Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Heading for Reap

We are fast approaching that time of year when Hanuman throws it's annual staff party for its many teams and a few invited guests. Tomorrow, we'll bus up to Siem Reap and then spend the next day on what we call a fam trip where the staff get to visit some of the places we encourage our clients to visit. This time around we'll visit Kbal Spean, the Landmine Museum and take a boat trip out onto the Tonle Sap Lake. The next morning will be a whistle-stop inspection tour of about half a dozen hotels for the sales team and then Saturday night is the party, which'll be held at our small boutique hotel, HanumanAlaya. The morning after the night before will be a trip to the Puok Silk Farm and then it's a bus back to Phnom Penh in time to start back to work first thing Monday morning. That will mean I'm in Siem Reap for New Year's Eve, so if anyone has a spare party invitation, I'm available.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Anyone missing a lintel?

This partial lintel at Prasat Phimai sits in a quiet corner of the complex. It shows Krishna suduing the serpent Kaliya.
In a quiet northwest corner of the first enclosure at Prasat Phimai is a mini-storage dump of architectural items that the Thai authorities didn't find a home for when they reconstructed the temple in the 1960s. In fact I came across this open-air storage section, as well as a depository for a bunch of lintels and the forgotten corner full of sandstone dvarapula antefixes, which I showed you in an earlier post. The mix-n-match dump contained a variety of objects, whilst the lintel collection - containing at least a dozen lintels, some in good condition, others very badly worn, which the conservation team found on site but couldn't find their original locations and so kept them all together - are now housed on a raised platform to the west of the central sanctuary. Worth a look, if like me, you love your lintels.
This is not a collection of cluster bombs, but architectural decorations that can be found on top of enclosure walls
A mini dump of architectural items such as lintels, nagas and pilasters in a quiet corner
A worn lintel of Krishna riding on Garuda
This unfinished lintel is of a kala and double rows of floral vegetation
A massive elephant, a horse and various figures provide the detail on this partial lintel which may've originally shown Krishna fighting the elephant
This vivid lintel shows Rama armed with a bow and arrow, taking on eight demons
Above a row of hamsas appear a group of important courtiers with a royal personage in the center
This raised platform to the west hosts about a dozen lintels of varying descriptions and conditions

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Watch out, there's a monk about

Two monks obligingly pose for a portrait in a doorway at Prasat Phimai
My brother Tim and I were quite fortunate when we visited Prasat Phimai in Isaan a couple of months ago, as we got in just as a large group of Eastern Europeans arrived and we managed to keep ahead of them throughout our leisurely visit though we did keep bumping into a small group of monks. The Buddhist monks were far friendlier than the Europeans and a lot quieter. Apart from those two groups, Tim and I were pretty much on our own aside from a friendly sweeper, who got in a couple of my photos.
Lights, camera, action!
Taking a picture of a monk taking a picture of a monk at Phimai
Temple visit concluded, time for a rest in the shade of the central sanctuary
One last team photo before the monks hit the road
A sweeper at Prasat Phimai, one of the tidiest temples I've ever visited. You could've eaten your dinner off the floor!

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Monday, December 28, 2009

HAGL invests in Cambodia's future

If you weren't aware of it before, make no mistake that the Vietnamese are taking big steps to increase their influence in the sporting arena in both Cambodia and Laos. On my recent visit to Vientiane for the SEA Games, it was obvious to me that Vietnam were using the current inability of Thailand to present any sort of unified front, to step up their presence in Laos and exert a far-reaching influence that is not just confined to sport. The Vietnamese company Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group were the main benefactors by way of a $4 million gift for the construction of the SEA Games athletes' village. They also funded three months of training by the Laos U23 football team in the central highlands province of Gia Lai, as well as paying the salary of the Laos coach Alfred Riedl. Of course, they haven't done it out of the goodness of their own heart - the group have inked commercial deals in Laos that include mining and timber concessions. The Hoang Anh Gia Lai conglomerate have branched out from its original base in rubber plantations in Vietnam's highlands to include interests in real estate, hotels, and other industries. The head of HAGL, Doan Nguyen Duc, known as Bau (Big Boss) Duc, is believed to be the richest man in Vietnam. Hoang Anh is his daughter's name, Gia Lai his modest home base in the highlands.

