Friday, January 2, 2009

What's on

Events coming up in Phnom Penh include veteran Vietnam War photographer Tim Page's exhibition of photographs, as well as documentary screenings, Q&A's and so on at the Meta House, beginning this coming Sunday (4th) from 6pm. Also at Meta House from Saturday 3rd will be a collection of drawings titled Raining at Preah Vihear by Battambang artist Srey Bandol, who already has his drawings in print by Reyum in the book Looking At Angkor and another book aimed at children, In The Land of The Elephants. The 6pm opening on Saturday will be followed by a film/photo presentation of fellow artist Vandy Rattana.
Over at the Bophana Center on Saturday 3rd, a 4pm screening of a documentary on the late Cambodian artist Svay Ken will take place, in Khmer but with English subtitles, followed by another film, Two Neighbors.
Wednesday 7th is a national holiday here in Cambodia (Victory over Genocide Day). It will actually be the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime and I'm sure this landmark occasion will be acknowledged by a plethora of documentaries on tv but the main celebration of the anniversary will be at the Olympic Stadium in the city, where it's expected over 60,000 people will attend a mass rally. There's some grumbling here that 20,000 students are being forced to attend and it's little more than a rally in support of the CPP, but I'm sure the kids will enjoy their day off school, I know I used to. I loved the comment from a CPP lawmaker who said pointedly to the opposition whiners; "Only those people with a mental problem oppose Jan 7."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

They opposed the Jan 7th celebrtion because the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia and had the ambition and the intention to take over the territory as part of Vietnam. Which is true vietnamese government always has the ambition to take over Laos and Cambodia after French left. CPP government is still a puppet of the Vietnamese today. The vietnames troops also killed many innocent people along the way. They killed whoever they suspected as Khmer Rouge or Khmer freedom fighters.

January 2, 2009 at 11:06 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Dear Anon,
I understand why the opposition party are opposed to celebrating Jan 7th. The vehement anti-Vietnamese rhetoric makes it quite clear who they are opposed to.
My take on it is that Jan 7th is an occasion for remembrance of those that died under the Khmer Rouge [who were kicked-out with the help of the Vietnamese who then outstayed their welcome by a decade, etc, etc]. What I don't want to lose sight of is the Cambodians who died in those years of Khmer Rouge control (before, during and after the '75-79 period). So many families were decimated and so many people affected by those terrible years that a day where everyone can commemorate and keep alive the memory of those who died is a necessity in my view.
I'm not Cambodian, I can never know what it was like but I do feel its the right thing to remember loved ones no longer with us.

January 3, 2009 at 1:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Andy,
If that is the case, a remenberance for those who died during the Khmer Rouge, I totally agree with you. But you will find out in the commemoration or the celebration's rhetoric,it is the declaration of the victory and glorification of the CPP the great and nothing is said about the victims. It is not about the victim. It is totally politic.

January 3, 2009 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Dear Anon,
That is where I feel its an opportunity lost. The authorities see it as their chance to blow their own trumpet, but really it should be about the people, as a day to remember and acknowledge freedom from a terrible regime and to commemorate those who weren't so fortunate to survive. I know families remember their lost ones at P'chum Ben but Jan 7th should be an opportunity to focus, nationally, on a time when so many lost their lives, and to make sure everyone understands what took place and should never be allowed to happen again. That would be a suitable commemoration of Jan 7th in my view.

January 3, 2009 at 9:38 AM  

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