Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tuebingen Chamber Orchestra Performs in Phnom Penh

Tuebingen Chamber Orchestra Performs in Phnom Penh

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Cambodia and German will organize a joint concert called “Tuebingen Chamber Orchestra” on September 4 in Phnom Penh in order to exchange and promote both countries culture and their mutual good relation. They concert will be held at the Cambodian-Japanese Cooperation Center at 7:00 pm. The concert will be free of charge for all Cambodian nationals. Tickets are available at Art Café and Meta House in Phnom Penh.

The joint concert is organized by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to Cambodia in collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Art Foundation, Goethe-Institute, Meta House, and sponsored by Inter-continental Hotel. The concert will be presided over by His Majesty Preah Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, King of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Frank M. Mann, German Ambassador to Cambodia, said that the concert is a part of the cultural exchange between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Federal Republic of Germany.
This is the first time that the Germany Embassy will be organizing the Tuebingen Chamber Orchestra in Cambodia. The main objective of the joint concert is to exchange the traditional culture and arts between the two countries. It is also to honor the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Royal Academy for Music.

“We are very proud that His Majesty the King Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni has graciously accepted to be the highest patron of the Gala concert of the Tuebingen Chamber Orchestra at the Cambodian-Japanese Cooperation Center on the 4th of September. We hope that with the King’s participation, we can promote good relations and friendship between the two countries in future,” the ambassador told reporters at a press conference on August 28.

Gerhad Anton Isselhardt, Art Foundation’s Program Director, said that there are a total of 17 musicians 14 of them are German artists and 3 Cambodian artists. He further said that the joint concert will pave the way for Cambodian artists as well as German artists to exchange their experience and learn from each other in order to promote and strengthen their cultures and relations in future. “I hope that with this joint concert Cambodian artist and German artists will able to exchange their playing skills and to learn from each other. They will also continue to exchange or promote their cultures in future,” he said.

Mao Samnang, a Cambodian musician, who will be performing at the concert, feels happy that he is part of this project. “For me it will be a first to perform classical music with German musicians. I am looking forward to learn from the western team, and I hope that I have the opportunity to continue this cooperation in the future.”

The German Ambassador added that his embassy will also provide financial assistant for cultural or musical project in Cambodia in the future and will continue to promote the culture exchange between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Federal Republic of Germany in the future. The German Embassy in collaboration with French Cultural Center, Meta House and Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, have plans to organize more musical festivals in the future.


Ministry of Information Provides Training for Journalists and Photographers

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

A total of 48 Cambodian media officers from different ministries, and 22 cities and provinces have participated in a photojournalism training conducted over five days from the 24th to the 28th of August in Phnom Penh. The training was organized by the Ministry of Information in collaboration with the Cambodia Scene, participants where government’s media officers as well as Cambodian photographers.

Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information, stated that the 5 day training was meant to expand the abilities of Cambodian media officers and journalist. The Ministry offered this training so that the employees in the day to day work field would keep up with the development and the progress in the media field in Cambodia. The training aims to instruct Cambodia’s media officers about their duties and responsibilities. The training offered instruction on journalism as well as photojournalism.

“This is the first training for media officers in Cambodia. It aims to train both journalists and photographers in their journalism skills, so that they will be able to deliver professional work of a high standard for their organizations or institutions,” the Minister said during his closing remarks of the Journalism Training on August 28. The Minister pointed out that the Cambodian media has played an important role in strengthening development, democracy and upholding the rule of law in Cambodia. In recent years the Cambodian media has made a great leap in professionalizing their work field. The Minister called on all journalists to continue this positive development. The Minister further asked all journalists to continue aiding the government in promoting democracy, peace, political stability and development in Cambodia.

Ngou Somony, Media Officer from Sihanouk province who attended the photojournalism training in Phnom Pen is has been working as a Media Officer with the Agent Khmer Press (AKP) based in Sihanouk province for over 20 years. He stated: “This is the first time I have received formal training on photojournalism. During the five day training, the Ministry of Information provided, I have learned a lot. When I will resume my work I will share all the knowledge I have gained here with my colleagues. I feel sure that this training will improve the quality of my work in the future.”


Meas Kimsuon, Acting Director of the Media Training Center in the Ministry of Information, stated that the Ministry makes a constant effort on training media officers as well al journalist. A total of 26 Cambodian civil officers from ten different ministries and eight provinces were trained on spokesperson skills in July, and other 22 Cambodian police officers, military police and military officers have received training on the same subject in June. To uphold the standard of journalism in Cambodia the Media Training Center will provide more training in the future, he told The Southeast Asia Weekly on August 28.













Phnom Penh Shows herself in the “Our City” Project

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Phnom Penh is a city that is rapidly developing; entertainment, culture (traditional as well modern) and architecture are becoming more and more visible and accessible in our capital. In the twenties the city was renowned for its beauty and tranquility, and nicknamed: “the pearl of the East”. The civil war and the troubled period after damaged the architecture and development and put a hold on all cultural activities, but recently initiatives have been popping up to restore Phnom Penh to its former beauty and make it once more the cultural hot spot of Cambodia.

The Java Arts/Java Café & Gallery in collaboration with the French Cultural Center (FCC), Meta House, Khmer Architecture Tours and Mith Samlanh has organized an exhibition that will combine architecture, film, photography, sculpture and dance in order to show the rapid changes of the urban environment in Phnom Penh. The project is initiated by Dana Langlois, General Manager of the Java Arts/Java Café and Gallery, a French company operating in Cambodia that is aiming to provide a platform for the art community t through various mediums such film, photography, sculpture and dance. Dana Langlois has been living in Phnom Penh for 11 years.

“This is the second year that we organized Our City project in Phnom Penh to provide the opportunity for Cambodia’s art communities in designing their architectures, films, photography, sculptures and dances for responses to the rapid changes of the Phnom Penh City and its urban environments,” she told reporters at a press conference on August 25.

Dana said that Our City project started out as a very small event in 2008, with all activities around architecture, involving Java Arts /Java Café and Gallery, the French Cultural Center, Meta House, Khmer Architecture Tours and Mith Samlanh. In 2009 the same participants in addition to Khmer Arts Ensemble have joined together to create more exciting and bigger events and to further challenge the art and architecture community to consider what it means to be a resident or citizen of Phnom Penh.

“I think that this is also a good opportunity and for all people in Phnom Penh a to response to these changes using arts as media to discuss how they want to interact with their city,” Dana said. “I want to see how the Phnom Penh’s residents can become artists or architects in designing and developing their city in the future.”

She continued to say that during the month of September 2009, each of the participating organizations will host an event that reflects this scheme. In addition to exhibitions and film festivals, two lectures/ conferences will be held on the 24th of September 2009, and a competition that will award the best design of an “Imaginary Part of the Arts.”
She added that Our City project will continue to build on the momentum of these exciting events and to inspire more community-interactive projects for the future, with plans to engage local universities.

Kong Vollak, an architect who has been working and designing over ten years in Cambodia, was happy that this event is organized. He himself is going to display images of billboards of developments project on the 2nd of September 2009 at the Java Arts /Java Café and Gallery office in Phnom Penh. “My artworks will present both old and new building and architectural constructions that I have seen in Phnom Penh. I hope that through this display of the artwork it will reflect the rapid growths and development of architectural constructions in Phnom Penh City. It is also my goal to promote the construction of other new buildings and architectural constructions in Cambodia in future,” he said.

Romain Gagnot, architect and coordinator of the Heritage Mission of the French Embassy in Cambodia, said that the idea behind the heritage mission results from a simple observation. He said that outside the Angkor region, Cambodia’s historical and architectural heritage, Angkorian or non-Angkorian, is neglected. Because it is not acknowledged, this urban and religious heritage is fast disappearing, despite the existence of a national law on the protection of the cultural heritage in 1996.

He said that his team is mad up of five architects and an archaeologist. The mission carries out: inventories, surveys and analysis of urban and religious heritage, based on previous works, implementation of emergency conservations measures, follow-up works on restoration sites, and communication and awareness-raising actions.

Relating with Our City project, Romain said that to promote the new architectural constructions in Cambodia, he will propose two activities: a guide tour and a conference in Phnom Penh on September 30 at FCC in Phnom Penh. He described that each of his activities is based on a historical and an architectural approach and an architectural approach of the city. Phnom Penh offers an outstanding architectural heritage, of great value, that is important to understand in order to know how to deal with it today.

“Our activities are linked and complete each other. The first one is a guide tour in the old French district located above the railway station esplanade. The visit will start with a presentation of the historical and architectural development of Phnom Penh City became a capital 150 years ago,” he said. “We will then follow the northern path of the city in search of the last hidden testimonies of Phnom Penh history, one overrun by rapid changes of the city development. The history and the architecture of each building will be explained through links between past and present.”

He added that the second activity is a conference organized with the French Cultural Center on September 30: “Phnom Penh 150 years of architectures”. While the previous visit would have introduced the colonial period, limited to the French district, this conference will present and analyze the construction of the whole city.

According to Dana Langlois, Kong Vollak’s artworks will schedule on the 2nd
of September at the Java Arts /Java Café and Gallery; Sacred Dance/Sacred Space will be on the 5th of September at the Khmer Arts Ensemble; Architectural Visit will be on the 12th of September at the Old Friend district near Wat Phnom; Khmer Architectural Tours will be on the 13th of September along the Bassac River Front; Architecture Film Festival will be on the 25th and the 26th of September at the Meta House; Le Fumambule ( Man on wire) will be on the 1st-15th and the 25th of September at the FCC; Artists as architects will be on the 23rd of September at the FCC; Imaginary Park of the Arts will be on the 24th of September at the FCC; the Conference and launch of public art installation will be on the 26th of September at the FCC; and the Conference: Phnom Penh-150 years of Urban Architecture will be on the 30th of September at the FCC. /////

Nationwide Boxkator Competition held in Phnom Penh

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

On the August 27 to August 31 a Nationwide Boxkator Competition is being held at the National Stadium in Phnom Penh. Almost 300 boxers, form 18 different boxkator clubs and associations form across Cambodia will be competing. The boxkator competition is organized by the Cambodian Boxkator Federation (CBF), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYS) to preserve and promote boxkator which is a Khmer traditional martial art for the next generation.

