Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cambodia to Host 1st International Film Festival

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts (MoCFA) will host the “Cambodia International Film Festival” for four days from October 20-23 in Phnom Penh, aiming to promote film industry in Cambodia. The event will be organized with financial support from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), FX Entertainment, Cambodia Film Commission, Association of Film Maker of Cambodia, and Khmer Films.

Khim Sarith, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, said that it marks the first time MoCFA will organize the “Cambodia International Festival” in Phnom Penh. He stated that the main purpose of the event is to exchange the film producing experience among participating countries as well as to promote film industry in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“As you will be fully aware that the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts always pays much attention to support and promote the film industry in the country as part of our strategy in cultural development. The ministry wishes to welcome all film producers as well as film companies in the world to come and enjoy shooting in Cambodia,” he said during his opening remarks at the official launch of the Cambodia International Film Festival on January 28.

The Secretary of State went on to say that the international event will provide an opportunity to set up a world class event in Cambodia and present films and guests from many different countries along with remarkable national productions.

Teruo Jinnai, Head of Office and UNESCO Representative in Cambodia, said UNESCO works to globally assist developing a proper environment for artistic creativity. He added that through its culture and communications and information sectors, UNESCO is internationally involved in a number of efforts aimed at building the capacity of the film-makers and supporting their growth both as a cultural industry and as a platform for addressing the human development needs.

“I hope that through this Cambodia International Film Festival it will help Cambodia in promoting and developing its film industry as well as provides access for Cambodia to the international film industry in the future,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during a personal interview after the launching ceremony of the Cambodia International Film Festival.

Mariam Arthur, Kmy Films CEO, said that this exciting event brings international film-markers to screen their latest movies and share their skills with Khmer film-makers. She continued to say that about ten countries with over 30 their latest movies will be displayed during the Cambodia International Film Festival from October 20-23 in Phnom Penh.

She added that the events are open to the public alongside invitation-only galas and workshops designed for local film industry development.

The events include theatre screening, outdoor screening, opening ceremony, award ceremony, an exposition cinema industry showcase and workshop or seminar. The screenings include successful independent films from around the world, classic and modern Khmer films, award-winning documentaries from around the world, youth-oriented films, made in Cambodia, TV series, and music videos, she said at the Cambodia International Film Festival. ///

Master Sport Trainer Chheang Kim Talks about His Experience

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Hok Chheang Kim, 63, one of the Cambodian sport coaches in Cambodia, provided an interview with The Southeast Asia Weekly on January 27, describing his sport experience as a sportsman and coach. Chheang Kim was born in Phnom Penh and he has four children, three sons and one daughter.

He is only Cambodian man who has experience in all types of sport playing such as Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Kickboxing, Boxkator, Karatedo, Judo, Taekwondo, Hapkido, Wrestling, Woshu, and Vovinam. All of his children are also trainees of Karatedo, Judo, and Taekwondo and obtained a black belt each from these sports.

“I liked training these sports since I was child and I enjoyed training all sports, Football, Basketball, Volleyball, kickboxing, Boxkator, Karatedo, Judo, Taekwondo, Hapkido, Wrestling, Woshu, and Vovinam,” he said. “I decided to train in all types of these sports because I liked them and I also wanted to become a professional boxer or coach. I am now happy because my dream became true and I am able to work with Cambodian young people in promoting the people’s health as well as sports development in Cambodia.”

The seven black belts Dan of Hapkido, Hok Chheang Kim continued to say that he has trained these sports since 1970s during the Lon Nol’s regime and he later resumed his training in 1979 after he survived from the Khmer Rouge regime. He has also been a Cambodian national coach since 1979.

Chheang Kim said that he obtained a seven black belt Dan of Hapkido from Japan in 2004; four black belt Dan of Judo; three black belts Dan of Taekwondo; and two black belts Dan of Karatedo; and one black belt Dan of wrestling in Cambodia.

“I am also happy to share my working experiences to young generation. I think that to promote the sport as well as improve people’s healthcare, I will try all my best to teach people and continue my teaching until I die,” he said.

