Monday, June 29, 2009

Taing Kimhong, Young Cambodian Table Tennis Champion

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Oknha Rat Sokhorn, Advisor to the National Assembly President Samdech Heng Samrin and President of the Cambodian Table Tennis Federation (CTTF), said that Cambodia has over 20 capable table tennis players. He revealed these figures at interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly on June 25.

Sokhorn, who is the former national table tennis champion from 1981 to 1987, said that one of the best table tennis players is Taing Kimhong, 21, who is the only player to win consistently at national table tennis championships from 2006 to 2009. He has been attended many competitions, both local and international; he won a bronze medal in international competition in 2007.

“I am proud of Taing Kimhong and I believe that he will continue to train hard and represent Cambodia at international level in the future.”

The President said that to improve Kimhong’s table tennis skills, he has used his own money last year to send Taing Kimhong for training in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He said that he also planed to send him for the further table tennis training in China or Vietnam in the future.

The CTTF plans to send Taing Kimhong to the Nanning International Table Tennis Invitational Tournament, which will take place at the end of October 2009 in China. He will also participate in the 25th SEA Games in Vientiane, Laos, at the end of December this year, according to Sokhorn.

“Taing Kimhong is the only capable player for Cambodia. I hope that with his training, patience, talent and experience, he will win a medal from one or both of these international tournaments. To prepare for the competition, I will use my own money to support him for training at the overseas,” Sokhorn said.

Kimhong was born in Phnom Penh in 1988. He has an older brother and sister. His father and mother are teachers and they are now teaching Khmer and Chinese Literature at a Chinese private school in Phnom Penh.

Kimhong studied at the Bak Touk High School in Phnom Penh and earned a Baccalaureate in 2007. He is now studying Engineering with the Institute of Technology in Cambodia (ITC) in Phnom Penh. He started playing table tennis with Sokhorn in 2003 to improve his health.

“I have played table tennis since I was 15 years old. It has always been my dream to be a top ten player, represent my nation and become the national champion,” Kimhong told The Southeast Asia during an interview on June 25.

To prepare for future international tournaments, Kimhong said that he is training four hours per day. He added that Oknha Rat Sokhorn trained him and other veteran coaches at the CTTF located in the National Olympic Stadium, Phnom Penh.

Kimhong continued to say that with coaching from Oknha Rat Sokhorn and his own desire to win, another medal should be brought home to Cambodia soon.

“I am happy as my dreams have come true and I am able to represent my country. I will do my best in competition with foreign players for the glory of my country,” Kimhong said.

.///

South Korea-Cambodia New Village Movement Expo

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The S. Korea-Cambodia New Village Movement has organized an Exhibition over three days from 22nd to 24th June at the Chenla Hall Theatre in Phnom Penh. More than 100 images illustrating the results of war between the North and South, including heart-wrenching photos of killings, executions, hunger and destruction were set in contrast to images of development.

The New Village Movement Exhibition was organized by the Korean Language Center in Cambodia and supported by the Phnom Penh Municipality.

Lee Kung Su, Korean Ambassador to Cambodia, said that this was the first such event to be held in Cambodia and it documented achievements of the people of Korea over 60 years.

After the war, South Korea became one of the poorest countries in the world and its situation at that time was worse than that of Cambodia in 1979, according to Lee Kung Su’s opening remarks.

However, due to hard work, a sense of direction and commitment to rehabilitation, all South Korean people woke up and worked hard together to develop their country. As a result, the Republic of Korea became one of the most developed countries in the world, said Lee Kung Su.

“I hope that this event will encourage the Royal Government and the people of Cambodia to learn from the Korean experience,” he said.

Pa Socheatevong, Deputy Governor of Phnom Penh Municipality, spoke of his appreciation for the New Village Movement’s presentation. He said the event reflected the difficulties the South Korean people had to confront in restoring and rebuilding their country, to the point where it became a global economic powerhouse.

Socheatevong continued, “These pictures are illuminating and provide an accurate chronicle of the years of construction, development and progress. Cambodia looks forward to traveling along the same path and learning from the South Korean experience.”

The Deputy Governor recalled that during the Khmer Rouge regime, the intelligentsia - the experts, the teachers the skilled people - they were all killed. After victory day, January 7, 1979, Cambodia faced a shortage of human resources, leading to a slow pace in reconstruction. Socheatevong recalled that his government was forced to adopt the “empty-handed policy”, gathering the remaining people some educational background; they worked on the principle "those who know more teach those who know less and those who know less teach those who have no knowledge."

Over time and under the leadership of Samdech Techo Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of Cambodia, this policy started to bring about development and success, said Socheatevong.

“I believe that Cambodia will become a highly developed and prosperous nation in the region,” he said.

To reach this objective, Socheatevong said his government works hard to develop the country through the various National Strategic Development Plans, the Rectangular Strategy and other Strategic Development Plans and initiatives. ////



South Korea-Cambodia New Village Movement Expo

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The S. Korea-Cambodia New Village Movement has organized an Exhibition over three days from 22nd to 24th June at the Chenla Hall Theatre in Phnom Penh. More than 100 images illustrating the results of war between the North and South, including heart-wrenching photos of killings, executions, hunger and destruction were set in contrast to images of development.

The New Village Movement Exhibition was organized by the Korean Language Center in Cambodia and supported by the Phnom Penh Municipality.

Lee Kung Su, Korean Ambassador to Cambodia, said that this was the first such event to be held in Cambodia and it documented achievements of the people of Korea over 60 years.

After the war, South Korea became one of the poorest countries in the world and its situation at that time was worse than that of Cambodia in 1979, according to Lee Kung Su’s opening remarks.

However, due to hard work, a sense of direction and commitment to rehabilitation, all South Korean people woke up and worked hard together to develop their country. As a result, the Republic of Korea became one of the most developed countries in the world, said Lee Kung Su.

“I hope that this event will encourage the Royal Government and the people of Cambodia to learn from the Korean experience,” he said.

Pa Socheatevong, Deputy Governor of Phnom Penh Municipality, spoke of his appreciation for the New Village Movement’s presentation. He said the event reflected the difficulties the South Korean people had to confront in restoring and rebuilding their country, to the point where it became a global economic powerhouse.

Socheatevong continued, “These pictures are illuminating and provide an accurate chronicle of the years of construction, development and progress. Cambodia looks forward to traveling along the same path and learning from the South Korean experience.”

The Deputy Governor recalled that during the Khmer Rouge regime, the intelligentsia - the experts, the teachers the skilled people - they were all killed. After victory day, January 7, 1979, Cambodia faced a shortage of human resources, leading to a slow pace in reconstruction. Socheatevong recalled that his government was forced to adopt the “empty-handed policy”, gathering the remaining people some educational background; they worked on the principle "those who know more teach those who know less and those who know less teach those who have no knowledge."

Over time and under the leadership of Samdech Techo Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of Cambodia, this policy started to bring about development and success, said Socheatevong.

“I believe that Cambodia will become a highly developed and prosperous nation in the region,” he said.

To reach this objective, Socheatevong said his government works hard to develop the country through the various National Strategic Development Plans, the Rectangular Strategy and other Strategic Development Plans and initiatives. ////

South Korea-Cambodia New Village Movement Expo

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The S. Korea-Cambodia New Village Movement has organized an Exhibition over three days from 22nd to 24th June at the Chenla Hall Theatre in Phnom Penh. More than 100 images illustrating the results of war between the North and South, including heart-wrenching photos of killings, executions, hunger and destruction were set in contrast to images of development.

The New Village Movement Exhibition was organized by the Korean Language Center in Cambodia and supported by the Phnom Penh Municipality.

Lee Kung Su, Korean Ambassador to Cambodia, said that this was the first such event to be held in Cambodia and it documented achievements of the people of Korea over 60 years.

After the war, South Korea became one of the poorest countries in the world and its situation at that time was worse than that of Cambodia in 1979, according to Lee Kung Su’s opening remarks.

However, due to hard work, a sense of direction and commitment to rehabilitation, all South Korean people woke up and worked hard together to develop their country. As a result, the Republic of Korea became one of the most developed countries in the world, said Lee Kung Su.

“I hope that this event will encourage the Royal Government and the people of Cambodia to learn from the Korean experience,” he said.

Pa Socheatevong, Deputy Governor of Phnom Penh Municipality, spoke of his appreciation for the New Village Movement’s presentation. He said the event reflected the difficulties the South Korean people had to confront in restoring and rebuilding their country, to the point where it became a global economic powerhouse.

Socheatevong continued, “These pictures are illuminating and provide an accurate chronicle of the years of construction, development and progress. Cambodia looks forward to traveling along the same path and learning from the South Korean experience.”

The Deputy Governor recalled that during the Khmer Rouge regime, the intelligentsia - the experts, the teachers the skilled people - they were all killed. After victory day, January 7, 1979, Cambodia faced a shortage of human resources, leading to a slow pace in reconstruction. Socheatevong recalled that his government was forced to adopt the “empty-handed policy”, gathering the remaining people some educational background; they worked on the principle "those who know more teach those who know less and those who know less teach those who have no knowledge."

Over time and under the leadership of Samdech Techo Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of Cambodia, this policy started to bring about development and success, said Socheatevong.

“I believe that Cambodia will become a highly developed and prosperous nation in the region,” he said.

To reach this objective, Socheatevong said his government works hard to develop the country through the various National Strategic Development Plans, the Rectangular Strategy and other Strategic Development Plans and initiatives. ////



Sunday, June 21, 2009

First Cambodia Gems and Jewelry Fair held in Phnom Penh

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The first Cambodian Gems and Jewelry Fair was conducted over four days from June 18 to 21 at the Inter-Continental Hotel. Over 30 jewelry companies occupied about 100 booths, with representatives from Cambodia, China and Thailand attending.

