

“I think that Khmer Rouge leaders went far beyond the petty cruelties we are all sometimes capable of. The result was millions of corpses, millions of innocent lives ruined and millions of broken hearts. Their actions will not be forgotten and they shall answer for them to every citizen of Cambodia,” Vantha said. “I appeal to the Khmer Rough Tribunal to speed up the trial process and find justice for all victims.”

Vanthan Peou Dara, Deputy Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (CD-Cam), said that Anger Day is important for all peoples because it recalls the devious path to power of a genocidal regime. When such groupings grasp authority, mass murder, starvation, torture, crime and social decomposition are the order of the day.

He added that to support the ECCC trial process, the C CD-Cam has provided a total of 530 microfilms, 200 documentary films and thousands of photos and documents.

Cambodia Marks 30th Anger Day to Remember the Killing Field

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Roughly 6,000 government officials, students and teachers have gathered at Choeung Ek Museum, a former Khmer Rouge murder facility pockmarked with mass graves, located in Dangkor district, about 15 Kilometers Southeast of Phnom Penh. The Khmer Rouge regime was in power from 1975 to 1979.

The 30th memorial ceremony was organized by the Phnom Penh Municipality and presided over by Chea Soth, a member of the National Assembly of Cambodia. Parliamentary member, Sim Ka, and Kep Chuktema, Governor of Phnom Penh Municipality accompanied him on this searing occasion.

About 40 students from the Royal University of Fine Arts and the National School of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh re-enacted torture and execution scenes in painful recreations of atrocities inflicted by woefully misguided Khmer Rouge cadres on countless innocent victims.

The performers wore black uniforms, the standard attire of the Maoist-inspired movement. Some of them acted as executioners, swinging bamboo sticks at the heads of victims whose arms were bound behind their backs.

The performance took place just a few meters away from Choeung Ek Museum’s memorial, filled with victims' skulls and mass graves – the final resting place for around 16,000 people.

The Phnom Penh Municipality Governor said that the central objective of the event was to honor the memory of the victims, cleanse the site of any residual terrors and to wish their souls an infinitely happier rebirth.

He added that the ceremony stood as a lesson to all the planet’s nations, warning them against acceptance of cruel regimes. The ceremony also called for just punishments for all those anomalous pieces of human nature who have perpetrated genocide since.

“When Khmer Rouge leaders occupied the country, they killed millions of people and destroyed as much of our nation’s cultural heritage that they could lay their unholy hands on. Thus, we cannot forget all these things until the remaining Khmer Rouge leaders now under prosecution take responsibility for their contemptible behavior. We have to find justice for all victims who were killed during the insane times of the Khmer Rouge,” Chuktema said at the Anger Day.

The Governor pointed out that no Cambodian who had survived the terrors was able to forget those disjointed times. Recently, about two million Cambodian people requested that the Day of Anger should be included in the list of national holidays. Chuktema said that he would write a request to Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, describing the proposal.

Keo Buntha, 45, of Stung Meachey commune, Phnom Penh, who attended the Anger Day at Choeung Ek Museum, said that he was traumatized by the sight of 21st century students re-enacting Khmer Rouge atrocities.

Buntha said during those dark days, his family lived in Takeo province. He was separated from his family and forced to stay and work hard in Baseth district, Kampong Speu province.

He emphasized that in a period lasting 3 years, eight months and twenty days, he was exploited seven days a week. Hunger was his constant companion and he was never permitted a moment’s peace. He added that Khmer Rouge thugs executed his father, two uncles and five other relatives.

“I never forget the nightmare of torture, execution and countless other obscenities too painful to mention, even after all these years,” a noticeably perturbed Buntha told The Cambodia Weekly during the memorial. “They were vicious and miserable individuals who killed their own people as if they were as numerous and as unimportant as flies.”

Sem Vanna, 24, a third year law student from the Royal University of Law and Economic Sciences who also attended the ceremony, said although he was not born during the Pol Pot regime, he was too familiar with it, having listened to the tales of family members. He concluded that no regime before or since could equal the Khmer Rouge for its brutal ignorance.

Vantha said that the actions of the Khmer Rouge leaders illustrated humanities capacity for inhumanity towards frightened and isolated children, women and men. He praised the organizers through gritted teeth, thankful for their efforts to stir the memory and thus guard against this ever happening again. He also said he looked forward to the day when all the guilty would be brought to justice.

“I think that Khmer Rouge leaders went far beyond the petty cruelties we are all sometimes capable of. The result was millions of corpses, millions of innocent lives ruined and millions of broken hearts. Their actions will not be forgotten and they shall answer for them to every citizen of Cambodia,” Vantha said. “I appeal to the Khmer Rough Tribunal to speed up the trial process and find justice for all victims.”

Vanthan Peou Dara, Deputy Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (CD-Cam), said that Anger Day is important for all peoples because it recalls the devious path to power of a genocidal regime. When such groupings grasp authority, mass murder, starvation, torture, crime and social decomposition are the order of the day.

He added that to support the ECCC trial process, the C CD-Cam has provided a total of 530 microfilms, 200 documentary films and thousands of photos and documents.

Cambodia Marks 30th Anger Day to Remember the Killing Field

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Roughly 6,000 government officials, students and teachers have gathered at Choeung Ek Museum, a former Khmer Rouge murder facility pockmarked with mass graves, located in Dangkor district, about 15 Kilometers Southeast of Phnom Penh. The Khmer Rouge regime was in power from 1975 to 1979.

The 30th memorial ceremony was organized by the Phnom Penh Municipality and presided over by Chea Soth, a member of the National Assembly of Cambodia. Parliamentary member, Sim Ka, and Kep Chuktema, Governor of Phnom Penh Municipality accompanied him on this searing occasion.

About 40 students from the Royal University of Fine Arts and the National School of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh re-enacted torture and execution scenes in painful recreations of atrocities inflicted by woefully misguided Khmer Rouge cadres on countless innocent victims.

The performers wore black uniforms, the standard attire of the Maoist-inspired movement. Some of them acted as executioners, swinging bamboo sticks at the heads of victims whose arms were bound behind their backs.

The performance took place just a few meters away from Choeung Ek Museum’s memorial, filled with victims' skulls and mass graves – the final resting place for around 16,000 people.

The Phnom Penh Municipality Governor said that the central objective of the event was to honor the memory of the victims, cleanse the site of any residual terrors and to wish their souls an infinitely happier rebirth.

He added that the ceremony stood as a lesson to all the planet’s nations, warning them against acceptance of cruel regimes. The ceremony also called for just punishments for all those anomalous pieces of human nature who have perpetrated genocide since.

“When Khmer Rouge leaders occupied the country, they killed millions of people and destroyed as much of our nation’s cultural heritage that they could lay their unholy hands on. Thus, we cannot forget all these things until the remaining Khmer Rouge leaders now under prosecution take responsibility for their contemptible behavior. We have to find justice for all victims who were killed during the insane times of the Khmer Rouge,” Chuktema said at the Anger Day.

The Governor pointed out that no Cambodian who had survived the terrors was able to forget those disjointed times. Recently, about two million Cambodian people requested that the Day of Anger should be included in the list of national holidays. Chuktema said that he would write a request to Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, describing the proposal.

Keo Buntha, 45, of Stung Meachey commune, Phnom Penh, who attended the Anger Day at Choeung Ek Museum, said that he was traumatized by the sight of 21st century students re-enacting Khmer Rouge atrocities.