Nowadays, Chheang Kim is very busy. He teaches wrestling for the national wrestling team at the National Sport Complex in Phnom Penh and also teaches Hapkido for the students at the PSC center located in Stung Meanchey district, Phnom Penh. He teaches over 500 trainees per day for PSC center and national wrestling in Phnom Penh.

He is now Technical Director of the Cambodian Wrestling Federation; Secretary General of the Khmer Boxkator Federation and Cambodia Vovinam Federation in Cambodia.

Chheang Kim said that since he began his teaching in 1979 over 1,000 trainees so far have come to get training with him. Some of them have become coaches working in cities and provinces across the nation and other trainees got their jobs with Cambodian government ministries, companies and non-governmental organizations.

Relating to the sports development in Cambodia, Chheang Kim said that he himself has been contributed a lot in re-establishing the martial arts in Cambodia after Cambodia was liberated from the Khmer Rouge’s regime in 1979.

In 1984, Chheang Kim established the Cambodia Judo Federation. In 1986, he formed the Cambodia Karatedo Federation and after that he also formed Cambodia Taekwondo Federation; in 1990 he formed the Cambodian Wrestling Federation; in 2000 he established Cambodia Woshu Federation; in 2004 he formed the Khmer Boxkator Federation; and 2008, he prepared the Cambodian Vovinam Federation in Cambodia.

“I have spent a lot of my time and most of my life in re-establishing and working to promote the sport my country and I have contributed to all types of sports in Cambodia,” he said. “I now think that before I am passed way, my goal is to work and push Boxkator which is Khmer traditional boxing to be developed and internationally recognized in the world.”

Chheang Kim went on to say that to conserve all type of sports, he has also written books for Cambodia’s next generations.

Naing Ravuth, one black belt Dan of wrestling and President of the Cambodian Aikido Club, praised Hok Chheang Kim’s hard work and working experiences. He said that Hok Chheang Kim has a lot of sport training experiences and also known many skills of martial arts in Cambodia.

“I have known Lok Krou Chheang Kim since 1980s when I started training wrestling, judo and Sambo at the National Sport Complex in Phnom Penh. He was a very strong man and a hard working person. He is the only Cambodian who has devoted his life to promote sports in Cambodia,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during a telephone interview.

Chov Sotheara, 25, a national wrestler and trainee of Hok Chheang Kim, also praised about her wrestling national coach. She said she began her training for wrestling with Master Hok Chheang Kim at the Cambodian Wrestling Federation in Phnom Penh in 2000 and sine then she now became one of the top ten national wrestlers in Cambodia.

She stated that with the wise guidance and hard coaching of Chheang Kim with her hard work and training, she won a gold medal from the 25th SEA Games in Laos in 2009. She has also won a bronze medal from the SEA Games competition in Vietnam in 2003 and one bronze medal from the SEA Games competition in Philippines in 2005.

“I have known Lok Krou Chheang Kim since 2000 when I started training with him in Phnom Penh. He is a strong and capable coach but is very friendly and gentle. I am very proud to know him and to have been one of his students. I hope he will continue his hard work in teaching Cambodian youths and I wish him all success in future,” she added. /////

Cambodia ICT and Telecom World Expo 2010

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The National Information Communications Technology Development Authority of Cambodia (NiDA) and International Data Group (IDG ASEAN) will organize the “Cambodia ICT and Telecom World Expo 2010” from April 1 to 3, 2010 in the Diamond Island Convention and Exhibition Center, in Phnom Penh to display the development of ICT and Telecom and promote its use.

Chuon Var, Deputy General Director of the National Information Communications Technology Development Authority of Cambodia, said that it marked the 6th year NiDA and IDG ASEAN will organize the “Cambodia ICT and Telecom World Expo 2010” in Cambodia.