The gems and jewelry fair was organized by the Ministry of Commerce to promote the Cambodian jewelry industry on both local and international markets.

Tep Bopha Prasidh, wife of Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, said that the Ministry of Commerce has a broad vision in promoting Cambodian trade and this luxury event formed part of that vision.

“Cambodia is a golden land with numerous treasures in many areas such as Pailin, Takeo, Rattanakiri and Kampong Thom. Moreover, Cambodian or “Khmer” jewelry has a long history, dating back to the early Angkor era. Unfortunately, the Khmer Rouge regime devastated our golden land, causing collapse of the gems and jewelry trade, resulting in the loss of reputation,” she said during her opening remarks.

Bopha pointed out that today, almost all sectors in Cambodia have enjoyed steady growth under the administration of the Royal Government of Cambodia, led by Prime Minister Hun Sen. The Ministry of Commerce initiated the trade fair to reenergize the Cambodian gems and jewelry sector and raise its profile on local and international markets.

She concluded, “I hope this annual jewelry fair will help the jewelry sector flourish.”

Mao Thora, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Commerce, said that in 1960s there were plentiful supplies of gems, gold, minerals and other natural resources in Cambodia.

The Secretary of State said that however, due to the civil war and illegal mining activities over two decades, these resources were now almost completely exhausted.

Nevertheless, the Ministry of Commerce has encouraged local jewelers to promote their goods in countries such as Thailand, China and India, said Thora, speaking to reporters at the exhibition.

He added that through the attendances of gems and jewelry fairs abroad, Cambodia gems have been recognized as one of the best gems quality in the world.

“I hope”, he said “that this annual jewelry festival will help us find international markets for our jewelers in future.”

Tay Heab, Director of the Pailin Gems Company based in Pailin province attended the gems and jewelry fair. He came equipped with 15 different categories of gems for display at the exhibition.

Heap said that all the gems were collected by his Pailin company and prices ranged from US$ 300 to US$ 20,000 per karat.

“It is the first time that my company has attended such an industry fair. I hope that through this event, I will find business partners to help me export my products abroad,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly.

Por Veasna, General Manager of Angkor Thom Thmei Co., Ltd, another firm of jewelers was also at the fair. Her company has over 10 different kinds of gems for display at the Phnom Penh exhibition.

She said that the gems were bought from Takeo, Pursat, Rattanakiri and Mondulkiri provinces and that the jewelry had been imported from Belgium and Russia.

She added that her gems could fetch anywhere between US$ 1,000 to US$ 50,000 per karat, whilst the jewelry could be bought for as little as US$ 100 per item, all the way up to US$ 20,000. ///

Government Waits For Compensation for Damage To Temple

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Royal Government of Cambodia has been waiting for compensation for damage to the Preah Vihear temple caused during recent clashes by Thai troops. They are charged with burning down a market in front of the 900-year-old temple on April 3, 2009.

Hor Namhong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said that the Government still considers the demand for compensation from the Thai government to be in effect and the government is now waiting for it.

The Deputy Prime Minister said his government will not withdraw its demand for damage caused by Thai soldiers, event though the Thai side has currently returned seven ancient statues to Cambodia during an official visit of Her Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

“The Royal Government still demands the Thai side takes full responsibility for damage caused by Thai soldiers and to compensate Cambodian families who have lost their entire livelihood at the Preah Vihear Temple,” he told reporters after a signing ceremony of exchange of note on the extension of grant aid in Phnom Penh on June 15.

The Deputy Prime Minister continued to say that his government is waiting for the Thai government to conduct and complete investigations first.

“I think after the Thai investigation is completed, the issue will be raised again,” he said.

Phay Siphan, Spokesman and Secretary of State for the Council of Ministers, said that at the time, the Thai Commander-In-Chief recognized the damage caused by his soldiers.

The spokesperson said the Thai Government has now started investigating the extent of the damage to the ancient temple following receipt on May 11, 2009 of a diplomatic note from Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, demanding compensation.

“Cambodia and Thailand are neighboring countries and we are also the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Therefore, I think that the Thai side will not deny the compensation demands for damage caused to Preah Vihear temple,” he said during a personal interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly on June 17.

Bun Sokuntheara, Operations Manager for Central Express Tours, said that in 2001, there was a demonstration outside the Thai Embassy and Thai businesses in Phnom Penh following statements from a Thai film star claiming that Angkor Wat belonged to Thailand. The Cambodian government had to pay over US$50 million damages caused to the embassy and businesses.

“Given this fact, I strongly support the Cambodia Government’s demands for compensation. The Thai government has to take full responsibility for damage and must pay for the losses,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly on June 17.

In the April incident, damage was caused to the Preah Vihear temple and a market with 264 stands was completed destroyed, causing great hardship and misery to 319 Cambodian families who have lost their entire livelihood.

The diplomatic note mentioned that the losses incurred by these families with amounts to US$2,150,500. The Cambodian Government demands that the Thai Government takes full responsibility for this damage caused by Thai soldiers.///




Ouk Daroath Describes His Wishes and Experience

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

One of The University of Cambodia’s “Samdech Hun Sen-Handa National Scholarships 2008” students, Ouk Daroath, 27, is working towards a qualification in Information Technology (IT) with The University of Cambodia (UC). Daroath revealed his plans while providing an interview to The Southeast Asia Weekly on June 15.

Ouk Daroath has three brothers and three sisters, he being the youngest in the family. He comes from a farming background, his parents cultivating land around Koh Veng village, Boeung Sala Khang Tbong commune in Kampong Trach district, Kampot province.

“I became a Buddhist monk in 1999, as I wanted to study the teachings of Buddha, Dharma, and general education. I believed and still do that this would be the best way for me to promote the Buddhist religion, social morality and peace in Cambodia,” he said. “I passed the scholarship exams offered by UC in 2008 and I am certain that an IT qualification from this source will help me advance these ideals.”

Daroath stayed at Samrong pagoda in Sihanouk province and in 2002, he moved to Chum Kriel Pagoda, located in Kampot province. There he studied at Chum Kriel High School. He earned his Baccalaureate in 2008 and then applied to study IT at UC. This was made possible by the introduction of the Samdech Techo Hun Sen “Vision 100”scholarship and “Samdech Hun Sen-Handa National Scholarship” in 2008.

“I am happy as I passed the UC scholarship exams. I think that if I had failed them, I would probably not be able to study with UC - the most prestigious university in Cambodia,” Daroath said.

In Daroath’s opinion, the best way to thank the owners of scholarship, especially Samdech Hun Sen, Dr. Handa and Dr Kao, will be to make a successful course of study. He also wishes to take the study of IT as far as he can, with a Master’s degree in the subject, studies at UC, forming part of his plans.

Daroath decided to apply to study IT at The University of Cambodia because of the excellent reputation the University has acquired over a short period. She is known for her fully qualified lecturers, well-equipped classrooms and modern, relevant Curricular.

“I note there are few home-grown IT programmers working for Cambodian organizations. I decided to study Information Technology because I wanted to become an expert in future. I also sense this will be a vibrant sector of the economy once it picks up again with plenty of jobs for properly qualified applicants,” he said.

He is now looking for volunteer or part-time work with national and international Non-Governmental Organizations. He said he wanted work experience to learn about working and other office skills and to gain useful experience prior to graduation.

Nao Sovann, 30, student at the Suramrith Buddhist High School in Phnom Penh, and close friend to Ouk Daroath, said he appreciated Daroath’s capacity for hard work.

Sovann, a Buddhist monk, said that he got to know Ouk Daroath when he was studying with him at Chum Kiel High School in Kampot province in 2002. He said that Daroath was a hard worker and was one of the most outstanding students in his class.

He continued to say that during his study with Daroath in high school, Daroath gained a reputation as both a Khmer Literature expert and Electrician.

“It is my pleasure and honor to have a good friend like Daroath, and I hope with his study and hard work, he will become an IT expert,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly by telephone on June 16. “I hope that he will realize his dreams as he deserves all success in life.”

Cambodian Journalists Build Capacity in Professionalism and Ethnics

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

About 100 journalists from different newspaper organizations, magazines, and radio and television stations have attended the National Conference on Cambodian Media under the theme “Promotion of Professionalism and Ethnics” on June 17 in Phnom Penh. The training was conducted by the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) and the Press Council of Cambodia (PCC) and was funded by the European Community (EU).

Thach Phen, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Information, said that the conference was in accordance with the demands for freedom of expression and of the press. These ideals are under constant challenge in any nation and Cambodia is no exception. Therefore, they need to be monitored, as does the implementation of Press Laws and Ethnics.

The Secretary of State said that the main challenge for journalists was cooperating to ensure the “Promotion of Professionalism and Ethnics”. This will be advanced through the understanding of the “Rights and Responsibilities of Journalists”. They will then be in a position to help the Royal Government of Cambodia promote good governance, democracy and the Rule of Law.

“The Royal Government of Cambodia recognizes the important role of newspapers, the radio and television – all of them tools in providing accurate and professional information. They have a positive role to play in every social activity and towards the development of Cambodia,” he said during his opening speech.

He said the Cambodian government recognizes all achievements in all sectors, especially those encouraging democracy, freedom and sincerity. He said these qualities should always guide the progress of the media sector.

He added that to promote the media in Cambodia, the government would respect the role it has to play and continue to encourage harder work from the sector.

