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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Festival boat ban: Counting the cost

Festival boat ban: Counting the cost

Last week, Prime Minister Hun Sen cancelled boat races at this year’s Water Festival in Phnom Penh to preserve funds for flood relief. The Post took to the streets yesterday to see what residents of the capital thought.

Motodop Brang Veasna, 34, , originally from Takeo
I agree with the government’s decision, even though it will affect my income. The government is in need of funds to help the flood victims. This is a good choice. Last year, I made between 200,000 and 300,000 riel (US$50 to $75) during the three days of the festival, but this year I


Hairdresser Chea Sreyda, 21, originally from Prey Veng
I felt sorry after I heard  it was cancelled because it is one of the most important and ancient festivals in our country. Since I was born, the Water Festival has never been cancelled like this. I wish and hope that such an unfortunate incident [floods] will not hit Cambodia again and affect the Water Festival.


Teacher Jacob Legge, 31, from Melbourne, Australia
You have to wonder if it has to do with the tragedy that took place last year. Maybe they [government] don’t feel organised enough to deal with it this year. It is not worth cancelling an event that means so much to people. If there is money that needs to be spent on flood victims, it could found in other places.


Pharmacist Sok Somaly, 57, from Phnom Penh
I appreciate that the government is thinking in the interest of the nation and using the money saved from not celebrating the festival to help the real victims of the floods. I don’t mind, even though the cancellation will affect my business. I normally can earn more money during the three days [of the festival]


Street vendor Srey Kar, 42, from Phnom Penh
It is necessary that our government think about people’s lives and the expenditure on the Water Festival. I think that the Water Festival can be celebrated next year as usual, but people’s lives are the most important. We can hold the festival next year, but we cannot gain life if an accident happens due to the floodwater.

Interviews and photos by Phak Seangly and Derek Stout

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