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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ancient Angkor temple complex goes Hollywood

Ancient Angkor temple complex goes Hollywood

Siem Reap

IT'S lights, cameras and action at Angkor as the already crowded temple complex is now being transformed into a showbusiness venue.

The trend started last year when Siem Reap's Bayon CM Organizer Co Ltd, a joint venture with Bayon TV, launched its lavish under-the-stars "Legend of Angkor Wat" show at the famous temple.

A new version of the show is being staged at the temple from December 5 to January 31.

Then, on December 7, two days after the Angkor show launches, an international rock concert starring big acts such as Placebo and Click 5, and organised by MTV Networks (Asia), MTV Europe Foundation and USAID, will be staged at Angkor.

The reality TV series Amazing Race now stages a fairly tacky annual event at the temple, and also early next year work is expected to start on a $75 million Hollywood-style Angkor-themed water park, theatre and night entertainment complex, to be constructed near the temples.

Now comes news of yet another large-scale showbiz musical extravaganza to be permanently staged at the Angkor complex by Korean company Sou Ching Electronic Co Ltd.

New Yorker Mark Rowley was recently listed as a director with Sou Ching, and he's been running advertisements, recruiting a vast stable of staff - including a dance instructor-choreographer; performers; Angkor-period, traditional-Khmer and modern-day dancers; circus acts;  martial artists skilled in weaponry; and a music director-sound engineer.

The company also seeks a "former army officer (drill sergeant and army trainer)" who can "manage large numbers of soldiers and train them to perform Angkor-period army tactics".

Night lights

Earlier this year, Sou Ching Electronic began advertising "Night Lighting" tours of Angkor, charging $15 a head. But Sou Ching started in business as a provider of electricity, through a 2006 decree by the Electricity Authority of Cambodia.

Since then, the company has not only supplied electricity to the Angkor complex, but installed lighting throughout and started selling tickets to see the subsequent light show.

In the decree, registered owners of the company were listed as CH&J International Co Ltd (1887 shares), Mr Va Chouda (1113 shares), and Damul LJC Co Ltd (700 shares).

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