HAGL's next major sporting investment is geared towards improving Cambodia's national football team. They have pledged $4 million towards the construction of the new national football center to be built in the Bati district of Takeo. They have also offered to help prepare the national team for the Suzuki Cup later next year as well as provide coaches for the country's youth team. Don't forget that HAGL, who operate a football academy in association with Arsenal, were the beaten finalists in the BIDC Cup in Phnom Penh a couple of months ago. At the same time HAGL have expressed their intentions to invest in rubber, mining, and electricity, in addition to their existing iron ore concessions they already have in Cambodia. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours seems to be the order of the day as HAGL and Vietnam continue their expansion plans. The football federation here already have Vietnam-based Metfone on board as one of their main sponsors for the coming season.

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Faces of Phimai

This rishi, or wise man, at Prasat Phimai has a large head and much smaller body by comparison; he almost looks like an elf
Here are a gallery of faces you can find at Prasat Phimai in Isaan in northeast Thailand, if you divert your attention to the foot of the doorways. Whilst most people, including myself, concentrate on the lintels and pediments above the doorway, there are some lovely carvings to be found at ground level too. One of the consistent decorative features that adorn the doorways are the sculpted cavings at the base of the colonettes and pilasters that form the side panels to the doorframes. It is believed that these carvings on the pilasters began at Phimai at the end of the 11th century before spreading to the temples at Angkor. Of course the representation of rishis, or wise men, at the foot of the circular colonettes can also be seen widely throughout Angkor, especially at Angkor Wat. Here are a few examples from Prasat Phimai.
A fierce-looking half man half animal figure, maybe a yaksha guardian, is on the base of this red sandstone colonette
At Phimai, the carving of Vajrasattva dancing on a corpse is seen for the first time in Khmer art. This one is on a pilaster on the central sanctuary.
This colonette carving also shows a woman yogini dancing on a corpse whilst holding a vajra, a bolt of lightning, and a bell
This pilaster contains a much less vivid picture of a monkey holding what looks like the tail of an animal
This pilaster carving of a woman is next to a broken colonette
Two weather-worn rishis occupy the base panels of this colonette at Phimai
A traditional cross-legged pose for the rishi, a Hindu sage or seer
An exaggerated head and lips give this rishi an unusual appearance
Another rishi, dispensing wise words to his disciples whilst holding onto his beard
Another old man, not so wise and with no beard, takes a seat in a window at Prasat Phimai

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Everybody was kung fu fighting

Belle in one of her kung fu poses, or is it a praying mantis?
Yesterday was a bit hectic, hence no posts, and I was still getting over my illness, which thankfully has cleared up now. I did pop out last night to watch two dance performances from Belle, and her young team, for a private company party. If you're not aware, Belle is Cambodia's leading contemporary dancer and is back in Phnom Penh after a few months abroad, in Europe and India. She's currently rehearsing for some home-based shows at the beginning of 2010 before she will be on the road again, taking one of her signature pieces to various countries, including a visit to New York. As I've said before she's a workaholic and literally never stops, but she also supplements her time with private appearances such as the one last night for the company Sabay. She performed two dances, with her male colleagues, the first was a kung fu martial arts dance (and no, she didn't use the music from Carl Douglas' record), the second a quirky, robotic dance that I've seen before. You can see from the photo below that the space they had to dance was about the size of a postage stamp, so far from ideal but she's a trooper and simply gets on with it. When the Phnom Penh performances are confirmed, I'll let you know.
Belle and her kung fu team
5 dancers on a stage as small as this, is no easy feat to perfrom. They had to share it with a motorbike and the musicians.


