The government has established a Living Inheritance Committee (LIM) to look for gifted individuals or groups with extraordinary talent.
A sub-decree dated April 21 appointed Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona as chairman, Council of Ministers secretary of state In Virak Cheat and Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Ngy Tayi as vice-chairpersons, and 14 officials from other institutions as members.
The sub-decree dictates all ministers and leaders of all relevant institutions to carry out the task accordingly.
Sackona said on Wednesday that living inheritance refers to individuals or groups who have the highest level of knowledge, talents, skills and techniques needed to create an extraordinary landscape of lives and cultures for humanity to complement the existing national tangible cultural heritage.
She said the committee is tasked with searching for any individuals or groups with such talents, or those who earn public admiration. The aim, she said, is for them to pass on their skills to the next generations and compile documentations for the sake of humankind.
“We have so far found more than 10 individuals regarded as living inheritance. But some of them have passed away.
“They include eloquent rhetorician Prach Chhuon, Royal Ballet master Princess Norodom Bopha Devi, exalted gifted intellectual Chheng Phon, revered architect Vann Molyvann and other high-profile individuals,” she said.
Thuy Chanthuon, the deputy director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s Institute of Culture and Fine Arts, said on Wednesday that the living inheritance initiative is vital to nurturing talents. He said gifted individuals deserve admiration and should be encouraged to pass their skills on to the next generation.
“What we can give back to them as a show of gratitude is encouragement and assistance. Vann Molyvann had left many achievements and legacies for the new generations. Some other individuals are still alive, we have to pay attention to them,” he said.
He said living inheritance does not necessarily refer to arts or specific areas, but also individuals who had unique skills or talent that ordinary people do not have.
“We have to offer them moral support and encouragement while they are still alive,” he said.
Since 2013, King Norodom Sihamoni has issued a royal decree nominating 17 elderly people from the arts scene.
Among them are Princess Norodom Bopha Devi, who was nominated as Number One Ballet dancer, Chheng Phon as exalted gifted intellectual, Chan Sim as Master wood-carver and Chet Chon as master of Cambodian traditional painting.
The others are Kong Nay as the best chapei dong veng singer (the traditional two-stringed instrument), Prach Chhuon as eloquent rhetorician, Sok Duch as best musician, Chet Chon as scholar, and Tep Phon as a dedicated schoolmaster.