The purpose of the event is to display the development of ICT and Telecom as well as to promote the use of ICT and Telecom in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“ICT is very useful for people in the world especially in Cambodia as people now are linking with development of ICT. Therefore, I believe that this ICT and Telecom expo will give a chance for Cambodians to learn about the new technologies as well as telecommunications in the world,” he said at a press conference in Phnom Penh on January 27.

Le Thanh Tam, CEO of IDG ASEAN, Founder and Chairman of CEO & CIO Club, said that Cambodia ICT and Telecom World Expo 2010 and Conference has received a remarkable run and grown from year to year since its inception in 2005.

This year, the event will take place in the Diamond Island Convention Center located in the center of Phnom Penh. The new venue is the largest modern exhibition and convention center in Cambodia equipped with the in-house exhibition hall of 8,000 square meters that can build up 400 standard booths, the conference room of 500 people, air-conditioning for the whole areas, and parking lots of hundreds cars and thousands motorbikes, according to Tranh Tam.

He added that for the sixth time of organization, the organizers commit to position it as the largest ICT event in Cambodia which is attracting local, regional and international vendors to showcase their advanced products and technologies, as well as to launch attractive promotion campaigns.

“To date, the organizers have received the confirmed participation of royalty exhibitors like Online, Viettel, AnAn, AngkorNet, and CIDC. The Sotelco “Beeline” has confirmed to be the main sponsor for the event, making its fist promotion campaigns,” he said.

Along with the development of the industry, digital contents technology is expected to be utilized in various fields, especially entailments and value-added service. The conference will also discuss how this emerging industry should develop and benefit people.

“The Best ICT and Telecom Product Awards”, the awards recognize the best ICT products, services, ISPs, SIs, mobile operators, distributors, and publications will be awarded. Thousands of survey forms have been sent out to experts, media and end-users to collect their assessments. The awards presentation ceremony will be held during the Cambodia ICT and Telecom World Expo and Conference 2010 in Phnom Penh. ///


Banking Modernization and Microfinance Industry

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), in collaboration with the National Information Communications Technology Development Authority of Cambodia (NiDA) and International Data Group (IDG ASEAN), and Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA), have conducted a “Modernization of Bank and Microfinance Industry Conference” for two days from January 26-27 in Phnom Penh, aiming to introduce the use of a new banking system and microfinance services in Cambodia.

About 1,000 people who are banking authorities, solution providers, technology experts and bankers from ten countries in the world attended the banking conference in Phnom Penh.

Dr. Phu Leewood, NiDA’s Secretary General, said that it marked the second time NiDA, NBC, IGD ASEAN, and CMA have conducted this “Modernization of Bank and Microfinance Industry Conference” in Cambodia. He added that this year’s event is organized with the theme “Gaining a decisive edge in banking and payment solution in Cambodia”.

He continued to say that conference aimed to promote sustainable development through innovative customer solutions, improved operational efficiency and advanced risk management. It will also serve as an ideal perform in making a perfect tool for all players in the banking and financial sector of Cambodia to conduct an exchange of opinions and experience.

Tal Nay Im, Director General of the National Bank of Cambodia, said that Cambodia’s financial sector is not directly affected by the global financial crisis given that there is no capital market and the local financial market remains underdevelopment and is not integrated into the world or regional markets.

The Director-General Nay Im continued to say that however, Cambodia’s financial sector is moderately vulnerable because of its exposure to the real sectors. So far, NBC had undertaken substantive actions in response to the emerging strains on the banking system.

Currently, Cambodia’s banking system is in a good shape, comprising of NBC that acts as central bank of the country, 27 commercial banks, two foreign banks representative offices, six specialized banks, 20 licensed microfinance institutions and 26 registered microfinance operators which are under the regulatory and supervisory authority of NBC.

“Most of the recent performance indicators suggest that the banking system is reasonably profitable, efficient, has adequate liquidity, and is well capitalized. On overage banks have maintained overall solvency at above 25 percent (33.5 percent in November 2009) compared to the minimum prudential requirement of 15 percent. All these achievements prove that our banking system is getting stronger and receives more confidences from the public. Furthermore, new system is entrants in the financial sector from foreign investors confirm the potentials of the Cambodia’s financial system, in particular the effectiveness of the issuance and the implementation of the law, prudential regulations under the tight supervision from the supervisory authority,” she told reporters during a press conference on January 26.

