Thursday, July 9, 2009

Khmer women in the spotlight

I've seen the legendary chapei master Kong Nay perform quite a few times, but I've never seen his protege, Ouch Savy in the flesh, so to speak. I've even been to her home and chatted to her mother, herself a well-known musician, but Savy and Kong Nay were on tour at the time of my visit. In fact their touring took them to the United Kingdom where they performed at the world-famous WOMAD festival, to great acclaim, as well as in Australia and New Zealand. So I'm eagerly awaiting tonight's Joop session at Meta House, where Savy will perform as part of a multi-media show. As one of the first women to learn the chapei, Savy, in her early twenties, is a pioneer and her duet with Kong Nay - their houses were two metres apart when they lived in the Dey Krahom area until it was levelled - can be heard on the cd from Cambodian Living Arts, Mekong Delta Blues (pictured right).
Tomorrow night, also at Meta House (next to Wat Botum for those who haven't ventured there before), I will be hosting two excellent films that look at two women from the Khmer diaspora, who return to Cambodia in search of their roots and a better understanding of their past. We start at 7pm and Li-Da Kruger's return for the film Belonging will start us off. Li-Da was adopted as a baby by well-to-do parents in the UK but is still determined to track down her real family, if that's still possible after twenty-five years. For Socheata Poeuv in New Year Baby, she knows her parents, or at least she thinks she does but returning to Cambodia opens a window into a world she never knew. Both films are well worth watching.

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Anonymous John D Roberts said...


Tweeted earlier about learning more about coverage of Khmer Rouge trials. I see a good deal of notice on your blog. When you post on the trials, could you add that link to your tweet so we don't miss it? Thanks, man.

Or for that matter, you could to a post on the best sources for new coverage of the trials. I'd welcome that and can take the following on myself from there. Thanks again.


July 10, 2009 at 1:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Belonging" is good, but hardly excellent. The version I saw was rather a bizarre, trite love story which was then watered down after the couple split up shortly after! Enjoy the blog though.

July 10, 2009 at 7:56 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Hi John,
sure, when I remember I will tweet the link.
One of the best sources of info is the online Phnom Penh Post that is covering the trial daily.
The folks at Ka-Set K7 are also doing good work in putting their trial coverage online.
Go to
Also go to
for more excellent coverage of the KR trials.


July 10, 2009 at 9:55 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Hi Anon,
the love story you identify was merely a sub-plot of the main story. And in the version played out on the hour-long television version (rather than the longer version I have) it hardly gets a mention. The main focus of the film is about Li-Da's search for her family roots which proves to be a bitter-sweet experience for her. However I see your point, maybe 'excellent' is one notch too high on the scale of crap to outstanding :-)

July 10, 2009 at 10:00 AM  

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