Contest calls for songs about Khmer Rouge experiences

Contest calls for songs about Khmer Rouge experiences

A songwriting contest launched earlier this month asks young lyricists to turn to a subject usually left out of Cambodia’s songs: suffering under the Khmer Rouge regime.

The competition is run by the Youth Resource Development Program (YRDP), an organisation focused on empowering young Cambodians.

The topic – ‘Remembrance: Khmer Rouge Regime’ – is an exercise in intergenerational understanding, says Chhit Muny, a program manager at YRDP. “We organised this contest because we wanted youth to be reminded about the Khmer Rouge, to [share] the experience of Khmer Rouge survivors,” he says.

Contestants between 15 and 30 years old are encouraged to submit original songs based on dialogue with survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime, including family members. The first-place winner will participate in a cultural exchange focused on reconciliation in Myanmar.

The contest is one of 19 cultural reparations projects for the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s ongoing Case 002/02. Dy Chhunsong, a representative of the tribunal’s Victim Support Section, says that music offers a unique means of remembrance: one of considered art that is empowering, not just sad.

“We are trying to integrate a more positive solution, to make [civil parties] happy,” he says. “We believe that survivors will relax when they hear these new songs.”

Chhunsong says that a song could have the added advantage of preserving collective memory for the next generation. “It’s important to have this project,” he adds. “When youth apply, they also have to learn, and to understand survivors’ suffering.”

The contest’s winner will be presented at an event in December.

YRDP’s songwriting competition runs through November 7. Contestants can email entries to [email protected], or contact 023 880 194 / 070 262 001 for more information.


  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Actress’s NGO takes heat for promoting the ruling party

    An actress’s NGO which participated in an election campaign event contrary to the Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (Lango) has been slammed. Chorn Chanleakena, a celebrity and the president of the Association of Artists Volunteering to Help Society, allegedly led its members in

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not