Friday, December 25, 2009

The inside story

In what looks like red sandstone reminiscent of Banteay Srei,Trailokyavijaya, who is mentioned in the temple's inscription, is the central figure and was the general of the Lord of Phimai
Without the right type of camera equipment, shooting inside the main tower at Prasat Phimai and internally in other buildings, can leave you disappointed. Quite a few of my pictures taken on my recent trip to NE Thailand and the temple city of Phimai, fall into this category. Here are a few of my better indoor shots of the lintels on display in the central sanctuary but quite a few others didn't come out. Inside the tower there's no natural light, but if I use flash then the stonework is washed out and the detail is lost. If I cut the flash then I find the focus isn't as clear and any slight movement and the picture is worthless. I could get a better camera of course but I'm happy with my Sony cyber-shot most of the time and it is so easy and convenient to carry. So I guess I'll just put up and shut up. As for the lintels, Phimai, built from the end of the 11th century, is awash with them, which is great for people like me who love these mini-stories. Without experts like Vittorio Roveda and his Images of the Gods book, then most of them would be pretty meaningless but Vittorio has spent his career deciphering the iconography on Khmer temples and his detailed descriptions are invaluable in understanding what we are looking at.
The Battle of Lanka, on the southern inner doorway, is a popular theme and shows Rama on the shoulders of Hanuman, fighting his sworn enemy who is atop a chariot
The above lintel shows Vajrasattva seated on a plinth with 3 heads and 6 arms and surrounded by four Buddhas and dancing girls. This is the inner lintel at the north entrance.
This west-facing lintel shows Buddha dressed in a long robe standing between two trees in the upper register, surrounded by worshippers. In the bottom register, three dancing girls in the center are accompanied by musicians.
On the eastern inner lintel, the all powerful Trailokyavijaya is seen alongside ten seated Buddhas and eight dancers in the lower register. He has 3 heads and 8 arms.
This is a frontal view of the diety, Trailokyavijaya, dancing on an elephant skin, who is also shown on the walls of Angkor Wat and is therefore a very important figure

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Cry No More's annual bash

Cry No More with the incomparable Roy Hill and Chas Cronk will do their annual bash in Twickenham on 8 January. I can't be there but you can. Don't miss it.

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Christmas cheer - not

Lunch at Java Cafe in Phnom Penh is a popular haunt for expats. After my less-than-tasty cheeseburger there yesterday I've spent most of the intervening hours on the loo and that includes regular trips through the night. I've lost about half my bodyweight. Okay, that's an exaggeration but this is the worst bout of tummy-runs that I've had for a long, long time. Of course they are to be expected, living in a 3rd world country and all, but even so, I'm not exactly filled with lots of Christmas cheer at this particular moment. I'm also at work on Christmas Day, but may soon head for home as I really ain't feeling great. As for going out and celebrating with a nice meal, a few drinks, some nice company - forget it, I need to hover around the loo. Even the blocking tablets that I have used before, have had no effect. If this continues I'll disappear from view, leaving a pile of rumpled clothes on the toilet floor. Now there's a thought. Reggie Perrin and all that.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Guardian graveyard

The top of the central tower at Prasat Phimai. You can see some of the sandstone antefixes on the lower level.
In continuing my look at Prasat Phimai in Isaan, NE Thailand, which I visited recently for the first time, I went exploring behind the scenes, as I often do, and came across a graveyard of original sandstone dvarapulas. In a workyard where nagas were being fashioned out of freshly-cut sandstone, lines of badly weathered male guardians, or dvarapulas, were gathering dust and are enveloped by weeds in a forgotten corner. Judging by my picture of the very summit of the central tower at Phimai, the sandstone guardian antefixes were decorative elements that adorned the upper levels, though I would suggest that they were removed for safety reasons and simply kept out of sight in this off-limits workyard. Time has not been kind to them. You can still make out their dominant stance and their long club, which would've dissuaded wrongdoers from entering the shrine, but the detail has faded and they've been left to serve their final days out of the limelight.
A veritable graveyard of dvarapulas, or male guardians, out of sight for most visitors
Approximately 100 sandstone dvarapula antefixes occupy one corner of this workyard
The collection of sandstone antefixes are next to the outside wall of the Phimai compound
A weathered male guardian stands upright with his club or long sword
Brand new nagas have been carved from feshly-cut sandstone blocks

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On the footy wires

The Cambodian national football team have a friendly encounter coming up in January, when they've been booked to play against Ulsan University of South Korea at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday 23 January. The University side are on tour and will face CPL side Preah Khan Reach two days earlier. The fixture is for the national team though it's likely the U23 side will represent Cambodia for this one-off game. This will be an opportunity for the players to enjoy a getogether again after their recent SEA Games adventures, though the main competitive focus for the national team in 2010 will be in October when there are World Cup and Suzuki Cup qualifying matches to be played.
The 4th edition of the Hun Sen Cup (aka Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen Cup 2010, for the full mouthful) kicks off in early January with the provincial round-robin prelims across the country that will also include the big boys of the CPL before the last 16 play a knock-out format in Phnom Penh, with the final scheduled for 6 March. The Hun Sen Cup is the taster for the CPL season, and there's talk of only Khmer players being eligible for the competition this time around, to give more homegrown talent the chance to shine.

