Subscribe Search

Search form

Where'd the love go at the Peace Café?

Where'd the love go at the Peace Café?

Siem Reap’s small but vibrant alternative scene, normally a haven of love, peace and mediation, has been ripped apart with fightin’, fussin’ and feudin’. The angst is mainly over an unseemly business name dispute revolving around the iconic Singing Tree Café, that long-time haven of local hippiness.

The short version of the saga is that last November, the founders of the Singing Tree Café, Michael Batura and his wife Fin Sovvany, sold the business to Raja Yoga owner Maureen Chen and husband Tom.

The café was to be run by Maureen and Tom and a new business – a vegetarian sandwich and juice bar in the Alley West called Singing Tree Corner – was to be a partnership between the Chens and Batura and his wife.

But the partnership has now been dissolved due to a bitter dispute over the ownership of the Singing Tree name.

Now, and try to keep up, the original Singing Tree Café has re-emerged from the ashes of the mini-war as the Peace Café, under the ownership of the Chens.

Meanwhile, with the Chens no longer partners in the juice bar, this business has been renamed the Singing Tree Café.

Last year on November 27, Michael Batura told 7Days that the business partnership with the Chens was a good deal. He said, “That we found like-minded people to keep it going and take it further is actually really exciting.”

But last week, Batura posted a note at the Singing Tree about the disintegration of the relationship with the Chens. The notice said, in part, “Singing Tree Café owners and staff would like you to know that we are not connected to them in any way, and take no responsibility for their claims, their actions, or their food.

“We regret if you have been confused…”


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • Phnom Penh smothered in smelly, dangerous haze as landfill fire continues burning

    A putrid haze that has bedeviled Phnom Penh since Monday night will likely continue as a landfill in Dangkao district continued to burn on Friday, creating health risks for the capital's residents. Workers at the Dangkao landfill on site on Friday attributed the fire, which

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent to the family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria Police last week, appears to be written