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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The judge, the wat, and the going-going gong

The judge, the wat, and the going-going gong

Was the Wat Lanka gong moved or not? Yes said the judge; no said the wat. But it

doesn't really matter now because an apology has been offered and they've effectively

shaken hands on it.

Supreme Court Judge Kong Phirun, who has been trying to have the monks' wakeup gong

muted because it is driving him crazy at 4 am (Post August 27), has been spotted

giving food to the abbot by way of apology for publicly criticising his establishment.

As a result, said Phirun, the gong had become quieter, either because it was moved

to a new location or it was being hit differently.

But no, said So Sarith, director of the wat's Buddhist high school. Nothing has been

changed, therefore it must be Phirun's imagination or wishful thinking.

Sarith said he saw Phirun secretly come with food on August 28 to apologize to abbot

Sao Chanthol after the judge made official written complaints in an attempt on August

18 to silence the wat's noisy early morning gong. He also complained last year, without


Sarith said: "Phirun looks more kindly than ever on Buddhism. I think maybe

he got an explanation from outsiders such as his friends, colleagues, and others."

Kong Phirun said he could now tolerate the sound of the gong because it had obviously

been moved further away and was not being beaten so vigorously.

But Sarith said: "The location, sound and duration of hitting the gong is the

same as before."

Sarith said, "Phirun not only apologized to the wat, but he also asked to be

the host for the tenth day of the coming Pchum Ben Festival at Wat Lanka."

This is a 15-day public festival from September 28 till October 13 and Phirun's offer

means he will personally provide a large quantity of food and invite his friends

and relatives to do likewise.

He said Phirun's publicised attempt to silence the gong had resulted in a lot of

monks, Buddhists and students asking him to demonstrate against Phirun. But Sarith

explained to them: "Wait and see what solution comes from the Ministry of Cults

and Religions, as well as Phirun himself."

Kong Phirun said he has still had no reaction from the ministry, or from the public.

"I have not got even a phone call from anyone. It's so quiet."

Sun Kim Hun, Acting Minister of Cults and Religions, said he did not know how to

deal with the case because so far he still had not got Phirun's letter officially,

although he did visit the wat last week to see it.

"I cannot decide what is wrong and what is right until the letter has been sent

to me officially."

Lo Yuy, District Governor of Chamkar Morn, said he did not have a right to decide

who is right and who is wrong. "My duty was finished when the letter was sent

to the Ministry of Cults and Religions. Thus, the decision is up to the ministry."



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