Man about town: 26 July 2013

Man about town: 26 July 2013

The American Embassy has announced the 2013 grant recipients for the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation in Cambodia. Stéphane de Greef, fresh from his high profile coverage in the UK Telegraph, will be chuffed because the team that he’s part of, the Archaeology and Development Foundation, will receive $47,000 to implement its ‘Documentation of Newly Discovered Angkorian Sites on Kulen Mountain’ proposal.

According to the embassy, “The project will map the newly discovered Angkorian archeological sites on Kulen Mountain, implement emergency preservation measures to protect the sites, inventory all artifacts discovered at the sites, describe and classify the sites, and demarcate a series of special protection zones around the most threatened sites.”

But the big winner is the well-heeled World Monuments Fund, which will receive $449,995 to continue its conservation and restoration work at Phnom Bakheng temple.

This, says the embassy, resorting to jargon, is “an integrated project that gives equal weight to training, conservation, documentation, and creating a visitor experience. “

The press release states that this year the World Monuments Fund will, “Focus on restoring the Buddha’s footprint, creating protective barriers, and erecting signage to guide and educate visitors at the site.”

Since 2004, the fund has received almost $1.9 million from the Ambassadors Fund and other US government sources to preserve Phnom Bakheng.

And just in case you’re interested, another press release reveals that a Terex CBR 24 Plus self-erecting tower crane is being used to help restore Phnom Bakheng.

Siem Reap’s travel industry mavens are continually struggling to find ways to get rid of the low season low by convincing tourists that it doesn’t rain that much during the rainy season.

Perhaps they can take a tip from Myanmar l agency, Khiri Travel which promises to give upcountry tourists a free beer on each day that it rains for more than ten minutes, valid until September 30.

Khiri Travel said, “The promotion has been designed to boost demand for trips in Myanmar in the period when travel agents and consumer perceptions is that ‘it rains,’ and therefore is not a good period to come.

“Will it rain free beer in Myanmar? Meteorological evidence shows that it remains relatively dry.”

The fourth annual International Conference on Special Topics in Khmer Studies will be held in Siem Reap on December 6-8 this year.

The conference will focus art history and visual cultures, and the theme is ‘plov veach kom borss borng,’ which of course everybody knows is a Khmer proverb meaning, ‘Don’t abandon the indirect road.’ The theme means that academics will look at divergent approaches to Cambodian visual cultures, and seek “to promote scholarship which tends to be positioned outside the traditional conventions of Khmer art history.”

The conference is jointly organised by Apsara, l’École française d'Extrême-Orient, Friends of Khmer Culture Incorporated, The Center for Khmer Studies and The University of Sydney.

The conference committee comprises Julia Estève, Damian Evans, Helen Ibbitson Jessup, Im Sokrithy, Khoun Khun-Neay, Martin Polkinghorne, Siyonn Sophearith, Dominique Soutif and Krisna Uk.

Rumours keep reverberating that the Old Market is to be extensively renovated. But not so says Siem Reap City governor Tep Bun Chhay. He told reporter Thik Kaliyann, “We will keep the Old Market in the same shape as before, and we don’t have any future plan to renovate it.”

Add this to the list of oddball names for Temple Town hotels: the Siem Reap Bat Hotel. According to this establishment’s website, it’s not a haven for globe-trotting bats, but is, “One of the leading business and pleasure hotels which is ideally located on Angkor Wat road and close to Angkor Wat temple.”


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