Sunday, January 1, 2012

Kicking off 2012

10 members of this family received a monk's blessing for 2012
I enjoyed a pretty varied start to the new year, kicking off with watching the Phnom Penh Crown Academy boys in a friendly match at Tuol Kork this morning. They won, obviously. Let's hope it's an omen for the rest of their season. On the way home I saw this blessing of a family by a monk, in front of their home on the busiest street in Tuol Kork, with the monk pouring water over the heads of everyone and then throwing numerous clay pots onto the floor to deliberately break them. I was told it was a ceremony to reverse the run of bad luck this family had suffered, so that 2012 would be more successful. Can't argue with that sentiment. This evening I went to Meta House to watch a film about the private life of Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi in Land of No Fear. A very interesting portrait of a remarkable woman whose house arrest in 1989 effectively ended her life as a wife and mother and turned her into a political leader. I came away feeling sorry for her two sons, who she left behind in the UK when she decided that her country needed her more than they did. She must've felt it was worth the sacrifice. I don't think everyone would agree. After the film ended, it was nice to meet up with media-savvy Kounila Keo, who has just started a job with BBC Media Action, the BBC's international charity that was until recently called the BBC World Trust. They are just about to launch a series of projects aimed at the youth of Cambodia and she's been called in to help them out, as one of the leaders amongst Khmer youth in mass communication and journalism. On the subject of Meta House, most events there now cost a $2 entry fee, so be aware. Later this month, Golden Slumbers, the Davy Chou documentary on Cambodian cinema, will get a screening on Thursday 19th; if you've never seen Lord Jim - filmed in Cambodia in 1963 - it's showing on Sunday 22nd; and there's a night of Cambodian music and video excerpts with the team from Dontrey magazine on Friday 27th. A new Chhim Sothy exhibition of paintings, From Darkness to Light, will open at Meta House on Friday 13th - Sothy is one of my favourite artists in the country - whilst the night before, Burma is again the focus, for a documentary on the trials and tribulations of Ross Dunkley, the publisher of the Phnom Penh Post, in the film Dancing With Dictators.

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