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Siem Reap Scene...

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Martin Reeves exhibition cancelled

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Photo by: Photo Supplied

Photographer Martin Reeves is forced to cancel his exhibition at the Angkor National Museum.

Celebrated Bangkok-based Brit photographer Martin Reeves has confirmed that he has pulled the plug on an exhibition planned for this month at the controversial Angkor National Museum.

The photographer told Scene that he's been away on assignment and on his return to Bangkok he discovered that the launch party for his exhibition, originally scheduled for this week, had been cancelled.

His sponsor then decided to withdraw because without a launch party there would have been little scope for publicity.

Reeves told Scene, "Therefore, I have had to cancel the whole exhibition. I will be looking into alternative venues in the coming months."

Reeves signature look comes from using infrared film, and he began photographing the Angkor temples as far back as 1992. The Cambodian King chose Reeves's Angkor photos to give as gifts to dignitaries on state visits, and HRH Norodom Rattana Devi wrote the foreword to Reeve's book, Angkor: Into The Hidden Realm.

His work is also on permanent display at the Hotel de la Paix.

Japan cookie mogul's angkor empire

Head off on the road to Angkor Wat, stop at a shop named Angkor Cookies - and enter Japan. At least that's what it seems like because all the signage is Japanese, as are most customers, and the Khmer staff converse in Japanese, taught to them by owner Sachiko Kajimo - or Madam Sachiko as she styles herself - president of her company, Khmer Angkor Foods Co Ltd.

"Most of my staff did not speak Japanese before they started working in my shop," Madam Sachiko informs Scene. "I trained my sales staff to speak Japanese, and it was easy for me because I had been a Japanese language teacher at Yamamoto Japanese School for two years."

She first came to Siem Reap to teach English and opened a coffee shop only to have her staff disappear with all her equipment, wiping out her 1.5 million yen investment.

Back to teaching, back to Japan, then back to Cambodia in 2003 armed with US$5,000, a cookie mould, a prototype package and a yen to sell dinky little souvenir cookies roughly shaped like Angkor ruins.

She set up her Siem Reap business in April 2004 and earned about $1,000 a month; in April this year she was bringing in up to $13,000 a day with an average of 400 customers daily, 800 on a good day.

She keeps a low media profile in Cambodia, but the Japanese press has discovered her and in April the English-language Asahi Shimbun published a lengthy profile on her, dubbing her, ‘The cookie mogul of Angkor Wat.'

She's now exporting to Japan, and next stop in her journey to mogul-dom is a new shopping centre store and café aimed at Cambodian customers.

Ladyboys become entrepreneurs

Photo by: PETER OLSZEWSKI

Ladyboy Sarah owns the Mam Bor Beauty Spa. "I do all types," she says.

Siem Reap ladyboys are increasingly transitioning from sex workers to business owners and employees.

Ladyboys have increasingly become involved in running beauty parlours, and a number of them now own salons in the Samaki Market district on Route 6.

Sarah, former mama-san of the short-lived Mam Bor Ladyboy Cabaret Club, owns the Mam Bor Beauty Spa on the other side of town, where she employs three staff.

She told Scene that as a ladyboy salon owner she has not experienced prejudice. "The community is very supportive of my shop." she said, "I have customers who are both ladyboys and not ladyboys."

Sarah's customers are mostly Khmer, although she said she is happy to also cater for expatriates if they request her services. "I'll do all types," she said.

Chong Khneas kids receive health boxes

Lots of happy school kids from Chong Khneas Commune Literacy School received health boxes on Monday morning, courtesy of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's Tonle Sap Environmental Management Project, through the Siem Reap Fisheries Office and the Community Fisheries Organisation of Chong Khneas.

More than 5,000 children in five provinces around Tonle Sap have received health boxes this year, with the Chong Kneas kids being the latest recipients.

The boxes,  containing soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, facecloths, rubber sandals, exercise books, pens, pencils, rulers and a toy, were handed over by fishery officers Ly Pros and Eng Rathmouny, project bursar Diep Touch, commune chief Em Man, and team leader David Thomson.

Clean drinking water is a major priority, and the project has supplied filters to needy families. The Children's Hospital in Siem Reap advised the project team to provide soap for children and mothers so hands could be washed before preparing and eating food to reduce food-born infections.

Each health box carries a simple message in Khmer for children and parents: Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be Clean.

Thomson said, "The response from both poor families and government officers indicated that this may have been the most popular and acceptable intervention made by the project."

Aussies make magic with artist's home

Angkor Golf Resort's crack team of newly-trained caddies discovered that when it comes to pro golf, winners are not only grinners - they are also big tippers.

Tips of $50 and even $100 were handed out to some lucky caddies at the De Bortoli Invitational Pro-Am 2008 three-day golf tournament last week, organised by Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa.

Popular Aussie pro Gary Tozer took the honours for the best tipper, giving his caddy a sizable chunk of dollars plus his personal putter, valued around $280.

He told Scene that his generous gesture was to help encourage the caddies to become players and that he was considering scheme to provide golf clubs to young Cambodians.

Amateur results for the tourney included lady winner, Suzie Gordon; individual runner-up John Seeman; and individual winner Ross Shields. Overall team winners were first Richard Beer, Pascale Royere, Stuart Minuskin, Hilton Misso (first); John Downs, Ross Shields, Warren Hughes, Bob Milne (second); and Brandon Coleman, John Seeman, Mike Stone, Col Jenkinson (third).

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