Man About Twon: 24 May 2013

Man About Twon: 24 May 2013

Elite familial ties between Thailand and Siem Reap were cemented last Saturday with the high-level wedding in Bangkok of former Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat's youngest daughter, Chayapa Wongsawat, to Lynal Nam, an official attached to the Office of the Cambodian Cabinet. Lynal Nam is the son of Uan Wanlee and Siem Reap tycoon, Seang Nam.

Chayapa Wongsawat is also the niece of ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. According to The Nation newspaper in Thailand, Thaksin did not attend the wedding but wished the happy couple well via Skype, after having already blessed the couple in person earlier.

The groom’s father, Seang Nam, is a Siem Reap MP, considered to be a key member of the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP), and reportedly a close aide to PM Hun Sen.

Seang Nam owns the City Hotel on National Road 6 which is a home away from home for Hun Sen – a helicopter pad sits in front of the hotel to facilitate his coming and going.

Seang Nam is also known in Siem Reap for his philanthropic endeavors, and he donated a large parcel of land to the British charity, Honour Village Cambodia,  founded in 2010 by Sue Wiggans, a retired English primary school teacher from the Isle of Wight.

According to Honour Village’s website, “Seang Nam was inspired by Sue’s passion and vision to donate land to the project and become our Patron. Months later, the first buildings of Honour Village Cambodia had been constructed on the 4000 metres of prime land in a beautiful rural setting.”

Seang Nam is the patron and honorary chairman of the organisation.

According to The Nation, the “love story” between Chayapa and Lynal began, “When Chayapa's mum, Yaowapa, met and became close friends with Lynal's mother Uan.”

Uan then met Chayapa, and introduced her to her son.

After two years of courtship, wedding discussions began to take place, but at first Somchai Wongsawat opposed the union.

The Nation reported, “Somchai said that initially he rejected the marriage proposal because his daughter was preparing to sit for an exam to become a public prosecutor. However, he conceded when asked again because his would-be son-in-law was a decent man from a good family and his daughter was confident in their love.”

NGO Pepy Tours has announced that it’s finished its fundraising campaign for the Angkor Hospital for Children, with a bike ride from the Laos border to Siem Reap.

The arduous trek started with six riders and instead of the field diminishing, it increased with 20 riders completing the trek, raising $685 for the hospital.

Choch Chor, a member of the KhmerTalks team which undertook the challenge, fulminated on the meaning of it all in a missive from Pepy.

He said, “It's been such an amazing journey, and given me so much to reflect on. As we get older it seems we have fewer chances to really take a step back from life. It has also made me reflect on WHY we are doing this. When you live in a country which has very limited access to quality health care, it really makes you appreciate the facilities you DO have.

“We have done this bike-ride for Angkor Children's hospital, where many Cambodian's, from all over the country, take their children when they are very sick. This is one of the few hospitals that provides free health care for Cambodian children.”

It’s that time of year again – the buildup to the rainy season. It’s also time to prepare for the annual migration of that all-American institution, The Yale Whiffenpoofs, the oldest collegiate a cappella group in the US. They’ll be performing again at the Victoria Angkor Resort on July 23.