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
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
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
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
"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.