Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Song no hit with ministry




Song no hit with ministry

Performers Pich Sophea (left) and Davith appear together in the video clip of Sa Art Chea Nich. YouTube
Performers Pich Sophea (left) and Davith appear together in the video clip of Sa Art Chea Nich. YouTube

Song no hit with ministry

A pop song released by a popular Cambodian singer has been banned by the Ministry of Information over concerns it could lead children astray.

Sa Art Chea Nich, or Stay Hygienic – by Pich Sophea featuring Davith, a rap artist, and produced by Hang Meas productions – is a cheeky remix of a health-related public service song composed by Ngin Sokrava in 1982.

“Stay hygienic … Don’t play in the dirt … It can cause problems to everyone. We must be clean all the time. Then we are model children,” went the ’80s PSA.

In contrast, Sophea and Davith’s sarcastic lyrics lament the boredoms of school while suggesting students fake illness to get out of class.

“[In class] I pretended to get a headache … After the teacher allowed it, I went quick like lightening, past the school fence,” Davith says in a rap.

In a letter alerting broadcast outlets of the ban on February 24, Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith railed against the song as betraying the “educational mindset” of the original. It also lamented the “rap” element of the song, insinuating that it promoted poor values to impressionable listeners.

“He asks teacher to go home and skip class,” Kanharith wrote, referring to a character in the song’s music video. “Other students in the song are using hands to collect rubbish, which shows a lack of hygiene, in contrast to the original song. It negatively impacts children.”

In a speech at an annual meeting at the Ministry of Information yesterday, Kanharith took umbrage with the tampering of the public service announcement.

“Don’t steal kid songs to create new melodies. Keep it for the kids,” he said.

“If we’re talking about intellectual property, it’s wrong,” he added.

Ministry spokesman Ouk Kimseng said there would be “a consequence” if any radio or television station insisted on playing the song. However, he did not know “what kind of measure would be taken”.

The singer of Stay Hygienic, Sopheak, yesterday said she had “no objection” to the ban, but added that the ministry should “tell us what types of songs” were disallowed.

However, Ou Virak, founder of the Future Forum, criticised the ban as “cultural policing” and called it a plea for attention by the ministry.

“The Ministry of Information has lost purpose and are basically trying to continue to be relevant,” he said.

Additional reporting by Lay Samean

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's GDP growth to narrow -1% to -2.9%, World Bank says

    The World Bank expects further recoil on Cambodia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth to between minus one per cent and minus 2.9 per cent for 2020 as its main growth drivers – tourism, manufacturing exports and construction – take a beating due to Covid-19, its latest economic update

  • Vietnam: Tougher sentences for child abusers

    Several National Assembly (NA) deputies in Vietnam are calling for tougher penalties to be handed down to child abusers. They hope stricter punishments will act as a strong deterrent to prevent offenders committing further offences in the future. Extreme measures such as chemical castration were

  • Central bank to shun small US banknotes

    The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) is considering not accepting smaller denominated US dollar banknotes – $1, $2 and $5 – from banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs) which it said are flooding its stockpile as the demand for those notes is low. While some banking insiders welcomed the move as

  • PM lauded in Covid-19 fight

    World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen thanking him for following the WHO’s guidance and commending Cambodia’s efforts in the fight against Covid-19. In his letter made public by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Workers return, hope for salaries

    More than 600 factory workers in the capital’s Chaom Chao commune in Por Sen Chey district returned to work after the factory’s owner promised to pay their salaries in instalments until the middle of next month. On Tuesday and Wednesday, more than 600 workers gathered

  • Women detained for forcing kids to beg

    Two women were sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday for forcing six children to beg for money for several months at the Chhouk Meas market in Krang Thnong commune in the capital’s Sen Sok district. Phnom Penh Department of Anti-human Trafficking and