Om Chandara, President of the Press Council of Cambodia, said that the nation’s media was entirely free. However, he referred to allegations of threats to some journalists attempting to write stories about high-ranking officials and social stability. Nevertheless, the cause of freedom of the media remained broad when compared to the media in other countries in the region.

Recently, 8 local journalists were charged with spreading misinformation, defamation and stirring up trouble, according to the Ministry of Information.

To improve media objectivity, the president called on all reporters to follow the Press Laws and Code of Ethnics to ensure the spread of accurate information.

He also appealed to the Government to cease detaining journalists unless there was clear evidence of libel, disinformation or a threat to security.

Teruo Jinnai, UNESCO Representative in Cambodia, said that recent years have seen continued progress in media freedoms, but there was still work to be done with respect for ethics and the law. He said that some journalists had never been taught the code and that occasionally, there was disparity between the theory taught in media classes and the reality on the street.

“All journalists should receive training in ethnics. We must also undertake the task of ensuring the security of the journalist, encouraging the flow of information, and upholding a media sector that will serve as a platform for dialogue, conducted in the spirit of equity, understanding and reconciliation. This all will all tend towards the welfare of society,” he said.

He concluded that Cambodia could rely on UNESCO to work hard in support of these ideals.

Kheng Sophall, Editor-in-Chief of the Khmer Apsara Magazine said that he was happy to attend the training.

“This is the first time for me to attend a workshop on journalistic ethics. Although it lasted only half a day, I enjoyed the experience and learned a lot. To avoid problems in future, will follow the Press Laws and Code of Ethics,” he told the Southeast Asia Weekly.


The Mekong Dolphins are Danger

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The World Wide Fund for Nature, also known as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced that Pollution in the Mekong River has pushed the local population of Irrawaddy dolphins to the brink of extinction.

The Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) population inhabits a 190km stretch of the Mekong River between Cambodia and Lao PDR. Since 2003, the population has suffered 88 deaths over 60 percent of which were calves under two weeks old. The population is now estimated to stand somewhere between 64 and 76 members.

“Necropsy analysis identified a bacterial disease as the cause of the calf deaths. This disease would not be fatal unless the dolphin’s immune systems were suppressed, as they were in these cases, by environmental contaminants,” said Dr. VernĂ© Dove, report author and veterinarian with WWF Cambodia.

Dr. Dove said that researchers found toxic levels of pesticides such as DDT and environmental contaminants such as PCBs during analysis of the dead dolphin calves. These pollutants may also pose a health risk to human populations living along the Mekong that consume the same fish and water as the dolphins.

“These pollutants are widely distributed in the environment and so the source of this pollution may involve several countries through which the Mekong River flows. WWF Cambodia is currently investigating the source of the environmental contaminants,” he said.

He pointed out that high levels of mercury were also found in some of the dead dolphins. Mercury, suspected to be from gold mining activities, directly affects the immune system making the animals more susceptible to infectious disease.

“A trans-boundary preventative health programme is urgently needed to manage the disease affected animals in order to reduce the number of deaths each year,” said Seng Teak, Country Director of WWF Cambodia.

He also said that limited genetic diversity due to inbreeding was another factor in the dolphin deaths.

“The Mekong River dolphins are isolated from other members of their species and they need our help. Science has shown that if the habitat of cetaceans is protected then populations can show remarkable resilience,” said Teak.

Phay Somany of the Office of Fisheries Administration in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said that according to investigation and report, a dozen of the old dolphins died every year.

Somany said that the old dolphins were killed by anglers’ nets and diseases caused by chemical contaminants. Inbreeding depression also left them susceptible to the Aeromonas Hydrophila bacteria.

“Now the situation for the Mekong dolphins in Cambodia is getting worse. I am afraid that if we do not take immediate measures to protect them, they will disappear from our waters forever. I think that would be a great shame for our nation,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during a telephone interview on June 19.

To protect the dolphins, Somany said that his ministry has been executing law enforcement measures to combat illegal fishing activities. There are also regular patrols along the entire stretch of river know to be inhabited by the aquatic mammals.

He added that his ministry also prohibited fishing nets where the dolphins live and encourage locals to release the animals should they be caught up in old nets.

The Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphin has been listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It has been included on this list since 2004, according WWF Cambodia. ////

WWF uses Cameras and Dogs to Search for Tigers in Cambodia

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The World Wide Fund for Nature also known as World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will set up more camera traps and use tracker dogs to search for tigers in Mondulkiri province. This will help assess the size of the population and prevent its slaughter by traders in exotic medicines. Tep Asnarith, WWF Senior Communication Officer, said his organization plans to introduce further camera traps and extend the use of trained dogs throughout Mondulkiri province.

Asnarith said that the objective of the camera traps was to record the tigers and other endangered wild animals living in the Eastern Plains Landscape of Mondulkiri province.

“Camera traps and trained dogs are useful tools in researching and monitoring endangered wild animals in Cambodia. They can help us get our work done successfully,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during an interview on June 19.

Since November 2008, WWF has set up 200 camera traps in Mondulkiri province, said Asnarith, adding that over the next few months, the organization will use two trained dogs imported from the U.S. to begin scouring the undergrowth and sniffing for tigers’ scent.

The tiger population is estimated to be between 10 to 25 animals in the Eastern Plains Landscape of Mondulkiri, according to the latest camera trap work on tigers conducted in 2007.

Asnarith noted that his organization has been operating in Cambodia since 2002. The Organization works in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Environment. Their aim is to conserve forests, species, freshwater lakes and overall biodiversity in Mondulkiri, Kratie and Steung Treng provinces.

To preserve the tigers as well as other endangered animals in Cambodia, Asnarith said that WWF will continue to conduct law enforcement and regular patrol activities throughout the landscapes. Infrastructure including ranger posts and upgraded roads are also part of the eastern plains landscape management plan.

He added that the WWF project team would continue to conduct wildlife research to understand their presence and movements across the dry forests landscapes in Cambodia.

Chum Vibol, a Community Officer living in a protected area of Phnom Prech in Modullkiri province, said that according to his notes, in the 1970s, there were about 5,000 tigers living in Mondulkiri province.

Vibol said that since then, civil war, deforestation and illegal hunting activities have all but destroyed populations of endangered animals. However, due to work carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Ministry of Environment and other international organizations, the number of tigers, elephants and other endangered wild animals have started to rise.
“I am happy to see the tigers, elephants and other endangered animals and birds re-appearing and thriving in Modulkiri province. I hope that the presence of these wild animals will attract tourists to visit my community; they will bring income for my people, too,” he told the Southeast Asia Weekly during a telephone interview

Cambodia Sends Players to Southeast Asian Table Tennis Competition

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Six Cambodian table tennis players including four male and two female players have attended the 15th Southeast Asia Junior Table Tennis Championship. The competition will take place over five days from June 18 to 22, 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand. The competition is organized by the Southeast Asian Table Tennis Association (SEATTA), according to representatives of the Cambodian Table Tennis Federation (CTTF).

Okha Rat Sokhorn, Advisor to the National Assembly President and President of the CTTF, said the Cambodian delegation would be joined by over ten other countries with membership of SEATTA.

Okha Sokhorn has much experience of the game. He too represented his nation in the sport from 1981 to 1987. He said that the main purpose of the competition was to demonstrate the skill of the national team and hopefully come away some medals. In addition to this, the President said that objectives included the strengthening of regional ties through sport and the promotion of table tennis in general.

“This is the fifteenth outing to the Southeast Asia Junior Table Tennis Championship for our national table tennis team. We are all looking forward to a bit of tennis action and some warm Thai hospitality. We are also thrilled at the prospect of international level competition, as this will throw the spotlight of publicity firmly in our direction. Of course, we hope to win some medals for the honor of our country. The competitors will also improve their game, exchange techniques with other players and gain valuable experience,” he said during a personal interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly on June 16.

The President pointed out that since 1995, the CTTF has been active in sending its players to international competitions, including the Southeast Asian Games. Unfortunately, there have been no medals yet due to a lack of training and equipment. However, the President hopes to redress the imbalance in this year’s tournament.

He continued that in 2007, CTTF sent a table tennis team to attend an international competition in China. Out of 42 countries participating, the Cambodian team was ranked sixteenth. In 2008, there were tournaments in Indonesia, though again, no medals.

He added that the reason why the national team was not able to win medals was that some participating countries hired the best players from other nations to represent them, as well as the lack of training and equipment cited earlier.

“Although our team lacks refinement, I believe that with hard work, training and patience and financial support from the Federation, they will able to win medals in future,” he said. With this in mind’, he continued, “I will use my own money to send young, talented players for training in Vietnam and China at some point in the future”.

He added that the Federation also planed to establish the Cambodian International Table Tennis Training Center by 2010. There are also plans to invite veteran foreign table tennis players from Korean, China or Vietnam to train Cambodian players.

Sun Sothearith, General Secretary of the CTTF, said that besides attending the 15th competition in Thailand, there are plans to send the national team to the Nanning International Table Tennis Invitational Tournament. This will occur during the China-ASEAN Expo 2009 from June 24 to 25 in China. The team will also visit the 25th SEA Games in Vientiane, Laos.

Sothearith said that the CTTF also plans to host the 16th Southeast Asia Junior Table Tennis Championship in mid-June 2010. Ten countries will participate in this tournament.

The General Secretary said that to select the best players for competitions, the CTTF plans to organize a nationwide wide table tennis competition over five days in August 2009 at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh.

