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Siem Reap Scene...

Children's hospital gets $5,000 donation

Kampuchea House (Australia) Inc, the governing body of Siem Reap's Kampuchea House orphanage, has approved a donation of US$5,000 to the Angkor Hospital for Children.

The cheque will be officially handed to the hospital on Boxing Day, December 26, with the money coming from funds raised during the 2008 Big Cambodian Bike Ride.

Kampuchea House CEO Les Stott, together with Tom Wilkins, a grade 11 student at Wesley College in Melbourne, Australia, set off on September 22 to cycle for five days on a 657km odyssey from Siem Reap to Kampong Cham, up to Kratie, and then on to Stung Treng.

The charity ride, publicised in Australia, raised just over A$30,000, although the final amount has taken a bit of a battering due to the Aussie dollar plunge.

Les Stott, who has just returned from Vietnam, said he couldn't have hoped for a better result."I'm ecstatic about the amount that was raised. I never imagined we'd get that much," he said.

"I'm also very pleased that we can give a cheque to the hospital because part of our philosophy is to be more than just an orphanage and to be directly involved in the Siem Reap community."

Stott said he also makes the NGO's tuk-tuk and car available in town for community emergencies such as trips to hospital, which has recently paid off.

"We had an emergency with a three-day-old boy who couldn't breathe properly. We got him and his mum to hospital in time, simply because we had the transport on hand."

Gay-friendly resort to open next month

The Golden Banana gay-friendly accommodation empire just keeps growing: hot on the heels of the Golden Banana B & B and the Golden Banana Boutique Hotel comes the Golden Banana Resort.

The 16-room resort next to the hotel, under construction for the last eight months, is scheduled to open at the end of December. The opening itself promises to be an eyebrow-raiser: the celebration will include a prayer ceremony by local monks and a drag show.

Dirk De Graaff, general manager of both the hotel and the resort, hopes this year's opening will be as festive as that held two years ago for the opening of the boutique hotel.

"We ended up with 60 people in the pool, including locals, neighbours and old ladies. It was great fun," he said.

De Graaff says the new accommodation house should be able to be revenue-accretive in Siem Reap's crowded hotel industry because of its niche marketing point-of-difference, which emphasises a smaller and cosier feel.

 "Westerners especially like the atmosphere here a lot.  We've always been fully booked, so we've added another hotel. My guests don't want to stay in big places. On holiday, they want to see some of the culture, and staying in a big place leaves some feeling alienated from the local culture."

The Golden Banana Resort, which has already begun placing guests in 10 of its 16 rooms, takes a sleeker, more modern and luxurious approach than the boutique hotel, which is decorated with Khmer silks and old wooden beds. As a quirky touch, each resort room has an outdoor bath and shower.  

"People like to bathe outdoors," said De Graaff, "so I hope they'll enjoy this."  

The resort will also have its own pool, separate from the pool used by the boutique hotel and bed and breakfast.

NGOs give hospital $50,000 in titanium

A donation to Siem Reap Hospital of titanium pins, plates, screws and tools to repair broken bones has proved a boon for locals.   

Sim Chreng, 42, a farmer's wife from O'Ang Rai village, Tropang Tov commune, Anlong Veng district, Oddar Meanchey province, is certainly appreciative.

She was travelling to Siem Reap with her husband and daughter to get tuberculosis medicine for her child when she was involved in a motorbike traffic accident.

Her husband and daughter received minor injuries, but Sim Chreng's leg was badly broken. Luckily, she was brought to Siem Reap Hospital, where urgent medical assistance and titanium pins gave her full use of her leg again.

Dr Doung Rada, 51, a surgeon in the hospital's emergency ward, conducted the operation and supervised follow-up treatment.

He said that, with the donated titanium pins and plates, the hospital was able to treat up to 15 accident victims a month, some of whom may have had to undergo amputations if the material were not available.

The titanium donation, valued at about US$50,000, was organised by Food and Agriculture Organisation Siem Reap team leader David Thompson, whose daughter

 Christine back in Scotland rounded up redundant titanium material and organised for it to be donated via the National Health Service in Edinburgh.

The donation is officially part of contributions by the Fisheries Administration, FAO, Asian Development Bank and the Tonle Sap Environmental Management Project.

Actors named for angkor theatrical

Photo Supplied

Actress Sin Sakada and actor Tep Rindaro.

Tith Thavrith, the director of the "Legend of Angkor Wat" spectacular to be held in Siem Reap December 5 to January 31, has named the lead actors for the show.   

Tith Thavrith, who is also the general manager of Bayon TV, said Tep Rindaro will be the lead actor and Sin Sakada will perform as the principal apsara. She is currently a professor at the faculty of art and culture at the Royal University of Culture and Fine Arts. On special occassions, she performs for royals and dignitaries visiting Cambodia.

Tep Rindaro will play the part of Henri Mouhot, the 19th century French explorer credited with "discovering" Angkor Wat. Tep Rindaro has been in the movie industry for more than 20 years and became well known for his role in the 1989 movie Art Kam Bang Kech Sanya (Secret of Agreement).

His current movie is Pka Ma Orm, broadcast on Bayon TV.

This year's show will also have an additional scene in which actors and actresses will be more interactive with the audience.

Saltus set to play Cambodian open

Bryan Saltus, last year's winner of the inaugural Cambodian Open golf tournament, has confirmed to Scene that he will compete in the event again this December.

"I am 100 percent going to play Cambodia this year," he said in an email this week.

He also confirmed that he will hold a clinic for junior golfers in Cambodia with the help of major sponsors Callaway and GEL Golf.

"The sponsors haven't told me when it will be held yet, but I will know that soon," he said.

The tournament will be held at Sofitel Hotel's Phokeethra Country Club golf course from December 8 to 14.

Meanwhile, Siem Reap's other golfing green, the Angkor Golf Resort, is now stocking a new range of golf accessories and apparel for the winter season, with a new Tiger Woods collection arriving in 2009.

Footjoy's new Sciflex glove line is now available, as are Pro Dry Superlite golf shirts from Footjoy bearing the resort's logo.

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