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Institutions in the dark as to 10pm ‘drum celebration’

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Lakhon Khol was on Wednesday included on Unesco’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. Photo supplied

Institutions in the dark as to 10pm ‘drum celebration’

The government and the Minister of Education, Hang Chuon Naron, released a letter on Thursday morning which called on all educational institutions, including schools and universities, to bang drums at 10pm on Friday night.

The drumming is intended to celebrate the inclusion of classical Khmer dance Lakhon Khol on Unesco’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

However, the director of Phnom Penh’s Chraing Chamreh Primary School, Chantra Pich, told The Post on Thursday that he had not received such a request.

“If there is a call from the minister, then I and some of the academic staff will organise a celebration on Friday night to congratulate the success of our Lakhon Khol being included on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage,” he said.

Likewise, Wat Khtor Prek Leap’s chief monk, Tith Sarom, said he had also not been instructed by the Ministry of Cults and Religion or the local sangkat as to arranging drumming on Friday night to celebrate the historic event, and so he would not do so.

“On Friday night, I will not dare to beat or play drums because no high-ranking monks or senior officials at the Ministry of Cults and Religion have instructed me to do so yet. The beating of drums at night without the notification of local authorities would make the people living close to the pagoda unhappy because it would disturb their sleep,” he said.

However, he added that on Friday morning he would organise national and religious flags to fly in front of the pagoda to celebrate .

Lakhon Khol began in the early Angkor era. According to bas-reliefs on temple walls of Angkor Wat, it is believed that the genre was first performed in the ninth century.

Cambodia requested the registration of Lakhon Khol on the world heritage list on March 31 last year, and the Unesco committee approved it at a meeting in Mauritius on Wednesday.

According to the book Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Cambodia, Lakhon Khol was developed as an entirely male version of a classical Khmer court dance.

The only story specifically performed by Lakhon Khol is the Reamker, the Khmer version of the Ramayana, the ancient Indian epic poem.

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