According to the CTTF, the national team consists of six national players. There are also 15 table tennis clubs and associations with over 100 members.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Veteran Painter You Khin Describes His Experience

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

You Khin, 66, veteran professional painter will display his works amongst those of other artists at the French Cultural Centre (FCC) in Phnom Penh. The exhibition will raise the profile of women’s issues and rights. Khin was born in 1947 in Kampong Cham Province and he now has three sons and one daughter.

“I loved to draw pictures when I was a child. I never gave up, until now I have reached the point where my works are on display at the FCC. This is my first exhibition since my return to Cambodia in 2004,” he said during an interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly.

He said his uncle who painted Buddhist scenes for temples was the first to inspire him. He later went to the National School of Fine Arts, moving on to study at the University of Fine Arts, where he graduated with a degree in Interior Architecture in 1973.

In 1974, he was awarded a French scholarship on merit, enabling him to continue his study in Paris. Architectural work in Sudan and the Ivory Coast followed. He ended his career in Qatar before enjoying semi-retirement in London.

You Khin said that parallel to his work as an architect, he painted continually, shaping his own technique and expression. His experience of culture shock in Sudan helped create this unique style.

“I have painted scenes of people mixed with birds as symbol for freedom. Where you see a bird in one of my pictures, that represents me,” he said.
In 1981, when Khin moved to Qatar in the Middle East, freedom was his chosen theme once again. Locks and chains have replaced the birds. In 1999, during his time in London, he started to use strings applied to the canvas as a symbol of bonding and togetherness, inspired by the Sanskrit word “Sutra”. His paintings focus on people of all races, especially women, their conditions and aspirations.

“After I returned to Cambodia in 2004, I started to design sculptures and then returned to painting,” he said. “After more than 30 years of international experience, June 12, 2009 marks the date of my first Cambodian exhibition.”

Khin emphasized that the 30 years have shaped his inspiration; his works have become darker and conceptual; women of different cultures and different continents have been a central theme; this is expressed through surrealism and conceptual use of colours, with strong brush strokes pregnant with expression and meaning, sometimes reminiscent of Van Gogh’s.

“To appreciate my art,” he said, “you have to look deeply at the work and interrogate it. The answers you receive may well come to you in the silence of contemplation, but you will receive an answer from your heart, generated by the stimulus provided by the eye.”

With his work, the veteran painter will try to describe his dream of a better world, a world without oppression where people come together regardless of their cultures or backgrounds.
To promote traditional Cambodian culture and arts, as well as women’s rights, You Khin said that he would continue painting until the end. He also said he was willing to share his knowledge freely to those who wish to learn from him. He added that he has created over 300 portraits so far, most of them depicting women’s activities over the world.

Alain Arnudet, FCC Director, said that You Khin has a lot of experience in painting pictures and he is willing to share this with the younger generation. He added that Khin has also opened an art school with the help of his wife.

Alain said that FCC invited You Khin to the exhibition because his pictures focussed on his relationship with the women of the world and attempted to capture their feelings, doubts and desires.

“I am so proud of You Khin’s works and his experience. His knowledge should be of supreme interest to students at the Royal University of Fine Art in Cambodia,” Alain told The Southeast Asia Weekly.

The Director said that he had been seduced by the amazing quality of Khin’s works, as well as the artist’s kindness and humanity. He thought that Khin could be a good reference for young Cambodian painters in the future. He said that the combination of lessons learned at the “L’Ecole de Paris” had received a leavening of Cubism and Arte Opera. The results, he said, were an interesting lesson in Art History. ///

Veteran Painter You Khin Describes His Experience

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

You Khin, 66, veteran professional painter will display his works amongst those of other artists at the French Cultural Centre (FCC) in Phnom Penh. The exhibition will raise the profile of women’s issues and rights. Khin was born in 1947 in Kampong Cham Province and he now has three sons and one daughter.

“I loved to draw pictures when I was a child. I never gave up, until now I have reached the point where my works are on display at the FCC. This is my first exhibition since my return to Cambodia in 2004,” he said during an interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly.

He said his uncle who painted Buddhist scenes for temples was the first to inspire him. He later went to the National School of Fine Arts, moving on to study at the University of Fine Arts, where he graduated with a degree in Interior Architecture in 1973.
In 1974, he was awarded a French scholarship on merit, enabling him to continue his study in Paris. Architectural work in Sudan and the Ivory Coast followed. He ended his career in Qatar before enjoying semi-retirement in London.

You Khin said that parallel to his work as an architect, he painted continually, shaping his own technique and expression. His experience of culture shock in Sudan helped create this unique style.
“I have painted scenes of people mixed with birds as symbol for freedom. Where you see a bird in one of my pictures, that represents me,” he said.

In 1981, when Khin moved to Qatar in the Middle East, freedom was his chosen theme once again. Locks and chains have replaced the birds. In 1999, during his time in London, he started to use strings applied to the canvas as a symbol of bonding and togetherness, inspired by the Sanskrit word “Sutra”. His paintings focus on people of all races, especially women, their conditions and aspirations.

“After I returned to Cambodia in 2004, I started to design sculptures and then returned to painting,” he said. “After more than 30 years of international experience, June 12, 2009 marks the date of my first Cambodian exhibition.”
Khin emphasized that the 30 years have shaped his inspiration; his works have become darker and conceptual; women of different cultures and different continents have been a central theme; this is expressed through surrealism and conceptual use of colours, with strong brush strokes pregnant with expression and meaning, sometimes reminiscent of Van Gogh’s.

“To appreciate my art,” he said, “you have to look deeply at the work and interrogate it. The answers you receive may well come to you in the silence of contemplation, but you will receive an answer from your heart, generated by the stimulus provided by the eye.”

With his work, the veteran painter will try to describe his dream of a better world, a world without oppression where people come together regardless of their cultures or backgrounds.
To promote traditional Cambodian culture and arts, as well as women’s rights, You Khin said that he would continue painting until the end. He also said he was willing to share his knowledge freely to those who wish to learn from him. He added that he has created over 300 portraits so far, most of them depicting women’s activities over the world.

Alain Arnudet, FCC Director, said that You Khin has a lot of experience in painting pictures and he is willing to share this with the younger generation. He added that Khin has also opened an art school with the help of his wife.

Alain said that FCC invited You Khin to the exhibition because his pictures focussed on his relationship with the women of the world and attempted to capture their feelings, doubts and desires.

“I am so proud of You Khin’s works and his experience. His knowledge should be of supreme interest to students at the Royal University of Fine Art in Cambodia,” Alain told The Southeast Asia Weekly.

The Director said that he had been seduced by the amazing quality of Khin’s works, as well as the artist’s kindness and humanity. He thought that Khin could be a good reference for young Cambodian painters in the future. He said that the combination of lessons learned at the “L’Ecole de Paris” had received a leavening of Cubism and Arte Opera. The results, he said, were an interesting lesson in Art History. ///

Cambodia Celebrates Candlelight Memorial Day

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

About 2,000 People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) have gathered on June 8 in Phnom Penh to recall the thousands who lost their battle against the disease and to encourage individuals, families and the community to commit to abolishing discrimination. They want an end to stigmatization and a little more compassion and support.

The event was organized by the National AIDS Authority in the Ministry of Health in collaboration with United Nations Theme Group (UNTG) and other development partners working in Cambodia.

Dr. Nuth Sokhom, Senior Minister and Chairman of the National AIDS Authority (NAA) said that it marked the tenth year that NAA has organized this important event in Cambodia.

Dr. Sokhom said the purpose of the event is to remember the dead. The gathering will also call for more support from political leaders, scientists and executives. They will also seek access to up-to-date scientific information on HIV/AIDS. The gathering will also raise their profile in the communities within which they live leading to active community participation to response to HIV/AIDS. Overall, they seek an end to discrimination.

“HIV/AIDS is still a serious problem for all the world’s people, but especially for countries that lack human and financial resources. Since the first Cambodian case of HIV was detected in 1991, it has had a serious impact on the individual, the family, the community and the economy,” he said during opening remarks delivered to the Candlelight Memorial Day.

According to a Ministry of Health report, over 50,000 Cambodians live with HIV/AIDS. Of this number, 38,000 patients receive Anti-Retroviral (ARV) Treatment; 3,300 Cambodian children live with HIV/AIDS and of this number, 3,205 receive ARV treatment. HIV has claimed over 100,000 lives in Cambodia since 1991.

“Despite the seriousness of the situation, a solution to the social dimension can be found if we look optimistically at the matter and if we commit to sincere and open activity. With these motivations in mind, we have been able to reverse the course of HIV/AIDS; we have seen a drop in the prevalence from 3 percent in 1998 to 0.7 percent in 2008. This welcome trend looks set to continue into the future,” he added.

The Chairman pointed out that this year’s Candlelight Memorial Day provides an excellent opportunity for people to meet together to recall the thousands of victims. It would also provide another opportunity to reinforce various HIV/AIDS prevention measures to prevent a second wave of infections. The gathering demonstrates support for People Living With HIV/AIDS, and recognized their right to live in a society without suffering discrimination.

“I want to see this campaign organized annually throughout the country. We may be able to turn it into a powerful and sustainable front against HIV/AIDS in our country and beyond,” he said. “I believe that we will get nowhere in this fight without our commitment to a unified national strategy, one national coordinating body and one monitoring and evaluation system. This means the government must play a leading and proprietary role, with participation and support from development partners, civil society, the business sector and of course, PLWHA.”

Savina Ammassaari, UNTG representative, said that this year’s event has been organized under the banner “Together, we are the Solution”. In participating, Cambodia joins one hundred other countries around the world in unity, solidarity and compassion for the suffering.

