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Siem Reap student wins Japan art contest

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Penh Chanbormey (left) won the Mitsubishi Enikki Festa art competition. WAT BO SCHOOL

Siem Reap student wins Japan art contest

Twelve-year-old Penh Chanbormey was recently announced as the winner of the Mitsubishi Enikki Festa, an annual children’s art competition which is open to children aged 6 to 12.

The event, held in association with the Japanese government and UNESCO, aims to encourage Asian children to understand each other’s cultures better and to work together to build a better future.

Each entrant produces an enikki, a form of visual diary, which illustrates their daily life. Fifteen primary schools in Siem reap province were selected to take part in this year’s competition, and their paintings and drawings were inspected by officials from the province’s education and culture departments.

Eight young artists were selected as finalists, and their work was carefully packaged and sent to Japan. There, alongside work from 24 other Asian nations, it was evaluated by an international committee. The expert panel judged Chanbormey’s work as the best of the Kingdom’s entries.

Chanbormey, who is studying in grade six at Siem Reap’s Wat Bo Primary School, overcame many challenges to claim the win.

After her parents separated when she was two years old, she was predominantly raised by her aunt, as her mother had fulltime employment in a bank. When she turned six, she enrolled at Wat Bo Primary School.

Sam Sopha, her mother, said she is incredibly proud of her daughter.

“I can’t be with her all of the time because I am busy working at the bank. Luckily, my older sister helps to take care of her. Chanbormey helps my sister, who is a baker, with her work when she isn’t studying. My daughter is fairly self-reliant, which means I don’t worry about her too much,” she added.

She was excited beyond compare when she heard about her daughter’s big win in the international competition.

“I always tell my daughter to study hard, because I believe education is the key to a bright future. She works very hard at school, I am pleased to say,” she said.

On Kunrath, principal of Wat Bo Primary School, said he was proud that one of his students had claimed the win.

“In her first illustration, Chanbormey showed herself helping to transport her aunt’s cakes to sell at the market. Her second picture was off a cake shop filled with customers and staff,” he added.

“Her last three pictures showed life in the countryside. In one of them a man is milling rice with a mortar and pestle, and in another, rice harvesters are threshing rice. The final image is of traditional New Year celebrations, with people playing various games,” he continued.

He said that on January 20, the National Federation of UNESCO Japan in Siem Reap, in cooperation with the Mitsubishi Public Affairs Committee, held an award ceremony for Chanbormey at the school. She was awarded with a medal, and $1,300.

“Chanbormey is an excellent student. The teachers at her school were surprised when it was announced that she had won,” he added.

He urged all children from all of the Kingdom’s schools to study hard and help their families as much as they can, as it is important that the next generation is prepared to support the previous one.


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