Saturday, January 31, 2015

Garrison temple of the Khmer

River Books of Bangkok are publishing, or is it re-publishing, the paperback version of Banteay Chhmar: Garrison Temple of the Khmer Empire at the end of next month, in which Peter Sharrock and others uncover the secrets of this fabulous temple with plans, maps and historical photos, aided by recent pictures from Paisarn Piemmettawat. 200 pages, it's a must-have edition to anyone's library, though I'm never quite sure with River Books if their published dates are correct. Nevertheless, I adore this temple, so the book is on my shopping list for sure.
One of my own photos from Banteay Chhmar

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Friday, January 30, 2015

On the front line

Another book due out, on 1 April from Promontory Press, is Elaine Harvey's Encounters on the Front Line - Cambodia: A Memoir. Canadian-based Harvey worked for the Red Cross in the border camps in 1980 and then came to Cambodia more than 25 years later to work with an orphanage and in a city hospice. Her memoir, 318 pages, will pull at your heartstrings.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Preah Vihear in print

Bookmark 1 May as that's the date that Temple In The Clouds: Faith & Conflict at Preah Vihear by John Burgess, will be hitting bookstores. I loved John's two previous books, Stories In Stone and A Woman of Angkor and with the fuss surrounding Preah Vihear over the centuries, I'm sure his latest book will be well worth the wait. 256 pages from River Books. Here's the book cover just to whet your appetite.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

We will never forget

The entrance gate to Auschwitz concentration camp
Today marked Holocaust Memorial Day as events took place across Europe to commemorate 70 years since the liberation of the infamous concentration camp of Auschwitz. I visited this sober place in 2003 and here is the story of my weekend in Poland and our Auschwitz experience @

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Having fun in Andong

Phearath gets his team stretching
Saturday afternoon was great fun as the Phnom Penh Crown Academy players and coaches went out to the relocation village of Andong, 20kms from Phnom Penh, to hold a mini-football festival with 220+ children, aged 6-13. The girls outnumbered the boys and they all had great fun kicking lumps out of each other as they moved, in a mass, across the small pitches we set up. The unbridled joy on their faces makes these community visits an enormous pleasure. And to see a tiny slip of a girl get knocked over but get back on her feet, dust herself down and sprint barefoot to catch up with the pack is what makes it so worthwhile.
Okay, everyone kick the ball at the same time
Sodavid's all-girl team

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Anlong Veng's history

A History of the Anlong Veng Community
New book coming soon - A History of the Anlong Veng Community: The Final Stronghold of the Khmer Rouge Movement - by DC-Cam and written by Dy Khamboly & Chris Dearing. The Documentation Center spent over 10 years researching and mapping out the Anlong Veng area and over two years interviewing and writing the book, which will be printed in English and Khmer, and comes out at the end of January. Hopefully, everyone's friend (not) Nhem Em doesn't grab the limelight in this publication.

Renowned journalist Thierry Cruvellier takes us into the dark heart of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge with his book "The Master of Confessions - the Making of a Khmer Rouge Torturer", an account of Comrade Duch, the commandant of S-21 and his trial. The author will be talking about his book at Meta House from 8pm tomorrow (Tuesday 20 Jan). The book, hardback, will be on sale at $17.

Our very own world-gigging Cambodian Space Project will be pausing in their homeland to celebrate their 5th Birthday and have let slip the following gigs so far, but with more to come:
Fri 6 Feb at Equinox
Sun 8 Feb at Otres Market, Sihanoukville
Sat 14 Feb at The Exchange (Valentine's Day).
More gigs to be announced.

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Sunday, January 18, 2015


PPCFC footballers in full yoga pose, courtesy of Khmer Times
The Khmer Times takes up the story of Phnom Penh Crown and their weekly yoga sessions for the first-team squad and Academy teams. Luckily the press officer (me) is not included in the sessions - my poor old back couldn't cope! Head coach Sam Schweingruber said: “I don’t think that the improvement will be immediately visible on the field, but I hope we can reduce injuries and that might be something we could even measure. Players will become more flexible and that will step by step improve quality. They learn to focus better and having a better awareness of their body will help in various ways. As with many things in football, we hope to get a small advantage from trying something additional, finding the edge.”
Read the full article @
In my day, we'd have been called a bunch of namby-pamby cissies for this sort of thing, and rightly so. Mind you my day was back in the 70s!

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Great company

Jon and myself in the Elephant Bar
Enjoyed a great night of chat and food with one of Britain's foremost journalists and foreign correspondents, Jon Swain. Where else but in the Raffles Hotel Le Royal of course, where Jon was holed up with the rest of the press corps just before the Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh in 1975. Some wonderful anecdotes and stories from the man who was awarded the British Journalist of the Year for his reporting from Cambodia and who was featured in The Killing Fields, which formed the backdrop for his bestselling memoir, River of Time - a book loved by everyone who has read it, including me. A staffer with The Sunday Times for 35 years, his career has taken him to most of the world’s wars and hot spots. So we only really scratched the surface during mouthfuls in Restaurant Le Royal, though we managed to cover his stint in the Foreign Legion to his brush with death in East Timor and more in between. A really fascinating evening and thanks to Cyrille at Raffles for being a gracious host.

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Grubby individual

I mentioned recently that the infamous Khmer Rouge photographer at Tuol Sleng S-21, Nhem En, is publishing a book about his experiences as a cadre at the prison - and now I'm told he's set up a stall outside the front gates. Presumably to sell his memoir. Or maybe Pol Pot's rubber sandals, or his toilet seat. Nothing would surprise me from this individual. Has he no shame, for the part he played in the murder of thousands of people at S-21? Of course not, any chance to make a buck and he'll be there, grasping little hands fully extended. When he gave evidence at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in 2007, showing no remorse, he said this: "Calling me an artist is kind of correct. As a photographer you try to make it look good," he said, before complaining: "My photos are famous around the world but no-one ever thinks of my copyrights." How about sparing a thought for the murder of the thousands of people you photographed, you little .... I hope he gets moved on for causing an obstruction, both on the sidewalk and in my throat. He stuck with the Khmer Rouge after they were ousted from Phnom Penh, finally changing sides - for cash no doubt - in the mid 90s, since when he's been one of the party faithful in Anlong Veng, threatening to open up a Khmer Rouge museum and other such grubby little enterprises. Now he's brought his little road-show to the capital.

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