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Stick around a bit

If you spot an orange coloured booklet on your travels throughout Cambodia, it'll most likely be the brand new Stay Another Day 2009-2010 edition. Over 60,000 copies are knocking around and its full of initiatives, and adverts, enticing you to stick around a bit longer than you normally would. 76 pages of 'who are we?' and 'what can you experience?' shine a light on projects around the country, so many of which are worth a personal visit, though sometimes it's difficult to separate the worthy project from the well concealed advert. Nevertheless a really neat booklet to read through and select your own favourites. The online version is here.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sophoin on film

Following on from the YouTube video below, here's another one, filmed on the same night as the Meta House screening of The Red Sense. This time it's my very good friend Sophoin, giving her own thoughts on the film, in response to questions by yours truly. I only found these videos today, hence the delay in passing them on. Enjoy.

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YouTube expose

A few months ago now, Meta House screened the movie by Tim Pek, The Red Sense, for the first time in Phnom Penh. The film's lead actor Rithy Dourng came over for the screening and in this YouTube video that I've just seen for the first time, Rithy answers some questions and there's a very short guest appearance by none other than myself. Make sure you've eaten before watching my energetic hand-waving.

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Arbeit Macht Frei

The sign at Auschwitz, which I visited in July 2003
One of the symbols of Nazi Germany has been recovered after being stolen by thieves a few days ago. The sign - Arbeit Macht Frei ('Work shall set you free') - above the entrance gate to the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, was cut into three pieces and removed last Friday and the theft caused international outrage. Five men have been detained for stealing the sign. The authorities that run the museum had offered a reward of nearly $40,000 to recover the symbol of nearly 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, who perished at the camp near Krakow in Poland. The motto was a cynical ploy by the Nazis' to give their victims false hope and was not monitored by closed-circuit cameras at the museum. I visited Auschwitz in July 2003 and you can read about my trip here.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Roy's Christmas Message

Of all the Christmas messages I've received, of which I ignore the majority, there's one which deserves wider recognition as it comes from one of my favourite people, and musicians, of all time, Roy Hill. So you get a flavour of the man, here it is.

Hello Darling. Doesn’t time fly? Soon be Christmas again and I must say that even the mention of it is making me tense, nervous and slightly damp in places. I thought I’d run through what’s going on at the moment by subject title, in alphabetical order. Isn’t that fun? Here goes …

APPLES : Yesterday (Saturday) I went to buy some apples, I particularly like Russets but they didn’t have any at the supermarket so I bought a samosa instead.

BINGO : Also known as tombola and housey-housey. Pat from next door recently won £10 at a bingo session to raise money for our local scout group. Bingo is thought to have originated in Twickenham which, quite by chance, is where Cry No More will be making their farewell appearance on Friday 8 January 2010. See Cry No More: Farewell appearance.

CHRISTMAS CARDS : I was hoping to send a Christmas card to every newsletter subscriber but now there are three of you the cost has become prohibitive. However, if you print out this email, paste it to some cardboard, fold it in half, draw a robin on the front and write Merry Christmas from Roy inside, it will be just as good.

CRY NO MORE: FAREWELL APPEARANCE : Cry No More will be appearing at the Turks Head in Twickenham on Friday 8 January. This will be positively our last farewell appearance until we decide to do another one. Turks Head. Winchester Hall. 28 Winchester Road. St Margarets, Twickenham, Middlesex, TW1 1LF. Doors open 8.00. Showtime 9.15. Admission £10.

STOP PRESS: There will be new releases on sale! See Cry No More: New CD releases.

CRY NO MORE: NEW CD RELEASES : We’re currently putting the finishing touches to two new CDs, Temptation (a set of previously unreleased songs) and Live in Germany, recorded when we were on tour with Marillion in 1990. Described by Pat from next door as ‘essential purchases’, they’re crammed to the gunnels with a coruscating joie de vivre and on sale from Friday 8 January. Re-releases of Live at the Social Club, Love and Power and Brown Paper Bag, all in new full-colour packaging will also be available on that very same day which just happens to be the date of the Cry No More farewell appearance. What luck! Buy at the show and save postage. I’m listening to Live in Germany whilst I type this seasonal missive as I need to check that the estimable Mr Chas Cronk has increased the applause levels to the point where it sounds like the audiences actually liked us. Do people still say, whilst?

