Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Proud as punch
Labels: Cambodia football
Monday, June 27, 2011
A legend unfolds
Labels: Legend theatre
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Moly departs too
Labels: Vuth Chanmoly
Saturday, June 25, 2011
On the music front, the Kampot music festival is taking place this weekend with the Cambodian Space Project, obviously, doing their thang alongwith lots of other music bands if you happen to be down on the south coast. I'm not. I'm in Phnom Penh watching football. Whoops, there's that goldfish memory again.
Labels: Phnom Penh Crown
Friday, June 24, 2011
Case 002 kicks-off
Labels: Khmer Rouge Tribunal
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Black Roots return
Labels: Black Roots
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Kethya makes the move
Labels: Chey Chankethya
Monday, June 20, 2011
Can we forget today please?
Phnom Penh Crown lost 0-4 in Singapore against a very good team last week. This afternoon we met Naga Corp and suffered the same scoreline, but against a team who are practically a one-man show, and we allowed it to happen. We knew exactly what to expect and we still failed to stop it. That's the galling part of it. Okay, so the pitch was a shit-tip after the federation changed the venue at short notice, and the referee was so one-sided he was practically leaning over, but they are just excuses. We have to look inward and ask ourselves why we didn't deal with the situation professionally. Everyone says we are the top team in the country but we looked far from it in the first 45 minutes today. A long way short. Naga were up for it today and we looked half-hearted at best. Some will moan that we don't have a coach at the moment, and that's the reason, but that's crap. The players are the same players who went unbeaten for the first 7 games and who won through to the finals of the President's Cup, they know the drill, they are being coached in the interim by someone who knows what he's doing, so it's actually the players who must stand up and be counted, now, when it matters most. They can still redeem themselves and go into the mid-season break at the top of the table, if they beat National Police on Saturday. If they play anything like they did today, then that will be a tall order. To be honest we need the break, we've played a lot of games over the last few months and in Singapore and this afternoon, we looked jaded. We need one final spurt and then they can rest.
Labels: Phnom Penh Crown
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Back to face the music, or not
Friday, June 17, 2011
Phnom Penh Now
Expat-advisory.com have just posted this article by David Stout, in which I get a mention. I must've met and spoken to David but for the life of me I can't remember it. Here's the article:
Phnom Penh Now by David Stout
Once known as the Pearl of Asia, Phnom Penh is shedding its lascivious 'off the rails' reputation to reclaim the moniker. As the bus crosses the borderlands, I anticipate the Kingdom of Wonder, as it’s so often been branded. I’ve never been to Cambodia and the country’s reputation seems to have spiraled out of control in conversations I’ve heard among people across Southeast Asia. Stories involving drugs, guns and/or harlotry repulse listeners. Many show little interest in returning to Phnom Penh. Others spin their yarn with rapacious indulgence about their time spent in the capital of a country rebuilding itself in the wake of one of the gravest atrocities of the 20th century.
As I step off the bus, the city feels raw and alive, but also coy and serene. With less than two million residents, the municipality has kept the quaint feel of a town. Its wide, tree-lined boulevards seem immune to the anarchic traffic that plagues cities in neighbouring countries. “Life’s normal here now,” says barber Penh Chhet who’s been cutting hair for the past four years on Street 30. “It’s more developed and better.” According to Chhet, the city has changed a lot in the last 10 years he’s been working here. There are new buildings, more cars and the infrastructure has steadily improved. While he admits to being a low man on the totem pole as the city develops, he says he is able to make enough for his family with his vocation.
The seediness vividly described in books like Off the Rails in Phnom Penh seems to be, at least on the surface, cleaned up and no more pervasive than in other regional hubs. The city appears to be on the right track — gone are the days residents fired AK-47s at approaching thunderstorms; the neighbourhoods in Tuol Kork district that were once filled with cheap brothels have been gentrified and filled in with villas; armadas of Lexus SUVs, with their gaudy logos plastered to their side doors, cruise the streets. There are chic boutique hotels, bars that serve up top shelf martinis and lounges where you can order surf and turf specials.