“We all know that AIDS is not transmitted through friendship. Therefore, there is no such reason to discriminate against the afflicted,” she said. “However, we should remember that someone in our family could fall victim, they could be our friends; we should instead do everything it takes to make sure that they can also enjoy life just like everyone else. Your engagement can mean the difference between life and death for thousands of people around the country.”

She continued that despite progress in increasing access to prevention, care and treatment, there are still many new infections in Cambodia every day, while globally around 7,500 people are affected on a daily base.

“Therefore, as ever, we must continue to ensure that People Living With HIV/AIDS remain at the centre of the response, that the response remains inclusive and fosters full participation of civil society and particularly vulnerable groups including affected families, entertainment workers DU (Drug Users)-IDU (Injecting Drug Users) and SMS (Men who have Sex with Men) ,” she said.

To reduce the rate of new affections, Dr. Sokhom has appealed to all Cambodian people to update their knowledge of the disease regularly. She requested all people in the high-risk categories to seek counseling voluntarily and take a blood test to clarify their status. She also pleaded with all PLWHA to live with hope as each year the ARV treatments improve as new discoveries are made. In addition, PLWHA must never deviate from the advice given to them from medical authorities. Lastly, PLWHA must learn that they have the support and the protection of the Rule of Law, just like everyone else. They should therefore live positively in the community and society as others do.

/////

Cambodia Celebrates Candlelight Memorial Day

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

About 2,000 People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) have gathered on June 8 in Phnom Penh to recall the thousands who lost their battle against the disease and to encourage individuals, families and the community to commit to abolishing discrimination. They want an end to stigmatization and a little more compassion and support.

The event was organized by the National AIDS Authority in the Ministry of Health in collaboration with United Nations Theme Group (UNTG) and other development partners working in Cambodia.

Dr. Nuth Sokhom, Senior Minister and Chairman of the National AIDS Authority (NAA) said that it marked the tenth year that NAA has organized this important event in Cambodia.

Dr. Sokhom said the purpose of the event is to remember the dead. The gathering will also call for more support from political leaders, scientists and executives. They will also seek access to up-to-date scientific information on HIV/AIDS. The gathering will also raise their profile in the communities within which they live leading to active community participation to response to HIV/AIDS. Overall, they seek an end to discrimination.

“HIV/AIDS is still a serious problem for all the world’s people, but especially for countries that lack human and financial resources. Since the first Cambodian case of HIV was detected in 1991, it has had a serious impact on the individual, the family, the community and the economy,” he said during opening remarks delivered to the Candlelight Memorial Day.

According to a Ministry of Health report, over 50,000 Cambodians live with HIV/AIDS. Of this number, 38,000 patients receive Anti-Retroviral (ARV) Treatment; 3,300 Cambodian children live with HIV/AIDS and of this number, 3,205 receive ARV treatment. HIV has claimed over 100,000 lives in Cambodia since 1991.

“Despite the seriousness of the situation, a solution to the social dimension can be found if we look optimistically at the matter and if we commit to sincere and open activity. With these motivations in mind, we have been able to reverse the course of HIV/AIDS; we have seen a drop in the prevalence from 3 percent in 1998 to 0.7 percent in 2008. This welcome trend looks set to continue into the future,” he added.

The Chairman pointed out that this year’s Candlelight Memorial Day provides an excellent opportunity for people to meet together to recall the thousands of victims. It would also provide another opportunity to reinforce various HIV/AIDS prevention measures to prevent a second wave of infections. The gathering demonstrates support for People Living With HIV/AIDS, and recognized their right to live in a society without suffering discrimination.

“I want to see this campaign organized annually throughout the country. We may be able to turn it into a powerful and sustainable front against HIV/AIDS in our country and beyond,” he said. “I believe that we will get nowhere in this fight without our commitment to a unified national strategy, one national coordinating body and one monitoring and evaluation system. This means the government must play a leading and proprietary role, with participation and support from development partners, civil society, the business sector and of course, PLWHA.”

Savina Ammassaari, UNTG representative, said that this year’s event has been organized under the banner “Together, we are the Solution”. In participating, Cambodia joins one hundred other countries around the world in unity, solidarity and compassion for the suffering.

“We all know that AIDS is not transmitted through friendship. Therefore, there is no such reason to discriminate against the afflicted,” she said. “However, we should remember that someone in our family could fall victim, they could be our friends; we should instead do everything it takes to make sure that they can also enjoy life just like everyone else. Your engagement can mean the difference between life and death for thousands of people around the country.”

She continued that despite progress in increasing access to prevention, care and treatment, there are still many new infections in Cambodia every day, while globally around 7,500 people are affected on a daily base.

“Therefore, as ever, we must continue to ensure that People Living With HIV/AIDS remain at the centre of the response, that the response remains inclusive and fosters full participation of civil society and particularly vulnerable groups including affected families, entertainment workers DU (Drug Users)-IDU (Injecting Drug Users) and SMS (Men who have Sex with Men) ,” she said.

To reduce the rate of new affections, Dr. Sokhom has appealed to all Cambodian people to update their knowledge of the disease regularly. She requested all people in the high-risk categories to seek counseling voluntarily and take a blood test to clarify their status. She also pleaded with all PLWHA to live with hope as each year the ARV treatments improve as new discoveries are made. In addition, PLWHA must never deviate from the advice given to them from medical authorities. Lastly, PLWHA must learn that they have the support and the protection of the Rule of Law, just like everyone else. They should therefore live positively in the community and society as others do.

/////

Keo Bunthoeun Works Towards Career as English Teacher

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

One of The University of Cambodia’s “Samdech Hun Sen-Handa National Scholarships 2008”students, Keo Bunthoeun, 22, was born in 1988 in Oudong district, Kampong Speu province. He is the second brother, alongside two brothers and one sister in the family and they are now living in Prey Phdao Village, Prey Krasaing Commune, Oudong district, Kampong Speu province.

He is studying English Literature with The University of Cambodia (UC) in Phnom Penh.

Bunthoeun earned his Baccalaureate when he studied at Sokha-Phally High School in Kampong Speu province in 2008. Having thus prepared the ground, he later applied to study English Literature at UC. This move was made possible by the introduction of the “Samdech Techo Hun Sen Vision 100”scholarship and the “Samdech Hun Sen-Handa National Scholarships 2008”. He now takes the utmost advantage of this generosity and works hard to make a better life for himself and all who will come to depend on him.

“I am very pleased to have passed the scholarship exams from The University of Cambodia and I love studying at one of the nation’s most prestigious seats of learning,” he said during an interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly on June 10.

Bunthoeun continued that he decided to study English Literature with UC because he thought that as English is currently the second official language of Cambodia, knowledge of it would help open doors for him. He also spoke of his desire to exercise his critical facilities on material that he enjoys reading. This rationale is in complete agreement with his long-term dream of opening a private language school.

He said that since he started to study English with UC in 2008, his ability to communicate in English across all skill sets has improved dramatically. “I appreciate the University for giving me this new sense of confidence when communicating – be it in Khmer of English.”

“I now feel as if there is no communicative environment in which I cannot operate. I can read, write and speak English well; and the lessons I have learned in critical thinking help me whatever language I communicate in,” he said. “I am pretty confident that I will leave UC with a brace of excellent qualifications and transferable skills. This is why I study here.”

Bunthoeun emphasized that upon graduation from UC, he will apply to work with any private company or international organization for 6 months to one year to make some money. He will use this to support his family members as well as funding further study. Naturally, it will also provide him with some more practical experience prior to studying for a Master’s degree.

“I will study hard for a postgraduate qualification as a Master’s degree from UC will illustrate my commitment to excellence as certainly as it illustrates the University’s,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly.

To achieve the goal, Bunthoeun said he takes lectures very seriously. However, he said that success for him relied just as much on what he did outside the lecture theater. He has developed a daily reading habit, the value of this demonstrated by the string of A grades included in his academic records.

Besides his studies at UC, he is also studying Japanese Literature and Computer Skills at another private school in Phnom Penh.

He added that he decided to study Japanese Literature, in addition to English Literature, as he has not ruled out the possibility of applying for scholarships from Japan. If successful, he will pursue a Doctorate in English Literature. In addition, he said that he would apply for study in Japan because he wants to learn about development and modernization and apply the lessons learned to the Cambodian context.

Regarding his stay in Phnom Penh, Bunthoeun said that up to now, he is living with a Buddhist monk at the Moha Montrey Pagoda in Phnom Penh.

Keo Sopheakdey, 22, is a first- year Finance and Banking student of Build Bright University (BBU) in Phnom Penh. He is also a friend of Keo Buntthoeun. Sopheakdey said that he admired Bunthoeun’s capacity for hard work.

“I have known Keo Bunthoeun since 2005 when he was studying with me at the Bun Rany Hun Sen Chan Thnal Secondary School in Kampong Speu province. He is a hard worker, but a gentle person. I recall his academic record was excellent at school,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly.

He continued, “I am very proud to be Buthoeun’s friend and I wish him the best of luck and all success in future.” ////



Government To Reduce Child and Mother Mortality

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Royal Government of Cambodia has taken measures to improve the provision of midwifery care, alongside improvements in reproductive, maternal and neonatal health.

Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Council of Ministers, said that encouraging improvements in performance, deployment, competency and the status of midwives was part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG); and these improvements should be effected by 2015. In essence, the plan is quite simple: “No Woman Should Die Giving Life”.

The government gives full support to midwives operating in public health facilities. There will be increased wages for midwives at all state referral hospitals and health centers, according to Sok An. There will also be training for midwifery students and at least one midwife will be present at all health centers from 2009.