The Director General emphasized that to enhance and build an effective and progressive banking and finance business environment, modernization banking service by using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are of necessary in Cambodia. She said with a computerized and modernized banking system, NBC is in the process of modernizing the Core Banking System for the bank, and would be officially launched in February.

She added that the National Payment System is also being developed in order to enhance the settlement and payment transaction of the banks more effectively, safe and fast. This system would tremendously reduce the cash-based settlement and payment transactions. Banks and financial institutions are also using ICT applications to improve the quality of their services to be more transparency, reliable and faster to respond to their customers’ need.

“I believe that Banking Cambodia 2010 is an essential channel for all banks and financial institutions to discuss and update themselves with the latest trends and solutions that would help bankers to better response to the challenging market environment,” she said. “It would also be an ideal networking platform for local and regional banking authorities, solution providers, technology experts and bankers to meet up and exchange ideas and tap fresh opportunities.”

According to a report of NBC, the figures showed that at the end of 2008, Cambodia’ s commercial banks had US$2.52 billion in deposits and US$2.38 billion in loan disbursement. Net profit across the sector was US$116.6 million. Today’s 27 commercial banks, as of the late December 2009, have attracted more 800,000 depositors, representing six percent of its population, exchanging the deposits in the microfinance system.

The financial sector has grown not only quantitatively but also qualitatively as reflected in remarkable diversification of the financial products and increased public accessibility. Significantly, at the end of the year 2009, microfinance services reached more than one million families, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the population using the services of microfinance institutions in Cambodia.

Tourism Makes Economic Growth in Cambodia

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen has said tourism is a locomotive for the social development and the economic growth in Cambodia. It has also vowed to accelerate the economic growth as Cambodia is one of the most wanted tourism sites in the world.

The Premier continued to say that tourism has become a priority sector for economic policy and is a locomotive for sustainable socio-economic development and the progress of Cambodia.

“Cambodia is in a process to develop itself into a cultural, social and natural tourism center in Southeast Asia that is considered the most developed tourism in the world,” he said during an inauguration ceremony of the “Phnom Penh- Daegu-Gyeong Buk Culture, Tourism, Trade and Promotion Center” in Phnom Penh on January 26.

Samdech Techo Hun Sen said the political and social stability and peace being enjoyed by Cambodia people and the country are one of the factors that attract more tourists to this country. He added that in 2008, 2.1 million foreign tourists visited Cambodia, an increase of 5.5 percent compared to a year earlier, and within 11 months in 2009, there were 1.9 million, an increase of 1.6 percent if compared to 2008.

While the number of foreign tourists visiting Cambodia gradually increased on a yearly basis, Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen was also satisfied with the figure that showed 6.7 million local tourists traveled around the country in 2008. He added that in 2004, Cambodia earned only US$578 million, but it earned as much as US$1.5 billion in 2008, and employed more than 30,000 Cambodians.

On January 26, Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen also inaugurated the Cambodia-South Korean Culture and Trade Center which is officially called “Phnom Penh Daegu-Gyeong Buk Culture, Tourism, Trade and Promotion Center,” in Phnom Penh.

The center, which is a symbol of the closest relationship between the two countries and located at the corner of Sihanouk and Sothearos Boulevards in Chamcarmon district, Phnom Penh, was completely constructed by South Korean DK& CCo., LTD with total expenditure of US$8.7 million.

Relating to the establishment of the “Phnom Penh Daegu-Gyeong Buk Culture, Tourism, Trade and Promotion Center”, Samdech Hun Sen has praised the good cooperation and relation between the countries. He said that Korea plays a very important role for Cambodia’s development through grants, loans and investments in all sectors, especially the financial sectors, other infrastructures and in the exchange of culture through events and the visiting of Korean citizens in Cambodia.

