Somaly Mam [previously]
responds to the Newsweek article last spring that raised questions regarding the legitimacy of her work as a Cambodian anti-trafficking activist, tainting the nearly two-decades-long work on behalf of victims that catapulted her into the global spotlight. "I didn't lie."
Andrev Vltchek offers a different perspective on Cambodia's Khmer Rouge period
There is actually only one thing that I want to know: how Communist was the Khmer Rouge, and was it the ideology, the Marxist ideology, that drew farmers to the ranks of the movement?
San Reoung thinks for a while, then replies, weighing each word:
“It was really not about the ideology… We did not know much about it. I was, for instance, very angry with the Americans. I became a soldier at the age of 17. And my friends were very angry, too. They joined Khmer Rouge to fight Americans, and especially the corruption of their puppet dictator Lon Nol, in Phnom Penh.”
is a travel website that focuses on Vietnam and Cambodia. It is the work of one man, Australian Mark Bowyer
, who has lived in Vietnam since 1993. There are the usual reviews of hotels, restaurants and tourist sites, travel tips and advice, but what makes it really special are videos and blog posts about local people and events, fascinating stories told with charm. [more inside]
Hidden Paintings Revealed at Ancient Temple of Angkor Wat.
"New, digitally enhanced
at Angkor Wat
showing elephants, deities, boats, orchestral ensembles and people riding horses — all invisible to the naked eye." [Via]
Cambodia Daily just ran two controversial features on Somaly Mam, a well-known trafficking survivor and head of the anti-trafficking non-profit, the Somaly Mam Foundation
that funds shelters in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Somaly Mam, Cambodia's most well-known anti-trafficking activist, partly due to Nicholas Kristof whose "live tweeting" a brothel raid with Somaly Mam was roundly criticised by other NGOs in Cambodia
, is accused of false stories of abuse, murder and kidnapping of young women, and the organization of hugely over-paying top staff including Somaly Mam herself. [more inside]
You think you need more than one string to make some totally captivating, subtly expressive and utterly soulful music? Well, you wrong
In a Sydney Morning Herald exclusive
, an international team
of archeologists have revealed the discovery
of a hitherto unknown city in Cambodia.
Dr Evans, director of the University of Sydney's archaeological research centre in Cambodia, said the ''eureka moment'' in the discovery came weeks earlier when the lidar data popped up on a computer screen.
''With this instrument - bang - all of a sudden we saw an immediate picture of an entire city that no one knew existed which is just remarkable,'' he said.
the city is known, is estimated to be
350 years older than the UNESCO Heritage site of Angkor Wat, built on on Phnom Kulen before Jayavarman II
descended from the mountain to build another capital. As Dr Evans said ''This is where it all began, giving rise to the Angkor civilisation
that everyone associates with
Angkor Wat." The news comes on the heels of the recent repatriation
of looted archeological
treasures back to Cambodia by the New York Metropolitan museum.
by Clément Briend
. "La culture cambodgienne est habitée par une spiritualité qui crée une conscience du monde peuplée de génies et d’esprits. Dans le paysage d'une ville endormie, la nuit fait apparaître ces figures divines sur les arbres, permettant ainsi leur incarnation
. Par ces projections nocturnes, nous pouvons alors toucher la magie qui illumine leur regard sur le monde." [Via]
Three years ago, Phil Jablon (aka The Projectionist) started a concerted effort to start documenting the rapidly-vanishing stand-alone movie theaters and former theaters in Southeast Asia.
Today his website, The Southeast Asia Movie Theater Project
is a historian and movie-theater lover's dream. Jablon has captured the faded
, the lost
, the torched
, the almost lost
, the repurposed
, the reborn
, and the unbounded
. [more inside]
is an L.A. band that fuses Cambodian pop music with psychedelic rock. They have a youtube channel
where you can find highlights such as a live acoustic version of their song Uku
as well as a clip
from the 2007 documentary Sleepwalking Through The Mekong
. NPR has an interview
with them in 2008 and a review
of their second album Escape From Dragon House. Peter Gabriel is a fan
about the killing fields of Cambodia
Current TV previously & previously
, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]
has recently posted a new version
of his wildly popular video*
"Luv(sic) Pt.2". This time, rather than the streets of Japan, he filmed it in the villages of Cambodia. The result is similar, yet very, very different.
Rochom P'ngieng, the feral "Cambodian Jungle Girl"
who went missing
in 1989 at the age of 8, and made news
some three years ago (previously
) when she surfaced after almost 20 years alone in the jungle, has fled back into the wild
(according to news reports
Joeurt Puk (aka Joe Cook) is the father of Cambodian baseball. In this feature
by ESPN, Patrick Hruby looks into Cook's background and finds that Cook may not be the tireless philanthropist he claims to be. [more inside]
For those of you who haven't been following the ongoing saga of Cambodia's Biting Monk
, the Department of Cults and Religious Affairs failed to find sufficient evidence to defrock him
and passed the matter on to the monk management board. After two weeks of silence, the accused monk denied the charges
. However, there are those who claim the the monk is protected by his fearsome street rep
As a child soldier in Cambodia's notorious Khmer Rouge army Aki Ra laid many landmines. He now clears these deadly bombs with a stick and a pocketknife, more than 10,000 to date.