“Despite the government’s hard work, the child and mother fatality rate is still high compared to other countries in the region,” Sok An said during his opening remarks at the “2nd National Midwifery Forum” in Phnom Penh on June 11.

The Forum was organized by the National Committee for Population and Development, the Office of the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Health. Additional support came from the German Government, channeled through the United Nations Population Fund.

“I appeal to ministries, institutes and the United Nations Population Fund and World Health Organization to join us in our drive to reduce mother/infant mortality rates by 2015,” he said at the Forum.

Men Sam An, Permanent Deputy Prime Minister, said that a generation of midwives had been slaughtered by the Khmer Rouge, leaving expectant mothers in critical need. Subsequent government strategies allowed a steady redress of the personnel imbalance. The government recently provided training institutions for all aspect of the medical profession, resulting in an increase in both quantity and quality of health care.

“The Royal Government recognizes that women are the mothers of the world, the backbone of the national economy. Their wellbeing is at the heart of government strategy. If women continue to lose their lives by giving new lives, families cannot have happiness and the country will not enjoy prosperity,” she said at her opening remarks to the Forum.

The Permanent Deputy Prime Minister said that the government acknowledges the critical role of midwives in poverty eradication. Overall, she said, poor health leads to an increase in poverty and poverty leads to poor health. To combat this vicious cycle, the government has directed much effort building more health centers, referral hospitals and general hospitals. She continued to say that midwives are key health agents and have crucial roles to play in social development and poverty reduction, as required by national strategy.

She also appealed to development partners to continue to support Cambodia’s efforts to improve the health sector, in particular the midwifery services. She was particularly keen to support midwives in health centers in rural areas.

Dr. Mam Bunheng, Minister of Health (MoH), said that according to the Ministry’s Strategic Plan 2009, extra money had been provided to cover midwives’ salaries through schemes such as the Priority Mission Group (PMG), Merit-Based Payment Incentive (MBPI) and Special Operation Agency (SOA).

To illustrate the proposal, the Minister Bunheng said a professional midwife who provides safe delivery of a child in a rural area will receive 60,000 riel (US$15) and the health center professional midwife who provides safe delivery of a child in an urban area will receive 40,000 riel (US$10).

The Minister added that the number of primary midwives increased from 1,079 to 1,339. Numbers of Secondary midwives have increase from 1,790 people to 1,848. This occurred during the 2003 – 2008 timeframe. Furthermore, the proportion of deliveries assisted by skilled birth attendants stood at 44 percent in 2005 but has rose to 58 percent in 2008. Importantly, the proportion of women who gave birth in a health facility also rose, from 22 percent in 2005 to 39 percent in 2008.

Dr. Michael J. O’Leary, Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), said that despite these developments, constraints remained, especially related to the shortage of midwives, and concerns about the quality care at the health facilities. He said that quality of service provision is crucial for positive health outcomes, and for ensuring that health services are able to attract patients and to retrain the support the community.

“This is a high-level commitment by the Royal Government of Cambodia to accelerate the progress under the relevant MDGs. This has focused increased attention to the issue of skilled birth attendants, and maternal health in general,” he said. “Midwives clearly have a key role to play in improving reproductive, maternal and newborn health, and in reducing maternal mortality. All midwives should be proud of their profession.”

Alice Levisay, UNFPA Representative in Cambodia, said that worldwide, every minute a woman dies in childbirth. He said that having a skilled professional at birth protects the lives of the mother and the child by recognizing problems early, and by intervening quickly.

She added that worldwide, about 350,000 midwives are needed. Addressing this shortage is critical to achieving universal access to reproductive health by 2015.
According to a MoH report released in 2009, there are about 3,300 midwives serving almost 15.5 million people in Cambodia. There are over 900 health centers in the nation, about 80 of them without midwives. ////

Youth Footballers Attend Friendship Competition in Japan


BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Young Cambodian football players have attended a friendly competition over one week from June 1-8, 2009 in Japan. The delegation included 18 players below the age of 15, 3 coaches and 1 medical doctor.

They join other youth football players from the Mekong River region including teams from Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Many of the games, including the final match will be held in the Japanese capital Tokyo, according to the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths Program (JENESYS).

Sao Sokha, Chief of the Military Police and President of the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC), said that this marked the first time for Cambodian players to participate in the youth tournament. He said participation would allow Cambodian competitors to improve and provide the opportunity to exchange techniques and playing experiences in preparation for future international competitions. Teamwork and solidarity will also be encouraged and the tournament will strengthen regional understanding, according to Sokha.

“I feel really enthusiastic about the JENESYS Program,” Sokha continued. “It is the right program for the youth and humanity in general as it promotes development, solidarity and peace on a global scale, sing the global language of football,” he said, standing at the departure ceremony at Sunway Hotel in Phnom Penh on June 1. “I hope that this program will have an energizing effect on Cambodian sport.”

Yasuhiko Kamada, First Secretary in Charge of the Culture and Information Section in the Embassy of Japan in Cambodia said that during the team’s visit to Japan, they would face international competition from home teams and others from the Mekong River region. He also noted that the teams would stay in Japan for nine days

Yasuhiko said the teams will stay together for over nine days in Japan and will be playing some of the games in Fukushima Prefecture about 200 kilometers north of Tokyo.

“It is expected that this program will enable members of the youth teams to promote mutual understanding and foster friendship among themselves as well as cultivating their skills in football,” Yasuhiko said.

Yasuhiko continued to say that the Japan Football Association (JFA) supports this program. This organization is dedicated to the development of physical and mental health and the encouragement of international understanding through sports.

Last year, 160 young Cambodian people visited Japan through various short stay programs under the JENESYS Program. One such memorable event was the 55th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Japan.

The program came into being at the Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in January 2008. There it was decided that 2009 would be designated “The Mekong-Japan Exchange Year” to encourage cross-cultural understanding between Mekong region countries and Japan, said Yasuhiko. The program is based on an original plan announced by Mr. Shinzo Abe, Former Prime Minister of Japan during the time of the second East Asia Summit (EAS), held in January 2007.

Sok Veasna, 15, is a grade 7 student of Yukunthor Secondary School in Phnom Penh. He also plays football for the Preah Khan Reach Football Club. He will play his part in the friendship competitions in Japan.

Veasna said that he was overjoyed to be picked to represent his nation in Japan. He said he was looking forward to picking up some new skills and getting an insight into a new culture during his stay in Japan. He pledged also to do his best and bring honor to his parents, his school, his club and his country.

According to Yasuhiko, the youth exchange programs are backed up by a budget of 35 billion Yen. Overall, around 6,000 young people visit Japan on exchange schemes, mainly from ASEAN countries, Australia, China, India, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea. This has helped to establish a basis for Asian solidarity from the youthful roots upwards.

The JENESYS Program sees East Asian youths invited to Japan, Japanese youths sent to East Asia and other exchange activities, said Yasuhiko. He added that the program would increase understanding among young people who will go on to assume important future roles in East Asia. ////


Youth Footballers Attend Friendship Competition in Japan


BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Young Cambodian football players have attended a friendly competition over one week from June 1-8, 2009 in Japan. The delegation included 18 players below the age of 15, 3 coaches and 1 medical doctor.

They join other youth football players from the Mekong River region including teams from Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Many of the games, including the final match will be held in the Japanese capital Tokyo, according to the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths Program (JENESYS).

Sao Sokha, Chief of the Military Police and President of the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC), said that this marked the first time for Cambodian players to participate in the youth tournament. He said participation would allow Cambodian competitors to improve and provide the opportunity to exchange techniques and playing experiences in preparation for future international competitions. Teamwork and solidarity will also be encouraged and the tournament will strengthen regional understanding, according to Sokha.

“I feel really enthusiastic about the JENESYS Program,” Sokha continued. “It is the right program for the youth and humanity in general as it promotes development, solidarity and peace on a global scale, sing the global language of football,” he said, standing at the departure ceremony at Sunway Hotel in Phnom Penh on June 1. “I hope that this program will have an energizing effect on Cambodian sport.”

Yasuhiko Kamada, First Secretary in Charge of the Culture and Information Section in the Embassy of Japan in Cambodia said that during the team’s visit to Japan, they would face international competition from home teams and others from the Mekong River region. He also noted that the teams would stay in Japan for nine days

Yasuhiko said the teams will stay together for over nine days in Japan and will be playing some of the games in Fukushima Prefecture about 200 kilometers north of Tokyo.

“It is expected that this program will enable members of the youth teams to promote mutual understanding and foster friendship among themselves as well as cultivating their skills in football,” Yasuhiko said.

Yasuhiko continued to say that the Japan Football Association (JFA) supports this program. This organization is dedicated to the development of physical and mental health and the encouragement of international understanding through sports.

Last year, 160 young Cambodian people visited Japan through various short stay programs under the JENESYS Program. One such memorable event was the 55th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Japan.

The program came into being at the Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in January 2008. There it was decided that 2009 would be designated “The Mekong-Japan Exchange Year” to encourage cross-cultural understanding between Mekong region countries and Japan, said Yasuhiko. The program is based on an original plan announced by Mr. Shinzo Abe, Former Prime Minister of Japan during the time of the second East Asia Summit (EAS), held in January 2007.

Sok Veasna, 15, is a grade 7 student of Yukunthor Secondary School in Phnom Penh. He also plays football for the Preah Khan Reach Football Club. He will play his part in the friendship competitions in Japan.

Veasna said that he was overjoyed to be picked to represent his nation in Japan. He said he was looking forward to picking up some new skills and getting an insight into a new culture during his stay in Japan. He pledged also to do his best and bring honor to his parents, his school, his club and his country.

