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ART OPENING

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Photo by: JESSIE BEARD

Sin Rithy and his work.

An exhibition was launched at the French Cultural Centre on Tuesday night featuring two artists from the Phare Ponleu Selpak school in Battambang, whose artworks explore the theme of mistreated and abused women in Cambodia.

The exhibition, Les filles de joie, is a collection of paintings from the young artists Pen Robith and Sin Rithy, who are fourth-year students at the Phare Ponleu Selpak NGO.

The two artists chose the tough theme of the exhibition together with their teacher, who helped them to find inspiration for their pieces.

"The subject is important because there are many abused or mistreated women living in fear in Cambodia," Sin Rithy said. "Our artwork is a way to raise awareness of these women as it helps to show men and make them understand their stories."

Rasmei Pech, director of the French Cultural Centre, said the artists have displayed their work in other places but it is the first time their work has been shown in Siem Reap.

She also pointed out that it is the first time artists from Phare Ponleu Selpak have exhibited at the French Cultural Centre, but said there will be many more such exhibitions to come.

FUNKY POST QUIZ

Photo by: KYLE SHERER

Pierre Legros, co-owner of Ella bar.

Starting tonight, punters at the weekly Funky Munky Charity Pub Quiz can compete for an extra US$50 prize, provided by The Phnom Penh Post.

For the next four weeks, the Post will provide this credit crisis-crunching cash prize, on the proviso that half of the winnings are donated to a charity of Funky Munky's choice.

Contestants need to answer a question culled from today's edition of Cambodia's newspaper of record.

Second prize is a one month subscription to The Phnom Penh Post, worth $12.

Patrons who wish to brush up on current affairs knowledge can collect a copy of the newspaper at the door.

The Funky Munky 9pm Thursday Night Quiz has been a local social fixture since 2006 and regularly attracts 100-plus crowds.

Money raised goes to five rotating charities: Anjali House, Global Tear, New Hope, Salatesa and SOID.

TWO NEW BARS

Siem Reap's bar scene has swelled with the addition of two new watering holes likely to cater to two very different crowds. Johnny's Nite Bar, near the corner of Sivutha Boulevard and Pub Street, proudly flies the banner of a boxing kangaroo and offers $1.50 tap beer, while the Ella bar, roughly 500 metres past Hotel de la Paix, is a quiet, secluded joint that promises good wine and soft jazz.

Since December 29 last year, Ella has provided a group of mainly 30- to 60-year-old expats with a quieter alternative to Pub Street. This month, owners Pierre Legros and Ralph Wuinner hope to expand on their success by starting a restaurant at the bar.

The bar takes its name from iconic jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, but takes its music from a wide variety of jazz styles. "We play acid jazz, classic jazz and everything in between," said Legros. "In the future, we hope to have theme nights for various jazz genres."

Legros said that one of his main objectives in 2009 is to attract an audience of middle-aged Cambodians.

TRADING TEMPLES FOR TIKIS

After almost two years as general manager of the Heritage Suites Hotel, Fabrice Pinault has traded temples for tiki bars, leaving Siem Reap for a position as manager at the Pearl Beach Resort on the sunny Pacific isle of Bora Bora.

Pinault departed Cambodia on January 12, and Mark Langroft, the incoming Heritage Hotel general manager, is due to arrive later this month.

Didier Faraud, director of the Heritage, said that Langroft has managed two smaller resorts in Thailand and "has a very good knowledge of marketing and a good relationship with travel agents. He's a great networker".

Prince D'Angkor Hotel has now appointed a new general manager to replace the sudden departure of Australian GM Ken Williams late last year. The hotel's executive director, Ly Seang Hong, said the newly appointed manager is a Swiss hire, but no details can be revealed yet due to confidentiality.

Meanwhile Darryl Hissey, a former Prince D'Angkor general manger who preceded Ken Williams, has returned to Siem Reap to take charge of the newly constructed Angkor Miracle Hotel Resort & Spa on National Road 6's hotel row. The large and lavish hotel is scheduled to open in early April.

The Angkoriana Hotel, opposite the National Museum, is also still operating without a general manager, and with no word yet on a replacement.

A new manager, Emmett McHerry, has signed on at Sokha Angkor Hotel, replacing Michael Lim who has moved to the Sokha Hotel in Sihanoukville.

McHerry, an Irishman, should feel at home in his new berth at Sokha because the hotel has a well-established Irish pub, the Blarney Stone.

Another managerial departure from Siem Reap is Mal Gill, regional manager of G4 Security. Gill is now the company's Phnom Penh-based country manager, replacing Chris Chipp who has been promoted to a new position in Thailand.

9,000 CONDOMS SOLD

Photo by: KYLE SHERER

Ella Bar's Pierre Legros

Organisers claimed more than 10,000 people flocked to Angkor Pyung Yu last Tuesday night to watch Cambodian heartthrob Preap Sovath croon at an open-air concert. But while the pop star is famous for his sing-along Khmer karaoke videos, in Siem Reap he was encouraging his fans to sing the praises of safe sex. The concert was designed to promote OK Condoms, a contraceptive brand launched by Population Services International last November, and the performers frequently spurred the crowd to chant information about HIV prevention.

Dina Sour, event manager of the concert and marketing, and communications manager at Population Services International, told the Post that over 9,000 condoms were sold during the show. "It went really well. The entertainers not only amused the crowd, they educated the people about HIV prevention."

In addition to Preap Sovath, the crowd enjoyed the antics of comedian Prohm Magn, who gave out packs of OK Condoms to several audience members who were brave enough to go on stage and participate in games between the songs.

The concert was supported by Population Services International, the Department for International Development and USAID. Dina Sour said that it was part of "a continuing effort to reinforce HIV education in Cambodia".

OK Condoms cost 500 riels for a pack of three.

PREAH VIHEAR TALK

Professor Sachchidanand Sahai, a historian with the Apsara Authority, will give a talk in English tomorrow night in Siem Reap on observations derived from fieldwork undertaken between August and December 2008 at the Preah Vihear temple complex.

Five inscriptions relating to the site will be discussed to address a number of unsolved questions regarding the chronology, layout and significance of the site.

Sachchidanand is an alumnus of the University of Paris, Sorbonne (1965-69), where he studied under the supervision of French savant George C'des.

He has published widely and among his many works are The Mekong: Space and Social Theory (2005), The Bayon of Angkor Thom (2007), and a co-authored book, Ta Prohm: A Glorious Era in Angkor Civilization (2007.)

His talk will commence at 6:30pm on Friday at the Ecole Fran'aise d'Extreme-Orient (EFEO) Siem Reap.

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