It is very dangerous. No one pays him to do it. Aki is the real deal.
Jacques Vergès has defended Milosevic, Carlos The Jackal, Saddam Hussein and nazi Klaus Barbie (you know, with with the one with the museum
) in court.
What kind person does it take to do that, and why? [more inside]
“I have seen many Anne Franks in Cambodia.
...Under Pol Pot, many children were separated from their families. They faced starvation and were sent to the front to fight and die,” she explains. “Like Anna, they never knew peace and the warmth of a home.”
by Sayana Ser
with help from the Dutch embassy in Cambodia (Kampuchea, Khmer), The Diary of Anne Frank has now become one of the most popular and discussed books in this war-torn country.
, the photojournalist whose story inspired the film The Killing Fields
, has died.
The 1960's and early 70's saw an explosion of creativity and an astonishing variety of stylistic influences coming together in the pop and rock music of Cambodia.Tragically, almost all of the artists of that era were executed (or otherwise perished) during the nightmarish Khmer Rouge years. The following MySpace Music
pages will help you to get acquainted with some of the wonderfully eclectic and adventurous music of this fertile period: Pen Ron
, Yos Olarang
, Rous Sareysothea
, Sin Sisamouth
, Vor Sarun
, Houey Meas
, So Savoeun
, Eng Nary
, In Yeng
, Choun Malai
, Mao Sareth
, Sem Touch
, Chea Savoeun
, Toche Teng
, Teth Sombath
, Pen Rom
, Em Songserm
and Choun Vanna
. Also, these related pages: Cambodian Rock
, Radio Khmer Sitya
, Cambodian Style
and Cambodian Soundtracks
: For personal recommendations, check the hover-overs accompanying each link.
While the world debates the use of cluster bombs
due to their impact on civilians in post conflict areas, today is also Landmine Awareness Day in Cambodia. Some ignore the warnings and seek out the landmines
to defuse and sell... while others seek a much larger quarry (Youtube)
The modern slave trade is thriving.
The Dept of State estimates
that 800,000 to 900,000 human beings are trafficked - brought across borders and forced to labor. Among them, DOS estimates, hundreds of thousands are minor children. Some of those children - as young as 5 years old - are being sold as slaves and kept in cages while they are raped and sold for sex
, some servicing as many as 30 men a day. They are bought for as little as $10
from desperate parents
. But all is not lost: Somaly Mam
, a former child prostitute, is the Mother Theresa of Southeast Asian child prostitutes, using AFESIP
as her vehicle for saving them. Glamour
awarded her their Woman of the Year honor, and she has been lauded in other ways
internationally. Cambodian sex traffickers weren't as happy with her, though - her opponents kidnapped her 14-year old daughter, held her hostage for days, and raped her. It's hard to be on the wrong side of this issue, but some advocates
raise a few hackles by claiming legalized prostitution and porn contribute to sex trafficking and child prostitution. Sex trafficking, and child prostitution, is a sizeable problem
in the US as well. Although trafficking is illegal in the US
, combating trafficking is tough in part because victims often fear authorities, personal reprisals, harm to their families at home, or even deportation (although special visas - T visas
- are available to them in certain circumstances). In Southeast Asia (and throughout the world), child sex tourism is even harder to stop.
and Sinn Sisamouth
were two of the more famous Cambodian musicians creating amazingly inspired
music in the 60s and early 70s that fused Khmer with western rock. They were both killed
by the Khmer Rouge; but not before leaving a powerful legacy that has inspired a short film about Sereysothea
, a documentary
and a band
. They are still loved in Cambodia.
Tuol Sleng: 114 photographs
taken by the Khmer Rouge at Pol Pot's secret prison, code-named "S-21" in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. When the Vietnamese invaded in 1979
, the S-21 prison staff fled, leaving behind thousands of written records and photographs.
The dance of celestial nymphs
, classical Khmer dance
is the single greatest link
between the ancient Angkor civilization
and contemporary times. Reputed to follow the ancient percepts laid down in the Natya Sastra
, Khmer dance is sensual
and yet, so very reconstructivist (all YouTube videos)
. It is such a delight to watch
that a single performance will keep you enthralled for months. Extremely saddening, then, when you realize that it survived only by the barest of
. more inside
Crime and violence are everyday happenings in Cambodia.
The Cambodian media
thrives on it. But is it just everyday violence or something deeper?
60s/70s psych, crossover, beat, and a go-go from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and Vietnam
with band/music scene histories, streaming audio, cover art, etc. Part of a large site
devoted to 60s/70s progressive music around the world.
Angkor Wat guide.
