Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Miss landmine furore

Miss landmine furore

Miss landmine furore

The organiser of the 2009 Miss Landmine pageant has accused an Australian NGO head of “playing a direct role” in its cancellation last year.

In August 2009, the Ministry of Social Affairs announced that the pageant – which was to feature 20 Cambodian victims of land mines and explosives remnants of war – would not be allowed to go forward, saying it would damage the “dignity and rights of the disabled”.

The organiser of the pageant has laid part of the blame for that decision at the feet of Chris Minko, secretary general of Cambodian National Volleyball League (Disabled).

A press release points to an interview Minko gave for a Canadian documentary on the pageant, set to premiere in the United States on October 16, in which he allegedly “shares his passionately dismissive views on the Miss Landmine project, labeling it ‘sexist’, ‘a flesh market’ and ‘in very bad taste’.”

The release goes on to say that Minko advised Social Affairs Minister Ith Sam Heng to kick pageant director Morten Traavik out of the country, saying, “Get him out. People like that are not needed in this landscape.”

Minko said via email that he had merely made his opinion on the pageant known to the ministry.

I find beauty pageants degrade and exploit women – be it women with a disability or without a disability,” he said. “There are more dignified ways of showcasing the ability of Cambodian women landmine survivors.”
Traavik said he found Minko’s “apparently central” role in the cancellation of the pageant “troubling on a number of levels”.
“Most troubling is that these are the kinds of advisers that the Cambodian government apparently take cues from,” he said.

He also said he hoped the documentary, titled “Miss Landmine”, would be screened in Cambodia.
Sem Sokha, a secretary of state at the ministry, said he had not received any proposal for the screening of the documentary. Asked if the government would allow it to be shown, he said, “We have banned [the pageant]. Now there is no new news about it.” ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CHHAY CHANNYDA

]]>

MOST VIEWED

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Endangered animals found dead in Pailin

    An endangered gaur was one of “many” wild animals found dead in “dozens” of illegal traps in Pailin province’s Phnom Khieu Wildlife Sanctuary, said Chit Thy, a military officer working with rangers to protect the conservation area, on Wednesday. Thy, an officer in the 507