According to Yasuhiko, the youth exchange programs are backed up by a budget of 35 billion Yen. Overall, around 6,000 young people visit Japan on exchange schemes, mainly from ASEAN countries, Australia, China, India, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea. This has helped to establish a basis for Asian solidarity from the youthful roots upwards.

The JENESYS Program sees East Asian youths invited to Japan, Japanese youths sent to East Asia and other exchange activities, said Yasuhiko. He added that the program would increase understanding among young people who will go on to assume important future roles in East Asia. ////


Cambodia Plans to Send Peace Keeping Troops to Indonesia

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Cambodian Government plans to send 60 soldiers to attend a multi national exercise codenamed “Garuda Shield 2009” scheduled from the 9th to 30th June in Indonesia. The exercise is organized by the Indonesia’s Ministry of Defense, in partnership with the American Military Academy and supported by the United Nations. The exercise will strengthen cooperation, solidarity and friendships among soldiers in region, according to General Ker Savoeun, Director of Cambodian Peace Keeping Forces and the International Office in charge of the United Nations Mission with the Ministry of National Defense.

General Savoeun said that 13 countries would also be sending their troops to attend the exercises at the Indonesia Military Training Center.

“This is the third time for Cambodia to send its troops to participate in multi national exercises abroad,” Savoeun said during a telephone interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly on June 4.

The main purpose of the military exercise is firstly to build up and improve Cambodian troop capacity. They will also exchange soldier’s tales and share experience with participating countries. Secondly the exercises will promote peace and stability, strengthen solidarity and further good relations among all troops in the region. This will strengthen peace, security, safety and development, according to Savoeun.

General Savoeun continued to say that Cambodian troops will leave for Indonesia on July 9, 2009 and they will stay in Indonesia, along with other international contingents for three weeks.

During that time, Cambodian troops will learn many military skills including military planning, strategic planning and combat efficiency, within the overall scheme of peacekeeping, according to the General Savoeun.

“I hope that Cambodian troops will gain more knowledge, new skills and useful experience that will help them fulfill their duties. Upon their return, they should be better able to ensure the security of our nation and the world in general,” he said.


General Savoeun also said that besides sending troops to Indonesia, Cambodia’s Ministry of National Defense would also send 52 Cambodian de-mining troops to help the UN Mission clear mines in Sudan.

According to the Ministry’s schedule, the de-mining team will be leaving for Sudan on June 9, 2009 and staying there for over one year.

He noted that Cambodia has sent teams consisting of 135 de miners to Sudan every year since 2006.

Savoeun also said that Cambodia plans to host a multi national military exercise in mid-2010. He added that according to plans, there would be military representation from 13 countries. These exercises will operate out of the armored vehicle base in Kampong Speu province.

According to a Ministry of National Defense report, to date roughly 500 Cambodian troops are currently active with UN Peacekeeping forces across the world.

General Kheav Chhen, Military Officer in the Ministry of National Defense, said that in 2007, Cambodia sent 44 troops to attend exercises in Mongolia, and in 2008, 44 troops were sent for exercises in Bangladesh.

“I am proud of our troops as now they are capable and fully qualified to fulfill their peacekeeping duties for the United Nations, as well as taking care of security at home,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly by telephone.




Phath Chinda, UC English Literature Scholarship Student

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Phath Chinda, 17, one of the University of Cambodia’s “Samdech Hun Sen-Handa National Scholarships 2008” students, described her learning experience when she provided an interview to The Southeast Asia Weekly. Chinda is the oldest of four sisters and she now lives in Kraing Leav village, Dang Tong district, Kampot province. She was born there on June 24, 1991. Her father is Director of Kraing Leav primary school.

Chinda is now studying English Literature with The University of Cambodia (UC) as well as Accounting at the Vanda Institute of Accounting in Phnom Penh. She passed the scholarship exams offered by UC in Phnom Penh on September 22, 2008.

The English Literature scholar student Chinda pointed out that she heard about the scholarship program via Southeast Asia Radio FM 106.

Chinda continued to say that she decided to study English Literature with UC because she thought that this major would ensure employability in the future.

Chinda earned her Baccalaureate when she graduated from Oudom Vichea High School in Kampot province in 2008. She then moved on to study with UC.

Chinda is now also studying in the first year of her accounting program at the Vanda Institute of Accounting. She decided to study the Accounting major in addition to her language studies, as she wants to work as an accountant or Chief executive officer.

Chinda said that nowadays she is living with her friend who is also a UC student from the same province. She pays US$ 60 per month for her room.

Chinda appealed to Dr. Kao Kim Hourn, President of UC to build student accommodation for provincial students. Speaking with reference to female students in particular, she said it would make the whole task of graduating much easier.

Pho Thea, Chinda’s father and Director of the Kraing Leav Primary School in Dang Tong District, Kampot province, was happy with his daughter’s academic record of accomplishment. He added that Chinda is the oldest daughter and to date the only one studying with UC. He added that his daughter showed early promise, having built a solid reputation for academic excellence in primary school.

“I am very proud as I have a good daughter and I wish her all success in future. I think that her scholarship will encourage her to study harder and to reach her goals. I will try my best to support her if she wants to continue and study a Master’s or Doctorate in future,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly on June 1. ///

Phath Chinda, UC English Literature Scholarship Student

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Phath Chinda, 17, one of the University of Cambodia’s “Samdech Hun Sen-Handa National Scholarships 2008” students, described her learning experience when she provided an interview to The Southeast Asia Weekly. Chinda is the oldest of four sisters and she now lives in Kraing Leav village, Dang Tong district, Kampot province. She was born there on June 24, 1991. Her father is Director of Kraing Leav primary school.

Chinda is now studying English Literature with The University of Cambodia (UC) as well as Accounting at the Vanda Institute of Accounting in Phnom Penh. She passed the scholarship exams offered by UC in Phnom Penh on September 22, 2008.

The English Literature scholar student Chinda pointed out that she heard about the scholarship program via Southeast Asia Radio FM 106.

Chinda continued to say that she decided to study English Literature with UC because she thought that this major would ensure employability in the future.

Chinda earned her Baccalaureate when she graduated from Oudom Vichea High School in Kampot province in 2008. She then moved on to study with UC.

Chinda is now also studying in the first year of her accounting program at the Vanda Institute of Accounting. She decided to study the Accounting major in addition to her language studies, as she wants to work as an accountant or Chief executive officer.

Chinda said that nowadays she is living with her friend who is also a UC student from the same province. She pays US$ 60 per month for her room.

Chinda appealed to Dr. Kao Kim Hourn, President of UC to build student accommodation for provincial students. Speaking with reference to female students in particular, she said it would make the whole task of graduating much easier.

Pho Thea, Chinda’s father and Director of the Kraing Leav Primary School in Dang Tong District, Kampot province, was happy with his daughter’s academic record of accomplishment. He added that Chinda is the oldest daughter and to date the only one studying with UC. He added that his daughter showed early promise, having built a solid reputation for academic excellence in primary school.

“I am very proud as I have a good daughter and I wish her all success in future. I think that her scholarship will encourage her to study harder and to reach her goals. I will try my best to support her if she wants to continue and study a Master’s or Doctorate in future,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly on June 1. ///

Cambodia to Reduce Number of TB HIV/AIDS Fatalities

BY BUITH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Government will reduce the rate of infection and mortality caused by Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS. The deadline for this project falls at the end of 2012. The specific plan was revealed by Dr. Mean Chhi Vun, Director of the National Centre for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STDs (NCHADS) in the Ministry of Health.

The government, in collaboration with involved ministries, institutions and development partners will do every thing possible to reduce prevalence by the deadline, said Dr. Vun. He added that the Ministry of Health and related development partners will conduct screening sessions to locate infected people towards the end of this year. According to the Health Ministry’s plan, a total of 230 public hospitals and health centers in cities and provinces will be selected for the TB/HIV diagnosis and screening program.

“I note that the prevalence of HIV associated with TB in Cambodia is still high compared to other countries in Southeast Asia,” said Dr. Vun. He was speaking to an audience attending a workshop on improving diagnostic procedures. The event took place at the Cambodiana Hotel in Phnom Penh.

Dr. Vun said that the general goal of TB screening was to include all people with HIV/AIDS. Beyond this there will be generalized testing for those who fall within the high risk of infection category including careers and family members of existing patients.

“We have to work hard to eradicate the deadly combination of HIV and TB via improved diagnostic techniques,” he said. “We must work towards a future where this threat no longer poses a danger to our people.”

Dr. Vun referred to the Government’s enviable accomplishments in dealing with HIV/AIDS. Its actions have reduced the infection rate from a high of 3.3% in 1997 to today’s figure of 0.9%. With a record like this, he said he felt confident that the new drive would reach its goals.

The Director pointed out that to date, over 50,000 Cambodians live with HIV/AIDS. Of this number, 38,000 patients receive Anti-Retroviral (ARV) Treatment.According to the Health Ministry’s Master Plan, Cambodia is coming closer to its objective of making ARV drugs available to nearly all who need them by 2010. The treatment is given freely to all people who present themselves with the symptoms. The treatment is available from 77 public hospitals, health centers and partner organizations across the country.

“We receive the highest levels of cooperation from the Ministry of Health, NCHADS, National AIDS Authority (NAA), private donors, the public health system and the NGO sector,” Dr. Vun said. “This group’s common purpose will be to bring infection rates to below 0.6 by 2012.”