Meanwhile a dozen cranes are scattered across Phnom Penh’s skies in between villas and lotus-shaped stupas, which are only a stone’s throw from shabby concrete Soviet housing units that were built in the 1980s. Pulsating markets overflowing with Buddhist trinkets, scarves and karaoke DVDs salt the capital. Like most cities with character, the architecture is awe inspiring. There are colossal Buddhist temples and administrative units and villas built by the French. The Royal Palace is quite the sight. If only the tiles, golden stupas and quiet garden paths had a voice. These walls have been home to royal ballets and hosted heads of state. During the Khmer Rouge’s grip on the country, when the capital was evacuated, only Prince Sinhanouk, his wife Monique and their two children lived on the grounds. As if under house arrest, they were given daily provisions of fish and vegetables, did their own daily chores, raised a garden and planted banana trees. Today, the estate once again welcomes tourists and hosts diplomats and leaders during State visits. The newly refurbished promenade on the Mekong has yet to be overdeveloped like those in Bangkok or Singapore — scents of jasmine and lemongrass can be inhaled at all hours during a tuk tuk ride.
That’s not to say the city doesn’t maintain its fair share of bizarre features. Near Sisowath Quay, barbers use a sterile portrait of B-rate, supporting actor Kevin Connolly, most known for his role in Entourage, to lure customers in for a trim. The brand names of water bottles are utterly inexplicable: Pop Zone, Steve the Quality Flow and Eurotech — the latter sports a Union Jack logo with dolphins swimming over it. And how many capitals outside of China have streets named after Chairman Mao? Or restaurants owned by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea where you can eat kim chi and dumplings while women play slap bass, sing patriotic songs for the Dear Leader and pluck out Let it Be on a traditional harp?
“The 1990s were kind of a rollercoaster… kidnappings and coups, ups and downs,” says Nick Ray, coordinating author for Lonely Planet’s Cambodia edition. “After the end of the civil war, tourism boomed”. “I was scared shitless, but on the other hand I was completely exhilarated with everything I saw. I was hooked,” says product manager at Hanuman Tourism, Andy Brouwer, in reference to his first visits to the country in the mid-1990s. After his first trip, Andy began making yearly pilgrimages back to the Kingdom before finally leaving behind his 30-year banking career in England and relocating to Phnom Penh. At this time, he says, things were ‘alive’. “You have to get an appreciation for what happened to this country in the 1970s, where literally — I know its cliché to say — they had to start from year zero,” says Andy, who has observed the wide range of developments in the country over the last 17 years. “At least cows aren’t getting blown up anymore.” “You can have all the sophistication you want when you want it, but also you still really know that you’re in Asia. It’s quite raw,” adds Nick. “It’s been zoomed into the 21st century very quickly.” According to the writer, the last decade has seen the streets revamped with investments in flood control and better sewage facilities.
Only a couple of years ago, the tallest structure in town belonged to the Intercontinental Hotel, at 16 floors, which was built in the mid-1990s. Now there is the Canadian Bank Tower, at 24 stories, and condominiums on Diamond Island that are up to 30 floors high and more developments in the pipeline. “We believe there is a future in Phnom Penh,” says Bruce Koenig, marketing executive at the newly opened Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra. The US$50 million alabaster-coloured massif is the first five-star hotel to open in the capital in over a decade. While the establishment will provide an additional option for up-market travellers, as Koenig explains, the hotel also has its sights set on the business class and the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions sector. “Companies are coming back to Phnom Penn,” says Koenig. And according to the young executive, a direct flight from Paris to Phnom Penh on Air France commenced in March after being discontinued for more than 10 years.
While the beaches, temples and atrocities have put Cambodia on the map, the magnetic force of the people is what inspires. They are survivors. And after four years under brutal, forced collectivisation that killed an estimated two million people and nearly two decades of civil war, the fact that Cambodia is still standing, nonetheless progressing, is a testament to the strength and dignity possessed by its people. The cream-coloured frangipani blossoms on the trees at Tuol Sleng and the Choeung EK Genocidal Centre are reminders that after so much atrocity and loss, something beautiful can forge its way to the surface. People survive and rebuild. “When I was young I was handsome,” laughs 62-year-old Aom So Kai, who grows lemongrass near the eastern banks of the Mekong, a few kilometres out of town. “I was born here so have lived here a long time.” Once a solider for the Lon Nol regime, Kai says he spent three years, eight months and eight days away in Battambang Province digging ditches at the Khmer Rouge’s forced labour camps. “Every day I thought I was going to die,” he says. But he returned home and brought his mother back to the land that she raised him on. At 82 years-old, his mother Roet Thai still manages to crack out infectious giggles with betel nut tucked into her cheek while reminiscing about growing up in the area and what it was like to be afraid of tigers that roamed the paddies. Kai might only have a few teeth left in his smile, but after so much turmoil, he is still able to throw out jokes at will.
