After disappearing from screens for years, it seemed that Dr Chea Samnang was no longer active as a performer, but he has been active in the area of social work and has just been appointed an MTV EXIT Celebrity Ambassador in Cambodia as part of their campaign to end human trafficking and exploitation in the Kingdom.
Dr Chea Samang is still not sure whether he will sing or be the Master of Ceremonies for the upcoming free MTV Exit Concert in Phnom Penh, but he says the concert will not only provide fantastic entertainment from popular local and international artists, but also feature the screening of 12 documentaries about trafficking.
Joining South Korean all-girl group After School and US pop group The Click Five on stage will be popular Cambodian artists Preap Sovath, Sok Pisey, DJ Klaing, Cartoon Emo, Exhlectic and Thmor Ben.
“As artists, we have nothing to give beside the arts which can provide all kinds of messages and the contact related to human exploitation and trafficking to Cambodian people especially the youth,” Dr Chea Samnang said.
The 42-year-old star spoke about what he thinks are the main causes of human exploitation and trafficking in Cambodia: “I think the first reason is the lack of information, knowledge and experience about human trafficking. The second reason is the poverty of the poor families and their need to find work abroad.”
Dr Chea Samnang started his career in film acting in Karaoke in 1996 and became a popular TV entertainer but he disappeared from public view after a few years. After leaving Cambodia’s screens he trained to be a doctor, graduating in 1999. In October 2000 he was appointed an ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and appeared in many educational television drama series on HIV/AIDS, women, labour and reproductive health.
“I think being MTV EXIT Celebrity Ambassador in Cambodia is not that different from UNFPA but I am very happy to have more chance to work with society even though I am only a volunteer,” he says.
“It is not only a good use of my time but also provides me more popularity and communication with Non-Governmental Organizations, governments, and the people,” Dr Chea Samnang says.
Chea Samnang has now begun to act again in dramas produced by Khmer Mekong Films such as Somros Chivit, or Life Beauty, and Pich Knong Besdong, or Diamond in My Heart, for Moha Hang Movie Productions.
Besides his work for UNFPA and MTV Exit, Dr Chea Samnang is invited to be a guest speaker or social spot promotor related to health issues.
Related to his personal background, Dr Chea Samnang doesn’t like it when other stars reveal their personal lives. Most of the time he refuses to answer questions about his personal life but is very open to questions related to his work.
One exception to this was last year when he showed off his 36-year-old grilfriend at a UNFPA event in Siem Reap on September last year. At the event he revealed his wedding plans for December that year. After that he again disappeared from public view.
In July 2011, he returned to the Kingdom’s screens on CTN’s Channel 21 Program and revealed that he had broken up with his girlfriend, but in September a woman claimed on a website that she is his wife and they got married in France in 2008. The woman claimed they had not broken up and plan to hold another marriage ceremony in Cambodia soon.
Dr Chea Samnang refused to answer questions to The Post related to his personal life. “I will reveal it soon but now I want to focus only on my work,” he says
The MTV Exit concert will be held on December 17 at Olympic Stadium, Phnom Penh. Tickets are free and can be obtained from Cellcard offices in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang, Sihanoukville and Kampong Cham.