Keo Thearith, 19, a boxkator fighter from Siem Reap is attending the boxkator competition in Phnom Penh. He is one of the new generations of Cambodians preserving their cultural heritage. Thearith said that he was happy to attend the competitions this year. “It is my first time to attend the boxkator competition in Phnom Penh. Although I am not experienced in fighting but with hard training and strong commitment, I will try my best to fight and win the competition,” he said.

Hok Chheang Kim, Secretary General of the Cambodian Boxkator Federation, said during an interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly on August 27: “I am happy because boxkator has been recently recognized by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a world heritage. It is a proud moment for our Cambodian people. Therefore, I think that this competition will help develop and promote our Boxkator in the future.”

This is the fourth year the federation has organized a national boxkator competition. Besides promoting the sport and preserving this part of Cambodia’s heritage, the federations also wants to promote sport and contribute to the general health awareness of Cambodians. The federations want the Khmer traditional martial art to become a “Sport for All”. The Secretary General further said: “I am happy because the number of Boxkator boxers attending this year’s competition have increased compared to previous competitions. This is a result of the CBF’s hard works and the peace, security, development and progress made by the Royal Government of Cambodia under the leadership of the Prime Minister Hun Sen.”

Relating to the competition, Chheang Kim said that the competition is divided in a male and female division. Fighters of both genders will compete in a fighting and a show part.
There are 4 weight categories, 52 kg, 56 kg, 60kg and 65 kg. There are a total of 49 medals to be won in all different categories. The medals and prices that will be awarded to this year’s winners are provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.

In its endeavors to preserve boxkator the CBF has collaborated with the Southeast Asia Television (SEATV). SEATV will start airing weekly matches from early October.
The competition will be organized every weekend and take place at the SEATV’s arena locating in Sleng Roloeung village, Phnom Penh Thmey commune, Russy Keo district, Phnom Penh. CBF also has plans to organize a “World Boxkator Championship” competition in next two years in Phnom Penh. “I believe that through these competitions we will be able to preserve boxkator for our next generation and promote boxkator in the world,” the Secretary General stated about the federations future plans.




Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Government Continues Fight for Road Safety

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Since early June of this year the first ever Cambodian speeding camera’s have been in use. Up till now there have been 80 cases of speed violations. The drivers had their vehicles confiscated, and only after their owners paid the fine, were the vehicles released. The use of speeding camera’s is part of a bigger operation where in the Government in collaboration with national and international NGO’S is trying to increase road safety. Other measurements taken are the enforcing of helmet and mirror use laws, as well as strict control on drunken driving. Recently the police in Phnom Penh have been provided with breathalyzers.

Road safety has become such an issue in Cambodia that Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen addressed it in a speech he made during a graduation ceremony at the Royal University of Law and Economics in Phnom Penh on August 12. In his speech the Premier made an urgent appeal to all motorbike riders to wear helmets and use properly installed mirrors for their own and other people’s safety. He stated that due to the high number of deaths and accidents occurring everyday on Cambodian roads, traffic safety is a major concern for the government.

“I would like to make this appeal to all motorbike riders in Cambodia; use mirrors and wear helmets every time you drive your motorbike, both day and night,” he said. “Further I suggest to all relevant authorities to strictly implement the Traffic Law.” Sandech Hun Sen ordered the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and the Ministry of Economy and Finance to send their agents to work directly with traffic police at all cities and provinces across the country in order to collect tax or issue motorbike number for confiscated motorbikes.

Ouk Kimleng, Director of the National Road Safety Committee (NRSC) in the Ministry of Interior, explained to The Southeast Asia Weekly the goal of the new measurements: “We are working hard to reduce the rate of traffic accidents and mortality in Cambodia. In cooperation with Ministries and NGO’s we are training road users about traffic laws, safety measurements and how to ride defensively. We hope that if all roads users are better aware of road safety and use their mirrors and helmets while driving, we will be able to reduce the rate of road traffic accidents and their consequences in the future. Therefore, I would like to appeal to all the road users or motorbike riders to wear the helmets and respect traffic laws while driving.”

According to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, currently, Cambodia has the highest rate of road accidents compared to population density and traffic volumes of all ASEAN nations. Traffic accidents have been increasing by 15 percent every year, whereas the vehicle volume has only been increasing by 10 percent. According to the Road Traffic Accident and Victim Information System (RTAVIS) report, currently more than four persons die and more than 75 are injured daily on the roads.
Pea Kimvong, Road Safety Awareness Officer with Handicap International Belgium (HIB), said that over 90 percent of accidents are caused by human error. Speed, particularly along the national roads, drunk-driving and dangerously overestimating of the driver’s own abilities are the main causes of accidents. Kimvong further pointed out that motorbike riders are particularly vulnerable in Cambodia, 72 percent of road traffic casualties are motorcycle riders. Most motorcycle casualties were not wearing helmet at the time of their accident, which reduced their chance to survive the accident considerably.

Since January 1, 2009 the law that forbids drivers to hit the streets without helmets or properly installed mirrors is been of effect. Kimleng said his ministry has ordered to all cities and provincial authorities, traffic police and military police, to work together on implementing the “100 percent mirror and helmets use” in all 24 cities and provinces. Up till now about 30,000 motorbikes have been fined, because owners were not wearing helmets or the bikes lacked proper mirrors. Kimleng further stated that about 85 percent of drivers in Phnom Penh are abiding by the new law, and about 75 percent of drivers in the provinces.

Chiv Hark, Deputy Chief of the Municipal Traffic Police Office in the Ministry of Interior, said that the Municipal Traffic Police have installed a total of seven speed cameras on main roads and checkpoints in Phnom Penh. He pointed out that seven main roads and checkpoints included the University of Agriculture road, Russian Federation Boulevard, Road No. 271, Road No. 598, Road No. 6A, and Road No. 2. The target roads of the drink-driving where Monivong Boulevard, National Road No. 5, Preah Sisowath Boulevard, Kampuchea Krom Boulevard, Russian Federation Boulevard, Nordodom Boulevard, and Monivong Boulevard in Phnom Penh, according to Chiv Hark.

“Road traffic is still remaining a big problem for Cambodians. It is claiming lives of our people and affecting the economy and social developments. We all now must work hard to prevent road traffic accidents by respecting the traffic law and wear helmets whenever using the roads,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly.

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


Prime Minister Hun Sen Thanks Private Educational Sector

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen said that the private educational sector has been assisting the Royal Government of Cambodia to promote and develop education in Cambodia. “The private sector has had a strong participation in the developing and strengthening of educational quality and therefore the quality of human resources in Cambodia,” he said during his opening remarks at a graduating ceremony at the Royal University of Law and Economics in Phnom Penh on August 12.

According to the Prime Minister the private sector has done a great job promoting education and so produces the future scholars and qualified work forces of Cambodia. “Besides the government’s investment, the private sector invests and the family of students investing in education, he said, adding that all of this showed the common goals of the Cambodian people and the Royal Government of Cambodia.”

The Premier said due to hard work and the efforts of many people and organizations, the educational systems and Cambodian degree’s now have been official recognized by many colleges and universities abroad. Especially in US there have been made great strides in the certification process. Currently, there is also a large amount of foreign students studying at universities in Cambodia. The steps Cambodia has taking in improving the quality of education make the Royal Government very proud, according to the Prime Minister.

“I am very proud at our educational sector, especially the private colleges and universities in Cambodia. They have been putting in a lot of effort and their works have really helped and contributed to the development of education and increasing the quality of human resources in Cambodia,” he said. “I hope all private school and university owners will continue their work and provide high quality training to their students to further strengthen the quality of education and human resources.”

The Premier emphasized that the government has determined that the human resource development is among the Cambodian government’s priority programs. “In the era of knowledge, education will determine the future.” According to MoEYS, there are currently a total of 3,403,751 students and 106,300 teachers, 1,634 public kindergartens, 6,476 public primary schools, 1,006 public junior high schools, 315 secondary schools and 45 institutes and universities in Cambodia.

To promote education in Cambodia, the Cambodian government has been making three important educational system reforms. The first is the Enrolling Equity Guarantee, which aims to build schools closed to people’s houses and provide more scholarships for students; and so provide each Cambodian citizen the chance to receive education. The second reform in named Education Quality and Effectiveness which aims to construct more libraries and schoolrooms, and implement curriculums developments to improve the quality of education on offer. The third reform is Staff Capacity Building and Institutions Development which goal it is to provide training for all staff and restructure the current work systems used by educational institutes.

To enhance the quality of education, the Cambodian government will continue to invest in the sector. “The government will build more schools and increase teachers housings and student housings in all cities and provinces,” the Prime Minister stated. He further added that the government will also put efforts in generating more jobs for graduates.

Im Sethy, Minister of Education Youth and Sport, said that the Royal Government of Cambodia has named education a priority program because a better educated Cambodian work force is necessary to establish social and economic development. The Minister said that the government has set up a strategic development plan for 2006-2010 focusing on human resources development and ensuring that, “Every child and youth has same opportunity to receive high quality education in Cambodia.”///





Thay Sokun Earns Scholarship to Continue Study in China

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Fresh back from his year in China Thay Sokun, 20, is enjoying a well deserved vacation with his family in Phnom Penh. The past year he spent in China, he studied Civil Engineering at the Tianjin University (TU). With one year of education at The University of Cambodia behind him, he was able to beat 500 candidates for the scholarship, in the exam set by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in early July of 2008. While studying at UC he passed a scholarship exam that has opened the door to another five years of study in China.

