Sunday, December 13, 2015

Crown crowned Champions

Phnom Penh Crown 1 Nagaworld 3 [after extra time. PPCFC won 3-2 on penalties] (Metfone C-League Championship Final 2nd leg).
Phnom Penh Crown made heavy weather of winning their second consecutive Metfone Championship, having brought a 2-0 1st leg win to the main event, but held their nerve in the penalty shoot-out with teenage goalkeeper Keo Soksela showing maturity beyond his years. The game began with Crown edging the first-half with Va Sokthorn going close on a couple of occasions, Shane Booysen toe-poking an effort wide of the mark, whilst Nhim Sovannara headed a corner against the upright for Naga. Nine minutes after the half-time break and Naga took the lead when In Sodavid’s backpass allowed Kouch Sokumpheak to challenge Soksela and the loose ball was buried by Sun Sovannrithy. Sokthorn and Booysen were denied by Samrith Seiha at the other end but a handball against Sovannrithy from Sodavid’s blast gave Bin Thierry the leveller from the penalty spot on 73 minutes. Just 4 minutes later Sokumpheak steered in Prak Chanratana’s headed cross to return the lead to Naga. Crown were struggling to find their rhythm and Leng Makara stopped a drive on the goal-line with his body before final minute heartbreak as Yongsun Baek was adjudged to have handled a shot and Sokumpheak stepped up in injury time to rifle the ball home from the spot. That made it 3-1 to Naga and 3-3 on aggregate.
Extra time of thirty minutes was without incident of note until Barry Lelouma’s floated free-kick missed everyone and bounced just clear of the cross-bar. Crown’s best chance came on 114 minutes as Baek powerfully headed Sokthorn’s free-kick onto the bar and the referee waved aways appeals that the ball had bounced behind the line. Onto penalty kicks to decide who would be the champions. Soksela saved Naga’s opening spot-kick from Fukasawa and then Thierry planted in his effort. Kazuaki Ban scored but Sokthorn missed the target, only for Sokumpheak to score. Kok Boris scored with ease, but ex-PPC Khim Borey found Soksela’s feet hard to beat, as did Odion Obadin, who was stopped by Seiha. Another glorious Soksela save denied Lelouma and up-stepped Baek to settle the Championship with a well-struck spot-kick to make it 3-2. Cue the celebrations on the pitch and among the massed ranks of Crown fans at the stadium

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Uplifting Camp 32

Krom wow the audience with a live performance
What a wonderfully uplifting conclusion to Camp 32 with the reunion of childhood friends against all the odds. I didn't know that would happen and it brought a lump in the throat to watch this remarkable turn of events in what could've been an otherwise sad and depressing tale of Khmer Rouge brutality and loss. So happy for Hom and the survivors to reunite where so so many others could not, and for my best pal Sak to play a key role in making it happen. That guy can do just about anything he sets his mind to. A lovely film enhanced by the music of Krom, who wowed us with a live performance before the screening. The film, the music and the story's ending made it an exceptional afternoon. And thank you to the filmmakers for the name check in the end credits. I appreciate it.
With Hom, on his journey to find himself

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The Smell of Water launch

Thursday 10 December at 7pm and Meta House will be the venue for the launch of a new book, The Smell of Water - A Twelve-year-old's Soldier's Escape from the Khmer Rouge Army, written by Lang and Cornelia Srey. The book itself spans 10 days in the life of Lang Srey who was a youngster when he was drafted into the army and this is his story - another book launch from the good people at Monument Books. I popped into their shop on Norodom last week and picked up two important new books, Philip Coggan's Spirit Worlds - Cambodia, The Buddha and The Naga, which looks at all facets of religion in Cambodia. The second book I bought was Steven Boswell's King Norodom's Head - Phnom Penh Sights Beyond The Guidebooks, which David Chandler called; "Deft, witty and absorbing...totally accessible...masterfully written." Wish he'd said that about my book 

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Chanrithy's new direction

Chanrithy Him
If you have read the incredible book, When Broken Glass Floats: Growing Up Under The Khmer Rouge, then you will have heard of its author, Chanrithy Him. Released in 2000, the book has been used widely in schools and universities around the globe and her life story was featured in a documentary film called The Will To Live. She admits writing the award-winning memoir carried a hefty personal price and so she has decided to write something with more entertaining and fun slant. When she was young, she was captivated by the romance and mystery of the ancient Khmer temples, the Asian vampire mythology, Khmer stories of reincarnation and incantation. That has given birth to Rise of the Golden Aura which features an Asian-American heroine as its main character and is set in Cambodia and America. Chanrithy is publishing her own novel, alongwith the California Institute of the Arts and has a Kickstarter Campaign in full swing, which you can join @ https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1565082341/rise-of-the-golden-aura

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Film Festival nearly upon us

The documentary Camp 32 will be premiering at the Cambodia International Film Festival on Sunday December 6th (3pm) at Chaktomuk Theater in Phnom Penh. Just heard that the premiere will supported by a live performance from the band Krom, who produced the film's soundtrack. Camp 32 will also screen on Tuesday December 8th at the French Institute (4pm). Read all about Camp 32 @ http://www.camp32.com/
Kicking off on Friday 4 December, the Cambodian International Film Festival hits cinema screens across Phnom Penh through to Thursday 10th. Highlights include a special in-conversation with Rithy Panh and young Cambodian filmmakers, the premiere of long awaited Cambodian Space Project documentary Not Easy Rock’n’Roll, and Before The Fall, by Ian White. Personally I cannot wait to see Camp 32, as well as The Killing Fields of Dr Haing S Ngor. Lots of other films on offer too.

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