The Premier added that this center will have varied uses and help foster South Korean investments including a conference hall, commercial mall, and a place which provides important information for the local and foreign investors between Cambodia and Korea and other countries in the world. ///

Government Takes Action for Military Reform

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Royal Government of Cambodia has taken a strict measure to reform the military sector in order to strengthen discipline and the quality of military capacity in Cambodia.

Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, said that the military reform as well as forestry and land reforms are very necessary and also the life of the Royal Government of Cambodia for development of the country.

Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said that the military reform was important because it will help the government effectively control the armed forces as well as to upgrade and develop the military sector in the Kingdom of Cambodia in the future.

“I think that military reform is very necessary and important for the Royal Government of Cambodia. I wish to order to all Cambodian military commanders, deputy-commanders and military officials, and other relevant authorities or institutions to fully respect their military disciplines and code of military conduct in Cambodia,” he said during his closing remarks at the annual congress in the Ministry of National Defense in Phnom Penh on January 28.

Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen stated that to reform Cambodia’s military sector, all military commanders, deputy-commanders, and military officials have to work hard to be strong-based forces of the competent authorities in order to fulfill their duties in supporting the competent authorities in cracking down the illegal trading activities such as deforestation, lands grabbing, illegal fishing and other terrorist acts happening in Cambodia.

To carry out this reform, all military commanders, deputy commanders, and officials should not commit illegal business activities such as grabbing the lands of the poor people or being behind the business people who are doing illegal trading activities including deforestation, land grabbing and illegal fishing activities in Cambodia, he said.

The Premier pointed out that according to his own notice, nowadays about two percent of Cambodia’s military commanders, deputy-commanders and officials have used their military positions or influence to engage in illegal business activities in Cambodia. They are not only behind illegal activities but also support business people to commit deforestation, land grabbing and illegal fishing in Cambodia. He added that these commanders and officials’ activities really affected Cambodia’s military sector and the government’s military profile. They also gave a bad model for other soldiers and people in Cambodia.

“I would like to officially declare that from now on those who have been involved with illegal business activities must immediately stop their activities. If they continue it they should not work with military any more as they will affect the face of the Cambodian armed forces as well as the military sector and people who are honest and work hard for their country,” he said. “Therefore, those military commanders, deputy-commanders or military officials who are involved with such illegal activities must immediately withdraw themselves from their protection of the illegal businesses in Cambodia. Those who continue to commit it will be punished or fired from their positions in accordance with the military law,” he added.

The Premier went on to say that some people joined the military side as a part of their own business in order to take their military influence in promoting their business activities in Cambodia. He has also called on competent authorities to take immediate action to arrest those who have used his name’s influence (Hun Sen) or Hun’s family’s influence to commit their illegal business activities and other illegal acts in Cambodia.

“This is the time for reforming our military sector because if we do not take a strict measure or action against the corrupt military commanders or officials, we will not be able to reform our military side deeply in Cambodia,” he said. “I would like to appeal to all military leaders especially the Minister of National Defense and Commander-in-Chief of the Cambodian Royal Armed Forces to work hard. I hope that if we can do these successfully we then will able to strengthen Cambodia’s military quality as well as its prestige in the future,” he requested.

His Excellency Tea Banh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense, said that under the wisdom and clear leadership of Samdech Techo Hun Sen, so far the Ministry of Defense has been working hard in reforming the military sector in Cambodia.

The Deputy Prime Minister added that to reform the military sector, his ministry will continue its military strategy reform through paying attention to soldiers who are now staying along the borders in order to ensure peace and security stability in Cambodia and strengthening good cooperation and relation between the military side and relevant competent authorities; military capacity training; strategic military base constructions; sending troops to join the United Nations (UN) Peace Keeping Forces abroad and rescue the people in case there is a natural disaster in Cambodia as well as in the world; paying attention to human resources training both inside and outside the country; troop control, especially soldiers who are based in borders; recruit new troops; discipline strengthening; roads construction in remote areas or along borders; soldiers’ health, technical and logistic managements; and military regulatory preparations.