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In Phnom Penh, our community’s got talent

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Members of the International Christian Assembly Church, which is hosting the reality show You’ve Got Talent! Photograph supplied

The Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought defines the term “community” as a group of people living together in sympathetic association, usually in a village, town or suburb.

This reflects the fact that many people identify themselves as belonging to a community of interest and shared enthusiasm. Next to the family, the community is the most important framework in which an individual learns to grow and develop socially.

Community is also defined by the institutions that serve its residents’ many needs.

These include health centres, schools, churches and pagodas. Many pagodas in Cambodia are places for local residents to gather for ceremonies and to pay respect to their ancestors.

I was blessed to have Wat Than Pagoda, in Phnom Penh, as a venue for my family, friends and supporters to pay their last respect to my father, who passed away last month, at his cremation ceremony.

The monks, nuns and assistants of the monks have helped our family arrange the ceremony and continue to help us cope during this difficult time.

The International Christian Assembly (ICA), in Phnom Penh, is an English-language interdenominational fellowship sponsored by the Assemblies of God.

More than 500 people of 35 nationalities are members.

With popular television shows like America’s Got Talent, X-Factor and American Idol, a talent show in Cambodia became a goal for Pastor Timothee Paton.

After years living in Cambodia, visiting and speaking in schools, churches and NGOs, Paton realised there was a lot of hidden talent in Phnom Penh.

On August 31 last year, Paton’s goal was realised when 650 people packed the ICA International Church to watch a list of contestants perform in the first You’ve Got Talent! show in Cambodia.

More than 200 guests were turned away from the free event because there were no seats left.

On the last Friday of the month, the audience is given the opportunity to vote for their favourite performance of the evening, and the winners of each show will perform together in a “best of the best” in June.

You’ve Got Talent! is not just about giving people the opportunity to shine, but also to give both the Cambodian and the international community of Phnom Penh an evening of fun and family entertainment each month.

“We’re hoping that people will get behind this new event, and make it a regular outing,” Paton says.

Ultimately, it’s a question of how we choose to identify ourselves and whether we feel we belong. The heart and soul of the community is the non-monetary exchange of value: things we do and share because we care for others, and for the good of the place.

You’ve Got Talent! is taking January off. The next show will be on February 22 at 7pm.

For more information about You’ve Got Talent! and for details for entering the family-friendly competition, please contact: info@youvegottalent.org.

The Social Agenda with Soma Norodom
The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.

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