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Man about town

LIT MAG LAUNCH
A humble new literary magazine, The Siem Reap Reader, containing short stories, articles and the inevitable poems, is a welcome addition to the local scene.

The magazine is published by a five-person collective driven by NGO workers and contains some nice writing. Phil Butterworth’s Salam! is an interesting recount of  his time in Ethiopia, and Debra Ly of local NGO Senhoa has written an insightful cameo about the work day of “Teacher Hoa” in a story titled, Too Beautiful.

NGO consultant Andy Hill has written a provocative evaluation about some shortcomings of the local NGO scene. His article, Want to Make a Difference? cautions about three types of NGOs – Yangos, Mongos, and Drongos.

The next edition of the magazine is slated for June and one of the editors, Sol DeLeon from Shintamani Hotel, says the aim is to publish more English-language contributions from Khmer writers.

NEW OWNERS AT TELL
Siem Reap’s stalwart Tell Restaurant has been undergoing a much welcome makeover since owner Thilo Krueger sold the business to La Noria Hotel general manager Olivier Adrian and his wife Khiev Sophal, the store manager for U-Care Psah Chas and Lucky Mall.

Since the takeover the restaurant has seen a surge in patronage from well-heeled Khmers, and it’s now not unusual to see official cars parked on the apron outside the restaurant in the evenings.

Krueger, who is now based in Manila, says he’s still holding “silent shares” and retains an interest in the Picasso Bar in Siem Reap.

Meanwhile in Manila, Krueger has become co-publisher of ExplorePH travel guidebooks, and on April 5 signed a memorandum of understanding, forming an official partnership with the Philippines Department of Tourism.

Krueger is due for another of his flying visits to Siem Reap shortly.

VALE DR GENE
One of Siem Reap’s most popular characters, Dr Eugene Tragus, who has been battling pancreatic cancer, died at 3pm on Tuesday April 19 at the ICU Royal Angkor International Hospital in Siem Reap.

His wife Dr Thea Tragus said: “He said goodbye to you all, and that he will never see you again.”

On Monday Doc Gene slipped into the early stages of a coma, after his general condition deteriorated during the week.

Goodbye to a great man.

CRUISING FOR BUSINESS
The cruise ship business in this neck of the woods is rapidly increasing, with Siem Reap gaining benefits in terms of extra tourists.

The intriguingly named Randy Mink, writing for Leisure Group Travel, informs that Siem Reap will benefit from Celebrity Cruises’ debut season in Asia during 2012-13.

Celebrity Millennium will be the first Celebrity Cruises ship to sail an Asia season, and it will visit nine countries in the region, although not Cambodia.

But how Siem Reap stands to benefit is by passengers being offered “overland experiences” including a two-night, three-day overland trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap.

TRODDI TRADITION ALIVE
Siem Reap’s streets came alive during the New Year with the happy sight and sounds of Troddi folk dancers.

The number of Troddi dancers varies, but usually always includes four main dancers – two female and two male, one dressed as a stag which represents evil forces. Other dancers represent clowns, giants, monsters and a hunter.

According to the AKP news service, Troddi originated among the Samre, an ethnic group, a small number of who still live in the northern part of Tonle Sap.

In olden days, Troddi was performed before kings and royal families to wish them a happy New Year.

AKP reports: “This also explains why Troddi is still very popular, particularly in Siem Reap province and the vicinity of the former capital city of Angkor Wat.”

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