Buntha said during those dark days, his family lived in Takeo province. He was separated from his family and forced to stay and work hard in Baseth district, Kampong Speu province.

He emphasized that in a period lasting 3 years, eight months and twenty days, he was exploited seven days a week. Hunger was his constant companion and he was never permitted a moment’s peace. He added that Khmer Rouge thugs executed his father, two uncles and five other relatives.

“I never forget the nightmare of torture, execution and countless other obscenities too painful to mention, even after all these years,” a noticeably perturbed Buntha told The Cambodia Weekly during the memorial. “They were vicious and miserable individuals who killed their own people as if they were as numerous and as unimportant as flies.”

Sem Vanna, 24, a third year law student from the Royal University of Law and Economic Sciences who also attended the ceremony, said although he was not born during the Pol Pot regime, he was too familiar with it, having listened to the tales of family members. He concluded that no regime before or since could equal the Khmer Rouge for its brutal ignorance.

Vantha said that the actions of the Khmer Rouge leaders illustrated humanities capacity for inhumanity towards frightened and isolated children, women and men. He praised the organizers through gritted teeth, thankful for their efforts to stir the memory and thus guard against this ever happening again. He also said he looked forward to the day when all the guilty would be brought to justice.

“I think that Khmer Rouge leaders went far beyond the petty cruelties we are all sometimes capable of. The result was millions of corpses, millions of innocent lives ruined and millions of broken hearts. Their actions will not be forgotten and they shall answer for them to every citizen of Cambodia,” Vantha said. “I appeal to the Khmer Rough Tribunal to speed up the trial process and find justice for all victims.”

Vanthan Peou Dara, Deputy Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (CD-Cam), said that Anger Day is important for all peoples because it recalls the devious path to power of a genocidal regime. When such groupings grasp authority, mass murder, starvation, torture, crime and social decomposition are the order of the day.

He added that to support the ECCC trial process, the C CD-Cam has provided a total of 530 microfilms, 200 documentary films and thousands of photos and documents.

Cambodia Marks 30th Anger Day to Remember the Killing Field

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Roughly 6,000 government officials, students and teachers have gathered at Choeung Ek Museum, a former Khmer Rouge murder facility pockmarked with mass graves, located in Dangkor district, about 15 Kilometers Southeast of Phnom Penh. The Khmer Rouge regime was in power from 1975 to 1979.

The 30th memorial ceremony was organized by the Phnom Penh Municipality and presided over by Chea Soth, a member of the National Assembly of Cambodia. Parliamentary member, Sim Ka, and Kep Chuktema, Governor of Phnom Penh Municipality accompanied him on this searing occasion.

About 40 students from the Royal University of Fine Arts and the National School of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh re-enacted torture and execution scenes in painful recreations of atrocities inflicted by woefully misguided Khmer Rouge cadres on countless innocent victims.

The performers wore black uniforms, the standard attire of the Maoist-inspired movement. Some of them acted as executioners, swinging bamboo sticks at the heads of victims whose arms were bound behind their backs.

The performance took place just a few meters away from Choeung Ek Museum’s memorial, filled with victims' skulls and mass graves – the final resting place for around 16,000 people.

The Phnom Penh Municipality Governor said that the central objective of the event was to honor the memory of the victims, cleanse the site of any residual terrors and to wish their souls an infinitely happier rebirth.

He added that the ceremony stood as a lesson to all the planet’s nations, warning them against acceptance of cruel regimes. The ceremony also called for just punishments for all those anomalous pieces of human nature who have perpetrated genocide since.

“When Khmer Rouge leaders occupied the country, they killed millions of people and destroyed as much of our nation’s cultural heritage that they could lay their unholy hands on. Thus, we cannot forget all these things until the remaining Khmer Rouge leaders now under prosecution take responsibility for their contemptible behavior. We have to find justice for all victims who were killed during the insane times of the Khmer Rouge,” Chuktema said at the Anger Day.

The Governor pointed out that no Cambodian who had survived the terrors was able to forget those disjointed times. Recently, about two million Cambodian people requested that the Day of Anger should be included in the list of national holidays. Chuktema said that he would write a request to Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, describing the proposal.

Keo Buntha, 45, of Stung Meachey commune, Phnom Penh, who attended the Anger Day at Choeung Ek Museum, said that he was traumatized by the sight of 21st century students re-enacting Khmer Rouge atrocities.

Buntha said during those dark days, his family lived in Takeo province. He was separated from his family and forced to stay and work hard in Baseth district, Kampong Speu province.

He emphasized that in a period lasting 3 years, eight months and twenty days, he was exploited seven days a week. Hunger was his constant companion and he was never permitted a moment’s peace. He added that Khmer Rouge thugs executed his father, two uncles and five other relatives.

“I never forget the nightmare of torture, execution and countless other obscenities too painful to mention, even after all these years,” a noticeably perturbed Buntha told The Cambodia Weekly during the memorial. “They were vicious and miserable individuals who killed their own people as if they were as numerous and as unimportant as flies.”

Sem Vanna, 24, a third year law student from the Royal University of Law and Economic Sciences who also attended the ceremony, said although he was not born during the Pol Pot regime, he was too familiar with it, having listened to the tales of family members. He concluded that no regime before or since could equal the Khmer Rouge for its brutal ignorance.

Vantha said that the actions of the Khmer Rouge leaders illustrated humanities capacity for inhumanity towards frightened and isolated children, women and men. He praised the organizers through gritted teeth, thankful for their efforts to stir the memory and thus guard against this ever happening again. He also said he looked forward to the day when all the guilty would be brought to justice.

“I think that Khmer Rouge leaders went far beyond the petty cruelties we are all sometimes capable of. The result was millions of corpses, millions of innocent lives ruined and millions of broken hearts. Their actions will not be forgotten and they shall answer for them to every citizen of Cambodia,” Vantha said. “I appeal to the Khmer Rough Tribunal to speed up the trial process and find justice for all victims.”

Vanthan Peou Dara, Deputy Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (CD-Cam), said that Anger Day is important for all peoples because it recalls the devious path to power of a genocidal regime. When such groupings grasp authority, mass murder, starvation, torture, crime and social decomposition are the order of the day.

He added that to support the ECCC trial process, the C CD-Cam has provided a total of 530 microfilms, 200 documentary films and thousands of photos and documents.

Officials Say No A/H1N1 Detected in Cambodia

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea and Soy Sophea

Cambodia’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) jointly announced on May 22 that Cambodia remains clear of A/H1N1 despite rumors to the contrary. This is according to Dr. Sok Touch, Director of the Anti-Communicable Disease Department in Ministry of Health.

“I would like to confirm that to date, there are no confirmed cases of the A/H1N1 virus in Cambodia.We remain vigilant and will continue to take all necessary preventative measures,” he said during a telephone interview with The Cambodia Weekly on May 22.
He said the national team included members of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the National Committee for Disaster Management, the World Health Organization, and other related ministries, all pulling together to prevent appearance of the disease.
Dr. Sok Touch also said that the Ministry of Health would be able to stamp on the disease should it appear, using existing equipment and monitoring systems set up at airports and border crossings.
A joint press statement released by the Ministry of Health and World Health Organization stated “…that as of 22 May 2009, no cases of Influenza A/H1N1 virus have been confirmed in the country.”
It added, “The Ministry of Health received an official communication from the Korean Embassy mentioning three individuals who were on the same flight from USA to Korea with a passenger who was later confirmed to have Influenza A/H1N1.”