"Published in 1944 in Saigon, republished in 1948 and again in Paris in 1963, The Monuments of the Angkor Group
by Maurice Glaize remains the most comprehensive of the guidebooks and the most easily accessible to a wide public, dedicated to one of the most fabled architectural ensembles in the world." Now online, updated, with maps and photos. (More Angkor Wat links in this previous post
.) Via Plep
Angelina Jolie: Cambodian.
Has anyone else noticed that the press doesn't really know what to make of her lately, if ever. I mean, she broke up Brad and Jen! But she does good work for humanity! But she's crazy and seems like she may have had sex with her brother! But she's a good actress! Who makes bad movies! Well, apparently Cambodia wants her. Cambodia and every 16-year-old boy on the planet, as well as most of the girls.
Thirty years ago today,
on May 12, 1975, less than two weeks after the fall of Saigon
, the U.S. flagged container ship Mayaguez
was seized by the Cambodian Khmer Rouge
who took the crew
hostage. Late that night the ship was located, anchored off a tiny island called Koh Tang
in the Gulf of Siam
. U.S. President Gerald Ford
ordered the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea
, the guided missile destroyer USS Henry B. Wilson
and the frigate USS Holt
to the area of
seizure. He also ordered a battalion of Marines to assault the island and rescue the crew.
The rescue was bungled
. 41 US servicemen were killed. The crew of 39 was released.
A year ago, NYT reporter Nicholas Kristof purchased two Cambodian prostitutes (discussed here
Today, he's published an update
, along with a multimedia presentation about the girls' lives.
25 years in a non-existant war
In 1979, a Khmer Rouge guerrilla fled to the hills of Cambodia when his village was attacked by Vietnamese troops. He and a small group of friends and family lived in the dense forests for 25 years, emerging in 2004 to discover that the war was over and that Pol Pot was dead. They had been fearful of any human contact, believing everyone to be the enemy.
Water woes, not wars,
empire, according to the Greater Angkor Project
. Ecological failure and infrastructure breakdown brought down Cambodia's great city
King of Cambodia supports gay marriage, says that transvestites should be accepted by society
And here I was thinking that old patriarchs were conservative. Cambodia apparently is quite conservative when it comes to GLBT issues, but I wonder if this will change, especially as the king is well loved?
Southeast Asian Monuments: A Selection of 100 Slides.
''100 slides of monuments in Mainland Southeast Asia ( Burma, Thailand,Cambodia, Vietnam, selected from the collection of Marijke J. Klokke, are presented here ... '
Nicholas Kristof (of the NY Times
; reg. req.) bought the freedom of two young Cambodian prostitutes
in order to return them to their villages... but it wasn't as simple as you might think. It's easy to be cynical (yes, he's using it as grist for columns; yes, it's a drop in the bucket), but isn't it better than doing nothing? Anyway, it's a fascinatingly messy story. (He discusses why he picked these particular girls, and addresses some of the moral issues, here
—scroll down to January 20.)
Welcome to ArtServe
: Art & Architecture
mainly from the Mediterranean Basin
90 Days in Cambodia
as a travel writer and election observer.
Related :- Cambodia in Modern History: Beauty and Darkness
focuses on the Khmer Rouge period, and also has a nice section on
Cambodian police urge Glitter to leave.
Not even Cambodia wants anything to do with Gary.
The work of Cambodia's Army of Peace
is known throughout the world, and a Southeast Asian Peace Army or Shanti Sena
is in the works for 2002.
Gandhi called for a Shanti Sena for national defense in 1942. Because the Japanese did not invade, India has used a "Shanti Sena" for combatting riots rather than homelands defense. (The Rainbow Gathering also calls its security people "Shanti Sena, or the Peace Army."
A short history of grassroots initiatives in unarmed peacekeeping from 1932 to the Present"
shows that many of the Peace Army initiatives preceded Gandhi. Narayan Desai
is one of Gandhi's successors. Californian Sanderson Beck
offers comprehensive links to religion, non-violence, and peace movements.
Peace Brigades International
is known for its work in the Balkans, Colombia, Indonesia and the Middle East. Working directly on terrorism, as well as war, is the Sarovodaya Movement of Sri Lanka.
Prize for the most highly focused "Peace Army" goes to the North Koreans. Governments always come up with money for soldiers, but they don't hire unarmed, non-violent peacekeepers. Howcome?
Cambodians Lead Social Evolution Through Tactical Weapons.
Phnom Penh, a shining city on the hill of cultural evolution.
The Harvard Crimson
contracts Cambodian sweatshop labor
to make its online archives and saves $450,000. Is that the living wage they editorialized
Animals thought extinct found in remote Cambodian jungle:
British scientists have found a wilderness in the Cardamom region of Cambodia where exotic species, some though to be
extinct, have been found. These include the Siamese
crocodile, the wolf snake (a new species so named because of
its dog-like fangs), large populations of tigers and Asian
elephants, and the gower, a forest cow. Ironically, the habitat was protected from significant human
intrusion because it was a longtime Khmer Rouge stronghold
and also because routes lead to and from it are landmined.