Sunday, 14 November 2010
By Aung Hla Tun
Activists speak under portraits of Myanmar's detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the office of the her National League for Democracy.(NLD) in Yangon November 12, 2010. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi walked out of her home to rapturous cheers from thousands of supporters on Saturday after the country's military rulers released her from seven years of house arrest.
"People must work in unison. Only then can we achieve our goal," the Nobel Peace Prize-winner said, smiling as she clenched the top of the red-iron gate bordering her crumbling lakeside mansion, her hair pinned with flowers from a supporter.
"When the time comes to talk, do not be quiet," she added.
The slightly built, soft spoken Suu Kyi has been held under house arrest or in prison for 15 of the past 21 years due to her steadfast opposition to nearly half a century of military rule.
Her latest house arrest term expired on Saturday, but it was not clear she would be freed until evening when police withdrew from their posts outside her home, removed barricades of cement and razor wire and let her meet supporters.
In August of last year a court extended her arrest after ruling that she had broken a law protecting the state against "subversive elements" by allowing an American intruder to stay at her home for two nights.
Known simply as "The Lady" by her countrymen, Suu Kyi gives Myanmar a powerful pro-democracy voice days after a widely criticized election.
Her release is sure to rekindle debate over Western sanctions against the resource-rich country of 50 million people nestled strategically between China and India.
After speaking to supporters, the 65-year-old daughter of assassinated independence hero General Aung San returned to her home for the first meeting with her National League for Democracy party in seven years.
It was unclear whether she will now face restrictions on her movements. Through a lawyer, she said on Wednesday she would only agree to be freed if all restrictions were dropped.
World leaders applauded her release and urged the military junta in the former Burma to free all of its estimated 2,100 political prisoners.
"The United States welcomes her long overdue release," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "It is time for the Burmese regime to release all political prisoners, not just one."
European Commission President Jose-Manuel Barroso urged Myanmar to allow Suu Kyi to participate in the political process. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed regret that she was excluded from last Sunday's election.
Supporters gathered near her house throughout the day, many chanting "Release Aung San Suu Kyi" and "Long live Aung San Suu Kyi." Some wore T-shirts emblazoned with messages pledging to stand with her.
The junta may be hoping that her release will bring a degree of international legitimacy after a November 7 election, the first in 20 years, in which an army-backed party won in a choreographed landslide condemned as rigged.
It could also lead to a review of Western sanctions on the reclusive country, which a little over 50 years ago was one of Southeast Asia's most promising and wealthiest, the world's biggest rice exporter and a major energy producer.
Suu Kyi is still believed to have the mesmerising influence over the public that helped her National League for Democracy win the last election in 1990 in a landslide, a result the military ignored.
She is capable of drawing big crowds to the gates of her home in Yangon and with a few words could rob the election of any semblance of legitimacy. She plans to meet with supporters at her party's headquarters on Sunday.
Experts say the junta would likely need to release more political prisoners before the West lifts sanctions, which largely target Myanmar's leaders in a country where the military leadership controls nearly every industry.
They have been heavily criticized as ineffective, allowing the generals to monopolize the economy for themselves with little competition.
Suu Kyi previously backed sanctions but has since reviewed her stance. Analysts say she could mediate between the generals and Western states that could face pressure from multinational companies to roll sanctions back after her release.
Myanmar is rich in natural gas, timber and minerals, with enormous infrastructure needs. But it also ranks among the world's most corrupt countries with ethnic militias overseeing the world's second-largest opium crop after Afghanistan and about a third of the population living below the poverty line.
China, Thailand, India and Singapore are already big investors in Myanmar. Chinese companies poured in $8 billion from January to May, mostly in energy-related projects, according to official Myanmar statistics.
"Suu Kyi could hold consultations with diplomats about this," Derek Tonkin, a former British ambassador to Thailand and prominent Myanmar analyst, said of Suu Kyi's possible role in mediating between the junta and the West.