As I sit near the banks of the Tonle Sap during the cool, late hours, a packed boat cruises down the centre of the river. Its passengers belt out Sin Sisamouth’s surf rock classic Mou Pei Na via karaoke. With its sentimental lyrics, catchy riffs and duets, it’s a quintessential slice of the laid back, cosmopolitan way of living that was prevalent in Phnom Penh before the Khmer Rouge; a snapshot of a resurfacing lifestyle. “What day is it?” my travel companion asks as we watch the boat pass. “Sunday,” I respond. “Good for them,” he says.
Places to Eat & Drink
Corner Street 108 and Sisowath Quay
With minimal décor and a central location, this surf and turf hub will leave you more than satisfied. The owner also operates a hotel next door.
Sugar Palm Restaurant & Bar
House No. 19, Street 240
Located on one of the trendier streets, Sugar Palm gives Khmer and Pan-Asian staples contemporary flavours.
Sisowath Quay at Street 148
With great martinis and excellent seafood and starters, Metro is one of the premiere venues to enjoy up-market drinks and eats in the capital.
325 Sisowath Quay
It may be a little low key, but Saravan is a great place to get your taste buds whet with traditional Khmer staples.
Foreign Correspondents Club
363 Sisowath Quay
With more tourists than correspondents here, the views of the Mekong and National Museum makes this open air venue a must for a drink. Get here for happy hour.
No. 5, Street 282
A sports bar of colossal proportions with gigantic screens and imported billiards tables from Shanghai.
RESOURCES ON THE GROUND
Expat Advisory Services
www.expat-advisory.com : While the site covers cities across the region, it’s based in Phnom Penh so knows the city well. Filled with articles, reviews and general advice, this site is essential if you’re planning a trip to Cambodia.
blog.andybrouwer.co.uk : Maybe one of the most-read expat blogs in Phnom Penh. Andy is obsessed with all things Cambodian — from the Royal Ballet to the development of the country’s football league. Check it out for the insider’s knowledge on the latest film screenings, book releases, concerts, etc.
Pocket Guide Phnom Penh
www.cambodiapocketguide.com : A small, keep-in-your-pocket guide book that is a great resource for anyone trying to search out the city. Pick it up free of charge at restaurants, bars and shops around town.
Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra
26 Old August Site, Sothearos Blvd., Sangkat Tonle Bassac, Khan
Chamkamorn Tel: +855 23 999200
The 201-room hotel is imbued with architectural nostalgia from colonial Indochina while the establishment's interior decor is sprinkled with Southeast Asian art and chic furnishings. With a handful of luxury restaurants, recreational grounds and business facilities, the city's first five-star hotel to open in more than a decade is all set to host high-end tourists and business travellers.
Mid to Top
#2, Street 108
Just a stone's throw from the capital's main promenade and next to the strip full of high-end eateries, this boutique venue is for travellers looking for a more personal experience. Outfitted with minimalist designer furnishings and a glass atrium, River 108 provides its patrons with a petit sanctuary in the heart of the city.
Address: #35, St 172, Sangkat Chey Chum Nas, Khan Daun Penh
Clean, centrally located and reliable. While some backpackers prefer to stay on a shoestring budget, Hometown proves that spending just a few dollars more on a room can go a long way. Situated in downtown Phnom Penh, the hotel is within walking distance of several of the city's famed sites.
