Man about town: 01 May 2014

Man about town: 01 May 2014

Iconic Siem Reap photographer John McDermott’s campaign to print a second edition of his book, Elegy: Reflections on Angkor, is “an unexpected phenomenon” on the crowd funding site Kickstarter.

In a press release, McDermott says he reached his funding goal of $54,000 in just three days – and according to the site, as of Wednesday he’d notched up 683 backers pledging $72,433.

Kickstarter featured the new project on its e-newsletter titled Projects We Love, and the 30-day Kickstarter campaign will be “live” until May 23, 2014.

An ecstatic McDermott says in his release, “I never dreamed there would be this kind of response, so I budgeted for the bare bones minimum of what I needed to publish a very small print run. Kickstarter is all or nothing, meaning that if you don’t make your goal, then none of the pledges go through.

“So we set our goal at the absolute minimum. The additional funds that are coming in will allow me to do a larger print run and add some extra elements, to create a book that is really a pleasure to hold in your hands and take your time leafing through.”

The Buddhist Bodhigayavijjalaya 980 Institute, which aims to perform good deeds for Buddhism and for lay society, will hold a seminar in Siem Reap from May16-20 at the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort.

Senior monks from Lao, Cambodia and Thailand will conduct a talk on day two of the busy chat-fest, followed by a talk from Natthawut Photisaro, deputy permanent secretary - Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand. Also featuring heavily in the list of speakers during the seminar is Thai philanthropist Supachai Verapuchong, the majority owner of Sofitel hotels who is also the secretary general and fundraising chairman of the Bodhigayavijjalaya 980 Institute, based in Buddhist grounds at Wat Thai Kushi Nagar in India.

On day three of the seminar, the monks will take in some of the sacred sights of Siem Reap – they will visit Angkor Thom, Elephant Terrace, the Leper King Terrace, Ta Prohm and of course Angkor Wat.

Philanthropist and hotel tycoon Supachai Verapuchong has long championed Buddhism and for quite some time has been promoting an exchange between Buddhist monks from five Southeast Asian countries – Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.

On March 1 last year, he discussed the Bodhigayavijjalaya 980 Institute Wat Thai Kushi Nagar in India with the Phnom Penh Post, describing it as an institute which hosts monks for Buddhist teaching and is a common ground for monks and Buddhists from all five countries to help transcend each nationality with a common Buddhist tradition.”

“I’m in charge of the monk institute in India,” he told the Post. “We need to let people know we are in the same family and in all five countries we believe in the same values.

“Everything is coming from what we think. If you think wrong, you talk wrong and behave wrong.”

Supachai added, “With Buddhism you can find the balance of the middle way and harmonise your family. I am wealthy and have 4,000 employees, but it is not only about the money; in this life we need the spirit, which will never die.

Meanwhile, on a more secular note, Cambodia’s keen golfers are hoping that in the near future Supachai Verapuchong will introduce his golfing dhamma camp here. He’s been running the Thai Pro Golfers to the World of Dhamma camp in Thailand for the last three years so that pro golfers can use dhamma meditation to during testing moments in tournaments.

Local golfers are hoping he’ll bring the camp here and open it up for run-of-the-mill divot diggers, not just golfing professionals.


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