An American citizen who owned websites advocating ‘euthanasia tourism’ in Kampot, a French-era beach town, has been sued by Kampot Province's governor for false information and defamation. “You are going to die anyway, so why not in Cambodia?” said one of the sites, which also offered a rationale for suicide and links to purchase books on the subject. The twin sites that help people making arrangements to kill themselves have been requested by business owners in the town to close. They feared the bad publicity would ruin the local tourism industry. The news has attracted attentions of Cambodian bloggers after the news had gone front-page in the Cambodia Daily for several days. ConcernedCatholic is not surprised to realize that euthanasia is being advocated in Southeast Asia by Westerners. rjgiombetti wrote that Suicide “Prevention” Evangelists Score Another Victory Against Free Speech. In a recent report, the Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2005, published by Reporters Without Borders, the country was ranked 90 out of 167 nations. This made PR, a Cambodian-American, surprised to see Cambodia beat out Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Cambodia celebrated her 52nd independence anniversary on November 9. During the celebration, held at Independence Monument, a large gathering called out “Chey yo! Preah Reach Jea Na Jak Kampuchea”, which translates as Long Live the Kingdom of Cambodia! After this occasion, the nation also organized another bigger national event, the Water Festival, which took place from 15 till 17 November. Expecting about two million folks to flock into Phnom Penh capital, an international freestyle kickboxing was offered a day earlier to bring about euphoria to local visitors after the rainy season. Foreign kick boxers from Israel, South Africa, and Japan were greeted by lively crowded fans. During the three day time of the Water Festival, there was a boat race, Bon Om Touk in Khmer, this year also marked the first time regional competition for Greater Mekong Subregion Boat Race trophy. Host Cambodia received teams from Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. According to local news, the Cambodia Daily, the host beat Vietnam, Myanmar, and Laos, but was defeated by rival Thailand in the final race. Thai Sothea, a Phnom Penh resident, wrote that
“Hundreds of thousands of Cambodian people from all over the country flock the Phnom Penh capital city to observe the three-day Water Festival, one of the country's largest festivities. The Water Festival takes place each year in October or November at the time of the full moon. This year, it falls on November 15 – 17, and during these three days, schools, government institutions, NGO offices and companies are closed. Each day, the festival begins with boat races followed by the floating of illuminated cruises along the river in front of the Royal Palace together with fireworks. This year, a total of 396 boats participated in the races, a slight decline from last year when there were more than 400 boats.”
Throngs of people crowd the riverfront area along Sisowath Quay. Photo by Steve Goodman
This annual event attracted mostly provincial people to visit the city at the time that Phnom Pehners preferred to hang out somewhere else from the crowd. Some people chose to watch live events on television or travel away from home. Patry Pan, had a lot to tell about the first day of the festival, but less on day two and day three. And Lux Mean remarked that businessmen and politicians are main financial supporters of boat race teams from every province. History of the festival can be found on the web site of Ministry of Tourism.
Seserak, a Cambodian college student in Japan, who is trying to learn more about the relation between Cambodia and Japan, found it amazing to realize that there were Japanese settlers in the Angkor city in the 17th century. And he is keen to go further to understand the meaning of Japanese inscriptions left in the Angkor Wat area. He also discussed about national identities preservation by pointing out the differences between traditional wedding and modern wedding in Cambodia. Traditional wedding generally takes up to three days, two days longer than modern culture. Lux Mean, originally comes from Kampong Cham province, wondered about smaller celebration of Hari Raya in Phnom Penh, a festival of Muslim of the Khmer Islam, when compared to the celebration in his home town.
After raining the sun shines. But, after the 1975-1979 genocide regime, handicapped survivors, beggars, widow women, and orphans live in impoverished conditions. You can listen to two songs to feel their story. And there have been lively discussions on poverty reduction in the opinion section of the Cambodia Daily. To own a store on street, under an umbrella, vendors can sell used products, and among people with low income they are as popular as new ones. These products, ranging from used car to electronic devices to socks, being sold on street and under umbrella. It is very common to say that they are shopping at ‘Umbrella Shop’ or what is known as second-hand product shop.