The University of Management and Economics (UME) in Kampong Cham marked the 2nd National Reading Day from February 10-12 to commemorate Supreme Patriarch Chuon Nath, the father of Khmer literature, and cultivate a culture of reading, while protecting and strengthening Khmer culture and civilisation.

In addition to a display of published work, the programme also provided the opportunity for many poets to meet and exchange their knowledge and experience.

Chav Chhaya, head of the organising committee, said the theme of this year’s day was “Lifelong Learning”. Nearly 3,000 visitors from Phnom Penh, Battambang and Kampong Cham attended.

“The programme aims to express gratitude for Supreme Patriarch Chuon Nath – the creator of the first modern Khmer dictionary – and cultivate a habit of reading,” he added.

“This year’s celebration saw more visitors than our first year. This shows an increase in the number of people who are interested in Khmer literature, not just in Kampong Cham, but in Cambodia as a whole,” he continued.

He explained that last year’s event was predominantly attended by students, but this year had seen many members of the general public taking part.

That Phoeuk, a teacher at Hun Sen High School in Kampong Cham who took part in the event, said he was pleased to see the large number of people who took part in National Reading Day. He believed it demonstrated that more and more people understood the value of reading books.

“I am really happy the programme was organised in Kampong Cham. It allowed many local people to participate, and raised the image of the province,” he added.

Ros Rachana, a 12th grade student at Hun Sen Peam Chi Kang High School, said she was pleased to have had the opportunity to take part.

“This was the first time I attended the event. I was really impressed with the huge display of books, as literature is important to me personally. If we read a lot, we will know a lot. If National reading day is organised next year, I will definitely take part,” she added.