The three individuals subsequently flew on a separate flight to Phnom Penh on Sunday May 17, 2009. At the time of their arrival in Cambodia, the three passengers did not display any influenza symptoms. Ministry of Health officials are now seeking to locate these passengers to assess their wellbeing and to offer them testing, the press statement added.

The statement went on to say that the Ministry of Health is working closely with all relevant authorities and continues to monitor the situation closely. In accordance with the Royal Government of Cambodia’s National Pandemic Plan, the Ministry of Health is the only official source for information relating to the status of Influenza A/H1N1 in the country and will continue to keep the public well informed if, and when a case is found via its website. This can be accessed at www.cdcmoh.gov.kh

The statement continued “The Ministry of Health reminds all members of the public to practice good hygiene measures at all times” and went on to describe some of these measures. These include…


1. Stifle coughs and sneezes with a tissue 2. Wash your hands often with soap 3. Do not spit in public. 3. Anyone who has traveled from an affected area in the past seven days and has developed a fever with cough, sore throat or shortness of breath are strongly advised to contact the Ministry of Health’s Influenza Hotline: 012 489 981 or 089 669 567 for further advice.

Dr. Sok Touch said that the Ministry of Health has prepared a total of 157, 500 doses of medicine, along with other medical supplies and equipment, and has distributed this material to all the state hospitals and health centers throughout the country.
He added that the World Health Organization has also donated a total of 154, 000 doses of medicines to the Ministry of Health in anticipation of the spread of A/H1N1 influenza in Cambodia.
According to World Health Organization report, so far 41 countries have confirmed cases of influenza A/H1N1 and 80 people have died so far. ////

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Worldwide National Wu-Shu Championship Competition 2009

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Cambodia Wu-Shu Federation (CWSF), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYS) will organize a worldwide national Wu-Shu Championship Competition. The competition will take place over five days from 19th-23rd June, at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh.

About 200 Wu-Shu contenders, both male and female from 11 Wu-Shu clubs and associations from cities and provinces across the nation will attend the competition, said Mao Chan Thavuth, Secretary General of the Cambodia Wu-Shu Federation.

Chan Thavuth said that this year’s competition marks the fourth time that CWSF and MoEYS have organized the national Wu-Shu championship competition in Phnom Penh.

“The main objective of the competition is to select the best Wu-Shu contenders for the year and prepare for future international competitions. It also seeks to raise the profile of “Wu Shu” which is an ancient and energetic Chinese sport. It was introduced to Cambodia in 2000,” he said during a telephone interview with The Cambodia Weekly on May 6.

The Secretary General pointed out that the competition is divided into two categories; the first category provides an opportunity for competitors to display technical and artistic merit across 18 martial disciplines. The second category is all about pure combat based on weight. There are eight categories ranging from 45 kilos up to the heavyweight 70-kilogram class; female competitors are limited to two classes - 52 kilograms and 60 kilograms.

Thavuth added that for the overall winner there will be a gold medal, along with other valuable prizes. Runners-up will receive silver and bronze medals along with additional prizes. The medals and prizes were provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.

Thavuth said that Wu-Shu was introduced to Cambodian athletes and subsequently recognized by MoEYS and the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) in 2000. He said since then Wu-Shu in Cambodia has gone from strength to strength with a Wu-Shu team to represent the nation at the upcoming SEA Games.

Currently there are a total of 16 Wu-Shu clubs and associations with 636 trainees, including 397 female trainees in Cambodia, according to CWSF report.

The report said Wu-Shu, also known as Modern Wu-Shu or Contemporary Wu-Shu is both an exhibition and a full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts. Wu-Shu was created in the People's Republic of China after 1949, in an attempt to nationalize the practice of traditional Chinese martial arts. ///

Phnom Penh-Hip Hop Festival Performance

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The French Cultural Center (CCF), in collaboration with the Meta House will organize the “Phnom Penh-Hip Hop Festival”. The event will take place over two weeks from 16th to 24th May in Phnom Penh and it is hoped that it will raise the profile of the art form throughout the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Three renowned hip hop dancers from Europe, including French B-Boy Choreographer Sebastien Ramirez and German dancer, Niels Robitky alias “Storm” will be teaming up with Cambodian classical dance groups in what looks to be a fascinating fusion of ancient and modern, East and West. They will be working alongside 20 young Cambodian hip-hop dancers from the Tiny Toones Organization, a local NGO.

Nicolas Mesterharm, Co-organizer and Director of Meta House, said this will be the first time that CCF and Meta House have worked in collaboration, resulting in the Phnom Penh-Hip Hop Festival.

Nicolas said that the main purpose of the throw-down was to give Cambodian youth a platform for self expression and to establish links between Cambodian dancers and their counterparts across the world and to promote cross fertilization between apparently disparate dance styles.

“Hip Hop is phenomenally popular across the world and Cambodian youngsters have caught the Hip Hop craze after watching their favorite performers dance on Western entertainment shows. They like the style and are prepared to adapt it to meet local circumstances,” Nicolas told reporters during a press conference on May 5.

He said that to date, Cambodia has an established DJ and Hip Hop culture and its popularity is starting to spread, striking a chord with the youth psychographic. Nicolas hoped that somewhere in this Cambodian Hip Hop/Soul community, a dancer would arise capable of introducing a brand new dance flavor to the world straight out of Phnom Penh.

Nicolas said, according to schedule, the performances will take place at 7pm at the Chenla Theatre on 16th, 22nd and 23rd and at the CCF on 19th. May 24 will see the dancers perform at Wat Bottum Vatey. To support the events, there will be documentary projections on May 17 at Wat Phnom; May 19 at CCF; and on May 20-21 at the Meta House.

Concerning entry applications, Nicolas said that entry is free for all visitors. He added that according to projections, about 5,000 people are expected to pay a visit to one or more of the events.

Alain Arnaudet, Director of the French Cultural Centre (FCC), said that the event will strengthen friendship and partnership between Cambodian artists and foreign artists in future. He said that the event would also strengthen Cambodian hip hop dance skills in the crucible of competition, empower Cambodian artists and open Cambodian hip hop dancers to world influences.

“I hope that this hip hop festival will attract Cambodia’s youth and encourage them to stamp a Khmer identity on an art form that originated in African America. It started out as an alternative channel for self expression and I hope that the youth of Cambodia will seize the opportunity to use the channel to communicate their hopes and dreams,” he said during a separate interview with The Cambodia Weekly after the press conference.

Alain pointed out that this festival is just one of a range of events that will promote and develop the national culture.

Tuy Sobil, alias “KK” is the Founding Director of the Tiny Toons Organization. Speaking to the Cambodia Weekly after the press conference, he said his organization will be represented by his best crews. He also said he was excited and was looking forward to working with the Europeans.

“This is the first time for me to perform alongside well-known hip hop dancers from Europe,” Sobil said. “I hope that over the two weeks I will learn a lot and my hip hop style will get a polish.” ///



Cambodian Women Receive Vaccines against Tetanus

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Ministry of Health has urged women between the ages of 15 to 45 to present themselves for tetanus inoculation.