After being a very successful Samdech Hun Sen–Handa scholarship student at The University of Cambodia (UC) in 2007, he jumped at the chance to study abroad. “I decided to apply for this scholarship because I want to make a valuable contribution to the Kingdom of Cambodia. Armed with Chinese education I felt I would be able to improve social developments, infrastructures and engineering in Cambodia’s future,” Sokun stated.

Since he embarked on his great adventure on August 28, 2008 he has come across a lot of new and interesting experiences. These learning experiences are not only of an academic nature, at TU there are students from 29 different countries in Asia and Europe. Because of the multicultural atmosphere at TU he has had the opportunity to meet a great variety of people from different cultures. “Besides being very valuable and interesting on its own, the diver’s people I’ve been in contact with on a daily basis have also improved my English skills a lot,” Sokun said in an interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly. “I feel so fortunate for the chance to develop myself and to study with and befriend people from all over the world,” he continued.

You Sokhoeun, 49, father of Sokun, is very proud of his son’s efforts. Sokun has three sisters, him being the only son of the family. The family is still residing in the village of Trapaing Kraloeung, in Kampong Speu province where Sokun was born in 1989. Sokhoeun said that when Sokun studied at primary school in Kampong Speu province and his high school in Phnom Penh, he always studied very hard. “As a result, every month he brought home glowing reports from his teachers. Because my son has always worked hard he was able to acquire these scholarships. I am very proud since I have a good son and I wish him all the best and a lot of success in the future. As a father, I will give him strong support and encouragement to study for Master’s or Doctor’s Degree abroad in the future,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly on August 11.

While Sokun talks about his future plans it becomes apparent that he hasn’t finished his academic path. “My dream is to become a civil engineering Doctor so I can become part of an international company or organization in Cambodia. I want to have the knowledge and the skills to be a contribution to my future employer, so I can not only improve the future of my family but also of my country.” To achieve this goal, Sokun stated that he has plans to apply for a scholarship for a Doctor Degree in Europe after he finishes his Master studies in China.
In preparation for his next scholarship Sokun said that he will be studying hard and will be aiming to be part of the top 10 of his class.

Sokun started his academic career at Santhormuk High School in Phnom Penh. He graduated here before he was granted a Samdech Hun Sen-Handa scholarship to study English Literature at UC. Besides his English Literature studies he also completed the Fastrax English courses with the University’s Center for English Studies (CES) in 2007. At UC his English language skills improved a great deal, certainly to the point where he feels confidence in any given academic situation.

Sokun talks about how he feels UC has made his current path possible: “The UC is at the root of my skills which enabled me to study abroad and took me a few steps closer to fulfilling my dream. Although I have left the UC as a student, it is impossible for me to forget the organization which has enabled me to pursue my dream. I am especially grateful to Prime Minister Hun Sen and Dr. Haruhisa Handa, who made it possible for me to start studying at UC. I will study hard in China, so that when I come back I can show my gratitude to UC by teaching the next generation of students,” Sokun concludes.




Thay Sokun Earns Scholarship to Continue Study in China

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Fresh back from his year in China Thay Sokun, 20, is enjoying a well deserved vacation with his family in Phnom Penh. The past year he spent in China, he studied Civil Engineering at the Tianjin University (TU). With one year of education at The University of Cambodia behind him, he was able to beat 500 candidates for the scholarship, in the exam set by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in early July of 2008. While studying at UC he passed a scholarship exam that has opened the door to another five years of study in China.

After being a very successful Samdech Hun Sen–Handa scholarship student at The University of Cambodia (UC) in 2007, he jumped at the chance to study abroad. “I decided to apply for this scholarship because I want to make a valuable contribution to the Kingdom of Cambodia. Armed with Chinese education I felt I would be able to improve social developments, infrastructures and engineering in Cambodia’s future,” Sokun stated.

Since he embarked on his great adventure on August 28, 2008 he has come across a lot of new and interesting experiences. These learning experiences are not only of an academic nature, at TU there are students from 29 different countries in Asia and Europe. Because of the multicultural atmosphere at TU he has had the opportunity to meet a great variety of people from different cultures. “Besides being very valuable and interesting on its own, the diver’s people I’ve been in contact with on a daily basis have also improved my English skills a lot,” Sokun said in an interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly. “I feel so fortunate for the chance to develop myself and to study with and befriend people from all over the world,” he continued.

You Sokhoeun, 49, father of Sokun, is very proud of his son’s efforts. Sokun has three sisters, him being the only son of the family. The family is still residing in the village of Trapaing Kraloeung, in Kampong Speu province where Sokun was born in 1989. Sokhoeun said that when Sokun studied at primary school in Kampong Speu province and his high school in Phnom Penh, he always studied very hard. “As a result, every month he brought home glowing reports from his teachers. Because my son has always worked hard he was able to acquire these scholarships. I am very proud since I have a good son and I wish him all the best and a lot of success in the future. As a father, I will give him strong support and encouragement to study for Master’s or Doctor’s Degree abroad in the future,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly on August 11.

While Sokun talks about his future plans it becomes apparent that he hasn’t finished his academic path. “My dream is to become a civil engineering Doctor so I can become part of an international company or organization in Cambodia. I want to have the knowledge and the skills to be a contribution to my future employer, so I can not only improve the future of my family but also of my country.” To achieve this goal, Sokun stated that he has plans to apply for a scholarship for a Doctor Degree in Europe after he finishes his Master studies in China.
In preparation for his next scholarship Sokun said that he will be studying hard and will be aiming to be part of the top 10 of his class.

Sokun started his academic career at Santhormuk High School in Phnom Penh. He graduated here before he was granted a Samdech Hun Sen-Handa scholarship to study English Literature at UC. Besides his English Literature studies he also completed the Fastrax English courses with the University’s Center for English Studies (CES) in 2007. At UC his English language skills improved a great deal, certainly to the point where he feels confidence in any given academic situation.

Sokun talks about how he feels UC has made his current path possible: “The UC is at the root of my skills which enabled me to study abroad and took me a few steps closer to fulfilling my dream. Although I have left the UC as a student, it is impossible for me to forget the organization which has enabled me to pursue my dream. I am especially grateful to Prime Minister Hun Sen and Dr. Haruhisa Handa, who made it possible for me to start studying at UC. I will study hard in China, so that when I come back I can show my gratitude to UC by teaching the next generation of students,” Sokun concludes.




National Qualifying Rounds Karate-Do for the SEA Games in Laos

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

A total of 101 Karate-do fighters, including 13 female fighters, from cities and provinces across the country will participate in the five day nationwide Karate-do competition from the 12th to the 16th August 2009 at the National Stadium in Phnom Penh. In November the definitive qualifications will be held at Open Cup.

The competition is organized by the Cambodian Karate-do Federation (CKF), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport to select the fighters who will be entering the 25th SEA Games, to be held in Vientiane, Laos at the end of this year.
Besides this, the competition also promotes the karate-do sport as well as general health, according to Master Lach Chan Sovan, black belt 6th Dan, President of the Cambodian Karate-do Federation and also President of the Wado-Ryu Karate Academy in Phnom Penh.

The competition has been divided in a male and a female group, both groups competing in show and fighting rounds. In the male competition there are a total of 15 categories ranging from 30 kg up to 80 kg. The female competition is divided in four weight categories, a 48 kg, 58 kg and 60 kg and an open weight category.

Phuong Sovanvoleak, 15, is one of the female fighters competing in the competition. She is a fighter from the Wado-Ryu Karate Academy in Phnom Penh.

“I am happy as it is the first time for me to attend the nationwide Karate-do competition in Phnom Penh. I hope that with my hard training and strong patience, I will win a golden medal for my club,” she told The Southeast Asia Weekly. She further stated that of the past four matches, she won three.

There are a total of 56 gold, silver and bronze medals, to be won by the Karate-do fighters in this year. For the winner of the gold medal in the fighting class there is a reward of 300,000 Riel, for the silver medalist there is a 200,000 Riel award and the bronze winner will go home with 160,000 Riel. For the gold, silver and bronze medalist in the show class there will be rewards of respectably 105,000 Riel, 80,000 Riel and 60,000 Riel. The medals and prizes will be provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.

Chan Sovan, stated that since the establishment of the CKF in 1994, about 170,000 Cambodians have been trained in Karate-do in Cambodia. Among these over 300 Cambodian´s gained black belts and some of them became karate-do coaches working in cities and provinces across the nation.

Sorn Srey, 21, is one of these Karate-do fighters, has been attending Karate-do competitions for three years, up till now he has not received any medals. He said that he has been training Karate-do with Master Dai Vireak in Kandal province since 2007.

“This is the fourth time for me to attend the competition in Phnom Penh. Although I have not been received any medals so far, I believe that I must try hard and do my best in the competition so that I win at least one medal,” he said.

Cambodia Called on ASEAN Members to Jointly Combat Terrorism

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Royal Government of Cambodia has called on all ASEAN members to closely cooperate and take strict measures in combating and preventing terrorism, piracy, illegal weapon trade and money laundering in order to provide security, peace, political stability and development in the region Dr. Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Council of Ministers made his statement during the opening speech at the closing ceremony of the ”Security Challenges Associated with Terrorism in Southeast Asia” meeting on August 21 at the InterContinental Hotel in Phnom Penh.