Labels: Phnom Penh Crown
Thursday, June 16, 2011
The latest from S'pore
Labels: Phnom Penh Crown
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Someone who isn't a naughty monkey is Maggie Eno. In fact, far from it. She's just been recognised for her sterling work with the charity organization M'Lop Tapang since 2003 with one of the highest awards by the United Kingdom, the MBE, announced yesterday in the Queen's birthday honours list. Hats off to Maggie for this prestigious award and recognition of her efforts.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
B.C. man's killers may finally face justice: Four top leaders of Khmer Rouge regime to face UN-backed tribunal in Phnom Penh on June 27 - by Dave Kattenburg
It's unclear why Richmond native Stuart Robert Glass was sailing off the coast of Cambodia, back in August 1978, on a little yacht named Foxy Lady, when a patrol boat of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime appeared out of the haze. He might have been on his way to Bangkok to pick up a load of Thai marijuana. Perhaps he was just there for fun and adventure. Whatever the reason, Stuart Glass, who was only 27, was gunned down in a hail of bullets - the only Canadian to die, along with two million Cambodians, in one of the 20th-century's largest mass murders. The fate of Glass's pals, a New Zealander and an Englishman, would be far worse.
Now, 33 years later, four top leaders of Democratic Kampuchea - as the xenophobic Khmer Rouge called their regime - will face a United Nations-backed tribunal on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Their trial begins June 27. In July 2010, the tribunal sentenced Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch - the commandant of Democratic Kampuchea's preeminent death house - to 30 years in prison. In retrospect, Stuart Glass's family and friends aren't surprised the young Richmond man died the way he did. "If we did anything adventurous, we really were worried," recalls Stuart's cousin, Alec Dutt. "But Stuart was different. He would take on an adventure as if it meant something different." "I distinctly remember him telling me 'I've got a feeling that I'm gonna die young'," says Stu's old pal, Roy Delong. "And I'd say, 'Sure, right.' You kind of blow it off."
Glass was born in London, England, moving to B.C. with his family when he was five. In 1972, he returned to London to live, work and pursue risky ventures. In the summer of 1973, as he re-entered Britain from a trip to Morocco, customs officers discovered 176 pounds of plastic-wrapped hashish stuffed inside a false gas tank in his blue Vauxhall. Six months in jail didn't reform Stu. He travelled the Hippie Trail to India, and from there down to Australia, ending up in northern Darwin. There, he and a Kiwi friend named Kerry Hamill bought a traditional Malaysian yacht named Foxy Lady. Other contacts were forged. A local heroin addict named "Peter" (not his real name) claims to have hatched a plan with Stu to smuggle marijuana from Bangkok to New Zealand. The claim cannot be corroborated. What is known is that Foxy Lady sailed from Darwin to Singapore, and then up the Strait of Malacca to lovely Phuket. A few months later, on the other side of the Malaysian peninsula, Stu and Kerry met a young British wanderer named John Dewhirst. "Don't forget to come back," Christine Rohani-Longuet, now in her 70s, recalls calling out as the boys glided out to sea on the afternoon of Aug. 7, 1978. She would be the last friend to see them alive.
Five days later, near a speck of sand and forest named Koh Tang, Foxy Lady was seized by a patrol vessel of the Democratic Kampuchean navy. Glass and Kerry should have avoided the area. For years, the Khmer Rouge had been waging a vicious war against their arch-nemesis, neighbouring Communist Vietnam. Hundreds of boats had been captured and their crews "smashed." Just three months earlier, a pair of American yachtsmen had been arrested. Stu - spared the worst - was shot and killed in a hail of machine gunfire. Kerry and John were trucked off to Comrade Duch's S-21 death house for months of torture. In mid-October 1978, in front of a former evangelical church, their throats were cut and their bodies burned to bone and ash. Four more yachtsmen - two Americans and two Australians - would suffer the same fate in the regime's closing days.