Dr. Veng Thai, Director of the Municipal Health Department in the Ministry of Health, said the tetanus vaccination program started in 1996 and in that time over 1 million Cambodian women have received the vaccines each year.

The Director said that for this year, the MoH’s tetanus vaccines injection program has been running since early February and will end in May 2009.

Dr. Thai emphasized that most of the women who have received tetanus jabs are garment industry workers, factory workers and home-makers. He said the injection service is free of charge for all women and the campaign is conducted at all public hospitals or health centers in cities and provinces throughout the country.

“The tetanus vaccination is very important for our women as they are the mothers of the next generation,” he said during a telephone interview with The Cambodia Weekly on May 14.

Dr. Thai continued to say that a course of inoculation provides a lifetime’s protection against tetanus and other diseases. He said that every Cambodian woman should have at least five tetanus injections in her life. He also encouraged them to bring their children as it was never too early to make the first steps on the road to a tetanus-free life.

According to a report released by the Ministry of Health, the prevalence of tetanus infection is still high for the women of Cambodia. He also noted that 80 percent of tetanus cases here resulted in death.

“I appeal to all women in Cambodia to come themselves or bring their children to the state hospital or health centers in their communities. It will cost them nothing and it might save their lives,” he said.

Dr. Chutemar Ping, Director of Clinical Services with the Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia (RHAC), said that many Cambodian women came to his organization for medical checkups and tetanus injections every year. He said most of the patents were pregnant.

“I am happy as many women have decided to listen to good medical advice and taken the vaccines against tetanus,” he told The Cambodia Weekly. “They understand the importance of good health and are concerned to perpetuate it for the benefit of their families.”

He said that the number of women who come to get their tetanus injections with RHAC increases by about 10 percent every year.

Ray Pheap, 17, a garment worker in Phnom Penh, said that she received her first tetanus injections last month.

“I am now very happy because I don’t need to worry about tetanus for some time, now I have had the injection offered by the Ministry of Health,” she said. “I will get the booster injections next year and that should bring the course to a successful close.”

Khum Sreymom, 45, has two children and lives in Baset district in Kampong Speu province. She said that she not had time for injections this year as she has been busy on the farm. However, as she has already received three out of five injections, she says she will make time later and receive her forth jab.

“I am not worried about tetanus affection because I have been injected three times already,” she said. “However, I will not let the program lapse as I have come this far already and what price can you put on good health?” /////

Cambodia Celebrates the Royal Plowing Ceremony

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

About 10,000 people have attended the Royal Plowing Ceremony on May 12 in the Veal Men Park near the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. Known locally as “Bon Chrot Preah Naingkoal”, the celebration was conducted by His Majesty Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia.

The traditional ceremony was organized by the Royal Palace and the Committee for Organizing National and International Festivals.

Dith Munty, President of the Supreme Court, served as Sdach Meakh, who offered to add his strength to augment that of the Royal hand; his wife served the Queen in the capacity of Mehour and sowed seeds behind her husband while he helped direct the team of oxen.

Kang Ken, Chief Royal Astrologer of the Royal Palace, said the Royal Plowing ceremony constitutes a significant religious event for Cambodia because the celebration hopes to encourage the powers of Heaven to bless the farmer and his agricultural activities. The ceremony is timed to coincide with the start of the rainy season – the busiest time of the year for the nation’s rice farmers.

The soul of the religious celebration illustrates the bounteous nature of the King’s heart and his desire to see a strong agricultural sector contributing to the health and prosperity of the people. The ceremony will also seek abundant rains for the year so that farmers will have a chance to produce a maximum harvest. The ceremony is also worth preserving as an example of the richness of Khmer tradition and culture.

After circling the field three times, the procession will rest at a shrine where Brahmins invoke the protection of the gods. Sacred oxen are then brought to eat from seven silver trays containing such things as rice, corn, beans, sesame seeds, grass, water and wine. Predictions are made for the coming year based upon what the sacred oxen select.

“This year, the oxen ate all of the corn and beans but avoided the other grains they were offered. So according to time-honored formulae, this means that we will have plenty of the corn and beans, but an indifferent rice harvest,” the Royal Astrologer announced after the ending of the plowing activities. He continued, “That the oxen avoided the water, wine and grasses means that we can look forward to a normal rainy season with no extremes this year. I do not foresee any real troubles for the people or their animals this season.”

Hong Sao, 56, a farmer from Saang district in Kandal province, witnessed the Royal Plowing ceremony and said that he was happy to hear the results. His family and neighboring farmers have sewn a little rice, but have concentrated on beans and corn this season. This will help them generate extra income, given the recent mediocre performance of rice in the markets.

“I am happy with the predictions generated by this year’s Royal Plowing ceremony,” Sao told The Cambodia Weekly after ending the event. “I am going to plant more corn and beans and I hope that I will get high yields as a reward for all my preparation and hard work.”

Chreag Nong, 53, a farmer from Kratie province also attended the Royal Plowing Ceremony. He was worried about the predictions as he will concentrate on rice cultivation this season.

“I am worried about the rice harvest this year. However, I made my preparations for this year and I have to stay with my decisions,” Nong said. “I hear that the rainfall predictions are average for this season, so with a bit of luck, more hard work and some good economic conditions, we should pull through.”

Nong has eight members in his family and only three hectares of land in Kratie province with which to support them. His family is able to produce around 500 to 1,000 kilograms of rice per year. He farms upon arid, higher ground and his output is limited by a lack of irrigation.

He said that during some growing seasons, when there were droughts and he could not make enough profit to support his family, he was forced to sell his labor and supplement his income with produce collected from the forest.
According to Ministry of Planning, about 14 million people, roughly 85 of the population are connected to the agriculture sector.

Cambodia’s rice output increased to 7.2 million tones in 2008-2009, up from the 6.7 million tones harvested during the 2007-2008 season, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ report 2009. The report said the government plans to export about eight million tones of rice per year by 2015. ////

Scholarship Student Aims for Doctoral Degree in Economics

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Kong Vong Seih Sothy, 18, one of The University of Cambodia’s Samdech Hun Sen-Handa National Scholarship students has described his wishes at an interview with The Cambodia Weekly on May 11, 2009.

Vong Seih Sothy has one brother and one sister in his family – he is the oldest, and they are now staying in Phnom Penh. His father is an officer, working with the Cambodian Red Cross in Phnom Penh and his mother is a home-maker.

He is now studying Economics at The University of Cambodia (UC) in Phnom Penh, having passed the scholarship exams in September 2008.

Before graduation with The University of Cambodia, Vong Seih Sothy studied at Sisowath High School in Phnom Penh, earning a Baccalaureate in 2008. He then applied to study Economics at UC following the introduction of the “Samdech Hun Sen- Handa National Scholarships” in 2008.

“I am overjoyed to have passed the scholarship exams from The University of Cambodia,” he said. “I am also very happy because I am now able to write and speak English with something approaching fluency, following my time with UC. This has been a by-product of the University’s insistence on English as the medium of instruction.”

Vong Seih Sothy continued to say that he decided to apply for study with UC because he received the highest impression of the organization’s quality following visits to the University and recommendations from friends. As he discovered, this reputation is well founded; the University of Cambodia employs only the best instructors and incorporates the flexibility afforded by the modular system, as practiced in the United States education sector.

