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BBC and CBS team up to explore ‘happy family’ in 21st-century Cambodia

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Education ministry secretary of state Sean Borath (centre) poses for a photo during the lauch of the new television series Sok San Family. SUPPLIED

BBC and CBS team up to explore ‘happy family’ in 21st-century Cambodia

BBC Media Action and locally-owned Cambodian Broadcasting Service Co Ltd (CBS) have officially launched the new television series Sok San Family, a comedy drama discovering what it takes to be a happy family in 21st-century Cambodia.

The series explores complex but typical family problems in Cambodia, as Pu Sok, Ming San and their children endure ups and downs as they live their lives the best they can.

The show’s launch last week was attended by Sean Borath, secretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, CBS CEO Rajveer Singh, and BBC Media Action country director Gemma Hayman.

Adrian Scherler, head of Programme Governance and Citizen Participation at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and Camilla Ottosson, the head of Development Cooperation at the Swedish embassy in Phnom Penh, were also in attendance.

Singh said the CBS partnership with BBC Media Action reflected a common vision.

“Our companies share a common vision in bringing to our stakeholders the best of entertainment offerings, and Sok San Family is thus a natural synergy for CBS,” he said.

As part of BBC Media Action’s multiplatform youth empowerment project Klahan9 SPACE, Sok San Family supports youth civic engagement and participation.

It was funded by the SDC and the Swedish embassy’s Section Office.

Scherler echoed support of the TV programme as a significant component of the youth-led Klahan9 SPACE, for which Sweden and Switzerland provided $4.5 million for 2021-24 project implementation.

“We hope the programme reaches a wide and diverse audience across the country, and that it will spark intergenerational reflections within families and among communities.

“The project is intended to shift negative attitudes around youth and raise their levels of participation and community engagement by providing them with knowledge, skills and confidence.

“We are proud to partner with BBC Media Action to use media and communications as important instruments to motivate and support young Cambodians to participate in public life,” he said.

Ottosson said BBC Media Action is a valuable partner in the Kingdom in supporting young people’s civic engagement and participation in line with the strategy of Sweden’s development cooperation with Cambodia, focusing on human rights, democracy and rule of law.

“To work with youth through humour on important topics relevant to society is excellent, and we hope it will reach many viewers and have a positive impact on young people’s lives in Cambodia,” she said.

Ottosson added that she hoped Sok San Family would inspire millions of young Cambodians to participate more in public life.

Head of production Chhuong Yiv Chhoy said the writing process began with a core team of producer, director and two young scriptwriters.

“Once the story was mapped out and storylines broken down, the writers started writing the script with conversations, jokes and the taboos of local people based on each character’s personality.

“This series reflects the everyday lives of the family, their experiences, conflicts and discussions in entertaining and engaging ways, raising relevant issues for families and the wider community,” Yiv Chhoy told The Post.

The Sok San Family team was also behind the popular programmes Dream Station, Don’t Wait for Rain and Klahan9.

Yiv Chhoy said the target audience for Sok San Family was young people aged between 15 to 30, as well as their parents.

“We want our audience to see the importance of the support of parents, local authorities and decision makers for young people,” he said.

The first in the 13-episode series premiered on June 19 on CBS’ Cambodian Television Network (CTN), and is available online via Facebook.com/klahan9cambodia and www.youtube.com/c/klahan9cambodia.

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