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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen decries reliance on foreign styles in the arts

Hun Sen decries reliance on foreign styles in the arts

Premier says Cambodian artists should reflect Khmer tradition rather than incorporating 'other countries' styles' in their work.

PRIME MINISTER Hun Sen on Wednesday called on the Kingdom's artists to refrain from allowing "other countries' styles" to influence their compositions, be they books, films or songs.

Speaking during the closing ceremony of a workshop centred on what some officials have described as a decline in Cambodian performing arts, Hun Sen decried the proliferation of movies and television shows that he said were not in keeping with national cultural traditions.

"I would like to call on writers, [film] producers, actors and actresses to make efforts to improve their creations," he said.

Hun Sen also ordered the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts to apply to have several traditional Khmer art forms registered under UNESCO's Intangible Heritage of Humanity Programme.

Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Him Chhem said the ministry was already preparing applications for chapei, a form of sung storytelling; khol and yike, two types of theatrical performances; and lakhon bassac, or Cambodian folk opera.

Meas Sarun, general director of the ministry's "technique of culture" department, told the Post in February that the chapei and khol applications were being prepared.

UNESCO Country Director Teruo Jinnai said at the time that his office would likely assist in revising and polishing both applications before they were sent to UNESCO headquarters, where experts will evaluate them and then submit them to a vote by member states.

Jinnai said the process of getting the applications approved once they are submitted will likely take about one year.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, said he agreed with the prime minister's remarks regarding the state of Cambodian performing arts, though he said the government could facilitate a greater emphasis on high-quality compositions by strengthening intellectual property rights and increasing support for arts education.



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