Saturday, May 31, 2014

And again...

The PPCFC Academy line-up for a snap - picture by Martin Ouk
This time, the Phnom Penh Crown Academy are playing their first home game in the Asia Champions Trophy U-16 competition, its sweltering hot in the morning sun at the Olympic Stadium and I had to turn the boys around, so their faces weren't in the shade. You shouldn't really go onto the pitch to take photos, but needs must. I'm the one with the little point and shoot. The Academy drew 1-1 but were easily the better team and should've won. Below is my photo.
The PPCFC Academy - from the front this time
Match finished, time to reflect - by Tharoth Pov


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Spotted in the crowd

Spotted in the to enlarge - picture courtesy of Masayori Ishikawa
Faces in the crowd as Phnom Penh Crown celebrate another success to stay top of the Metfone Cambodian football league. That's Rumnea jumping for joy in the middle of the picture. You might also spot a face you know in the top right hand corner - an unshaven me.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

After match chat

Chatting with Heang after the game finished. Picture courtesy of Masayori Ishikawa.
A picture from Wednesday's game, Phnom Penh Crown v Svay Rieng, after the final whistle and a discussion between Heang and myself on the merits of standing at a stupid angle whilst talking. This pose is mostly adopted by retired gentlemen of a certain age. I'm obviously old before my time. Masayori Ishikawa was the photographer to catch me unawares. I'll get him back.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Cold and uninviting

Just back from a brief, first-ever visit to China. Not impressed. But then I did go to Quangzhou, which could be a boring concrete city anywhere on the globe. Very high-rise, nothing of interest that I could fathom. But disappointingly, it was the people that made me shiver. They were so cold and unwelcoming. Staring straight forward, no hint of a hello or friendship. More from the trip later. Not impressed with this initial peek behind the bamboo curtain.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Cleveland Hanuman

The 10C statue of Hanuman at the Cleveland Museum of Art - without its feet

I wrote this post back in February of this year:
I bumped into the curator for Southeast Asian art at the Cleveland Museum of Art tonight who has been in-country, visiting as many Khmer temples as possible and getting the low down on Khmer art and history. With the recent news media going crazy for stories of looted Khmer art pieces, other items being returned and so on, Cleveland have been doing their own research on the pieces that they have in their museum, back in the United States. A look at their collection online via their website, identifies a number of Khmer items from pre- and through the Angkor period, including this 10th century sandstone Hanuman figure, supposedly from the Koh Ker complex. The figure has no feet so if the piece did come from the Koh Ker site, specifically the Prasat Chem temple, there should be a pedestal or base that would fit snugly onto the sculpture that is in Cleveland. Despite searching the site and discussing in detail with Apsara, no pedestal could be found. It is commendable that Cleveland have actually got off their arse and conducted their own in-depth investigations over here. If they can prove provenance showing that the piece wasn't obtained illegally, then it doesn't look like this Hanuman will be coming home anytime soon.

Obviously, the media buzz regarding the items stolen from Prasat Chen in the Koh Ker complex have been hitting the headlines recently, so the Cleveland Hanuman is fair game. Yesterday, the following article about the curator and the Hanuman figure appeared on and is well worth a read. Find the article at

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fun with Visas

Mony and Malen in a scene from Ruin
Sat down with actors Ros Mony and Sang Malen to run through their visa applications this morning, as they are hoping to go to Australia next month to attend the Sydney Film Festival. Virtually plucked off the street to play the two main leads in the movie Ruin, the film has won awards at festivals around the globe, especially at Venice, and is being shown for the first time in the home of the filmmakers, Australia. Exciting times for all concerned, especially the two actors, though Mony is working flat out on various films as we speak, and will also be seen in The Last Reel, when it's released later this year. Malen is a film studies student but is also a circus performer and Ruin was her first acting role. Fingers crossed the visas come through in time.