He decided to study Economics with UC because he wants to use the qualification to help generate jobs for Cambodians and contribute to the development of human resources in the nation.

“My dream is to work as an economist or economic analyst, preferably with the Royal Government of Cambodia, an international organization or foreign NGO in future,” he said. “I have to study hard to reach my final goal and take it step-by-step. First I will earn a Bachelor’s Degree and then move on to postgraduate study with UC.”

He realizes he has set himself quite a challenge. He studies very hard, completes all homework and assignments by the deadlines and reads around his subject.

“I believe that the sacrifices I make now will be well worth it when I can show future employers my qualifications. With a little extra application, a little extra reading, there is no limit to what a truly committed student can achieve.” With a work ethic this strong, he should have little difficulty reaching his goals.

Korm Vannary, 18, a first- year Finance and Banking Student of the Royal University of Law and Economic Sciences (RULES) in Phnom Penh, and personal friend to Kong Vong Seih Sothy, said she understood Vong Seih Sothy’s drive for success.

Vannary said she has known Kong Vong Seih Sothy since 2006 when she was studying with him in grade 11, at the Sisowath High School in Phnom Penh. She said that Vong Seih Sothy was a gentle, helpful and honest student and a hard worker.

“I am inspired by Kong Vong Seih Sothy’s vision for himself and his desire to work for the nation. I hope that he will realize this dream and I wish him all the best of luck and success in future,” she told The Cambodia Weekly. ///

Cambodia Holds Council Election for Cities, Districts and Provinces

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

A total of 11,353 party operatives from 1,621 Communes and Sangkats will select representatives in Council elections to be held May 17. All four political parties including the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), FUNCINPEC, the Sam Rainsy Party and the Norodom Ranariddh Party, will be fielding contenders, according to Tep Nytha, Secretary General of the National Election Committee (NEC).

The Secretary General said the election process will begin at 7:00 am on Sunday, May 17, 2009 with 217 polling stations distributed across the country and will close at 3: 00 pm on the same day.

There are a total of 3,235 candidates standing for selection; 374 candidates are standing for municipalities with the remaining 2,861 candidates hoping for election to provincial, district and khan council seats, said Nytha. He added that the Candidate lists for the four political parties recorded the names of 17, 290 candidates including 8, 506 titular and 8, 784 substitute candidates.

“This election is non-universal and it is the first occasion that the NEC has organized such proceedings in Cambodia. The main objective of the election is to choose council members to represent the registered political parties for work in municipalities, provinces, districts and Khans throughout the country,” Nytha said during a telephone interview with The Cambodia Weekly on May 13.

According to Nytha, information from the 217 polling stations states that the Cambodian Peoples’ Party has 6,605 candidates, including 900 female candidates. The Sam Rainsy Party has 6,384 candidates including 921 females listed in 205 polling stations. The FUNCINPEC Party has 2,094 candidates including 386 females listed in 71 polling stations; and the Norodom Ranariddh Party has a total of 2,207 candidates including 346 females listed in 64 polling stations.

“I hope that based on our solid preparations and previous experience in organizing elections, this round of democratic activity will be a success. I also give my personal assurance that elections will be free, fair and credible,” Nytha said.

The Secretary General said that proceedings would be scrutinized by 270 local and foreign observers from eight non-governmental organizations. They will be deployed around the polling stations to observe Sunday’s activities.

Nytha also stated that to hold Council Elections for 2009, the National Election Committee will spend about $US1.5 million. The entire sum will be provided by the Royal Government of Cambodia.

Besides organizing the Council Elections for 2009, the NEC will organize the upcoming Commune Elections and the Senate Elections in 2012.

So far, the NEC has organized six important and successful elections in Cambodia. These include three elections to the National Assembly, two elections to the Commune Councils and one election to the Senate, according to Nytha. ////


Cambodia Prepares Hospitals to Receive Influenza Patients


BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Royal Government of Cambodia has been working hard in preparation for the expected appearance of Influenza A/H1N1. Cases have already been recorded in Thailand, according to Mam Bunheng, Minister of Health, who was speaking to The Cambodia Weekly during a telephone interview on May 14.

To prepare, the Ministry of Health has recently prepared isolation rooms and other facilities at many principle hospitals in cities and provinces across the country said Bunheng. These include Calmette Hospital, Preah Kossamak Hospital, Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, Siem Reap Provincial Hospital, Kampot Provincial Hospital, Stung Treng Provincial Hospital and Kampong Cham Provincial Hospital. All have been equipped to ensure a speedy recovery for patients as and when they present themselves for treatment.

According to Bunheng, each hospital will set aside 5 to 20 beds to receive A/H1N1 influenza patients, should it arrive on these shores. In addition, thermal scanners have been installed by the Ministry at airports including Phnom Penh International and Siem Reap Airports. Other checkpoints include Poi Pet, Koh Kong and Bavet Checkpoints located in Svay Rieng Province. The thermal scanners will be able to detect travelers with abnormally high temperatures – fever being a classic symptom of the disease.

“The Royal Government of Cambodia has been prepared to deal with the possible appearance of A/H1N1 virus since confirmation of the first influenza A/H1N1 case in Mexico,” Bunheng said, adding that Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered the relevant government ministries and departments to remain on full alert during the crisis.

The Minister said his ministry has deployed its medical experts and officers to tighten supervision at all checkpoints with neighboring countries, Thailand, Lao and Vietnam. He said the ministry also prepared protective medical clothing, special-purpose vehicles, medicines and other related materials for all public hospitals and health centers across the countries.

Dr. Sok Touch, Director of the Anti-Communicable Disease Department in Ministry of Health, said that to date there are no reports of cases in Cambodia but it has recently been confirmed in Thailand.

According to the World Health Organization, two Thai people were affected recently with the A/H1N1 virus. They suspect it is only a matter of time before the virus is detected in Cambodia.

“As the A/H1N1 virus is spread from person to person via coughs and sneezes, we remain worried and on high alert,” Dr. Touch said. “We hope that with our preparations and past experience in combating bird flu, we will able to make meaningful defenses against A/H1N1 influenza in Cambodia,” he told the Cambodia Weekly.

Dr. Touch continued to say that to prevent the appearance of A/H1N1in Cambodia, the Ministry of Health is working in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the National Committee for Disaster Management, the World Health Organization, and other UN agencies. They have used equipment already in place following the nation’s measures to tackle bird flu.

The Ministry has prepared a total of 157, 500 doses of medication amongst other things and these have been distributed to the nation’s major hospitals and health centers. He added that the World Health Organization has also donated a total of 154, 000 doses of medicine to help combat H1N1.

He went on to describe the symptoms of H1N1. These include a fever running at around 38 degrees, along with a cough noted for its unusual guttural hack, a sore throat, shortness of breath, headache, sneezing and diarrhea.

According to a World Health Organization report, so far 32 countries have reported 5,251 cases of influenza A/H1N1. 61 of these cases have proved fatal.

“I appeal to all who have recently returned from affected countries in the last seven days who have developed symptoms as described previously to contact the nearest hospital or clinic for treatment in Cambodia,” Dr. Touch said. “We are well able to deal with the disease and I do not recommend travel to foreign countries for treatment. Indeed, if their protections against influenza are as effective as ours, you will not get in to the country”.

