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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Siem Reap Scene 05 Mar 2009

Siem Reap Scene 05 Mar 2009

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MYANMAR PHOTO EXHIBIT

The French Cultural Centre on Tuesday launched an exhibition of 12 pictures taken by Myanmar photographer Nyan Win.

The photos will be on display until April 3, and half of the money raised from sales will be donated to Meryekunyihmu, an organisation that

provides free funeral services for poor families that is currently assisting victims of Cyclone Nargis.

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Myanmar photographer Nyan Win, who will show at the CCF

As a tour guide, Nyan Win spent 11 years showing foreigners around his Myanmar homeland, gaining an appreciation of its beauty that he felt compelled to share with the world.

The photo series captures Myanmar people against a backdrop of majestic lakes, mountains and temples. Prints measuring 45cm x 30cm are available for US$40; prints measuring 70cm x 50cm are $50.

Nyan Win chose Siem Reap as a location for the exhibition because of the high number of tourists.

"I want to introduce my country not only to Khmer people, but to foreigners," he told Scene.

As a lead-up to International Women's Day on Sunday, visitors to the French Cultural Centre tonight can also hear a presentation by Cambodian writer and lawyer Theary Seng, who serves as the executive director for the Centre for Social Development.

BIG DWARF SHOW

Klick Photo Fine Art Gallery owner Pier Poretti now resides in Bali, but returned to Siem Reap last week to organise the launch of his new book,

Angkor Extravaganza, a limited numbered edition for collectors, published by Exart Publishing, Jakarta, and priced at $200.

As reported in Scene last month, the book features photos of Poretti's latest obsession, a 60-centimetre dwarf named Nano posed in a variety of temple locations.

Poretti now tells Scene that he has finalised a deal with Hotel de la Paix to hold a launch extravaganza in December. For this launch he will publish a cheaper version of his $200 book and create 20 blow-ups on canvas for sale of photos featured in the book.

An added highlight of these blow-ups will be that the raiment worn by his dwarf in the photos will be highlighted in bead work rendered by Siem Reap's fashion impresario Eric Raisina.

Furthermore, Poretti says that Raisina will also design a range of fashion outfits for his little dwarf mate.

Klick Photo Fine Art Gallery owner Pier Poretti in Siem Reap last week

While in town, Poretti also put his Klick gallery on the market, ending his business association with Siem Reap.

NEW TEMPLE PASS HAILED

Siem Reap businesses have enthusiastically welcomed news published Wednesday in the Post that the Ministry of Tourism will overhaul the clunky Angkor temple ticket system, allowing tourists to use a three-day pass over one week instead of consecutively, among other things.

Ivy Guesthouse proprietor Karl Belch told Scene the new system is "the best thing to happen since the temples opened. It's going to help guesthouses because people will stay longer: it will help restaurants because people will eat more. It will help the whole town".

Pascal Deyrolle, vice president of the Cambodia Hotel Association and general manager of La Residence d'Angkor hotel, said the new pass system would give hotel owners more flexibility for guests.

Representatives of the Siem Reap chapter of the Cambodia Hotel Association started meeting with the Ministry of Tourism last month, and the temple pass is the first in a series of proposals being considered by the government.  

3D ANGKOR MODELLING

A Japanese researcher completed scanning the stone faces at the Bayon, Ta Prohm and Ta Som temples on Monday, adding another chapter to the Bayon digital archive project, an ongoing effort to create 3D models of Angkor ruins that began in 2003.

The gathered data will give scientists insight into the history of the ancient Angkor civilisation and allow them to digitally restore long-broken structures using 3D software.

The project is conducted by the University of Tokyo, in cooperation with the Japanese government team for safeguarding Angkor.

Professor Katsushi Ikeuchi

Over the course of the past six years, the team has performed 1,500 scanning missions, amassing almost a quarter of a terabyte of data. In addition to modelling the structure of the Bayon temple, the researchers successfully digitised 173 deity faces, 16 hidden pediments and three wall reliefs.

Dr  Katsushi Ikeuchi, a scientist at the University of Tokyo, told Scene: "We used devices called 3D laser scanners to obtain 14,000 digital images, and developed software to paste those images into a unified 3D model."

WATER SUPPLY UPDATE

Many Siem Reap businesses and homes have been without a regular water service for more than six weeks, and the constant question is whether an end is in sight.

Yes, boldly declared Kong Sokvan, director of production at the Siem Reap Water Supply Authority.

He told Scene that the water disruptions would cease in four days to one week from today.

Cynical Siem Reap residents have, of course, heard numerous alleged dates for a return to normal water supply, but this information is the most specific to date.

Kong Sokvan said four villages had been affected by the disruption, and quickly added that solving water supply disruptions was a job for higher government officials.

There have been numerous theories floated as to why the water supply has been disrupted and numerous explanations given by the Water Supply Authority, including the rather dramatic report that the town has simply run out of water.

But for the most part, the massive construction work behind Hotel de la Paix for the new Wastewater Management Project emerges as the root cause of the problem.

Kong Sokvan has once again cited excavations near Hotel de la Paix as the cause, adding that a water pump system is being upgraded.

He also furnished a Khmer-language document dated June 2, 2008, that warned that freshwater "lines" might be "temporarily" cut at some stage during the project.

FUNKY FINALE

Trivia titans Paddy Power recovered from their momentary fall of grace, winning their fourth Post-sponsored Funky Munky pub quiz last Thursday, the final night of Post sponsorship.

The team won three of the four Post-sponsored awards, and last week indulged in yet another grand philanthropic gesture by donating its $50 prize to the Globalteer community development centre.

For the past month, the Post has supplied a $50 prize and one-month subscription to winners and runners up of Funky Munky's weekly trivia challenge, helping to raise $882.50 for New Hope community centre, Anjali House, Salatesa and Globalteer.

Last Thursday's competition occurred on the 39th birthday of Funky Munky co-owner Trixie and raised $225 for Globalteer.

The organisation's community development centre is four kilometres from Siem Reap and provides free education for about 100 children from two nearby villages.

After weathering many Irish and Enya jokes at their expense in a succession of Scene items, Paddy Power strived to set the record straight.

"We want people to know that Paddy Power is not all-Irish," a team representative said.

"Paddy Power opens its arms to players of all nationalities."

Aqua Babes, a team from the swimming pool and bar Aqua Sydney, won a one-month subscription to the Post by finishing second.

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