FLOOD OF GOODWILL
Siem Reap local Ben Gooding checks in to file this observation about the Big Wet that hit Temple Town this month. He writes: “Just a quick note to say that the recent flooding in Siem Reap wasn’t all bad: as I was wading my way to work the other morning, I noticed a minivan splashing and beeping its way down one of the town’s many submerged boulevards.
“Ironically, the cause of all this noise was emblazoned with the logo of one of the many God-botheration-type NGO’s we have on offer. It even had ‘Care’ in its title.
“Filled with Christian charity, the driver, no doubt on his way to assist the needy, was bearing down on other commuters so that they would either speed up or get out of his way, creating a tsunami of spray for anyone on either side of him.
“I was greatly heartened to see a fellow splashee, a Cambodian man on a motorcycle with his young child, turn around and give said driver a choice bollocking (in English) over his rudeness.
“What a delight to see missionary zeal, in its truest form, demonstrating to the heathen a thing or two about civil behaviour. ‘Care’ indeed.”
Potentially outraged NGO readers please note: this is Ben’s opinion, so address complaints to him.
HONG KONG STARS IN TOWN
Two Hong Kong stars of stage and screen spent eleven days in Siem Reap this month, shooting a short film for the NGOs Plan Hong Kong and Plan International Cambodia.
The Hong Kong celebs were actress Louisa So Yuk Wa, and actor and Cantopop singer Ekin Cheng, (aka Noodle Cheng, formerly Dior).
The two performers are goodwill ambassadors of Plan Hong Kong, and the film, which will be shown as a fundraiser in Hong Kong, shows the tough lives of kids in the districts of Srei Snam, Angkor Chum, Banteay Srei and Angkor Thom.
AKP reported that the film portrays the daily hardships endured by these underprivileged children, and shows them collecting mushrooms and hunting wild animals in the forest.
BIG BUCKS FOR PHNOM BAKHENG
The World Monuments Fund has received a major grant from the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation for projects at Phnom Bakheng.
Built between the late-ninth and early tenth centuries as a state temple for a city later absorbed into Angkor, Phnom Bakheng is one of the oldest temples in the Angkor Archaeological Park.
The award of $450,000 will complete a conservation project started in 2009 with a prior $1 million Ambassadors Fund grant.
World Monument Funds says “The temple is one of the most popular at Angkor, especially at sunset, for the view of Angkor Wat. Heavy foot traffic from tourists has created serious conservation problems at the site, which are being addressed with the Ambassadors Fund support as well as an additional $150,000 committed by WMF through its Robert W. Wilson Challenge to Conserve Our Heritage.
“In addition to conserving the temple, WMF’s project, in collaboration with Apsara National Authority, is reviewing all needs at the site, from management of rainwater runoff to improving the visitor experience.”