With the Water Festival
(Bon Om Tuk
in Khmer) just about to get underway here in Phnom Penh, there's a serious possibility of getting trampled underfoot as hundreds of thousands, possibly up to a million, Cambodians arrive in the capital from the surrounding provinces, to witness the boat racing as well as enjoying the free festivities and the chance to mingle in the capital. I was expecting Now to come down from Siem Reap for a few days break and to experience the capital in all its frenzy for the 1st time, but Eric's cracking the whip and his exhibition at Raffles has been extended for a week, so she'll try and make it next week instead. Its a time to be wary of your valuables as every expat I've spoken to (which is a handful) has suffered a robbery of some description around this time, so the key thing to remember is, don't carry anything you can't afford to lose. The streets will be jam-packed and I mean absolutely rammed over this weekend and into the early part of next week, so I might just stay at home and catch up on all those things that I've been putting off, which is a very long list. Meanwhile, the authorities have been clamping down on the city's prostitutes before the festival, they will be handing out up to 250,000 free condoms and have warned people to be wary of catching the H1N1 flu virus with a 'cover your cough' message. Its the Kings' Father's birthday tomorrow too, so another public holiday, it was Coronation Day yesterday and Water Festival is a public holiday for 3 days, though at Hanuman we're only off on Monday. And of course, football will take precedence next weekend, when the BIDC Cup begins a weeks' worth of football at Olympic Stadium involving the Cambodian national team, fresh from their training camp in Vietnam. I was gutted to read of a series of events at the EFEO HQ in Siem Reap this week which I will obviously miss. In English, the lectures will focus primarily on Angkor and will include speakers such as Christophe Pottier, Darryl Collins, Olivier Cunin, Martin Polkinghorne and Im Sokrithy. Damn and blast.
As part of the celebrations for Norodom Sihanouk's birthday tomorrow, TV3 hosted a program tonight of music and of course, classical Khmer dance. In the red costume on the far left of this screen-grab is my pal Sam Savin with fellow members of the royal ballet peforming a dance in honour of the King Father. Savin was also performing for the King earlier this week at Chaktomuk Theatre.
Sam Savin, far left in red costume, dancing on TV3 tonight
Labels: Water Festival