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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Man About Town: 6 Jun 2013

Man About Town: 6 Jun 2013

The Somaly Mam Foundation will open a salon in Siem Reap, but dates and details are as yet unclear.

According to New York-based Amy J Merrill, the director of partnerships and business development for the Somaly Mam Foundation, the foundation is “still in the process of selecting the site for the salon and the name isn't 100 per cent final.”

Somaly Mam attracts huge international media interest, and her activities in Siem Reap have already received global reportage, particularly since she teamed up with actress Susan Sarandon.

Conde Nast Traveler, in its September 2012 issue ran part of a series under the banner of, “Visionaries 2012. 12 Remarkable Global Citizens.”

A story headlined, “Somaly Mam and Susan Sarandon Give Shelter to Former Sex Slaves” appeared in that issue. Part of the text read, “In a flower-filled compound half an hour from Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, several dozen women and girls are gathered around Susan Sarandon and Somaly Mam, telling their tearful stories. One woman was raped, then sold to a brothel, where she toiled for 12 years until she was freed in a raid orchestrated by Mam. ‘Do you know you are safe now?’ Sarandon asks, stroking the woman’s hair. This is one of three rehab centers established by Mam, a former sex slave herself, who moved to France but returned to Cambodia to help other girls facing the hardship she endured.”

The magazine also ran a photo taken by Brigitte Lacombe showing Sarandon and Somaly Mam “at Mam’s Siem Reap Center, in Cambodia, on December 6, 2011.”
As well as tourists, the magnetic mystical appeal of Angkor Wat attracts a flock of weird and wonderful variants of the human life form – visionaries, healers, mystics, conspiracy theorists, and investigators of alien activity all make their way to Siem Reap to be in the shadow of the magnificent temples, and many of these seekers make their way to the Siem Reap Bureau of the Phnom Penh Post.

The latest of these is a self-professed Buddhist monk, who commenced his strange journey in life on April2, 1942 in Buffalo New York under the seemingly mundane western name of James Marshall, to then be renamed Jigmed Soinom in 1970, Upasaka Kalayana Bodhi in 1980, and Samaneim Jim in 2010.

But now he mostly goes by the name of Yogi Yasha.

The good yogi is in town intent on achieving some sort of project, but details are imprecise. His major mission however seems to be the translation into Russian of his Tambolian Map.

This he says is one of his major life’s work developed after years of following up speculation by Albert Einstein on, “Where do the Solutions come from?”

The Tambolian map is a map of the human condition “free from ignorance and prejudice. It contains keys to the spiritual path for any person.” It is also a “universal reservoir of answers, solutions and possibilities.”

Perhaps more bewildering is Yogi Yasha’s CV, which contains 46 entries, and has an attachment listing 12 “memorable events.”

The CV kicks off on a slightly wobbly note with item number four stating that in 1996 he was “honorably discharged E-5” from the US Navy where he was an electronics technician.

The CV then enters parallel universes where at times the good yogi soars to mystical highs and at other times crashes into dreary earth-bound reality.

In 1975 he was “tested on the Longchen Nyingtik Refuge Tree by Gyaltrul Rimpoche.” But in 2002-204 he led the life of “The Handy-Handy Man,” a freelance fixit dude in Phoenix, Santa Fe and Sedona. In 1998 -2002 he was, “Out of town and into the wilderness.”

We wish him well as he charts the course for his next CV entry.



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