Leisure Greetings

Dear Friends,


The rain falling over Cambodia is a curtain of change. Speed is no longer an option for impatient travelers. Rivers of water rushing through the streets have drowned any possibility of speeding through life. And time once spent enjoying the sun outside now must be passed waiting for a break in the rain.

A twist of timing is not always a bad thing, however. Thirsty plants are rejoicing, as are small children who delight in the cool bath falling from the sky. Rainy days are perfect for curling up with a good book or magazine, like Leisure. Knowing full well that boredom is better relieved by a busy mind rather than idle hands, we have prepared a special edition for you to flip through.

Chefs in the crowd will enjoy trying the natural recipes posted in our pages. Don't be deterred by their abnormal ingredients. A little imagination and a lot of confidence will cook up a stellar meal fit for a king.

King Norodom Sihanouk still is out of the country, tending to his health and wellness in China. While the country prepares for a potential outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, the king is battling with health troubles of his own. Always dedicated to Cambodia, however, His Majesty has maintained contact through written letters with his citizens, issuing random missives when so moved.

The king's absence from the country was felt at the Royal Plowing Ceremony, which he normally resides over to mark the start of the harvest season. Two royal oxen were set out to graze in front of the National Museum in mid-May to munch on rice, beans, corn, grass, sesame, water and wine and determine which crop will reap the most benefits this year. One ox was abnormally reserved in its eating habits, taking only a few nibbles from the lot. But the other ate nearly all the beans and ignored the rice. This selection does not bode well for the rice harvest, according to the royal astrologer Kang Ken.

It doesn't take an astrologer to determine that cows aren't the only hungry beings in Cambodia. Children too are looking for food. Malnutrition is a major concern for Cambodian children, who suffer from stunted growth and exaggerated forms of common diseases. June is children's health month around the world, making it especially important for our nation's eyes to turn not only towards health issues like SARS, but developmental issues, like the physical and mental growth of children.

The political system is growing at a rapid rate these days. Twenty-three parties are registered to run in the national elections in May, kick-starting the campaign season with a furious bang. Media savvy will come into play this year, as parties now may purchase airtime to advertise their merits. New karaoke videos played on TV also are boosting public awareness about the importance of political activity.

Politics are on the front burner worldwide. Though politicians and their promises are important to social change, daily survival is more important to most Cambodians. The country is ready for a change, and is pleased to have you to help it happen. It is you, Readers, which help strengthen Cambodia's bid for a brighter future. We welcome you into our pages and our hearts.

Be well,
You can either fax (855 23) 213 033 or email your feedback to opinion@leisurecambodia.com