He added that medical personnel and the public are being asked to report to the Ministry of Health hotlines at the following numbers: 012 488 981 and 089 669 556 or report the case to the nearest health facilities. ////

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cambodia’s Progress on Press Freedom Recognized

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

World Press Freedom Day has been celebrated this year under the banner: “The Media’s Potential: Dialogue, Equity, Mutual Understanding, and Reconciliation”. Co-organized by the Press Council of Cambodia and the United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the event has hosted at the National Institute of Education in Phnom Penh on May 4. Its overall purpose was to remind the world of the media’s role in protecting fundamental human rights.

Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information, said that over the years, the media and freedom of press have displayed an impressive rate of development and progression compared to other countries in the region. He said that Cambodia’s Press Laws of 1997 fully guaranteed rights for local media. He singled out journalists, as it is their duty to help the Royal Government of Cambodia promote and strengthen the rule of law and democracy in Cambodia.

“I affirm that Cambodia’s press freedom has indeed developed and Cambodian journalists have used their rights responsibly and in full accordance with the Press Law and Cambodian Constitution,” he said during his opening remarks.

The Minister said that currently the government needs the media organizations and journalist groups to work in the full spirit of cooperation for they all provide information and feedback from the people of the nation to the government.

To encourage the freedom of the press still further in Cambodia, Kanharith said his government welcomes all forms of constructive criticism. He also thanked members of the press for their accurate reporting of the Government’s many activities as detailed in the second phase of the Rectangular Strategy. Again, he emphasized the media’s role in facilitating smooth progress towards achieving the goal.

Om Chandara, Chairman of the Press Council of Cambodia, said that many Cambodian media organizations were established following the Peace Accord of 1991. Whilst there have been cases of journalists going to jail for libelous reporting and a number of high profile murders in the past years, freedom has been ensured and journalists have the right to communicate as they see fit within the scope of libel laws and express opinions freely within Cambodia, said Chandara.

The Chairman said current progress was a result of peace, security and political stability in Cambodia, as typified by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s “Win-Win policy”. He noted that the freedom of the press was guaranteed not just in the Cambodia’s Press Law clause of the Constitution, but also by Article 19 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Teruo Jinnai, UNESCO Representative in Cambodia, said that freedom of expression was a fundamental human right, as stated in Article 19 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. He also pledged that his organization would continue to “…collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of all peoples, through all means of mass communication” and “promote the free flow of ideas by word and image”.

For those reasons, UNESCO and the Press Council of Cambodia will continue to explore the enormous potential of the media to serve as a platform for dialogue, equity and as a vehicle for understanding and reconciliation, said Jinnai. He further underlined the ability of the media to foster the health of society when it respects and represents diversity of voices. He continued by saying the media has a demonstrated ability in fostering mutual understanding by communicating across divides, thus bringing competing narratives together into a shared story.

“We rejoice in the task of celebrating Equity in Expression, a right shared by every member of our society. We can all express our ideas and formulate opinions for ourselves without threat of persecution,” Jinnai said.

Setting aside the matter of press freedom for a moment, the UNESCO representative turned to legal considerations. “To make freedom of expression a reality” he said, “a regulated legal environment must exist and be encouraged, and this will allow an open space where ideas can bloom.” He added that the political will to support both the press sector and the rule of law must also exist, as well as laws to ensure open access to information and knowledge: and given the media professional’s characteristic adherence to ethical and professional standards is taken into account, all the pillars in support of freedom of expression are in place.

“A diversity of voices, as with other types of diversity, has been a hallmark of our times and this trend has been hastened by the globalized interaction of humanity,” Jinnai said. “We can confirm this by looking at the case for Cambodia, the country where all of us live. A brief glance around this Conference Hall reveals a congregation of people coming from different places, people from a range of backgrounds and each one of us blessed with the ability to formulate and live by a set of ideals. In this sense, the challenge is encouraging a media that responds to this diversity with a predisposition towards dialogue.”

He emphasized that the Cambodian media is truly free in comparison to other countries in the region. Still, he noted a climate of hesitation that seems to surround Cambodian journalists and media workers. He suggested that this was a result of their recognition of the existence of limited access to information.

“We must undertake the task of strengthening the security of the journalist on the World Press Freedom Day. We must continue to encourage the flow of information, and we must continue to uphold a media sector that will serve as a platform for dialogue; and we must continue to conduct this dialogue in the spirit of equity, understanding and reconciliation,” he said. “This will all tend towards the welfare of the society.”

He concluded by saying that key actors in the Cambodian media sector were participating in the conference, including representatives from the Cambodian government, foreign embassies, political parties, journalist associations, UN Agencies, NGOs, with an impressive turn-out from members of the civil society. This shows awareness of and attention given to press freedom, freedom of expression and access to information by the people of Cambodia.

According to the Ministry of Information report 2009, there are about 600 media organizations including 500 print media operations, 49 radio stations, 14 television stations and 93 cable television operators in Cambodia. ///

Heng Lyhorth On Course To Become IT Programmer

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

One of The University of Cambodia’s “Samdech Hun Sen-Handa National Scholarship 2007” students, Heng Lyhorth, 22, has provided an interview to The Cambodia Weekly on May 4. Mr. Heng Lyhorth was born in Saang district, Kandal Province on November 6, 1986. He comes from a sizeable family with three brothers and two sisters and he is the youngest in the family.

He now studies Information Technology (IT) at UC, having passed the university’s scholarship exams in 2007.

“I was overjoyed to pass the scholarship exams offered by the University of Cambodia,” he told The Cambodia Weekly. “If I did not pass the exam, I would probably not be able to study at UC because my parents cannot afford to send us all for further study at university level.”

Lyhorth said his brothers and sisters had graduated from high school in Saang district, but to date, he is the only member of the family to blaze a trail towards academic success and the increase in wages this brings. Lyhorth is well aware of his luck in being able to study for a fully accredited university qualification at the nation’s most outstanding university.

Lyhorth’s ambition and drive lead him naturally to the gates of UC. Not content with his 2007 Baccalaureate awarded by the Saang High School, he was overjoyed to hear about the “Samdech Hun Sen-Handa National Scholarships 2007”. He leapt the final hurdle of the entrance exam and then took his first steps on the road towards becoming an IT specialist.

“I had decided to apply for study with the Information Technology team at UC because the program they offer combines credibility and flexibility. An additional bonus for me is the fact that the language of tuition is English. This will prove to be a great advantage, given the international scope of IT. I want to be in the forefront of computer development and I want to be responsible for bringing these developments to Cambodia,” he said. “The University of Cambodia will provide me with all the skills, qualifications and experience necessary to turn my dream into a reality.”

Lyhorth stated that he feels his dream is in safe hands and that he admires the university’s instructors for their level of competence. Perhaps more importantly, he spoke of his instructors’ ability to motivate students through the careful selection of relevant and interesting course material. He noted that life in the lecture theatres of UC was academically challenging, but it was a challenge well worth rising to.

In the short term following graduation, Lyhorth looks forward to finding work in the IT field with private IT companies or NGOs. His contribution here will help his family find firm financial footing. Once he has achieved this laudable goal, he says he intends to return to UC and secure a postgraduate qualification in Information technology.

Pich Bunna, 23, a second-year law student at another university in Phnom Penh, and friend, spoke of Lyhorth’s ambition to succeed. He has known Lyhorth since 2006 and their time together at Saang High School.

