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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Man About Town: 29 June 2012

Man About Town: 29 June 2012

Noise pollution in the form of amplified music at Khmer weddings, parties, anything really, has long been a bone of contention with the expat community. The conundrum revolves around, ‘We are in their country, but therefore do we have to put up with everything they do.’

Quite often a complaining barang is reminded that such functions are part of ancient Khmer traditions and the rejoinder has always been that electrically amplified music is certainly not part of any ancient tradition.

Indeed the irony is of course that we in the West invented and gave them the amplification that now bugs us so much.

But Man About has always been curious if amplified music at discordant times also bugs the Khmer themselves, although if they do indeed suffer, they do so stoically and in silence.
Well not no more they don’t.

It was most heartening last week to discover that a group of Khmer residents have risen up in ire and signed a petition to quell the late night noise pollution emanating, in the guise of music, from Sam Brothers Restaurant behind the old stadium.

Just in case readers don’t know where this restaurant is, the petitioners points out that it can be found, “Via Google Map via the following address/location: Longitude: 13.369527 and Latitude 103.854151.”

Couldn't be simpler.

Anyway the petitioners claim, “The local authority has made little effort to stop them from playing loud music at night time. Currently, the restaurant owner does not respect the advice by the local authority (at the commune level) to reduce down the sound, but they have put the music louder to prove that they are the king in the area – no one can stop or prevent them.”

Tough words, indeed. Corporate citizen Touch Dara, a restaurant owner himself, is the representative of more than 60 residents from about 15 families in the neighborhood who have publically complained and stated, “We hopefully that authority could help us out so that it can give further pressure to the owner of Sam Brothers Restaurant to put a STOP on this noise pollution at the evening time.”

Insider’s Khmer journo Thik Kaliyann reports from the battle front that the Sam Brothers crew members are now repentant.

The restaurant’s general manager Leam Las said that he has made a contract with the local authority and police to avoid any future problems, and he will “reduce down” the sound at night time.

“We know how they feel,” he says, “Our restaurant does respect the authority’s advice and resident rights, but some mistakes happen sometimes. The customers suggested playing the music by their own, and then they increase the sound of music by themselves.”

He apologises for this matter, and will try his best to avoid any future problems with the sound volume.

Meanwhile, the final word from the petitioners themselves is that if Sam Brothers Restaurant continues to ignore the authorities and play loud music after 10pm, then the restaurant should be shut down “in order to provide residents peace of mind following the Cambodian Constitutional Right in Chapter III, article 31 and 39.”

Them’s fighting words.



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