Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ban on explosions

It's the start of the Chinese/Vietnamese New Year (it's the Year of the Rat by the way) here in Phnom Penh today and its nice for the older generation like me who need to sleep at night and whose hearing is already impaired, to learn that city hall have banned the use of "firecrackers, fireworks, the making of all kinds of explosion noises" for the said period. Bloody good decision I say. Wearing of colourful, particularly red, fancy dragon costumes is very welcome, loud explosions is not. Anyone caught breaking the ban will be charged with "crimes causing unrest, public disorder and social insecurity." Too right. We had the New Year food and liquid offerings at work today, including a small pig laid out on newspaper, taking up all of the reception area for an hour whilst the staff came to pay their respects, light incense sticks and a little later, burn fake money, passports, travel tickets and credit cards! All good fun as they keep their fingers crossed (or do only westerners do that?) for luck and good fortune during the Year of the Rat.
Continuing the need to protect my ageing eardrums, I won't be attending the Meta House Khmix It! session this evening with Cambodia's hip hop King, DJ Sdey. But it could be enlightening as Sdey will play his music and talk about his time in a Khmer Rouge detention camp where he was trained as a propaganda singer. He lost his parents when the Khmer Rouge took power in 1975, when he was twelve years old.
In my desire to get out and about a bit more, I'm off on Friday for a couple of days in and around Kompong Cham city. I haven't stayed there for a few years now, so it'll be good to catch up with how the city is shaping up as well as getting out into the countryside on the hunt for temples and stuff. It's funny cuz when you ask any Khmer which province they are from, 99% of them seem to reply Kompong Cham. I wonder if I will find a series of empty, ghost-villages on my travels, as they've all moved to live in Phnom Penh! I'm also told the most attractive girls (srey sa'at) hail from Kompong Cham province, so that's on my itinerary as well. More when I get back.

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