Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Funds pour into Preah Vihear



Funds pour into Preah Vihear

Funds pour into Preah Vihear

5-story-1.jpg
5-story-1.jpg

Charities and individual donations add up to nearly US$1 million for soldiers involved in the protracted standoff with Thai troops over disputed territory around the World Heritage Site

HENG CHIVOAN

Revellers at Phnom Penh's Olympic

Stadium celebrate UNESCO’s listing of the Preah Vihear temple.

THE patriotic fervour over the Preah Vihear temple standoff has incited an unprecedented flow of personal donations towards the national cause, a philanthropic outpouring which is both a symbolic display of solidarity and a useful supplement to shore up gaps in the country's shrunken military budget.

Through media-established funds alone, Cambodians have to date donated an estimated US$830,000 to buy food, medicine and other necessities for soldiers and villagers at Preah Vihear temple, according to figures from fund raising organisations set up after the border dispute began.

What started with contributions from local journalists deployed to Preah Vihear has erupted into a countrywide phenomenon with everyone from rural villagers to Okhnas making their mark through both modest and high-profile offerings.

"The soldiers are defending our heritage, so it is my obligation to help them," said Chan Dara, who added that he is just one of many farmers in Pailin to make a $5 donation.

Battambang resident Ung Phoeung said his cash donation both "showed love for my people" and, more practically, helped Cambodian soldiers who might "lack food and equipment".   

'A war supported by the people'

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, told the Post on August 4 that while the government had earmarked adequate funding for the defence ministry at the beginning of the fiscal year, the additional donations for soldiers demonstrated that "this is a war supported by the people, and when the country has war, people have a duty to assist their nation".

CTN reporter Soy Sopheap said a fund established by a group of broadcast and print media journalists to support soldiers deployed at the temple had so far raised nearly $100,000.

Television networks have established support funds using local celebrities in day-long telethon fundraisers. CTN has collected $330,000 in donations, of which $190,000 has been committed to troops at Preah Vihear and Anlong Veng in the form of supplies, said its director Tok Kimsay.

"The response from the people has been very strong. Even beggars have come to CTN to make contributions," he said. 

Donations gathered by Bayon TV have reached $400,000, of which $30,000 has been already committed, according to Huot Kheang Veng, assistant to the network's director. The network is deliberating on the use of the remaining funds.

"The military has their own budget and they have enough, but this is a sign of people's hearts," Huot Kheang Veng said.

Anlong Veng is teeming with troops from both sides but, without an iconic prize like Preah Vihear temple hanging in the balance, the district has remained out of the media spotlight.

"I see most donations go to Preah Vihear temple only. We are confronting Thai soldiers also, but without the same support," said Nuon Nov, deputy commander of Military Region 4, which includes Anlong Veng.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from