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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Man About Town: 27 Dec 2012

Man About Town: 27 Dec 2012

NEW YEAR THOUGHTS

This passing year may well be remembered for the year that the world did not end, with predictions that end of the Mayan calendar's 13th baktun would herald the end of the world on December 21 proving to be a bit of a fizzler.

The day came and went without apocalyptic breakdown, although there was a bit of heart starter for true adherents of Mayan mythology, with a German researcher Nikolai Grube saying people had gotten the date slightly wrong and that the end of the world was scheduled for December 24, Christmas Eve.

This did not deter Christmas shoppers in the West turning out in the proverbial droves, and Christmas Eve came and went without global destruction – another fizzler.

In fact from a Cambodian point of view, 2012 was a bit of a fizzler.  This year’s wet season was not exactly wet. Last year’s savage monsoonal floods which swept through the Reap in October were certainly not missed, but the cleansing lashings of monsoonal rain were.

And our year-end cold season, loosely called by some as ‘winter,’ was not exactly cold. While the world did not end on Christmas Eve, a somewhat cold front did sweep through the Kingdom and we were able to waken on Christmas Day to feel a decided chill in the air, and to note that the Khmers had finally broken out items from their winter wardrobe.   

Cancellation of this year’s New Year’s Eve street party in deference to the death of the King Father also marked a subdued ending to what transpired to be a subdued year, with Siem Reap’s normally joyous and madcap riotous water festival celebrations also having been cancelled.

And so we are about to embrace 2013 – bring it on. As for predictions, Manabout predicts that the sun will rise every day, and people will be born and people will die.  Unless of course there’s mass global destruction, followed by the end of the world.  But tea-leaf readings suggest there’s little likelihood of that. So enjoy.

CHRISTMAS BIKE RIDE

Christmas Day was celebrated at the Angkor temples by three students from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, plus a contingent of about 200 students, teachers and villagers from the little-know local Mkak village.

It was the first time anyone from the village had visited the temples so that in itself made Christmas even more special.

The Christmas Day appearance at the temples for the students was the culmination of a 1000km/10 day bike ride around Cambodia from December 16 until December 25, titled ‘Track to Mkak.’ 

Jeffrey R Richards, the executive director of Australia’s Humanitus Foundation Inc, which is dedicated to helping children and communities in Southeast Asia through education, health care, and rural development said, “These young guys went to Mkak Village on a school trip last year, and were so affected by the trip and the people they met that they started to look at ways they could help. They made contact with me and after lots of planning they were ready to start their big ride. We arranged a support vehicle for them, along with a driver/translator. The money raised will go towards a rural development project we are working on in Mkak Village.”

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