DEEPDENE RECORDS: YOUR ONE-STOP SHOP FOR ALL ROY HILL AND CRY NO MORE RELEASES : Despite the recession, it’s been a record breaking year for the company with some CD sales now into double figures. As Managing Director I take my responsibilities very seriously and continuously strive to ensure we’re the market leader for all Roy Hill and Cry No More releases. Next year will see rapid expansion into important new global markets. These commitments and constant world tours mean that, with regret, I must give up my work as a midwife.

DONKEY DERBY : I’m planning to arrange a donkey derby next year but probably won’t.

INSTRUMENTAL COMPANION : I feel like the head of a showbiz dynasty as my son Jamie and nephew Tom have recently started a band called Instrumental Companion. Well, a duo not a band, probably because no one else will work with them. They write compelling, weird, filmy, soundscapes which can be heard at …

MYSPACE : It’s all go on MySpace. There’s a new 20 minute movie featuring clips from my 2008 world tour in the videos section (just past hardware but before lingerie) some of which will be used for a My Life in Showbiz DVD when I’ve finished, or to be more accurate, started, the eagerly awaited Cry No More Story. Deadlines are not my strong point. See Switzerland and Website.

More videos …

MYSPACE BLOG: RUE MALHEREUSE : I’ve edited the twenty or so instalments of murder mystery, Rue Malhereuse, into two chapters. The plot’s thickening. Will Stanley ever get out of the box? Is Stanley really in the box? Who killed Madame Benoit? Does Alex the talking rat really exist? Search me. I know as much as you do. I love being a novelist, it gives me the chance to wear very tight trousers and a cravat. The blog also contains occasional non-fiction items but you may find it hard to tell the difference.

PAT FROM NEXT DOOR : Pat was recently rushed to hospital with a stubbed toe. She’s now out of intensive care and back on the booze. I bumped into her at the supermarket this morning - still no Russets so I bought a Twix - where she was showing off a new hat she’s made herself. Apparently the plywood alone cost £28.

ROY HILL 1978 : This near legendary album, produced by Elton John’s superstar knob twiddler and all-round megalomaniac Gus Dudgeon is currently being buffed-up for an entirely illegal 2010 release. It’s got a special place in my heart as it virtually ended my career.

SWITZERLAND : Regular readers will have already skipped this part but newcomers will be thrilled to know that Switzerland, an exercise in melancholy and the follow-up to my aforementioned 1978 debut album is nearing completion and will be released early 2010. Due to the endless delays and constant apologizing I can now type the words nearing completion faster than any others.

WEBSITE : This too will be up and running in time for you to buy Switzerland and all the other marvellous Deepdene CDs without having to contact me by email. How very modern! I’m sure you found that information useful beyond belief or possibly just beyond belief.

WORLD TOUR: FINAL DATE : By the time you read this my hugely successful 2009 world tour will have concluded at Lowton Labour Club in Warrington. I wonder how it went? I wonder what songs I did? I wonder if anyone mistook me for BBC weatherman Daniel Corbett?

XMAS SHOPPING : I thoroughly disapprove of spelling Christmas with an ‘X’ but thought it best to make this the last item so it would stick in your mind long after you’ve scoffed at or forgotten the other bits. Searching for last minute gift ideas? Hello Sailor, Fun with Dave, Cry No More and Cry No More live at the Mulberry Tree are all on sale via Deepdene Records, priced at a derisory £10. Just contact me at for details. Put some money aside too for the glut of 2010 releases mentioned earlier.

Finally and most importantly, I love you.

Roy x

H A P P Y C H R I S T M A S !


A brighter future

This article on football in Cambodia appeared on the website recently, putting a positive spin on where we are today.

Cambodia build for a bright future
Although ranked at the lower echelons of the Asian football pecking order, Cambodia are showing positive indicators for the future of the world game in the South-East Asian nation. A fast-growing national league, historic progress in the women’s game and a raw love for the game make for a promising outlook in the nation wedged between Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Next year is set to be critically important for their national team, who face the dual challenge of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and Suzuki Cup preliminaries during the latter stages of 2010. Under respected Australian coach Scott O’Donell, the Cambodians are aiming to repeat the success of two years ago, when they qualified for the Suzuki Cup, the South East Asian regional championship.

