Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cambodia Round-Up

Its been a busy week and this weekend won't see a let-up either. Friday, in Portland, Oregon, the Cambodian-American Community of Oregon will begin a free public forum to raise awareness about the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, taking place in Phnom Penh. The two-day forum will include panel discussions by genocide survivors and scholars of Cambodian history and culture, as well as presentations and performances by authors, musicians, and community activists. Friday, Tiara Delgado will present her 30 minute film Fragile Hopes From The Killing Fields - the story of four Cambodians who survived the genocide and rebuilt their lives: A talented artist. A landmine remover. A California refugee. A young writer. Preceding the film screening will be book readings from Ronnie Yimsut and Alex Hinton. The Forum continues on Saturday with participation from Loung Ung and Daran Kravanh amongst others.

Also this weekend will see the debut of the first contemporary Cambodian rock opera, Where Elephants Weep, which is set to open in Lowell, Massachusetts, US. The opera, which includes English and Khmer songs, with subtitles for both, tells the story of a Cambodian man returning to his country after many decades and is based loosely on the ancient love story Tum Teav, a tale of star-crossed lovers. In the modern version, the returnee, an American-Cambodian, falls in love with a Cambodian pop star. Its scheduled to travel to Phnom Penh in early 2008.

On Wednesday of this week, the first history book written by a Cambodian about the Khmer Rouge was published by DC-Cam in Cambodia. A History of Democratic Kampuchea was written by Khamboly Dy and will be avalable free to high school teachers and students as a core reference book. Cambodian schools teach little about the Khmer Rouge, largely because the subject is sensitive among political groups and high-profile individuals once associated with the guerrilla movement. And previous books about Cambodian history have been written almost exclusively by foreigners. Dy has worked with DC-Cam since 2003 and published a lot of articles in the Center's magazine, Searching for the Truth, as well as leading its Genocide Education project. He holds a bachelor's degree in English from the Royal University of Phnom Penh and is a Bachelor of Business Administration from Cambodia's National Institute of Management. Link.

Finally, moving with the times are the Cambodian districts of Battambang and Siem Reap who are just about to unveil their web portals, in both Khmer and English language! The websites will provide news and information relating to culture, tourism, services and much more. You can find them at Battambang and Siem Reap.

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