Dr. Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Council of Ministers, said that nowadays, terrorism is a threat to people in this region and the entire world. The Deputy Prime Minister said that besides this, weapon and drug smuggling, piracy, and money laundering have impacted the development and economic growth. “It is a threat to the regional and global security, peace and political stability, he further said. The Deputy Prime Minister further said that in her efforts to combat terrorism in Cambodia, the Royal Government of Cambodia, in collaboration with the international community, has been working very hard in drafting and adopting new policies, systems and anti-terrorism laws.
“Terrorism, piracy, smuggling and money laundering are crimes that cross over borders. The ASEAN community faces many challenges in its fight against these crimes. Together we can stand strong against terrorists and criminals, and stop them from doing there despicable deeds. When we work closely together we can put a stop to these crimes. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to all ASEAN countries and relevant international organizations to cooperate and to jointly face these problems,” he stated

General Sok Phal, Deputy General Director of the National Police Commission at the Ministry of Interior said that modern technologies, such as mobile phones and internet, are being used by terrorists to commit their crimes. The Ministry of Interior is taking strict measurements so that all postal systems, telecommunications and internet usage is controlled, to decrease the risks of terrorist attacks. The General Director further stated that the government is currently requesting telecommunication companies to cooperate with the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications so that they will be better able to monitor Cambodia’s lines of communication. Telephone companies have been asked to properly register all mobile phone users, by registering their names an address details. A up to date register of all mobile phone users will enable authorities to capture anyone who is a threat to national safety.

He further told that the Ministry of Interior is currently investigating 8 separate cases, where kidnappers seem to have operated from Cambodia. Although the kidnappers committed their crimes of Cambodian soil, telephone research showed that the criminals have made calls from within Cambodia to the family of the victims.

UC Student: “I want to be part of the Cambodia’s Development”

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Thoeun Mony Vicheka, 19, has just completed the first year of his study at the Friendship University 80 (FU) in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam and in currently back in Phnom Penh to spend his vacation with his family. In 2007 Mony Vicheka joined The University of Cambodia as a Samdech Hun Sen–Handa National Scholarship student. When his first year at UC was almost finished, he spotted an announcement from the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport. They were offering a 7-year scholarship for a General Medicine study in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Jumping at this opportunity, Mony Vicheka entered the exam. After beating more than a 1,000 candidates in the exam, he embarked on his adventure in December 2008 when he moved to Vietnam.

During an interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly, Mony Vicheka stated that he applied for the Vietnamese Scholarship because he wants to contribute to Cambodia’s future. “First of all I want to be part of the rebuilding and development of Cambodia’s professional workforce, by being highly educated myself. But most important I want to be of service to the Cambodian people by working as a doctor in a public hospital.”

Mony Vicheka was born in 1991 in Phnom Penh as the only son and older brother to his one sister. His father is a teacher working at Boeung Trabaek High School and his mother is a housewife, both of them are still living in Phnom Penh. The first of his academic efforts were made at the Boeung Trabaek High School. He graduated there as part of their top ten student list. At the monthly and yearly classification he always finished between number 1 and 3. After graduating in 2007 he applied for the Samdech Hun Sen-Handa National Scholarships to enable him to study English Literature at UC. After a successful year at the UC, during which he also finished the Fastrax English course at the University’s Center for English Studies he won the Vietnam scholarship.

Mok Thoeun, father of Mony Vicheka, is a teacher working at the Boeung Trabek High School in Phnom Penh. Thoeun told The Southeast Asia Weekly how happy he is with both his children. Thoeun Mony Morakot, his daughter is now studying at the grade 10 at the Boeung Trabek High School in Phnom Penh. “When Mony Vicheka went to primary and high school he always worked very hard, and he always managed to get great results. I am sure that because of his continues hard work he was able to get the scholarships to UC and to Vietnam.” Talking about the ambitious plan of his son, Thoeun said to The Southeast Asia Weekly: “I wish him all the best, success and good luck in the future. With his hard work, strong commitment and the efforts he puts in his studies, I feel confident that he will realize his dream.” Thoeun emphasized that he will support Mony Vicheka and encourages him to study for a Master and Doctoral Degree in the future.

“I’m overjoyed and very proud of myself for passing the scholarship exam. Now I can study for seven years free of charge in Vietnam. This scholarship will pave the way for me to apply for scholarships in European countries in the future,” Mony Vicheka stated. About his experiences in his first year at the FU, he is very positive: “Besides learning a lot from the curriculum, I also learn and discover so much new trough the different cultures of all my classmates.” At the FU there are hundreds of foreign student, originating from 15 different counties in Asia and Europe. “Because of the international atmosphere I have improved my English tremendously, and I even picked up some Vietnamese.”


Talking about why he choose Vietnam Mony Vicheka explains: “I decided to study in Vietnam because I think that currently Vietnamese medicine, surgeries and medical treatments are advanced and of a high quality if compared to Cambodia’s other neighboring countries. An additional advantage of Vietnam is that it’s close to Phnom Penh so that it is easy for me to spend my holidays with my family.” He further said that he has adapted to live in Vietnam, and finds himself happy to have created a network of international friends.

“After obtaining my General Medicine Bachelor, I will apply for scholarships in Europe. I want to continue studying until I gained a Master’s and Doctoral Degree. During my time in Vietnam I will study hard and do everything within my power to be one of the best students at the Friendship University 80,” Mony Vicheka said about his future plans. “My long-term objective is to become a doctor and health expert, so I can improve the daily lives of Cambodians. I hope that it will be possible for me to one day open my own clinic in Phnom Penh.”


Workshop on “How to Build a More Research –Oriented Faculty”

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

A workshop on “How to Build a More Research-Oriented Faculty” was held on August 19 in Phnom Penh at The University of Cambodia (UC). The workshop was presided over by Dr. Angus Munro, Vice President of UC. Katherine Marshall, Professor of the Georgetown University, and Head of the World Faiths Development Dialogue was the lecture at the workshop.

Dr Angus Munro said that the workshop aimed to improve the research abilities of the faculty members and staff of the UC. He added that the workshop will promote a culture of research at UC. “Cambodian society needs to recognize the importance of research. Research can contribute at a national and international level, an institutional level or individual level. However, it is of vital importance that the research methods are of a high standard. The examination of all assumptions and presumption is at het base of every research,” he said during his opening remarks at the workshop.

Katherine Marshall, also Head of the World Faiths Development Dialogue, said that research is very important for teachers and faculty staff members of universities. She said that research is the only mean to improve and promote teachers’ teaching and the universities’ prestige worldwide. “Teaching is not just preaching but its needs to be fueled with freshly conducted research. If teachers conduct their lessons without the input of research the lessons are not imbedded in reality. I feel that all faculty members should conduct research in their own areas of specialty. Besides improving the quality of the lessons, it is a way to show the rest of the world what their university has to offer.”

Katherine Marshall pointed out that many universities in the world especially in the United States of America (USA) have been using research in addition to their curriculum. She continued by saying that a lot of faculty members of American universities are highly skilled in conducting research. One thing American scholars are particularly good in is making the results of their research public. Many of them have had their work published. Another common phenomenon in America is that researchers have their own website, where they make their work public. By doing so they are contributing to status of their university.

Professor Marshall found that conducting research is a highly undiscovered territory in Cambodia. “Cambodian academics do not see researching as a standard part of their function.” She found that because it is so uncommon for Cambodian scholars to conduct research, their skill are of yet limited. She advised all staff members to start engaging in research, so they can improve their teaching skills and increase the prestige of UC. Se further recommend to al UC teachers to create their own website, so they can show the world the high quality of education UC has to offer.




Cambodia and Vietnam Launch Free Trade Zone

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Royal Government of Cambodia and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam have launched a Free Trade Zone between the two countries at the Tinh Bien-Phnom Den International Checkpoint economic zone to promote and strengthen the bilateral trade and economic cooperation between both countries. To celebrate the opening there will be a two day festival: the Vietnamese High Quality Products festival, held on the 22nd and the 23rd of August. The launching ceremony of the joint Free Trade Zone was announced on a press conference presided over by Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce, the People’s Committee of An Giang province of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to Cambodia in Phnom Penh on August 18. Cambodian as well as Vietnamese traders will be able to sell their goods across the border, free of tax for the upcoming three years.

Mao Thora, Secretary of State for the Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce, said that the opening of the Tinh Bien Free Trade Zone will pave the way for Vietnamese producers and Cambodian merchants to exchange their products more easily in the future.
“The relation between Cambodia and Vietnam is very close, currently Vietnam is a main trading partner for Cambodia. Thus, I believe that the launching of Tinh Bien Free Trade Zone and the Vietnamese High Quality Products festival will further broaden and strengthen the Cambodia-Vietnam bilateral economic and trade cooperation. It will also build a bridge between Cambodian and Vietnamese traders and producers in future,” he told reporters at the press conference on August 18.
Economists forecast that bilateral trade will reach 2 billion US dollar in 2010 despite a slide of 30 percent in the first five months of this year compared to 2008. Relating to the trade incomes, Thora stated that the total two-way revenue in 2006 was only US$935 million in 2007 this had increased by 27.5 percent to US$1,193 million. In 2008, the total figures of import-export between the two countries have reached approximately US$1,640 million, an increase of 37.4 percent. Of this the total Vietnamese export accounted for US$1,430 millions and Cambodian export made up for US$ 210 million. “The total increase of the trade figures in 2008 by nearly US$500 million compared to 2007 is a result both countries can be proud of. This was obtained by good cooperation and joint efforts under the wise leadership of the heads of government from both countries. The joined goal is to achieve a total trade figure of U S$2 billion by 2010,” Thora further stated.