Dr. Mao Tan Eang, Director of the National Center for TB and Leprosy Control (CENAT) at the Ministry of Health, said that since 2000, CENAT and NCHADS have worked hard to provide treatment, counseling and TB or HIV screening. This has resulted in treatment for 50 percent of the nation’s TB sufferers. He added that according to the Ministry of Health, approximately 95 percent of people living with TB and carrying HIV/AIDS will receive treatment by 2012.

Dr. Khun Kim Eam, CENAT’s TB Technical Bureau Chief, said that Cambodia has a high rate of TB/HIV infection. This fact leads Cambodia to be placed on a list of 22 other countries with unacceptably high TB burdens.

Dr. Kim Eang pointed out that according to report, there are 210 cases of TB for every
100,000 head of population. Incredibly, according to Ministry statistics, up to 64 percent of the population are carriers of the disease though they show no symptoms. By 2050, the nation can look forward to a much-reduced figure of roughly one in a million, according to the World Health Organization.

According to official figures published by the Ministry of Health, HIV has claimed 100,000 Cambodian lives since 1991. Some 50,000 people have died of TB during the same period. ////


Government Plans to Start New Airline Operation

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Royal Government of Cambodia plans to open a new national airline next month to be known as “Cambodia Angkor Air.” This follows the temporary suspension of the state-run Royal Air Cambodge in 2001.

Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism, said that the Government has invested capital in a joint venture with Indonesian organizations to establish the new national airline. The first flights are scheduled for July 1.

“Cambodia Angkor Air is the only national airline in Cambodia after the state-owned Royal Air Cambodge ceased business in 2001. The new national airline will begin operations from July 1, 2009,” the Minister said during a telephone interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly on June 3.

The Minister continued that in the first phase, local flights would be between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap province and between Phnom Penh to Sihanouk province. For international flights, the airline will operate from Phnom Penh to Bangkok in Thailand, Vientiane in Laos and Hanoi, in Vietnam.

“We hope that the new national airline will help to boost tourism and encourage more international tourists to visit Cambodia in future,” Thong Khon said. “Currently, there are only four airlines operating in Cambodia, but we hope to see many more in the near future.”

He added that the new airline would receive bankruptcy protection from the government, enabling it to compete with foreign airline companies operating in Cambodia.

According to the Minister, there are 19 foreign airline companies offering 100 flights per day from Phnom Penh International Airport and Siem Reap province. He said that most of the international flights originate from Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, and South Korea.

He said that over two million foreign tourists visited Cambodia in 2007, rising to 2.5 million in 2008. About 60 percent of them visited Phnom Penh, Kampot and Sihanouk provinces. However, due to the global economic crisis, the number of foreign tourists visiting Cambodia has decreased by 2 percent in the first quarter of this year, he said.

Mao Hasvanal, Secretary of State at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in Cambodia, said that the Civil Aviation Authority had not received the new airline’s licensing documents as yet. However, he welcomed the development.

The Secretary of State said there are two airline companies and two helicopter companies currently offering domestic flights in Cambodia.

“I hope that Cambodia Angkor Air will become the service provider of choice for national and international passengers. I also hope it will help the Cambodian tourism sector to develop,” Hasvanal told The Southeast Asia Weekly by telephone.

Ho Vandy, Co-Chairman of the Tourism Working Group with the Cambodia-Private Sector Forum, said he too welcomed developments. He said the Forum has been lobbying the Royal Government to create the new national carrier since February 18, 2009.

“I welcome and appreciate the Government’s acceptance of the Private Sector Forum’s request to establish a new airline for Cambodia,” he said. “I hope that this new airline will help to boost the tourism sector and generate more work for people in Cambodia.”

Central Express Tours is a major Japanese tourist company working out of Siem Reap Province. Buth Sokuntheara is Operations Manager for the organization. He supported the establishment of a national airline, as there has been no flag carrier in the skies above Cambodia since 2001.

Sokuntheara said that under present circumstances, domestic travelers and tourist had little option but to choose Thai Airways for flights between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap; for international flights, they had a range of foreign operators to choose from.

“I think that Cambodia should have its own national airline and I appreciate the establishment of the new airline. It is an entirely appropriate development for a peaceful, progressive and politically stable country,” he said. “I hope that this new airline will attract more international tourists to visit our many attractions as well as encouraging international travel.”

////

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cambodia Plans to Send Peace Keeping Troops to Indonesia

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Cambodian Government plans to send 60 soldiers to attend a multi national exercise codenamed “Garuda Shield 2009” scheduled from the 9th to 30th June in Indonesia. The exercise is organized by the Indonesia’s Ministry of Defense, in partnership with the American Military Academy and supported by the United Nations. The exercise will strengthen cooperation, solidarity and friendships among soldiers in region, according to General Ker Savoeun, Director of Cambodian Peace Keeping Forces and the International Office in charge of the United Nations Mission with the Ministry of National Defense.

General Savoeun said that 13 countries would also be sending their troops to attend the exercises at the Indonesia Military Training Center.

“This is the third time for Cambodia to send its troops to participate in multi national exercises abroad,” Savoeun said during a telephone interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly on June 4.

The main purpose of the military exercise is firstly to build up and improve Cambodian troop capacity. They will also exchange soldier’s tales and share experience with participating countries. Secondly the exercises will promote peace and stability, strengthen solidarity and further good relations among all troops in the region. This will strengthen peace, security, safety and development, according to Savoeun.

General Savoeun continued to say that Cambodian troops will leave for Indonesia on July 9, 2009 and they will stay in Indonesia, along with other international contingents for three weeks.

During that time, Cambodian troops will learn many military skills including military planning, strategic planning and combat efficiency, within the overall scheme of peacekeeping, according to the General Savoeun.

“I hope that Cambodian troops will gain more knowledge, new skills and useful experience that will help them fulfill their duties. Upon their return, they should be better able to ensure the security of our nation and the world in general,” he said.


General Savoeun also said that besides sending troops to Indonesia, Cambodia’s Ministry of National Defense would also send 52 Cambodian de-mining troops to help the UN Mission clear mines in Sudan.

According to the Ministry’s schedule, the de-mining team will be leaving for Sudan on June 9, 2009 and staying there for over one year.

He noted that Cambodia has sent teams consisting of 135 de miners to Sudan every year since 2006.

Savoeun also said that Cambodia plans to host a multi national military exercise in mid-2010. He added that according to plans, there would be military representation from 13 countries. These exercises will operate out of the armored vehicle base in Kampong Speu province.

According to a Ministry of National Defense report, to date roughly 500 Cambodian troops are currently active with UN Peacekeeping forces across the world. /////

General Kheav Chhen, Military Officer in the Ministry of National Defense, said that in 2007, Cambodia sent 44 troops to attend exercises in Mongolia, and in 2008, 44 troops were sent for exercises in Bangladesh.

“I am proud of our troops as now they are capable and fully qualified to fulfill their peacekeeping duties for the United Nations, as well as taking care of security at home,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly by telephone.




Cambodia Plans to Send Peace Keeping Troops to Indonesia

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Cambodian Government plans to send 60 soldiers to attend a multi national exercise codenamed “Garuda Shield 2009” scheduled from the 9th to 30th June in Indonesia. The exercise is organized by the Indonesia’s Ministry of Defense, in partnership with the American Military Academy and supported by the United Nations. The exercise will strengthen cooperation, solidarity and friendships among soldiers in region, according to General Ker Savoeun, Director of Cambodian Peace Keeping Forces and the International Office in charge of the United Nations Mission with the Ministry of National Defense.

General Savoeun said that 13 countries would also be sending their troops to attend the exercises at the Indonesia Military Training Center.

“This is the third time for Cambodia to send its troops to participate in multi national exercises abroad,” Savoeun said during a telephone interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly on June 4.

The main purpose of the military exercise is firstly to build up and improve Cambodian troop capacity. They will also exchange soldier’s tales and share experience with participating countries. Secondly the exercises will promote peace and stability, strengthen solidarity and further good relations among all troops in the region. This will strengthen peace, security, safety and development, according to Savoeun.

General Savoeun continued to say that Cambodian troops will leave for Indonesia on July 9, 2009 and they will stay in Indonesia, along with other international contingents for three weeks.

During that time, Cambodian troops will learn many military skills including military planning, strategic planning and combat efficiency, within the overall scheme of peacekeeping, according to the General Savoeun.

“I hope that Cambodian troops will gain more knowledge, new skills and useful experience that will help them fulfill their duties. Upon their return, they should be better able to ensure the security of our nation and the world in general,” he said.


General Savoeun also said that besides sending troops to Indonesia, Cambodia’s Ministry of National Defense would also send 52 Cambodian de-mining troops to help the UN Mission clear mines in Sudan.

According to the Ministry’s schedule, the de-mining team will be leaving for Sudan on June 9, 2009 and staying there for over one year.

He noted that Cambodia has sent teams consisting of 135 de miners to Sudan every year since 2006.

Savoeun also said that Cambodia plans to host a multi national military exercise in mid-2010. He added that according to plans, there would be military representation from 13 countries. These exercises will operate out of the armored vehicle base in Kampong Speu province.

According to a Ministry of National Defense report, to date roughly 500 Cambodian troops are currently active with UN Peacekeeping forces across the world. /////

General Kheav Chhen, Military Officer in the Ministry of National Defense, said that in 2007, Cambodia sent 44 troops to attend exercises in Mongolia, and in 2008, 44 troops were sent for exercises in Bangladesh.

“I am proud of our troops as now they are capable and fully qualified to fulfill their peacekeeping duties for the United Nations, as well as taking care of security at home,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly by telephone.