Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New Siem Reap hotel goes green with unique plastic-free initiative

New Siem Reap hotel goes green with unique plastic-free initiative

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Khmer artist Pheu Sophon’s artistic masterpiece displayed at Memoire Palace Resort and Spa in Siem Reap province. Hong Menea

New Siem Reap hotel goes green with unique plastic-free initiative

The newly-opened French style hotel – the Memoire Palace Resort & Spa – in Siem Reap, has adopted a plastic-free policy, amid concerns about the effects of its use by the next generation.

And in conjunction with this, the hotel also announced its contemporary artistic masterpiece exhibition themed on the environment.

Starting from its opening day, Khmer artist Pheu Sophon’s artistic masterpiece on the environment was displayed to the awe of many.

Using no less than 7,000 drinking water bottles, they were turned into various other forms to draw the interest of participants who were provoked to put their thinking caps on as they considered the concerns of using plastics in their daily lives.

As an artist who effectively uses water bottles to show environmental effects, he starts from the basics – the design of the letters that make up “Phnom Penh”, pictures of the “brain”, “stupa”, “crown”, “water drop” and “snail shell” etc. which Sophon says reflect the growth of thinking and innovation among the people.

The artist says he thinks a lot about each picture before it comes into existence from his fertile mind.

“Sometimes I see the environment around me and people throwing rubbish away. Wealthy people seem to live without any care, while the poor live life accepting everything that comes their way. But all thoughts emanate from our brains, so what do I do?” he asks.

For his “teardrop” masterpiece, which was displayed in the reception hall of Memoire Palace, Sophon says it relates to a poor family.

Explaining his masterpiece, he says: “Whenever it rains, water drops through a leaking roof. So the feeling of experiencing rain or its leakage through a roof gives one a sense of loneliness or haunting, which is what I have tried to convey through the piece.”

The art exhibition with the theme “Water Shed” refers to water that flows from higher ground and then divides into two, Sophon says.

Anicca Foundation director Marina Pok says “Water Shed” is a very important pig-nosed waterway where one has to decide whether to continue or reduce the use of plastics.

She says the reason for having the exhibition at Memoire Palace is because “this hotel does not use plastics. Sophon too really pays attention to the environment. As a young artist from Phnom Penh, he worries about environmental issues,” she says.

Besides just being in the hospitality sector, this French-style hotel is passionate about creating and introducing activities that help society reduce the use of plastics.

Memoire Palace general manager Nguon Veng Chai says the hotel is so environmentally conscious that it started by producing its own water.

“Now we produce a drinking straw that’s made of lemongrass. And starting from this initiative, we decided to create an exhibition as our commitment to educating participants on the dangers to the environment."

“In the next 20 years, we don’t want our children or grandchildren to ask if our environmental issues were caused during daddy’s generation or grandfather’s generation. Why did they not do anything? And why the next generations are the ones to pay the price for the folly of previous generations?”

Veng Chai acknowledged that “although mankind has not done much to reduce the use of plastics, we can all do our bit to promote environment-consciousness one step at a time.

“What is important is that we help educate our staff first. And when they return home, they can spread the news and knowledge about the need to save the environment to their friends and families,” he says.

For Veng Chai, not using plastics at the Memoire Palace comes at a higher price as visitors and patrons to his hotel come from all over the world. It would be cheaper to use plastics but that will be taking the easy way out, he says.

He doesn’t want the next generation of Khmers to blame their forefathers for ruining the environment, and so he and those of his ilk have joined the movement to save the it.

“As we work in the hospitality sector, we have an opportunity to encourage environmental consciousness among all whom we meet – businessmen, families and others – and in the process, we can slowly influence all sectors of society,” he says.

“If we can think of using lemongrass as drinking straws, we don’t need to buy plastic ones.”

Guests who participated in its environment exhibition even had a chance to taste unique snacks which were made in the various forms that plastics have taken.

The WaterShed Exhibition which shows contemporary artistic masterpieces on environmental issues resulting from the use of plastics is being held at Memoire Palace Resort & Spa.

Located at Phsar Krom Street, Vihear Chin village, Svay Dangkum commune, Siem Reap town, it will be on until the end of the Water Festival on November 23.

MOST VIEWED

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • Crumbling prices, rent ruffle condo segment

    The prolonged decline in international arrivals to Cambodia intensified by renewed Covid-19 fears has driven down condominium sales prices and rental rates in Phnom Penh, a research report said. CBRE Cambodia, the local affiliate of US commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures

  • More than 10,000 workers suspended

    More than 10,000 workers at 18 factories in Svay Rieng province have been suspended because of Covid-19, said provincial deputy governor Ros Pharith. Home to 11 special economic zones, Pharith said Svay Rieng has not been spared as the pandemic takes a toll on the global economy. “There

  • Nod given for school exams

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport announced that State-run higher educational institutions can hold examinations to end the academic year, while private schools can organise grade 9 and grade 12 examinations at their premises for two days. However, private institutions have to take measures to prevent

  • Kingdom’s exports to US mushroom 25.94% in first five months to $2.4B

    Though Cambodia’s exports to other countries have been stalled amid the evolving Covid-19 environment, the Kingdom’s shipments to the US were worth 25.94 per cent more in the first five months of this year than they were in the year-ago period. Bilateral trade between

  • Oz lauds Kingdom’s passage of money laundering laws

    In a press release published by the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh on Monday, the country applauded Cambodia’s stance on transnational crimes as well as its promulgation of an anti-money laundering law and a law on combating proliferation financing. The praise came after King

  • Lotus face masks designed to cover globe

    A French designer in Cambodia has produced ecological face masks from lotus fibre to supply local and international markets with an eye on preserving ancestral techniques and supporting Cambodian women in rural communities. During a trip to Asia, Awen Delaval, an eco-friendly fashion designer, was

  • Accused not treated equally, says CCHR

    The Cambodia Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has urged the Court of Appeal to do more to ensure that an accused’s right to a fair trial is fully respected. In a bulletin released on Monday, the CCHR said it had monitored 273 cases at the