"U.S. policy depends on whatever she says and the EU will follow closely. Her reappearance is something that will be utilised by them at a time when the U.S. and EU are looking for some kind of engagement," he added.
She was last freed in May 2002 and immediately travelled the country to meet supporters, drawing huge crowds as well as increasing hostility from backers of the military government.
A year later Suu Kyi and her convoy were ambushed and attacked by government-affiliated thugs, according to rights groups. Dissidents in exile suspect more than 70 of her supporters were killed.
(Additional reporting by Martin Petty in Bangkok; Writing by Jason Szep; Editing by Noah Barkin)
Dengue Fever, a Cambodian psychedelic rock group, will provide a live score to the stop-motion film “The Lost World” in Royce Hall today as a part of the UCLA Live concert series. The band was formed by Ethan Holtzman and his brother, inspired by Holtzman’s trip in 1997 to the Southeast Asian country.
Courtesy of DAVE PERKES
Courtesy of DAVE PERKES
Cambodian-influenced psychedelic band provides live score for classic silent movie
By NIRAN SOMASUNDARAM
Updated: November 12, 2010
Ethan Holtzman can still recall the first time he heard 1960s-era Cambodian pop music. The songs buzzed through a badly tuned radio as Holtzman was sitting in a jeep winding its way through the ruins of Angkor, Cambodia, while his friend sat in the front seat suffering from a bout of dengue fever. Holtzman left Cambodia with his luggage crammed with tapes full of Cambodian music, tapes that would later inspire him and his brother to start a band.
Holtzman’s band, aptly named Dengue Fever, will perform tonight in Royce Hall as part of the UCLA Live concert series.
Dengue Fever was formed in 2001 by Holtzman, keyboardist, and his brother, guitarist and co-vocalist, Zac Holtzman. The band plays a fusion of ’60s style Cambodian pop and psychedelic rock, writing many of their songs in Khmer (the official language of Cambodia), while maintaining traditional rock instrumentation.
“We’re basically a Cambodian-style psychedelic rock band,” Ethan Holtzman said.
In addition to the Holtzman brothers, the band features Senon Williams on bass, Paul Smith on drums, David Ralicke on saxophone and Chhom Nimol, a Cambodian-born singer, as lead vocalist.
Cambodian pop music of the 1960s had heavy western influence, leading the traditional Khmer Cambodian sound to blend with rock and roll. Unfortunately, the music died out during the oppressive Khmer Rouge regime that ruled Cambodia during the 1970s.
Dengue Fever has resurrected the style, with many of their early recordings being covers of old Cambodian pop standards.
“It’s great to see that the style of music has not been completely lost because of the Khmer Rouge,” said sociology professor Patrick Heuveline, a self-described fan of the band. “It’s great to see the youth reviving the music.”
Today’s performance will differ from the band’s typical concerts. The band will be providing musical accompaniment to a showing of the 1925 stop-motion silent film “The Lost World.” The film follows a group of explorers who venture to a Venezuelan plateau inhabited by dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures.
According to film professor Jonathan Kuntz, a musical score is an integral part of viewing a silent movie.
“Silent films are never actually dead silent, they always include some form of musical accompaniment,” Kuntz said. “Without the music, you could not have a good silent film experience.”
Dengue Fever was invited to create a score for the “The Lost World” by the San Francisco International Film Festival. The band performed their original score for the festivalgoers, and it was met with praise and standing ovations.
“This is a unique show, and it’s only our third time performing it,” Holtzman said.
Creating a soundtrack for the film was a new experience for Dengue Fever. The band incorporated instruments they don’t normally use, such as the accordion, the flute and the trombone.
“Our music is kind of exotic, so it really fits the film,” Holtzman said. “There are some relaxing scenes, chaotic fighting scenes and lots of chances for improvisation. We really enjoyed scoring a movie.”
Dengue Fever said that creating and experimenting with music for an entire film is one of their greatest artistic creations.
“People who come to the show will be sonically and visually pleased,” Holtzman said. “It’s a great movie with some great music.”
