Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Judge pulls rank but fails to silence wat

Judge pulls rank but fails to silence wat

Judge pulls rank but fails to silence wat

Phnom Penh Supreme Court Judge Kong Phirun is making a second attempt to silence

a noisy early morning gong at Wat Lanka near his house.

He has written to local authorities and the Ministry of Cults and Religions, requesting

that the 4 am gong be stopped by somebody.

He says the gong is hit twice a day at 4 am and 6 pm for at least 10 minutes; the

wat insists it's only five minutes. The wat is near the Independence Monument, at

the corner of St 51 and Sihanouk Boulevard.

Phirun's letter states: " We get interfered with our well living every 4 am

by the Wat Lanka hitting gong to wake monks up. It is an immorality. It is not a

complaint. It is just a protest because I am so bored with the noise."

However So Sarith, Director of Samdech Preah Pothevang Nun Nget Buddhism High School

at Wat Lanka, said it was difficult to limit the gonging time when 255 monks had

to be woken up. Only a wat having a small number of monks could beat the gong for

a short time.

Phirun said he asked Wat Lanka monks last year to mute the gong but got no result.

So on August 18 he wrote to the district governor, the Minister of Cults and Religions

and Wat Lanka.

Phirun said he protested on behalf of citizens living around the wat. "I want

the wat to be a bit progressive. Do not be too old. This is central Phnom Penh city,

not out in the countryside."

But the Abbot of Wat Lanka, Sao Chanthol, stated in his reply to the Minister that

Phirun's letter was a complaint that contained suggestions of "hating the wat

and Buddhism".

Chanthol said: "I am very sorry to receive Kong Phirun's complaint. He is a

Khmer child and also has a position as a Supreme Court judge. Kong Phirun should

not use the frightening words such as 'immorality, violate citizen's rights living

around Wat Lanka' and so on."

Chanthol said that during the three months of rainy season, it was the tradition

at wats throughout Cambodia for monks to meet in the evening at 6 pm and early morning

at 4 am.

He urged Kong Phirun to contact Wat Lanka directly, "but Kong Phirun has so

little general cultural knowledge that he misunderstands that the white becomes the

black."

Judge Phirun said: "When hearing the ringing gong/bell, I as well as others

always imagine the Pol Pot regime giving the sign that it's time to work or to eat

food."

Phirun said the reason why he wrote his title on the letter was because he wanted

to use his position to get some action. "If ordinary people protest, the people

in high places do nothing."

So far he has had no response to his letters. "They must get stuck somewhere,"

he said on Tuesday, August 24.

When the Post contacted Sun Kim Hun, Acting Minister of the Ministry of Cults and

Religions, he said he had not yet received Kong Phirun's letter.

Lo Yuy, District Governor of Chamkar Mon, said he got Phirun's letter on August 18,

but he does not know how to deal with the case. Yuy said he did not know much about

Buddhism.

"The wat says their religious tradition going back many years requires them

to ring the gong and the other living nearby says that when monks ring the gong it

interferes with his sleeping," Yuy said. "So they say it's up to the Ministry

of Cults and Religions."

He said the two parties should negotiate with each other to solve the problem.

MOST VIEWED

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Baby saved as mother is lost to Covid

    Newborn baby Neth David has had a rough start in the world. His mother, Vong Daneth, was seven months pregnant when she contracted a severe case of Covid-19. When it became clear to her doctors that she would not survive, they performed a cesarean section

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • Hun Sen: Get 12-17 age group ready for Covid jabs

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has told parents of children aged 12-17 in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk to get them ready for vaccinations soon. “There is a need to vaccinate children and youths aged 12 to 17. According to the statistics provided

  • Governor: Covid subsides in capital

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng said the Covid-19 situation in the capital’s 14 districts has eased, with only two districts still recording a high number of infections. “Transmission cases in all districts are dropping, though they are relatively higher Meanchey and Por Sen Chey.