Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Monks get on the air to spread the good word of Buddhism




Monks get on the air to spread the good word of Buddhism

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A former mobile phone technician, Ream Phon helps monks produce their radio shows. Kimberley McCosker

Monks get on the air to spread the good word of Buddhism

Equipped with a 1kW transmitter, one pagoda is spreading the good word of Buddhism near and far

The monks of Wat Po Veal pagoda in Battambang province are among a growing number using an old technology to spread knowledge of even older traditions.

Eighteen hours a day, seven days a week, the monks broadcast Buddhist morality, traditions and philosophy over the airways.

The pagoda’s 1kW transmitter, which can be heard as far away as neighbouring provinces, was switched on in April.

Head monk Suon Chhoeun said the radio station was a good way to spread Buddhist messages.

He said the pagoda’s programs were intended only to share teachings – they never touched on specific events, people or politics or controversial topics.

“It is important to help promote Buddhism so that people get to know more about it,” he said.

Ream Phon – who goes by the name Phanit – is one of the volunteers at the pagoda’s radio station – which was paid for with donations.

A former mobile phone technician, he was selected to produce programs because he had some knowledge of electronics. He now also presents a “life and health” program and tells funny stories.

“I started learning from the monks to be a radio presenter – they told me not to be afraid and talk as if we know each other,” the 33-year-old said.

Seng Someny, a spokesman from the Ministry of Cults and Religion, said broadcast media was key to improving the national character and he supported pagodas getting on the air.

He said five other pagodas in Cambodia had their own radio transmitters in Phnom Penh (Chum Thoeun), Takeo (Choun Kakada), Tbong Khmum, Siem Reap and Battambang town (Kleang Moeun).

Pagodas and individual monks sometimes also paid for airtime on other radio and television stations.

“If we broadcast Buddhist rules, it can reach a wide area and more people – both young and old – can learn to live a more moral life.”

He said that if people knew about and respected religious laws then they were more likely to respect secular laws.

“If each pagoda had a radio studio, it would be easier to publicise Buddhism more broadly,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Cintri strike ends, workers’ contracts to be terminated

    CINTRI (Cambodia) Ltd rubbish collectors who have been on strike for the past 13 days agreed to return to work starting Wednesday evening after the company agreed to terminate their contracts at the end of January next year and provide seniority payments and other benefits to

  • Inmates evacuated, schools closed as flooding takes toll

    Thousands of students in Battambang province missed school while over 1,000 prisoners in Banteay Meanchey province were evacuated because of rain-induced floods in the past few days. Yi Songky, director of the provincial Department of Education, Youth and Sport, said floods affected 316 schools in Battambang. Over 200