Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia’s Olympic committee again calls for recognition of l’bokator



Cambodia’s Olympic committee again calls for recognition of l’bokator

A practitioner demonstrates l’bokator at a tournament last year.
A practitioner demonstrates l’bokator at a tournament last year.

Cambodia’s Olympic committee again calls for recognition of l’bokator

The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia has resubmitted its plea to UNESCO for recognition of Angkoran era martial art l’bokator as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity, a status three other local traditions have enjoyed since 2008.

A formal application accompanied by historical evidence to prove the existence of the centuries-old practice in Khmer society, along with the Royal Government’s commitment to promote and preserve the martial art, was handed over to UNESCO last week.

Cambodia’s renewed bid follows several clarifications and additional information sought by UNESCO regarding historical, cultural and social perspectives when considering a plea made at around the same time last year.

The documents presented include a short video and a collection of photographs depicting the nuances of the unique fighting style, and letters of support from several well-regarded social and cultural organisations.

Officials at the Ministry of Culture and an expert from UNESCO in Cambodia scrutinised the documents before they were submitted, according to NOCC secretary-general Vath Chamroeun.

This attempt conclusively deals with several issues UNESCO raised after the first NOCC attempt in 2012 to seek recognition for this nearly 1,000-year-old martial art which is among the world’s most ancient fighting techniques.

“There is a strategic change in the way we are presenting our case to UNESCO this time. The Ministry of Culture coming into this is very significant, so is the steadfast support from the World Martial Arts Union, of which Cambodia is a member,” Chamroeun said.

The cornerstone of Cambodia’s submission is that l’bokator was an extremely popular cultural activity among the people of the Khmer empire and its empirical and historical value must be preserved forever.

After careful examination of the documents by field experts, UNESCO is likely to convey its preliminary ruling by July or September, with the final verdict expected in December 2018.

The NOCC included l’bokator as one of the 22 disciplines in the first ever National Games last year with the logical next big step being its entry to the SEA Games as a medal sport when Cambodia hosts the regional sporting event in 2023.

Over the past nine years UNESCO has recognised three of Cambodia’s most admired traditions, the Royal Ballet, sbek thom (shadow puppetry) and teanh prot (a tug of war activity traditionally taken part in at harvest festivals).

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Lost in translation: ‘Starvation’ in capital’s designated red zones

    “DACH bay” is a Khmer slang meaning a “loss of income”, that could also be literally translated to «deprived of rice”, which alludes to starvation. However, civil society organisation (CSO) officials have independently confirmed the government’s prior assertions that there are no cases of