Man about town: 18 October 2013

Man about town: 18 October 2013

US society darling Somaly Mam was outted on the weekend by a local newspaper for allegedly fabricating, or making up, a sex slave story that helped her and her organisation gain international prominence, not to mention swags of funding.

But last Friday, the day before that story was published, a press release was issued in New York announcing, “The Estee Lauder Companies Partners with Somaly Mam Foundation and AFESIP to Launch the Somaly Mam Beauty Salon in Cambodia.”

Interestingly, Insider has been trying to obtain information about this salon from May 22 this year, only to be constantly put off by assurances that the organisation will “circle back” soon. On August 29, Amy J. Merrill, director of partnerships and business development for the Somaly Mam Foundation, emailed saying, “We're currently developing our media strategy surrounding the opening with the project partners. Once we establish a timeline for media release we can work with you on the questions.”

Last Friday’s press release, which wasn’t sent to Insider, revealed, “The full service beauty salon, located in Siem Reap, Cambodia, will cater to tourists and locals alike, while providing survivors of sexual slavery and human trafficking with the education and vocational training needed to achieve socioeconomic independence.

“Leveraging top beauty experts and products from The Estee Lauder Companies' prestige brands, such as Bobbi Brown, Bumble and bumble, and Clinique, the Somaly Mam Beauty Salon will offer a world-class education in high-touch beauty services in hair care, makeup application and nail treatments.”

The press release said that the Estee Lauder Companies will fund the setup and first three years of the salon's operations, hoping to have the salon financially self-sustaining by 2016.”

Estee Lauder brands participating in the project include Bobbi Brown, Bumble and bumble, and Clinique.

The press release added, “Hair care and styling products will be exclusively provided by Bumble and bumble. T3, a professional hair tool brand frequently used by Bumble and bumble's backstage team, provided the salon with combs, brushes and heat styling tools. Visiting Bumble and bumble stylists will provide specialized training sessions twice a year.”

Bobbi Brown Cosmetics is outfitting the salon with makeup stations, and a full range of products and brushes through its Singapore-based team.

Clinique, “the global expert in Dermatologist Developed, Allergy Tested, Fragrance Free skin care,” will provide some of its top-selling products, and will educate women on skin physiology.

It’s perhaps ironic that the NGO’s seeming reliance on freedom from sex slavery through expensive make-up comes hot on the heels of news that it allegedly makes up false stories about sex slave victims.

Phnom Penh’s popular Flicks Community Movie House will hopefully establish an outlet in Siem Reap next year. The Flicks main man Ramon Stoppelenburg emailed Insider’s Miranda Glasser telling her, “We have just opened The Flicks 2 in Phnom Penh one month ago and me and my partners have decided to open a Flicks Community Movie House in Siem Reap in 2014. However that's all we can announce. We'll have to scout for locations and see where it would all work best. Then we'll need a few months to build/renovate a location and only then we can open up.

US largesse: Siem Reap is one of three provinces to benefit from a $20 million three-year grant from the US Department of Agriculture. This means meals will be provided to 153,000 pre-school and primary school children, as well as take-home tucker for 12,000 poor students in grades four to six, in 863 primary schools in Siem Reap, Battambang and Kampong Thom.

Golf Tournament: The FCC Hotels Group is staging its ninth annual FCC Nations Cup golf tournament at Angkor Golf Resort on October 26-27.


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