In its strategy to increase export the Royal Government of Cambodia has planned to focus mainly on 5 products, namely: rice, corn, potato, rubber resin, and cashew nuts. These products are especially suited for the export in the Southeast Asia region. Steps to implement these plans have already been taken. Vietnam has planned to buy a total of 60,000 tons of cashew nuts from Cambodian farmers next year. To promote Cambodia’s exported cashew goods in the future, Vietnam promised to help Cambodia in constructing two finery factories preparing cashew nuts for consumption in Cambodia by 2010. The first finery factory will be constructing in Skun district and another will be located in Memot district, Kampong Cham province. The Cambodian Ministry of Commerce will be organizing a meeting between the cashew merchants of Kampong Cham province and Kampong Thom province at the end of December 2009 in order to regulate sale prices.

Lam Minh Chieu, Chairman of the Vietnamese AN Giang Provincial People’s Committee, said the Tinh Bien Free Trade Zone is an important economic zone for Vietnam. In the province of the Free Trade Zone are two other trading zone, together make up for 70 percent of the total trade between Vietnam and Cambodia. The zone was officially opened by Vietnamese Prime Minister in early 2009 in order to create a bridge between Vietnamese producers and Cambodian merchants. Currently there are a total of 43 traders selling and buying goods at the Tinh Bien border.

The Chairman continued that to promote the import of Vietnamese products to Cambodia, the AN Giang Provincial People’s Committee organized the “Vietnamese high quality goods festival” at the 22nd to the 23rd of August 2009 at Tinh Bien Free Trade Zone in An Giang province in Vietnam. Not only Vietnamese traders will be given the opportunity to show their goods. The AN Giang Provincial People’s Committee will facilitate Cambodian eligible business to display their high quality products at he fair, he said. “I strongly believe that through these trade fairs, they will help to promote solidarity, friendships and bilateral trade cooperation between two countries in future,” he added.

Vu Kim Hanh, President of the Vietnamese High Quality Goods organization, said that to help Cambodian producers in producing and exporting their products, Vietnam will provide a loan for Cambodian eligible business companies to improve their business activities. Kim Hanh said that the loan will be granted through Vietnamese banks operating in Cambodia. She added that Vietnamese load program will begin next year.


Cambodia Won International Kickboxing Tournament

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Three Cambodian Kun Khmer kick-boxers have competed with three selected e foreign boxers from Russia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom on August 20 in Phnom Pen in order to exchange their techniques and fighting experiences. The boxing competition was organized by Cambodian Television Network (CTN) in collaboration with the Cambodian Amateur Boxing Association (CABA) in order to promote Khmer traditional boxing, known as Kun Khmer Kick-boxing in the rest of the world. Two Cambodian Kun Khmer boxers, Vorn Viva and Thun Sophea, won their matches, while the fight of Sen Bunthen against the Russian Ervant Atagyan ended in a draw.

Vorn Viva, 23, weight 73 kg, a World Class Kick-Boxing Champion from Preah Khan Reach Club at the Military Police Headquarters, competed with Charlie Gillispie, 21, weight 73 kg, from the United Kingdom. Thun Sophea, 26, weight 69, from the Ministry of National Defense’s Boxing Association, fought with Zidov Akuma, 28, weight 69 kg from Switzerland. Sen Bunthen, 24, weight 68 kg, member of the Ministry of Interior’s Boxing Association, competed with Ervant Atagyan, 22, weight 68 kg, from Russia.

Vorn Viva, the only Cambodian Kun Khmer heavyweight fighter has engaged in a total of 24 fights, he won 16, lost 7 and one fight ended in a draw. Charlie Gillispie who has a total of 29 fights recorded, won 24 of them and lost 5. Thun Sopea competed in 99 fights, 94 of them he won, three he lost and two ended in a draw. Zidov Akuma, the Swiss competitor has fought 46 fights, in 33 of them he was victorious, in 13 of them he came out as the loser. Sen Bunthen took part in 40 fights, of this total he won 25. Ervant Atagyan competed in 22 fights, in 18 of them he emerged as the winner.

For Vorn Viva it was not the first time to fight in front of television camera’s nor was it his first time competing against an international boxer. “It is my fourth time that I have competed and won from a foreign boxer. I am very happy that I can maintain my Kun Khmer belt from this competition. To maintain my belt as well as my Kun Khmer skills, I will continue to train harder and continue to fight with foreign boxers in future,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly.

Po Vibol, CTN’s Deputy General Director, said that this was the sixth edition of the CTN Kun Khmer International Kick-boxing tournament. The goal of the event is the promote Kun Khmer Boxing, a traditional Cambodian sport in the Kingdom itself but also in the rest of the world. Vibal also said the he hoped the event would attract more foreign tourist to visit Cambodia. He hoped that more people would familiarize themselves with Cambodian culture, and that the increases tourist numbers would generate jobs for Cambodian people.

At the press conference held on August 19 the Deputy General Director stated: “We are proud to be the organizers of the Kun Khmer International kick-boxing competition. This event helps to preserve Kun Khmer Kick-Boxing, which is a valuable part of our culture for future generations of Cambodians. Also we can show the world what Kun Khmer Kick-boxing is.”

The Deputy General Director pointed out that since the Cambodian Television Network started organizing the Kun Khmer International Kick-Boxing tournament in 2003, two Cambodian boxers won the World Class Kick-Boxing Championship. He added that Kun Khmer Kick-boxing gained recognizing in the rest of the world, partly because of events like the international tournament. “Before, many people in the world only knew Muy Thai. They thought that kick-boxing (Muy Thai) belongs to Thailand. However, due to our hard work and our continue promotion, they now started to learn about Kun Khmer. It is a great accomplishment for Cambodia,” he said.

Oum Yurann, President of the Cambodian Amateur Boxing Association (CABA), said that in order to develop and promote Kun Khmer in future, CABA will continue to organize more national and international Kun Khmer Kick-Boxing competitions in Cambodia as well as sending Cambodian boxers to attend the competition abroad.

Cambodia Won International Kickboxing Tournament

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Three Cambodian Kun Khmer kick-boxers have competed with three selected e foreign boxers from Russia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom on August 20 in Phnom Pen in order to exchange their techniques and fighting experiences. The boxing competition was organized by Cambodian Television Network (CTN) in collaboration with the Cambodian Amateur Boxing Association (CABA) in order to promote Khmer traditional boxing, known as Kun Khmer Kick-boxing in the rest of the world. Two Cambodian Kun Khmer boxers, Vorn Viva and Thun Sophea, won their matches, while the fight of Sen Bunthen against the Russian Ervant Atagyan ended in a draw.

Vorn Viva, 23, weight 73 kg, a World Class Kick-Boxing Champion from Preah Khan Reach Club at the Military Police Headquarters, competed with Charlie Gillispie, 21, weight 73 kg, from the United Kingdom. Thun Sophea, 26, weight 69, from the Ministry of National Defense’s Boxing Association, fought with Zidov Akuma, 28, weight 69 kg from Switzerland. Sen Bunthen, 24, weight 68 kg, member of the Ministry of Interior’s Boxing Association, competed with Ervant Atagyan, 22, weight 68 kg, from Russia.

Vorn Viva, the only Cambodian Kun Khmer heavyweight fighter has engaged in a total of 24 fights, he won 16, lost 7 and one fight ended in a draw. Charlie Gillispie who has a total of 29 fights recorded, won 24 of them and lost 5. Thun Sopea competed in 99 fights, 94 of them he won, three he lost and two ended in a draw. Zidov Akuma, the Swiss competitor has fought 46 fights, in 33 of them he was victorious, in 13 of them he came out as the loser. Sen Bunthen took part in 40 fights, of this total he won 25. Ervant Atagyan competed in 22 fights, in 18 of them he emerged as the winner.

For Vorn Viva it was not the first time to fight in front of television camera’s nor was it his first time competing against an international boxer. “It is my fourth time that I have competed and won from a foreign boxer. I am very happy that I can maintain my Kun Khmer belt from this competition. To maintain my belt as well as my Kun Khmer skills, I will continue to train harder and continue to fight with foreign boxers in future,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly.

Po Vibol, CTN’s Deputy General Director, said that this was the sixth edition of the CTN Kun Khmer International Kick-boxing tournament. The goal of the event is the promote Kun Khmer Boxing, a traditional Cambodian sport in the Kingdom itself but also in the rest of the world. Vibal also said the he hoped the event would attract more foreign tourist to visit Cambodia. He hoped that more people would familiarize themselves with Cambodian culture, and that the increases tourist numbers would generate jobs for Cambodian people.

At the press conference held on August 19 the Deputy General Director stated: “We are proud to be the organizers of the Kun Khmer International kick-boxing competition. This event helps to preserve Kun Khmer Kick-Boxing, which is a valuable part of our culture for future generations of Cambodians. Also we can show the world what Kun Khmer Kick-boxing is.”

The Deputy General Director pointed out that since the Cambodian Television Network started organizing the Kun Khmer International Kick-Boxing tournament in 2003, two Cambodian boxers won the World Class Kick-Boxing Championship. He added that Kun Khmer Kick-boxing gained recognizing in the rest of the world, partly because of events like the international tournament. “Before, many people in the world only knew Muy Thai. They thought that kick-boxing (Muy Thai) belongs to Thailand. However, due to our hard work and our continue promotion, they now started to learn about Kun Khmer. It is a great accomplishment for Cambodia,” he said.

Oum Yurann, President of the Cambodian Amateur Boxing Association (CABA), said that in order to develop and promote Kun Khmer in future, CABA will continue to organize more national and international Kun Khmer Kick-Boxing competitions in Cambodia as well as sending Cambodian boxers to attend the competition abroad.