Talking of visas, I'm expecting my Chinese visa to arrive any minute, as I'm scheduled to fly to Guangzhou, in southern Chinaland, this coming Friday. I'll be with the Phnom Penh Crown Academy team, 18-players and 3 coaches, and me, as we begin the Asia U-16 Champions Trophy competition on Saturday. The boys will play at the 58,000-seat capacity Tianhe Stadium, if we're lucky, at 4pm on Saturday against Guangdong FA, the team representing the whole province of the same name, the most populous region of China, with 105 million inhabitants. Blinkin heck. The game will be live on local television and we get back to Phnom Penh early Monday morning. I've never been to China, and though Guangzhou isn't top of anyone's sightseeing list, it will be fascinating to see how they approach their football in comparison to tiny Cambodia (total population 14 million) and us at Crown. Guangzhou is also home to Chinese Super League club Evergrande, the most monied club in Asia and they play their home matches at Tianhe. It promises to be an eye-opener in more ways than one.

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Monday, May 12, 2014


Inside the Flicks watching GoT
The latest episode of Game of Thrones (GoT) is tonight. And tomorrow its the latest installment of 24. Call me a couch potato. The evidence is here...that's actually my knee you can see in the center of this photo of the Flicks audience last month for the first episode of the new GoT season. GoT used to show on HBO on my tv at home until the local distributor buggered about with the channels and now I ain't got HBO any longer. So its off to the Flicks every Monday for my dose of GoT.


Friday, May 9, 2014

The Last Reel trailer

 "A lost film... buried beneath the killing fields... reveals different versions of the truth." Rebellious teenager Sophoun discovers an old film starring her mother, offering her the chance to dictate her own destiny at last, but at the cost of uncovering some dark secrets from the past about her parents lives during the Khmer Rouge regime.

The trailer to The Last Reel, Kulikar Sotho's directorial debut, is now out. A Cambodian film with quality western production values. The film will be on general release later this year. You must not miss it.

An interview with lead actress Mary Neth is online in the Phnom Penh Post 7 days Magazine @

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bhima's coming home

Bhima, on its way back to Cambodia
Bingo, the flood gates have opened and some of the ancient sculptures stolen from Cambodia are finally finding their way back home. The Norton Simon Museum have now agreed to return a 10th century statue that was looted from Prasat Chen at the Koh Ker complex during the civil war in the 1970s. The Temple Wrestler, a depiction of Bhima, is a sandstone figure missing its hands and feet, and has been displayed at the museum for nearly four decades. In June, two figures were returned by New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sotheby's have agreed to return the footless figure of Duryodhana and just two days ago, Christie's fronted up and will return a statue of the mythological figure Pandava, which it realises was also nicked. There are nine figures in all that make up the tableau of sculptures stolen from Prasat Chen. For the time being the Cleveland Museum of Art is hanging onto its Hanuman and the Denver Art Museum has a torso of Rama, both of which were spirited away from the same temple. It can't be too long before these two museums bow under the weight of public pressure and add to the exodus back to Cambodia. The National Museum in Phnom Penh will put on a special exhibition of the sculptures once they are back under lock and key.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

The Years of Zero

Author Seng Ty's memoir, The Years of Zero - Coming of Age Under the Khmer Rouge, was recently published. It follows the author from the age of seven as he is plucked from his comfortable, middle-class home and forced to endure the death of his mother, while his siblings succumbed to starvation. His oldest brother was brought back from France and tortured in the secret prison of Tuol Sleng. His family’s only survivor, he was forced to fend for himself, determined to survive so he could bear witness to what happened in the camp. Later he was adopted by an American family and is now an educator in Lowell. He has shared his story through 
the Phil Donahue Show, many major newspapers and the CBS 60 Minutes tv programme. The book is available in paperback (240 pages) and as an ebook. Find out more @

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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Strangio's Cambodia

A new book is heading for the bookshelves in November of this year, Hun Sen's Cambodia, in what promises to be a lively and compelling study of a nation struggling to reconcile its violent past with its promise of democracy and peace. Author Sebastian Strangio was the former editor of the Phnom Penh Post, the country's oldest English-language newspaper. 320 pages and published by Yale University Press. We'll have to see if the democracy and peace we've experienced in the past twelve months gets suitable coverage, though the author will at least have had a front row seat at the events as they've unfolded.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Let's fight child malnutrition

Good to see my team, Phnom Penh Crown, getting stuck into supporting important social issues such as child malnutrition. Up to 40% of Cambodian children under the age of five are suffering from a lack of proper food and healthy nutrition. World Vision's Child Health Now campaign is addressing this vital issue in Cambodia and we support it 100%. We hope you will too. Here's the video we made recently with World Vision in support of their campaign.

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