Kampot in the 1960s: The picture of ‘a prosperous provincial town’

Bokor on the opening morning in 1962.
Bokor on the opening morning in 1962. THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES

Kampot in the 1960s: The picture of ‘a prosperous provincial town’

Marie-François Chatel was a professor between 1960 and 1965 at the Lycée Preah Reach Samphear in Kampot:

“Kampot was, along with Battambang and Kampong Cham, a prosperous provincial town. Still, it was very different from Phnom Penh. Only five or six paved roads, no tuk- tuks or cyclos.

“Independence was relatively recent. Outside of the national education, the French were still present in Kampot: plantation owners, entrepreneurs, soldiers training the Cambodian army, doctors. Relations with the locals were cordial.

“In the lycee, the students were disciplined by a respected principal. All the civil servants spoke perfect French. My relations with the students were warm.

“The future criminals like Khieu Sampan were already in power in the 60s under Sihanouk, but there was nothing worrying at the time. Some Khmer professors were imbibed with leftist anti-French propaganda. I sensed their influence from the hostile attitude of my students who I took over from these politicised professors. But nothing which could menace the future it seemed at the time.

“In short, a part of me stayed in Kampot.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom may hire Turkish power ship

    Cambodia is considering negotiating with Turkey to hire a 200MW-capacity power ship to meet electricity demands as the country faces an ongoing electrical shortage, according to the prime minister. Speaking to garment workers in Pursat province on Wednesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Electricite du

  • ‘Kingdom lacks up to 400MW in available electricity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the general public, hoteliers and businesspeople with generators to use them as back-up as the Electricity Authority of Cambodia cannot generate enough electricity to meet needs due to low water levels in power station reservoirs. On Saturday evening

  • EDC tackles power shortfall

    Electrcite Du Cambodge (EDC) on Monday issued a statement updating the public on its efforts to tackle insufficient electricity supplies during the ongoing dry season. Reductions in electricity prices have resulted in a steady increase in consumers in the Kingdom, while local and international investors

  • African swine fever spreads to VN-Cambodia border

    African swine fever has spread to parts of Vietnam that border Cambodia’s Ratanakkiri and Kratie provinces, a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official said on Friday. Tan Phannara, the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production director-general, told a Phnom Penh workshop that