‘We Need Land Like Fish Needs Water’
March 5, 2015, 8:44 am
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‘We Need Land Like Fish Needs Water’

 Three years ago, travellers to the seaside province of Koh Kong could clearly spot the ubiquitous signs in front of villagers’ houses in Sre Ambel district’s Chikhor Leu commune to protest against a sugarcane plantation company that had unfairly grabbed their land. Today, though these signs are nowhere to be seen, the seemingly solved land disputes have remained unsolved.

In a late morning recently, about a dozen representatives of the villagers involved in the land dispute with the company have gathered inside the compound of a pagoda in Chikhor Leu commune to air their grievances.

The villagers say officials from the Ministry of Agriculture met with opposition lawmakers on May 8, 2013, to discuss the situation of the land disputes between the villagers and the sugarcane plantation company. Continue reading



An Unusually Glorious Yet Unpleasant City
March 5, 2015, 8:40 am
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An Unusually Glorious Yet Unpleasant City

 “Nokor Thkeung Plaek, Sabay Tae Pnaek, Knong Cheth Rong Karm,” the late renowned Cambodian poet Krom Nguy describes Cambodia and people’s lives under the French colonial rule as “An unusually glorious nation which is only pleasant to the eyes but inside the heart is suffering.”

Sixty years after gaining independence from France and following two-decade long civil war, Cambodia has witnessed a steady progress with beautiful buildings and more and more skyscrapers dotting different corners of the capital of Phnom Penh.

However, for the families at the tent community of Borei Keila, the suffering of the people under the French rule is no match to their suffering under the current Cambodian government’s development that has left poor people more impoverished while the rich has become richer. Continue reading



‘If I lose Prey Lang, I lose my life.’
March 5, 2015, 8:37 am
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‘If I lose Prey Lang, I lose my life.’

 More than 40 years ago, Phok Hong was born in the middle of a huge jungle in northeastern Cambodia known in her Kuoy ethnic minority dialect as Prey Lang, or “Our Forest.” For almost half a century, she and her family have relied on it for their livelihood as did their ancestors who had lived there generations before her.

However, as Cambodia began to open up for development since the 1990s, large parts of Prey Lang have been razed and cut into pieces for Economic Land Concessions granted by the government to private companies.

“If I lose Prey Lang, I lose my life,” she warns. “Everyday I worry about losing Prey Lang.  I worry that the land broker and the company will destroy it and I will lose my way of life.” Continue reading



‘Those who destroy pagodas will go to the deepest hell’
March 5, 2015, 8:34 am
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‘Those who destroy pagodas will go to the deepest hell’

 Once upon a time right after the French colonial rule more than 100 years ago, some Japanese businessmen travelled by sea to Cambodia’s Koh Kong province to invest in a timber business. They lowered their ship anchors at a remote peninsula overlooking Koh Sdech, or the King Island, about 200 kilometers southwest of the capital of Phnom Penh.

As times went by, people moved in to settle in the seaside village which was later named Poum Poy Chapon, or Japanese Peninsula Village. To express their friendship and gratitude, the Japanese built a small pagoda for the villagers so that they could worship the Buddha statues and hold religious ceremonies.

Over generations, the pagoda built by the Japanese was worn down by old age and climate and became ruins. To replace the old monastery, the villagers started to raise money and build another pagoda during the last 10 years.

Continue reading



Cambodian Journalists’ New Mission: Writing for Road Safety
January 22, 2015, 8:13 am
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Cambodian Journalists’ New Mission: Writing for Road Safety

by Moeun Chhean Nariddh

Director of Cambodia Institute for Media Studies in Phnom Penh

 

 

On the outskirts of Vinh Phuc City, north of Hanoi, a fighter jet roars across a clear blue sky as a tank rumbles beneath on the opposite direction. The thunderous sound of the warplane makes the earth and a graveyard in the vicinity tremble. The combination of the fighter jet, the tank and the graveyard quickly causes a flashback among many people of the Vietnam War that turned Indochina into battlefields more than 40 years ago.

 

Accompanied by a Vietnamese journalist, two Cambodian female reporters run across the multiple-lane highway. Yet, they are not trying to run for cover from the training fighter jet. In fact, the three journalists are trying to dodge the fast moving cars and motorcycles streaming down the highway. Continue reading



Cambodian Daughter Brings Music and Malaria Messages to Hometown
December 23, 2014, 4:48 am
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Cambodian Daughter Brings Music and Malaria Messages to Hometown

by Moeun Chhean Nariddh

Oh, oh, oh, Chumno kadeuk oi own neuk srok, neuk dol yeay ta, mingmear, pa’own bong…Yeung thloip roth leng trosorng, eilov nuon la’orng khleath tov sen chhnay. Oh, oh, oh…

“Oh, oh, oh, winter breeze makes me miss my home town, miss my grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters. We used to go for a walk together, but now I am far away from you. Oh, oh, oh…”

Cambodian singer Chhom Nimol of the Dengue Fever begins to sing the first few lines of her newly recorded song “Uku without music at the request of a journalist from in the studio of Battambang’s National Radio of Kampuchea before her scheduled performance in the evening.

With or without music, her voice can easily draw attention from the keen audience and listeners through sound waves that travels hundreds of kilometers away from the studio and the open-air live concert. Continue reading



Love Amid Hated
July 31, 2012, 3:17 am
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Love Amid Hated

by Moeun Chhean Nariddh

  

            The year is 1937. Thai Army’s Captain Tepkoson Vichitrakorn flees to Cambodia following an aborted military coup in Thailand. Life in exile just provides Janmunee, his 18-year-old beautiful daughter, an excuse to encounter 20-year-old Tikheavudh, who becomes her Cambodian lover.

Yet, the newly found friends become enemies due to the faults of others. In the end, the wounds of the relations between the two nations have relatively healed and the two lovers finally meet. However, they have to experience separation, war, anguish, hatred, and almost death.

All these things have happened in the name of patriotism that dominates a dramatic love story that spans throughout each of the 124-page-long novel “Mealear Duongcheth” written some 30 years ago by late famous Cambodian writer Nou Hach. Continue reading