Young brigade
Earlier this week Cambodia completed their South-East Asian games commitments with O’Donell using the U-23 tournament as the first building block in the next stage of the senior national team’s development. Now in his second spell as national team coach, the 42-year-old - who is the first Australian to coach a foreign national side - is very much focussed on youth. O’Donell intends to fast-track the majority of the U-23 national team to senior level. “My plan is to keep the U-23s together as the national team. Although there will be a few older players, my general idea is to keep the younger boys together and make them the future of the national team,” he told

A lack of international experience is what could prove the undoing of the Cambodians if the experiences of the last fortnight in Laos are any gauge. “Against Thailand we were losing 1-0, having created some great chances, but then conceded two goals in two minutes of injury time, so for that to happen against the favourites meant were couldn’t get back into the game,” said O’Donell, a former Director of Coach Education at the Asian Football Confederation. “It was a similar story against Malaysia. Unless the players get used to playing against good teams and stay focused and concentrated for 90 minutes, then we will get punished. So that is the tough lesson that came out of the tournament for the players. “We have to try and play to our strengths,” O’Donell continued. “We are not big and we need to play in a similar way to the Thais or the Vietnamese, with quick movement of the ball and movement off the ball. I’m trying to implement a style in which the players can use their strengths.

Football passion
The Cambodian Premier League, which features nine clubs from the capital Phnom Penh and one from the Takeo province, has recently received a significant injection with a recent sponsorship, and the league has also boosted in recent times through the addition of a number of international players. “The league is becoming more competitive compared to when I first arrived, when it was very lop-sided," said O'Donell. "This year the league is a lot more competitive, with some foreign players coming in as well.”

Earlier this year, a Cambodian girls U-16 national team made the 1,200-kilometre journey by road to play against Laos and in doing so created a small slice of history as the first female team to represent this Asian nation. The popularity of the game for both genders remains undiminished despite the relative lack of international exposure, and numbers continues to boom at a significant rate. “If you go to the national stadium on any afternoon, there are hundreds and hundreds of children playing football, bare-footed, across all age groups,” says O’Donell. “Football is so popular. We had over 35,000 to see the (U-23) national team play (in a tournament final) in November, and I have never seen that in Cambodia before. If Cambodia can achieve some relative success on the regional stage, then there will be even further growth.”

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Look at them

Tonight's performers at the Q&A: LtoR; Setpheap, Mom and Davy
A room full of the great and good of Cambodian dance at Meta House tonight watched a 25-minute piece of contemporary dance by three artists, under the tutelage of director Bob Ruijzendaal. Yon Davy, Mom (aka Pumtheatra Chenda) and Sorn Setpheap gave us their own interpretation of a piece called How Do You Move/What Moves You, no storyline, just a mix of classical and contemporary movements that continues to break new ground for these Cambodian artists. All three performers are part of a collective known as New Cambodian Artists (NCA) and the group will perform two more new pieces in January at Meta House before bringing us the follow up to Look At Us Now, which debuted in May and the video of which was also shown this evening, after a brief Q&A with the dancers and director. Davy and Mom were trained in the classics of Cambodian ballet at the Royal University whilst Setpheap's background was in visual arts and the idea to mix and match artists and influences worked well for me. In the audience - the performance space at Meta House was pitifully small and cramped and my viewing was obscured for much of the show - were contemporary dancer Belle, just back from a gig in India, director Fred Frumberg, Toni Shapiro-Phim and a host of other dancers. Find out more about NCA here.

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Naga world

Welcome to Prasat Phimai, with an original lion and a copy sandstone naga
Now it's only a taster as I have a veritable stack of photos to post from my visit to the mainly 12th century Prasat Phimai, but here's some pictures from the naga bridge at the southern entrance of the temple to this Isaan, Thailand-based Khmer temple around which the modern city of Phimai has grown. The southern entrance is where the public arrive at the temple, cross the well-tended lawns and begin their visit. On my recent trip there, some of the staff from the temple's conservation team were at work on one of the naga's, which was a cement copy and can be easily distinquished from the original sandstone versions that are elsewhere on the bridge. Two well-preserved stone lions were alongside the nagas at the entranceway.
The conservation team at work on one of the naga placements
The head of a 12thC Phimai sandstone lion, with a replacement concrete jaw
Another view of the naga bridge that leads onto the southern gopura entrance
The entry to Prasat Phimai is across well cut greenery leading to the southern entrance

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