He said that Lyhorth was an effective learner equipped with a fine work ethic. He also said that at school, Lyhorth was known for his friendly attitude, his willingness to help others and his honesty. Apart from this, he noted that Lyhorth was always placed within the ranks of the school’s top ten students.

“I think that I am very lucky to have a good friend like Lyhorth. I hope that he will realize his dreams and became a future IT; he will certainly be the sort of expert willing to share his knowledge with everybody for the benefit of the nation,” he said during a telephone interview with The Cambodia Weekly on May 4. ////

Cambodia Makes Security Provisions for ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Royal Government of Cambodia has taken measures to provide security for the duration of a two-day ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting, to be held over 27th to 28th May 2009. The meeting will take place at the Intercontinental Hotel, in Phnom Penh.

Khieu Sopheak, Spokesman of the Ministry of Health, said the Royal Government of Cambodia would take all necessary measures to ensure a safe, productive and restful environment wherein Ministers may discuss topics free from interference.

To guarantee security and safety the delegates, the Ministry of the Interior, in collaboration with the Phnom Penh Municipality will deploy thousands of armed operatives including members of the police, the military police, intelligence officers, anti-human trafficking personnel, anti-drug police and members of the fire service. They will be deployed around strategic parts of the city, said Sopheak.

“With all of these people and measures in place, we can guarantee a safe and trouble free meeting for these important international delegates during their stays in Cambodia,” he added.

Sopheak continued that the authorities have also prepared all necessary hardware to prevent disturbance from demonstrators or a terrorist attack.

“The ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting is a big event for Cambodia. Thus, as host country, Cambodia has a full responsibility in providing security and safety for the duration of the meeting for all foreign delegates,” he said during a telephone interview with The Cambodia Weekly May 8.

Brigadier General Touch Naruth, Chief of the Phnom Penh Police Commissariat, said that to guarantee security and safety for the ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh, his unit would deploy about 1,000 police throughout the city.

Naruth said the forces will work 24 hours a day during the meetings and will be deploying at all the important checkpoints in Phnom Penh. He said they would be ably supported by all intervention vehicles, in the unlikely event of an incident.

“We have already prepared our police forces for ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting,” Naruth said. “I think that with our strong spirit and hard work, in addition to our monitoring activities, we will have no problems providing security and safety for the foreign delegates and the meeting.” /////




Cambodia Celebrates Visakha Bochea Ceremony

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

About 50,000 Cambodians including Buddhist monks, nuns and laymen who proclaim Buddhism have attended celebrations for Visakha Bochea Day, May 8 at the Udong Mountain, known as “Phnom Addharus”. According to tradition, the Buddha’s ashes were located in Ponhear Leu district, in Kandal province.

Besides regular worshippers, senators, Members of the National Assembly and other government officials participated in this religious ceremony.

This annual ceremony is arranged by the National Committee for Organizing National and International Festivals (NCONIF) and is presided over by Samdech Heng Samrin, President of the National Assembly. The ceremony implores the Lord Buddha to provide grace and merit upon the faithful.

Chea Kean, Deputy General Director of NCONIF said that this year of Visakha Bochea marks the Buddhist calendar year 2553.

Chea Kean said that as over 90 percent of Cambodians are Buddhists, Visakha Bochea or Buddha Day is a very important day in the life of the nation.

The Deputy General Director pointed out that Visakha Bochea is celebrated to mark the Buddha’s birthday, to commemorate the Buddha’s enlightenment, and to mark the death of the Buddha, taken to have occurred during the first full moon day in May.

He said that given the importance of the day, the United Nations (UN) has recognized Visakha Bochea as an international holiday and celebrates this religious ceremony at UN Head Quarters every year.

Um Sok, Chief of the Kraing Thnong Pagoda, said that Visakha Bochea is very important for Cambodian people. Its main purpose is to encourage the people to be nicer to each other, to meditate and to adhere to the moral principles of Dharma, the source of the advice and teaching of the Buddha.

Um Sok said that the religious ceremony underpinned by good commitments, sincerity, solidarity, peace and morality for the people of Cambodia.

“I think that Visakha Bochea Day underlines the fact that the Buddha is the most enlightened and, in my opinion, the most important person in the world. Thus, as followers of Buddha, we should celebrate it and follow His advice and teaching,” he told The Cambodia Weekly during a personal interview on May 7.

He said for Buddhist monks, nuns or laymen who obeyed the Buddha’s advice and teaching, a world of real peace of mind awaited them.

He called on Cambodian people, especially youths to do good works, to avoid acts of violence, robbery, adultery and drug abuse so that they might teach others by example.

Hok Somaly, 56, a businessperson in Phnom Penh who attended the Visakha Bochea Day celebrations in Udong Mountain, said that she was happy to attend.

Somaly said that she has been participating for five years now.

“As a Buddhist, I think that Visakha Bochea Day is very important for me and my family. To mark the Lord Buddha’s grace and merit, I think my family and I will celebrate it for as long as we live,” she told the Cambodia Weekly. ////

Cambodia Celebrates Visakha Bochea Ceremony

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

About 50,000 Cambodians including Buddhist monks, nuns and laymen who proclaim Buddhism have attended celebrations for Visakha Bochea Day, May 8 at the Udong Mountain, known as “Phnom Addharus”. According to tradition, the Buddha’s ashes were located in Ponhear Leu district, in Kandal province.

Besides regular worshippers, senators, Members of the National Assembly and other government officials participated in this religious ceremony.

This annual ceremony is arranged by the National Committee for Organizing National and International Festivals (NCONIF) and is presided over by Samdech Heng Samrin, President of the National Assembly. The ceremony implores the Lord Buddha to provide grace and merit upon the faithful.

Chea Kean, Deputy General Director of NCONIF said that this year of Visakha Bochea marks the Buddhist calendar year 2553.

Chea Kean said that as over 90 percent of Cambodians are Buddhists, Visakha Bochea or Buddha Day is a very important day in the life of the nation.

The Deputy General Director pointed out that Visakha Bochea is celebrated to mark the Buddha’s birthday, to commemorate the Buddha’s enlightenment, and to mark the death of the Buddha, taken to have occurred during the first full moon day in May.

He said that given the importance of the day, the United Nations (UN) has recognized Visakha Bochea as an international holiday and celebrates this religious ceremony at UN Head Quarters every year.

Um Sok, Chief of the Kraing Thnong Pagoda, said that Visakha Bochea is very important for Cambodian people. Its main purpose is to encourage the people to be nicer to each other, to meditate and to adhere to the moral principles of Dharma, the source of the advice and teaching of the Buddha.

Um Sok said that the religious ceremony underpinned by good commitments, sincerity, solidarity, peace and morality for the people of Cambodia.

“I think that Visakha Bochea Day underlines the fact that the Buddha is the most enlightened and, in my opinion, the most important person in the world. Thus, as followers of Buddha, we should celebrate it and follow His advice and teaching,” he told The Cambodia Weekly during a personal interview on May 7.

He said for Buddhist monks, nuns or laymen who obeyed the Buddha’s advice and teaching, a world of real peace of mind awaited them.

He called on Cambodian people, especially youths to do good works, to avoid acts of violence, robbery, adultery and drug abuse so that they might teach others by example.

Hok Somaly, 56, a businessperson in Phnom Penh who attended the Visakha Bochea Day celebrations in Udong Mountain, said that she was happy to attend.