All the Arts, All the Time
November 13, 2010
Architect Bill Greaves stood on a bluff outside Sihanoukville, Cambodia, and admired an elegant white and peach building perched high above the beaches and guesthouses that have made this seaside spot into a tourist boomtown. Inspired by the dong raik, a pole used by rural Cambodians to carry loads on their shoulders, the building seemed to float in the air, its concrete-and-brick second floor held aloft by a complex web of hidden beams.
“It’s a gem, but it’s not very well known,” Greaves said of the SKD Brewery offices, built in 1968 by Cambodia’s most gifted and visionary architect, Vann Molyvann.
In the 1960s, under the iron-fisted patronage of Prince Norodom Sihanouk, Vann Molyvann helped transform Cambodia from a sleepy former French colony into one of the most architecturally arresting countries in Asia. But after surviving decades of civil war and the terror of Khmer Rouge rule, the architect’s buildings are being demolished as Cambodia seeks to rebuild.
Although Vann Molyvann, 83, is back in Phnom Penh after years of living overseas, there is little he can do to prevent his work from disappearing. In 2008, two of his greatest works, the National Theater and the Council of Ministers building, were demolished. In 2001, the government sold his Olympic Stadium to a Taiwanese developer, who altered the complex’s drainage system to the point that it floods frequently.
In response, admirers such as Greaves, art historian Darryl Collins, who co-wrote the only book in English about 1950s and 1960s Cambodian architecture, and architect Geoff Pyle, who founded an organization that offers guided tours of Phnom Penh’s notable buildings, are working to highlight Vann Molyvann’s importance. He remains virtually unknown in Cambodia, where he is not taught in the country’s high schools and universities, and his international profile is low.
For the complete Arts & Books article, click here.
— Dustin Roasa
Photo: Chaktomuk Hall on the banks of the Tonle Sap River in Phnom Penh, completed in 1961. The 570-seat auditorium's structure, inspired by an unfolded hand-held fan, is still in use as a performance space.
Credit: Courtesy of Vann Molyvann
Cooperation between the Red Cross Societies of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia will help improve living conditions for people in the border regions.
Chairman of the Vietnam Red Cross Society, Tran Ngoc Tang, said this at a conference of the Vietnam-Lao-Cambodia Red Cross Societies in Hanoi on November 13.
He said leaders of the three societies agreed with the proposal for cooperation in the 2011-2015 period.
Under the proposal, border provinces in the three countries will work closely together to share information about natural disasters and epidemics and help each other improve healthcare service.
The Vietnam Red Cross Association will help Laos and Cambodia with Red Cross staff training and provide free medical examination and treatment for Lao and Cambodian people living on the border with Vietnam.
Since the cooperation agreement between the three societies was signed four years ago, Vietnam has assisted Laos and Cambodia with healthcare services and charitable activities valued at more than VND8 billion.
One of the leading Hotels in Kep, the Champey Inn, is a three star accommodation that offers guests with optimum hospitality solutions. The contemporary architecture of the Champey Inn Hotel in Kep is a major landmark in the area for....
PRLog (Press Release) – Nov 12, 2010 – Kep (Khmer: កែប, literally: "Saddle of the Horse") or Kep-sur-Mer in French is a southwestern province of Cambodia. It is subdivided into two districts (srŏk): Kep and Damnak Chang'aeur. Kep, which is located just a few kilometers from Ha Tien, the border with Vietnam, used to be Cambodia's most popular and prestigious beach town but has fallen on hard times in recent years. From the early 1900s until the 1960s, Kep was a thriving resort town for the French and Cambodian elite. A major misconception about Kep is that during the Khmer Rouge years, much of Kep's French colonial era mansions and villas were destroyed. The truth is that it were the locals, being in need of money and food, that stripped down the villas so that could exchange all these valuable parts in Vietnam for rice and cash. Many of Kep's villas are abandoned, but some of the town's former splendor is still apparent. The ocean is lined with wide sidewalks and large statues. King Sihanouk built a home overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, but it was never occupied and now sits empty. A good, paved road connects the town with Kampot. Kep's beaches are mostly mangrove and black rock rather than the white sands of Sihanoukville. Several islands lie off the coast, Koh Thonsáy is just a short boat ride away.