Monday, August 10, 2009

NiDA takes strides in the computerization of government functions.


BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

In an effort to computerize all government functions NiDA (National Information Communications Technology Development Authority) has announced on August 5 to start implementing PAIS (Provincial Administration Information System). This system will allow the automatic registration of residents, vehicles and real estate on a provincial level.

Dr. Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Council of Ministers stated that the new system will help to control and speed up the government’s officials works in the future. The Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Sok An further stated, “Besides automation this system will promote working transparency, and increase the efficiency and productivity of the government’s officials and workers in all cities and provinces throughout the Kingdom of Cambodia.”

The NiDa has been working on the computerization of the works of the Cambodian government since 2002. In 2004 the first step of the computerization of the government was completed. This part of the project was called; GAIS (Government Administration Information System). The goals and aims are similar to PAIS’s but aimed at the central government, whereas PAIS is aimed at provincial governments. The ultimate goal of NiDA is to achieve an efficient and paperless government, also referred to as e-Government. So far all ministries, the Nation Assembly, the Senate and all secretariats have created their own websites and can be contacted by email.

The main benefits of creating the e-government will be the enhancement of public services. Each ministry will be connected to the government central sever. Document processing will be done electronically. Also by registry of residents, vehicles and real estate the government will be able to fairly and properly collect road, real estate and income taxes.

According to NiDA’s plan the project will be completely finished by the end of 2010. Dr. Sok An stated that by then the project will have cost a total of US$30 million.

Phu Leewood, Secretary General of NiDA stated, “It is my hope that after the completion of the PAIS project, all government officers will be able to carry out their responsibilities more effective.” All city and provincial government workers will receive training in the future so they can make the most of the new systems.





Police Received Training on HIV/AIDS Peer Education


BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Police Master Trainers have received training on HIV/AIDS Peer education at the Police Headquarters of the Ministry of Interior in Phnom Penh on the 3rd to the 7th of August 2009. The training aimed to integrate HIV/AIDS education into the standard police training program, and so combating the spread of HIV/AIDS in Cambodia.

The HIV/AIDS Peer Education training was organized by the AIDS Secretariat of the Ministry of Interior which was financial supported by the USAID, PRASIT and FHI.

Lieutenant General Pen Vibol, Director of the AIDS Secretariat in the Ministry of Interior, said that the training aimed to inform the police forces about how to protect themselves, their families and their communities from HIV/AIDS. “By training the police we will be better able to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS in Cambodia.”

“So far, HIV/AIDS is still an important issue and a strong concern in Cambodia despite that its rate prevalence has been decreasing compared to neighboring countries. The armed forces, especially the police, are among those who now are affected and challenged by the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” Vibol remarked during his opening speech at the training.

Approximately 6 percent of the Cambodian people between 15 and 49, have been infected with HIV/AIDS, according to a report revealed by Dr. Tea Phalla, Deputy Director of the AIDS Department of the National AIDS Authority at the Ministry of Health. Dr. Phalla said that approximately 2.3 percent of the infected populations are members of the police force who are currently working in Phnom Penh and other provinces.

Since 1991 the HIV epidemic has claimed over 100,000 Cambodian lives. Currently there are over 50,000 Cambodians who are infected 3,300 of this number are children. Only 38,000 of the total number of 50,000 people are receiving treatment.

The two main methods of transferring the disease are unprotected sex and intravenous drug use. According to Dr. Tea Phalla it is estimated that about 220,000 Cambodian men are frequenting brothels. Besides that 400,000 men are involved in sexual relationships outside the sex industry. There are about 250,000 women working as sex workers in Cambodia. About 20 percent of these women are habitual drug users. Dr. Tea Phalla continued to say that it is of great concern that so many Cambodians do not use condoms when engaging in sexual relationships. Especially while using the services of sex workers the risk of getting infected is extremely high.

Vibol pointed out that to reduce the HIV/AIDS infection in police forces and to prevent the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in Cambodia, the Ministry of Interior, in collaboration with FHI, USAID and other concerned authorities have been working hard in raising HIV/AIDS awareness for Cambodian police forces in cities and provinces across the nation.
“Since the first training of HIV/AIDS awareness conducted in 1999, so far all Cambodian police forces nationwide have received training about HIV/AIDS. By training we are enabling our police forces to join in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS,” Vibol added.




Cambodian Women Receive Modeling Training


BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

As of last weekend Cambodia has gained her first ever female Khmer Boxing referee. Saing Somaly, 31, wife of boxing champion E Phouthorng has refereed her first match last weekend at the Olympic Stadium. Somaly, oldest of four siblings has been involved in the sport since she was a child.

“I am happy that I was selected as the first female Khmer boxing referee in Cambodia. To fulfill this work well, I will be working hard and do my best to manage and provide fair and good judgment for all the fighters at all arenas in Cambodia,” Somaly told The Southeast Asia Weekly.

She continued by saying that she has loved the sports since she was a child. While growing up in Koh Kong province she spent a year being trained by a veteran boxing coach. She continued her training with her husband, and followed him to all his matches.

It is believed that Khmer Boxing originates as far back as the 10th century. Originating from the Kingdom of Angkor it shares is roots with regional martial arts as Muay Thai and Tomoi. In modern times it became one of Cambodians favorite sports. During colonial times the French added a boxing ring, gloves and timed rounds to the sport. When the Khmer Rouge gained power they banned all traditional martial arts, killing or working to death many of the boxers. This almost meant the end of Khmer Boxing, but since then the sport has again regained its status as popular Khmer sport. There are even Khmer Boxing originations in Germany, France, Australia, Spain and Belgium.

In Cambodia the sports is represented by the Cambodian Amateur Boxing Association (CABA). Meas Sokry, Chief of the Khmer Boxing Referees and Judges and an Executive Member of CABA stated there is a need for female referee’s to referee the female boxing matches. Sokry who is also an experienced coach with the Ministry of Interior’s Boxing Association further said that Saing Somaly, once a boxer herself, was the only female who was qualified and fit enough to referee the match which was aired on local TV-stations.

Sokry trained Somaly for two weeks in her referee skills. Together with her already extensive experience in the boxing world he believes she will become an excellent referee.

“I am very proud of Somaly because she is very active woman who has been working hard in promoting Khmer boxing in general, and specifically female boxing in Cambodia. She will represent Cambodian women and be a credit to Cambodia in general,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during a telephone interview on August 6.

Besides working as referee, Somaly is currently also working as Boxing Coach Assistant with her husband’s boxing association (E Phouthorng Boxing Club) in Phnom Penh.

“I will never take for granted the fact that I am a boxing referee in Cambodia,” she said. I will be working hard and I will continue my work until I am retired in order to promote Khmer female boxing in the future,” said Sokry.

Long Salavorn, President and boxing coach of the Salavorn Boxing Club in Phnom Penh, stated that he admires Saing Somaly’s talents and experience. He said Somaly’s boxing experiences will allow her to perform her duty well in the future. “I hope that with her strong interest and commitment to the sport, she will become the best female Khmer boxing referee in Cambodia.”













The First Cambodian Female Boxing Referee

By BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

As of last weekend Cambodia has gained her first ever female Khmer Boxing referee. Saing Somaly, 31, wife of boxing champion E Phouthorng has refereed her first match last weekend at the Olympic Stadium. Somaly, oldest of four siblings has been involved in the sport since she was a child.

“I am happy that I was selected as the first female Khmer boxing referee in Cambodia. To fulfill this work well, I will be working hard and do my best to manage and provide fair and good judgment for all the fighters at all arenas in Cambodia,” Somaly told The Southeast Asia Weekly.

She continued by saying that she has loved the sports since she was a child. While growing up in Koh Kong province she spent a year being trained by a veteran boxing coach. She continued her training with her husband, and followed him to all his matches.

It is believed that Khmer Boxing originates as far back as the 10th century. Originating from the Kingdom of Angkor it shares is roots with regional martial arts as Muay Thai and Tomoi. In modern times it became one of Cambodians favorite sports. During colonial times the French added a boxing ring, gloves and timed rounds to the sport. When the Khmer Rouge gained power they banned all traditional martial arts, killing or working to death many of the boxers. This almost meant the end of Khmer Boxing, but since then the sport has again regained its status as popular Khmer sport. There are even Khmer Boxing originations in Germany, France, Australia, Spain and Belgium.

In Cambodia the sports is represented by the Cambodian Amateur Boxing Association (CABA). Meas Sokry, Chief of the Khmer Boxing Referees and Judges and an Executive Member of CABA stated there is a need for female referee’s to referee the female boxing matches. Sokry who is also an experienced coach with the Ministry of Interior’s Boxing Association further said that Saing Somaly, once a boxer herself, was the only female who was qualified and fit enough to referee the match which was aired on local TV-stations.

Sokry trained Somaly for two weeks in her referee skills. Together with her already extensive experience in the boxing world he believes she will become an excellent referee.

“I am very proud of Somaly because she is very active woman who has been working hard in promoting Khmer boxing in general, and specifically female boxing in Cambodia. She will represent Cambodian women and be a credit to Cambodia in general,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during a telephone interview on August 6.

Besides working as referee, Somaly is currently also working as Boxing Coach Assistant with her husband’s boxing association (E Phouthorng Boxing Club) in Phnom Penh.

“I will never take for granted the fact that I am a boxing referee in Cambodia,” she said. I will be working hard and I will continue my work until I am retired in order to promote Khmer female boxing in the future,” said Sokry.

Long Salavorn, President and boxing coach of the Salavorn Boxing Club in Phnom Penh, stated that he admires Saing Somaly’s talents and experience. He said Somaly’s boxing experiences will allow her to perform her duty well in the future. “I hope that with her strong interest and commitment to the sport, she will become the best female Khmer boxing referee in Cambodia.”