Somaly said that she has been participating for five years now.

“As a Buddhist, I think that Visakha Bochea Day is very important for me and my family. To mark the Lord Buddha’s grace and merit, I think my family and I will celebrate it for as long as we live,” she told the Cambodia Weekly. ////

Cambodian Gymnasts Win Bronze in First Asian Championship

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Twenty Six Japanese medical doctors from the Japanese Medical and Pharmaceutical Group (JMPG), led by Dr. Makoto Nishimoto, have provided free health check ups, general health education and dental treatment for pupils at the Bak Touk Primary School in Phnom Penh. This heartfelt gesture was made on May 4.

The health and dental checkups were arranged and coordinated by the Health Department in the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport, the Bak Touk Primary School authorities and JMPG medical team.

About 1,000 pupils of the Bak Touk Primary School from grade 2 to 6 befitted from the checkups.

Pen Saroeurn, Director of the Health Department in the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport, said the activities aimed at ensuring a healthy body as the residence of a healthy and well-educated mind. This is all the more important as these young scholars will go on to become the leaders of tomorrow.

He also said that the medical checkups would serve to increase and strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between the people of Cambodia and Japan.

“Good health is a key factor and a fundamental right for our people; measure such as this will encourage them to take more care of their health. Unfettered mobility, good eyesight, sharp hearing and healthy teeth are gifts to be looked after and cherished. Furthermore, each one of these senses and capacities support the student’s progress towards academic success,” Saroeurn said.

He continued, “The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has been working very hard in advancing the cause of student health and health education in general. We have advised all schools in provinces and cities across the Kingdom of Cambodia to highlight health awareness for children and older students”, said Saroeurn. “You will have a harder time achieving success if you are constantly distracted by a nagging tooth, or hobbled by the inability to see what the teacher is writing on the board.”

“You have to know how to take care for your own health and use that as a springboard to launch yourself towards the goal of higher understanding. Given this understanding, you will become strong pillars in support of the country in future,” he told the pupils during opening remarks made on May 4.

Dr. Makoto Nishimoto, President of the Japan Medical and Pharmaceutical Group, said that this marked for the sixth time his team has operated in Cambodia. He said that last year, his team worked with 1,000 pupils in Kampong Chhnang province.

“We are happy to hold health checkups and provide health education for the pupils of Cambodia,” Nishimoto said. “We decided to provide the service because we want establish a solid ground in health for these youngsters so that they may go on to become useful members of Cambodian society,” he told The Cambodia Weekly during an interview on May 4.

We will concentrate on dental hygiene, the eyes, ears, and the gastro-intestinal tract as these are the main areas of health concern for Cambodian children”.

“We hope that these activities will set the young Cambodian Scholar well on the way towards a pain-free life of service,” he added.

Yim Sopheng, Director of Bak Touk Primary School, spoke of his appreciation for the medical team’s mighty efforts. He confirmed the fact that their message had been well received and understood and that his pupils were viewing the matter of personal health in a new light.

Aware of the medical team’s selfless dedication to improving the quality of life for young learners, he requested more of the same for students elsewhere in the country.

Grade 6 student Ho Sophanna, 12, said he was grateful to the Japanese medical team for the checkups he received. He has a clean bill of health and advice about effective brushing and flossing.

He continued “I used to take my health for granted; not now though. Academic success is important to me as I have some plans for my future. I do not want these to be derailed by illness and the visit from the doctors has shown me how to avoid ill health,” he said.

Yim Sopheng said that since 2000, his primary school, working in partnership with the Unilever and Pepsodent Companies has paid special attention to dental hygiene, with 5 minutes set aside each school day before the start of class for proper tooth brushing. The result has been a noticeable decline in student trips to the dentist to have cavities filled.

According to report, there are 4,027 students including 1,985 female students studying at Phnom Penh’s Bak Touk High School. ///

Japan Provides Health Check Ups for Cambodian Pupils

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Twenty Six Japanese medical doctors from the Japanese Medical and Pharmaceutical Group (JMPG), led by Dr. Makoto Nishimoto, have provided free health check ups, general health education and dental treatment for pupils at the Bak Touk Primary School in Phnom Penh. This heartfelt gesture was made on May 4.

The health and dental checkups were arranged and coordinated by the Health Department in the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport, the Bak Touk Primary School authorities and JMPG medical team.

About 1,000 pupils of the Bak Touk Primary School from grade 2 to 6 befitted from the checkups.

Pen Saroeurn, Director of the Health Department in the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport, said the activities aimed at ensuring a healthy body as the residence of a healthy and well-educated mind. This is all the more important as these young scholars will go on to become the leaders of tomorrow.

He also said that the medical checkups would serve to increase and strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between the people of Cambodia and Japan.

“Good health is a key factor and a fundamental right for our people; measure such as this will encourage them to take more care of their health. Unfettered mobility, good eyesight, sharp hearing and healthy teeth are gifts to be looked after and cherished. Furthermore, each one of these senses and capacities support the student’s progress towards academic success,” Saroeurn said.

He continued, “The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has been working very hard in advancing the cause of student health and health education in general. We have advised all schools in provinces and cities across the Kingdom of Cambodia to highlight health awareness for children and older students”, said Saroeurn. “You will have a harder time achieving success if you are constantly distracted by a nagging tooth, or hobbled by the inability to see what the teacher is writing on the board.”

“You have to know how to take care for your own health and use that as a springboard to launch yourself towards the goal of higher understanding. Given this understanding, you will become strong pillars in support of the country in future,” he told the pupils during opening remarks made on May 4.

Dr. Makoto Nishimoto, President of the Japan Medical and Pharmaceutical Group, said that this marked for the sixth time his team has operated in Cambodia. He said that last year, his team worked with 1,000 pupils in Kampong Chhnang province.

“We are happy to hold health checkups and provide health education for the pupils of Cambodia,” Nishimoto said. “We decided to provide the service because we want establish a solid ground in health for these youngsters so that they may go on to become useful members of Cambodian society,” he told The Cambodia Weekly during an interview on May 4.

We will concentrate on dental hygiene, the eyes, ears, and the gastro-intestinal tract as these are the main areas of health concern for Cambodian children”.

“We hope that these activities will set the young Cambodian Scholar well on the way towards a pain-free life of service,” he added.

Yim Sopheng, Director of Bak Touk Primary School, spoke of his appreciation for the medical team’s mighty efforts. He confirmed the fact that their message had been well received and understood and that his pupils were viewing the matter of personal health in a new light.

Aware of the medical team’s selfless dedication to improving the quality of life for young learners, he requested more of the same for students elsewhere in the country.

Grade 6 student Ho Sophanna, 12, said he was grateful to the Japanese medical team for the checkups he received. He has a clean bill of health and advice about effective brushing and flossing.

He continued “I used to take my health for granted; not now though. Academic success is important to me as I have some plans for my future. I do not want these to be derailed by illness and the visit from the doctors has shown me how to avoid ill health,” he said.

Yim Sopheng said that since 2000, his primary school, working in partnership with the Unilever and Pepsodent Companies has paid special attention to dental hygiene, with 5 minutes set aside each school day before the start of class for proper tooth brushing. The result has been a noticeable decline in student trips to the dentist to have cavities filled.

According to report, there are 4,027 students including 1,985 female students studying at Phnom Penh’s Bak Touk High School. ///