Man About Town: 14 Oct 2011

Man About Town: 14 Oct 2011

Battling floodwaters which have again ravaged Siem Reap for the third time in less than a month, the organisers of this year’s Angkor Photo Festival toil on undeterred.

The latest announcement from the festival’s waterlogged office is the much-awaited list of the five finalists selected for the inaugural Reminders Project Asian Photographers Grant.

This is a collaboration between Reminders Project and the Angkor Photo Festival, and the winner will of course be announced during the festival.

Entries poured in from all over Asia, and the harried jury panel finally culled them to this list of five finalists: Agnes Dherbeys, South Korea/France; Andri Tambernan, Indonesia; GMB Akash, Bangladesh; Shiho Fukada, Japan; and Zishaan Akbar Latif, India.

The jury panel, which will also decide the ultimate winner, consists of Yuko Yamaji, David Dare Parker, Bruno De Cock, Dirk Claus, and John Novis.

Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor has stepped up to the plate, and has pledged to help Siem Reap flood victims with a grant of 1,000 kilograms of rice.

Christian Sack, the hotel’s general manager, said “Heavy rain and high lake levels have been disastrous to many farming villages. There are people who are not only in extreme need now, but will experience food shortages in the future. It is our duty to do all we can to help, for as long as is needed.”

The rice from Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor will be distributed to residents in Kor Kranh Village, four kilometres outside of Siem Reap.

Kor Kranh is home to more than 150 flooded families, and lies directly between the overflowing Siem Reap river and the ever-rising waters of the Great Lake Tonlé Sap.

The villagers of Kor Kranh are already underprivileged and receive assistance from Grace House Community Centre, which provides education for 250 children and vocational training such as electrician courses and a basket weaving centre.  

The centre’s manager, Bridget Cordory, said the donation from Raffles will provide significant relief to villages. “They’ve been flooded and without the necessities they need for three weeks now, many without homes, and next year’s rice crop has been drowned,” she said. “These villagers have nothing.  They are farmers who have already borrowed money to sow their fields, are in debt, and are so grateful for all the help they can get.”

Good grief! The campus at Bakong Technical College, which is under construction, could be the site of wild revelry on the afternoon of November 11, when the campus will be invaded by 33 American “humanitarians.”

And if that ain’t enough, they will be joined by 44 Canadian Rotarians, not to mention numerous local NGO reps. Here’s hoping things don’t get too out of control.

The driving force behind the college, US-based Ronnie Yimsut, annually rounds up Rotarians and others to do volunteer work on the campus. This year he promises participants the following: “As part of the program, there will be bikes and small gift package distribution to local students and other planned activities, including a guided tour of BTC campus.

“We may get a chance to meet and greet the two BTC sponsored soccer teams (a men’s and women’s team), which will be competing regionally and may even compete nationally, if they can manage to advance! It will be a fun afternoon for everyone.”


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