Nationwide Table Tennis Competition 2009

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

A total of 90 table tennis players including 32 female players from 11 table tennis associations have attended the nationwide table tennis competition for five days, started on July 28 to August 1, 2009 at the National Stadium in Phnom Penh.

The nationwide table tennis competition was organized by the Cambodia Table Tennis Federation (CTTF), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYS).

Sun Sothearith, Secretary-General of CTTF, said that his federation has been organizing this nationwide table tennis competition since 1982 to promote people’s health and sport in Cambodia. He said the main purpose of the competition was to select the best table tennis players or most capable players to representing the country for the year of 2009.

We support people to play table tennis so that they can have good health which can contribute to the human resources development and progress of Cambodia, and especially to prepare for future international competitions, said Sothearith.

“It is the 27th years that the CTTF has organized the competition in Cambodia. This year’s competition has an increased in the number of young people who are under the age of 18years old. They have also improved their playing skills and techniques in competition,” he said during an interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly on July 29.

Relating to the competitions, the Secretary-General said that there are three competing subjects including group competition, individual competition, and peer competition.

Sothearith said that the competition has divided into two categories in which the first category is “A1” competition which is for those whose ages are over 19; and the second type is for “A2” which is for those whose ages are under 15.

CTTF planed to send seven Cambodian selected table tennis players, four male and three female, to the Nanning International Table Tennis Invitational Tournament during the China-ASEAN Expo 2009 from October 24th to 25th in China, according to Sothearith. He said CTTF also planned to send them for the 25th SEA Games Competition which will take place by the end of December 2009 in Vientiane, Laos.

Sothearith said CTTF also plans to host the 16th Southeast Asia Junior Table Tennis Championship in Cambodia, with over ten countries participated in mid-June 2010.

For the final round of the competitions, those who first place in championship will receive gold medal and other value prizes, second place winners will receive silver medal, and third place winners will receive the bronze medal with other prizes. All medals and prizes are provided by the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport.

Soeun Tola, 11, a table tennis player from BSC Table Tennis Association in Phnom Penh, attended the competition. Tola said that he has been training for two years with Mr. Hneat Sacha, an experienced coach in Phnom Penh. He added that he attended the nationwide table tennis competition and won a bronze medal in 2008.

“I am happy with my abilities and it is also the second time for me to attend it. With my hard training and preparation, I hope that I will able to win another medal from the association this year,” he told Southeast Asia Weekly.

Taing Hao, 15, another table tennis player, from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ Table Tennis Association in Phnom Penh, has also attended the competition. Hao said he has been training for four years and has also attended eight national and international tournaments. He added that as result, he has won six medals total with three medals being from nationwide table tennis competitions in Cambodia, a gold medal in 2006, a bronze medal in 2007, and a gold medal in 2008.

“I hope that with my hard training and previous playing experience, I will win another medal from this year’s competition,” he said.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Cambodian Concerns Tobacco Impact

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Dr. Mom Kong, Executive Director of the Cambodia Movement for Health, said that tobacco is still a strong concern for the Cambodian people as many people now have been using tobacco products every day.

Dr. Kong said that besides affecting the peoples’ health, tobacco has been affecting the Cambodian economy especially for those who are addicted and feel they must use tobacco products every day.

“I noted that so far, although the tobacco users or cigarette smokers seemed to be decreasing, tobacco is still a danger for the people of Cambodia. Tobacco has been affecting both peoples’ health and their economy,” he said at a press conference on August 1.

The Executive Director said that according to a survey conducted by his organization, Cambodian people are spending approximately US$ 70 million per year on tobacco products in Cambodia. This amount of money does not included medical check-ups or other treatments that they [smokers or tobacco users] must receive due to smoking.

To reduce the tobacco use in Cambodia, Dr. Kong said his organization, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, and other concerned Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have been working very hard to educate Cambodian peoples’ on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and downfalls to using tobacco products health.

He continued to say that recently, his organization has conducted a research survey on the planting of tobacco, tobacco products and its impacts on farmers in Cambodia after the Tobacco Control Convention was ratified by Cambodian government in 2005.

The Tobacco Control Convention has not had any affected on the farmers’ tobacco plantations or their tobacco businesses in Cambodia, he said, adding that about 40 percent of Cambodian farmers used to plant tobacco, but have now abandoned the planting of tobacco and changed to cultivate various subsidiary crops as tobacco’s price lowers and there is a shortage of market in Cambodia.

Dr. Veng Sokly, Program Officer of the Health Promotion Department in the Ministry of Health (MoH), said that to prevent and control the tobacco in Cambodia, the Cambodian government has ratified the Tobacco Control Convention in 2005.

The Program Officer Sokly said the Ministry of Health now is also preparing a sub-degree to control the tobacco industry or tobacco companies by limiting their tobacco products advertising in Cambodia.

He emphasized that so far the Ministry of Health has been working hard in promoting and increasing public awareness of the serious health risks of tobacco use, by motivate smokers to reduce or quit using the tobacco, and banning all kinds of tobacco advertisements through radio, newspapers, magazines, and banners in all cities and provinces across the nation.

Dr. Yel Daravuth, National Professional Officer at the World Health Organization, said tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the world which is responsible for 5.4 million deaths each year worldwide, about 80 percent of the deaths happening in the developing countries. He added that the use of cigarettes also can caused many diseases including swollen lungs or lung cancer, mouth cancer, tongue cancer, heart attacks, high blood pressure and so on.

According to a report of the National Statistic Institution in the Ministry of Planning, there are about two million Cambodians that are using tobacco products, 48 percent being male over the age of 18, 3.6 percent being female, 17 percent being woman who use tobacco to put in the mouth, and one percent being males who use a tobacco to put in the mouth. ///





Government Takes Measures to Promote Tourism

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Prime Minister Hun Sen said tourism is a main pillar in which helps supports the economic growth in Cambodia. Due to the downfall of the global economy and financial crisis, Cambodian tourism has been falling since the end of 2008 and during the first six months of year 2009.

The Premier said that to retrieve the tourists and promote the tourism sector in Cambodia, the Cambodian government is now working hard to strengthening the peace, political stability, security, social orders, and personal safety of tourists in Cambodia.

“The Royal Government of Cambodia will pay attention to the strengthening of tourism sector in short, medium and long-term periods through the guarantee of peace, political stability, security and social orders in Cambodia,” he said during his closing remarks at the Annual Congress of the Ministry of Tourism on July 30.

To achieve these goals, the government will have a meeting with private partners and other involved development partners in order to monitor the trend and the real situation of tourism sector and take measures to resolve the challenges, he said.

The Premier said the government will continue to publish its tourism markets in region and to the world, reduce visa price or visa procedures which will make easier for tourists, and provide safe transportation for tourists when they arrived and during their stay in Cambodia.


He continued to say that the government will also have incentives for the private sectors, especially tourist companies, to work hard, increase effectively of their competitive capacity, and strengthen their quality of services to promote to tourists in Cambodia.

“I wish to appeal to all private sectors to cooperate with the government and continue their hard work to promote tourism to reach the goal of an increase in cultural tourism and natural tourism in region. I believed that if we are able this, we will able to reduce the global economic crisis and generate jobs for our people in the short future,” he said.

Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism, said that to promote tourism in Cambodia, his ministry will continue to market and publish articles about the Cambodian tourism market in region and in word. He said the ministry is preparing for eco-tourism, by generating and developing the based-tourism communities, facilitate passengers’ traveling, and by reducing the price of tourism package.

The Minister continued to say that his ministry will also work to strengthen the governance and the development of the tourist zones in cities and provinces across the country, strengthen the quality of industrial tourism, generate tourist events, and govern the attracted tourist sites.

To make Cambodia be the “Kingdom of Wonder”, the government will organize a competition titled “Clean City, Attractive Places, and Good Services,” for cities and provinces in Cambodia. This competition will take place very year and begin next year, he added.

The Minister said that the cities and provinces that win the competition will receive a medal or award from the Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“I believe that if we can implement all these measures we will able to promote or attract international tourism to visiting Cambodia in future. By this way, we will generate jobs for our people and reduce poverty in Cambodia,” he said.

According to statistic figure of the Ministry of Tourism 2009, there is a total of 2.1 million foreign tourists visited Cambodia in 2008 and for period of six months in 2009, there are over one million international tourists. ///



Japan Provides New Grant Aid to Cambodia

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Government of Japan has provided grant aid totaling ¥3,305,000,000 (approximately US$33.05 million) in response to the request from the Royal Government of Cambodia, aiming to promoting the economic development and stabilization of Cambodia.

This Japanese grant aid was officially announced during the Exchange of Note for Extending Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) between Hor Namhong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Katsuhiro Shinohara, Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia.

Prime Minister Hun Sen presided over the signing ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on July 30.

The Japanese grant aid is aimed to contribute to the execution of three main projects including the improvement of the National Road Number 1; the Construction of the Marine Aquaculture Development Center in Preah Sihanouk province; and for Rural Drinking Water Supply in Memuth district, in Kampong Cham Province.

The Deputy Prime Minister Namhong said at the signing ceremony that the Japanese grant aid will help the Cambodian government in contributing to the rehabilitation, infrastructure and the development of the Kingdom of Cambodia in future.

“Japan continues to be the top donor for Cambodia,” he said. “It will help to promote the development and improve the livelihood of our Cambodian peoples.”

The Japanese Ambassador Katsuhiro Shinohara said that the three projects on the extension of the Japanese Grant Aid to the Royal Government of Cambodia aimed to develop the economy and social development within the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Shinohara said the first Note deals with the Project for Improvement of National Road Number 1. A section of about 43 kilometers from Koki commune to Neak Loueng in Kandal province has already completed under the Japanese grant aid.