It would take Stuart's mom 17 months to find all this out, in the Jan. 4, 1980, edition of The Vancouver Sun. "Canadian believed among victims: 12 'spies' executed in Cambodia," the headline read. Stuart's family never spoke publicly about his death. Having refused to recognize Cambodia's new Vietnameseinstalled regime, Ottawa was unable to investigate. Over the next 30 years, Glass would come to be known solely by his name and nationality. Duch's 2009 trial briefly retrieved the nine murdered yachtsmen's horrific stories from oblivion. The tribunal's second trial, due to start on June 27, may reveal more. One of the four aging defendants, Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister Ieng Sary, would have known about the young mariners. Pol Pot's right-hand man, Nuon Chea, was the one who ordered them killed and their bodies burned to ashes, Duch testified at his trial. The yachtsmen's families are glad to see justice finally served, but dismayed by the threatened dismissal of a third case involving the chief of the Khmer Rouge navy. Meas Mut, a self-professed Buddhist, says he knows nothing. However, Mut "lies about virtually everything, as far as I can determine," an informed tribunal observer quips.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen - a former Khmer Rouge officer himself - has stated that people of Mut's rank should not go on trial. Although the Canadian government has contributed $2.5 million US to the tribunal, it won't even confirm that a Canadian was killed by the Khmer Rouge. "We have no comment on this case," an External Affairs spokesman says. "As the full details of the investigation remain confidential, we cannot comment on whether a Canadian citizen has been identified as a victim." Meanwhile, Glass's family and friends are philosophical about the unfolding trial of aging Khmer Rouge chiefs. "They're going to die and face their maker," says one cousin. Roy Delong, who chummed with Stuart in the early 1970s, is less philosophical. "[Meas Mut] isn't someone we'd pursue to Pakistan and kill," says Delong. "If you don't pursue him, we might as well shut up. We sit here and talk high and mighty, preaching to others about human rights. Hey, one of our own citizens was killed. Let's put the guy on trial." Whoever ends up being tried for these 30-year-old crimes, some questions about Foxy Lady's last voyage may never be resolved. Were Stu and his pals travelling to Bangkok to pick up a load of "Buddha sticks"? What became of his body and personal effects? Questions like these hang like humidity over the warm waters of the northern Gulf of Thailand.
Dave Kattenburg is the author of Foxy Lady: Truth, Memory and the Death of Western Yachtsmen in Democratic Kampuchea - the first full account of Stuart Glass's life and death.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Lightning deaths continue to occur throughout Cambodia. They came a little closer to home today when two people were killed by strikes in Phnom Penh. The current total of deaths this year stands at 78 and during the first five months of this year, lightning killed twice as many people as during the same period last year.
Labels: 100 Pillar Pagoda
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
All the way from Canada
I popped over to the Olympic Stadium this afternoon for yet another game of football. This time it was my team, Phnom Penh Crown beating the Cambodian U-19 team 6-1 in a friendly match. After the game it was back to the Crown Sports Bar on Street 200 for a bite to eat with the Crown squad as well as watching a couple of dvd's of matches played recently by our Singapore opponents, SAFFC, whom we travel to face in Singapore next week. Always good to know your enemy. SAFFC are known as one of the top sides in Singapore so we'll have our work cut out to make it into the 2nd round. The last time we met them we lost 8-1.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
The result of the match, in which the last twenty minutes was akin to water-polo rather than football after the heavens opened and deluged the playing surface, was a 1-0 win in Cambodia's favour. An early goal by Kouch Sokumpheak separated the two teams. The Malay team were pretty disappointing considering their previous history but credit to the Cambodians, they gave it their all and came out on top.
News just in concerns the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and the farce that Case 003 is and has become. The crimes against humanity case against Meas Muth and Sou Met is clearly not going to happen. The investigating judges have blocked the request of prosecutor Andrew Cayley to conduct more investigations, after he revealed that they had investigated bugger all up until now, despite the investigations being formally closed earlier this year. The two men in question hadn't even been interviewed. And the investigators weren't even mentioning them by name, therefore giving civil parties a cat in hell's chance of submitting their applications to be heard. After Cayley went public, over 300 people submitted applications, though those look likely to go the same way as applications by Rob Hamill and Theary Seng, and will get booted into touch. Effectively, it's a done deal. Machinations behind the scenes look set to allow Meas Muth and Sou Met a 'get out of jail' card and Case 003, and most likely 004, will not happen. It leaves a very nasty taste in the mouth when you think of all those people who believed the hype that the Tribunal would bring a sense of justice for Cambodia. Admittedly, we've had the open and shut case against Duch, the trial of the other four top leaders is due to happen sometime soon, though we can expect a long, drawn out courtroom battle, but other 'most responsible' members of the Khmer Rouge killing machine look set to keep their freedom.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
CSP back in town
Labels: Cambodian Space Project
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
Labels: Phnom Penh Crown