The town is well known for seafood - particularly the crab. In addition, Kep is home to an extensive national park.
One of the leading Hotels in Kep, the Champey Inn, is a three star accommodation that offers guests with optimum hospitality solutions. The contemporary architecture of the Champey Inn Hotel in Kep is a major landmark in the area for the relaxing elegance is something that strikes your eye once you set foot here. The Champey Inn Hotel in Kep comes with a wide range of facilities which contribute to the escalating number of day trippers here. Situated at a convenient location, the Champey Inn Hotel is suitable for business and leisure travelers alike.
More about Champey Inn Hotel: http://www.tourismindochina.com/cambodia/hotels/Kep/841/ ...
Cambodia tours http://www.tourismindochina.com/cambodia/tours
Vietnam tours http://www.tourismindochina.com/vietnam/tours
Laos tours http://www.tourismindochina.com/laos/tours
By Alicia Rancilio (CP)
FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2009 file photo, John Walsh, host of "America's Most Wanted," attends the premiere of "The Stepfather" at the School of Visual Arts Theater in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file)
NEW YORK, N.Y. — John Walsh has been hunting "America's Most Wanted" fugitives since 1988. On Saturday he goes undercover in Southeast Asia to investigate the sex trafficking of Cambodian children.
Accompanied by British police officer Jim Gamble, Walsh says he was shocked by what he saw.
He and Gamble went into a bar where there were 50 to 60 girls, Walsh said.
"Within two minutes a madam came up to us and said, 'What are you looking for?' and Jim said, 'We're looking for young girls.' She brought over three or four girls that were (about) 12 or 13 years old — very, very young."
Gamble told her they wanted younger girls, Walsh said. He said the woman replied, " 'What do you want? We have 6- and 7-year-old boys and girls. I can arrange that off premises.' It was disgusting and heartbreaking."
Walsh said Western pedophiles, from the United States, United Kingdom and Germany travel east to Cambodia as international sex tourists, looking to have sex with children.
He says the show choose Cambodia because it's cheap to buy a sex slave there.
"I saw many Western men that had come there not to go to the Buddhist temples, not to come there to look at the beaches, not to do anything at all but to molest and have sex with children. It's wrong, it's illegal and it has to change," he said.
Walsh said the episode will be a "tough show to watch" but said it's important to expose the reality that children are sexually assaulted by predators — many of whom are from the United States.
So far, the show has captured 1,135 criminals in its 24 seasons.
"America's Most Wanted" airs Saturdays at 9pm ET/PT on Fox.
12 Nov 10
by Reshni Ratnam
Trish Wright and Petrina Bowden.
12 Nov 10
by Reshni Ratnam
Trish Wright and Petrina Bowden.
ST Lucia’s Patricia Wright is calling on westsiders to donate money or dental supplies to children in Cambodia.
Morningside’s Richmond Road Dental colleagues Petrina Bowden, from Windsor, and Patricia Wright have been making regular trips to Sihanoukville, a town in Cambodia, to fix the teeth of streetkids at community shelter Mlop Tapang.
They work with donated equipment, train shelter staff and educate the children about the importance of good oral hygiene.
Dr Wright has travelled to the town several times, with her next trip scheduled in December next year.
But Dr Wright is urging locals to help out with donations where possible as one of her fellow colleagues plans to head to Cambodia early next year.
Dr Bowden said she became involved in 2007 after hearing about Mlop Tapang during a business trip to Bangkok, Thailand.
Dr Wright said there were many children in the village that suffered from dental problems.
To donate phone Dr Bowden on 0418 787 008 or Dr Wright on 0410 404 325.