The objective of this project, using up to 2,005 million Yen, equivalent to around US$20 million, under the grant aid scheme, to improve the road from Koki commune up to Nirot in Kean Svay district, Kandal province and contribute to the smooth flow of traffic, reduction in travel times and accelerated economic growth in Cambodia.

The objective of the second Note deals with the Project for Construction of a Marine Aquaculture Development Center which is to be construct in the center of a 17,000 square meter state owned land at the north end of Sihanouk commercial port, which will produce 400, 000 seabass seeds per year. A fund up to of up to 931 million yen, equivalent to around US $9.90 million, will be provided under the Grant Aid scheme, according to Shinohara.

The objective of the project for the third Note deals for Rural Drinking Water Supply in Memuth district, Kampong Cham province. This project will construct 136 tube wells for the benefit of about 33,000 people living in the 52 villages in Memuth district, which will supply a safe and stable drinking water supply for the villages. A fund of up to 369 million yen, equivalent to around US$ 3.93 million, will be provided under the Grant Aid scheme.

“Japan will continue to assist Cambodia in every way possible, in its efforts to reduce poverty and develop Cambodia,” Shinohara said. “I sincerely hope that the assistance from people and the Japanese government committed today will accelerate Cambodia’s economic and social development, and will ultimately benefit all people in Cambodia.” ////

Cambodia Angkor Air Launches the Flight

BY BUHT REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The establishment of the National Airline Company “Cambodia Angkor Air”, which is a joint venture company between the Royal Government of Cambodia and Vietnam Airlines, has officially been launched to boost the Cambodian economy, tourism, and jobs creation in the country.

The National Airline Company is a joint venture between the Cambodian Government, owning 51 percent, and Vietnamese Airlines, owning 49 percent, which will be conducting for over 30 years, according to an agreement on the establishment of Cambodia National Airlines.

The launching ceremony took place at the Phnom Penh International Airport on July 27, presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Truong Vinh Trong, Deputy Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

The Premier said the launch of Cambodia Angkor Air represents another pride of Cambodia in its effort to revive its National Airlines. He added that this achievement cannot be separated from the support from and close cooperation with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, a neighboring country with close cooperation in all sectors, especially politics and economics.

“This launch indeed does not imply the start of Cambodia National Airlines but Cambodia started its National Airlines in 1956, and later on, due to the war and lack of human resources, the national airlines ceased its operation. Thus, we can see that Cambodia National Airlines has its history of more than half decade, by having gone through both difficult and prosperous period,” Hun Sen said during his opening remarks at the to launching ceremony.

Prime Minister Hun Sen affirmed that first Cambodian National Airline named “Royale Air Cambodge” operated in 1956, with 60 percent stake owned by the Cambodia government and 30 percent stake owned by Air France. This company’s operation was notably successful, unfortunately, due to a domestic crisis and political instability; it ceased its operation after the Khmer Rouge took power in 1975.

The Premier said later on, after 1979, the People’s Republic of Kampuchea established the National Airline Company called “Cambodia Airlines” which was 100 percent owned by the state. The operation relied on aircrafts and utilities produced in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and were not fully commercial as the company was mandated to both operate on commercial basis and serve social needs.

In 1995, the Cambodian government switched from a fully state-owned company by forming a joint venture with a Malaysian company and the operation of the company was purely commercial, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen, adding that in spite of pure commercial operation and support from the experienced Malaysian party, the company’s operation was not successful and the blame goes to the unstable market and September 11, 2001, terrorist attacked on the United States of America. Later on, the company stopped its operation.

The Premier said Cambodia enjoys competitive advantage and enormous tourism potentials that were left by its previous generations in both abstract and non-abstract achievements such as cultural, artistic and historical heritage as well as thousand of stone temples through out the country including the stone carving arts and other live artistic achievements, which attract the visitors, archeologists and historian, who are the main objectives of the world tourism.

“I realize that Cambodia National Airline Company will further fill in the gap and create a full supporting mechanism for the national economic infrastructure Based on the potential of the current tourism sector and the legacy,” said Hun Sen.

Through this mean, the Company will actively contribute to the improvement in the areas of transportation, trade and tourism as well as directly contributing to the job creation, which is the basis for socio-economic development in Cambodia, he said.

The Premier said besides the effort to make its business a success with direct interest to the national socio-economic situation, the National Airline Company has another significant role as an effective mean in disseminating Khmer culture, civilization and tradition to be further known by the outside world.

“We can see that tourism will become an effective bridge in providing transportation services to visitors coming from abroad to visit our Cambodia: ‘Kingdom of Wonder’. This is directly contributing to the promotion of tourism in Cambodia and continuity of job creation, increase of income and enhancement of the living standard of the people,” he said. “It could be assumed that the progress of Cambodia Airline Sector will provide mean for highlighting legacy, which is the long lasting resources to show the visitors from different corners of the world and this mechanism will continue spreading to the progress of other sectors.”

He said, “I believe that all leaders and governing board members of the National Airline Company, ‘Cambodia Angkor Air’, will try our utmost to overcome every obstacles and learn from the past experiences to bring a success for this company and contribute to the promotion of Cambodian competitive ability in the new context of open sky policy in the region through the knowledge transfer, experiences and other necessary technologies.”

Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Council of Ministers, said Vietnamese Airlines has a capital investment of US$100 million for the Cambodia Angkor Air. He added that during the first stage of the Company operation, Cambodian government will provide full support and incentives to make sure for the National Airline Company can be operated with full confidence, strong position and be competitive with other airline companies in the region.

The Deputy Prime Minister continued to say that the Cambodia Angkor Air will provide flying services from Siem Reap province to Phnom Penh and to Sihanouk province. The Angkor Air has also a schedule for the international flight from Siem Reap to Bangkok, Thailand. The initial flight through this route is to facilitate the transportation of visitors from Sihanouk province, traveled into Cambodia through tourism ships to visit Angkor temples, and included more flights from Siem Reap to Bangkok, responding to the Cambodian government policy and strategy in the face of Global Economic Crisis to revive tourism sector in Cambodia, especially in Siem Reap, receiving impact from this crisis.

“In the near future, the flights might be connected to other regions of Vietnam, Luong Prabang city of Lao PDR and other cities of tourism in the region and other countries as many as possible,” said Sok An. “The connection of coastal areas to the Tourism City of Angkor in Siem Reap is the significant strategy in expanding the visiting ability of visitors more than before and to make sure that those visitors are able to visit Angkor and coastal areas within a tour package and will also facilitate visitors to see many places and stay longer.”

There were more than two million foreign tourists that visited Cambodia in 2008, according to a report made by the Ministry of Tourism. But in this year 2009, the Ministry expected that there are about 2.5 million people will visit Cambodia, According to Ministry of Tourism’s report. ////





Nationwide Table Tennis Competition 2009

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

A total of 90 table tennis players including 32 female players from 11 table tennis associations have attended the nationwide table tennis competition for five days, started on July 28 to August 1, 2009 at the National Stadium in Phnom Penh.

The nationwide table tennis competition was organized by the Cambodia Table Tennis Federation (CTTF), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYS).

Sun Sothearith, Secretary-General of CTTF, said that his federation has been organizing this nationwide table tennis competition since 1982 to promote people’s health and sport in Cambodia. He said the main purpose of the competition was to select the best table tennis players or most capable players to representing the country for the year of 2009.

We support people to play table tennis so that they can have good health which can contribute to the human resources development and progress of Cambodia, and especially to prepare for future international competitions, said Sothearith.

“It is the 27th years that the CTTF has organized the competition in Cambodia. This year’s competition has an increased in the number of young people who are under the age of 18years old. They have also improved their playing skills and techniques in competition,” he said during an interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly on July 29.

Relating to the competitions, the Secretary-General said that there are three competing subjects including group competition, individual competition, and peer competition.

Sothearith said that the competition has divided into two categories in which the first category is “A1” competition which is for those whose ages are over 19; and the second type is for “A2” which is for those whose ages are under 15.

CTTF planed to send seven Cambodian selected table tennis players, four male and three female, to the Nanning International Table Tennis Invitational Tournament during the China-ASEAN Expo 2009 from October 24th to 25th in China, according to Sothearith. He said CTTF also planned to send them for the 25th SEA Games Competition which will take place by the end of December 2009 in Vientiane, Laos.

Sothearith said CTTF also plans to host the 16th Southeast Asia Junior Table Tennis Championship in Cambodia, with over ten countries participated in mid-June 2010.

For the final round of the competitions, those who first place in championship will receive gold medal and other value prizes, second place winners will receive silver medal, and third place winners will receive the bronze medal with other prizes. All medals and prizes are provided by the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport.

Soeun Tola, 11, a table tennis player from BSC Table Tennis Association in Phnom Penh, attended the competition. Tola said that he has been training for two years with Mr. Hneat Sacha, an experienced coach in Phnom Penh. He added that he attended the nationwide table tennis competition and won a bronze medal in 2008.

“I am happy with my abilities and it is also the second time for me to attend it. With my hard training and preparation, I hope that I will able to win another medal from the association this year,” he told Southeast Asia Weekly.

Taing Hao, 15, another table tennis player, from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ Table Tennis Association in Phnom Penh, has also attended the competition. Hao said he has been training for four years and has also attended eight national and international tournaments. He added that as result, he has won six medals total with three medals being from nationwide table tennis competitions in Cambodia, a gold medal in 2006, a bronze medal in 2007, and a gold medal in 2008.

“I hope that with my hard training and previous playing experience, I will win another medal from this year’s competition,” he said.

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