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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Khmer Kids Get a Chance to Dream

Khmer Kids Get a Chance to Dream

Aprize-winning drawing of children playing boh chhoung, a traditional Khmer New Year

game, won 12-year-old Neak Long Kheang a trip to Tokyo, Japan.

Neak, the Cambodian grand prize winner of the Second Contest of the Festival of Asian

Children's Art, was invited with his mother to attend the awards ceremony of the

exhibition in Japan. He brought with him drawings of ricefields, Angkor Wat, and

the airport to present to his Japanese counterparts.

At home in Phnom Penh, Neak said he enjoys studying arithmetic at Wat Koh Primary

School, as he anticipates a career in architecture.

"Some day I hope to build tall buildings here in Phnom Penh like I saw in Japan,"

Neak said. His most striking impression of Tokyo? "The people are happy there,"

he said.

Second prize winner, Sem Sithen, 9, prefers to draw fields of rice, animals, fruit,

and is especially fond of boats. Sem, who lives in Kien Sway district near Phnom

Penh, thinks when he grows up he will perhaps be an electrician.

The contest, in honor of the International Literacy Year, was sponsored by the Mitsibishi

Public Affairs Committee, the Asian-Pacific Federation of UNESCO Clubs and Associations,

and the National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan.

Locally, the contest was organized by UNESCO in cooperation with the State of Cambodia's

ministries of education and culture. More than 1,000 entries depicting life in Cambodia

were received from children throughout the country.

- Kathleen Hayes

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