What's New
By: Jon Bugge.Picture by:Jon Bugge ( September, 2002 Volume 2 No.9 )


This charismatic venue is a mixture of traditional and contemporary art and design. It offers the best of both and with a splash of French style. Situated on the highly fashionable street 240 - this gallery will surely be on the list of things to do on the street. Opened by Frederic Rol he says: "There was never a specific opening but it was open if anyone expressed interest. I guess it has been six months now, although even now it is not fully open." Slowly emerging as the market dictates this gallery will play host to a wide array of exhibitions; from paintings to sculpture and everything between. While there already are many galleries in town, there are few with the unpretentious and straightforward ambience of Le Lizard Bleu. The secret of a good gallery is in the space and how you create it. In this case this has been achieved with obvious results. The gallery can be found at house 61, street 240.


At first there would seem to be nothing new about a second hand shop opening up, however it is a western style second hand shop. They will collect, sort out your stuff and then sell it for you through their shop. They take the items in commission, so they do all the actual work! It is found at number 14, Street 450, off street 123. Its grand opening was on 18th August and attracted a degree of interest. With an inordinate amount of garage sales and expatriates leaving it seems they have hit on a winner. Rather than clogging up classified sections with garage sales and the like - this new shop will deal with it all for you: a simple solution and one that will benefit everyone. The ability to trade in quality second hand goods is surely a novelty and one that will catch on.


Throwing rocks through windows with answers wrapped round them on paper, to the more classic writing information on the hand or arm, are methods often used by students wishing to do better than they might otherwise. A new computerized system will tackle any problems of discrimination. This allows for across the board continuity and consistency within the marking process. The results of the examination is put into a computer and then the computer runs a programme, which passes those with high enough scores and fails those not making the mark. This system will be in place primarily for the university entrance exams. In effect this means that students will be selected by the high school examination, rather than the individual examinations set by each university. This was outlined in the Cambodia Australia National Examination Project (CANEP) Bulletin. The student puts on the application form their two choices and the university sets the pass mark. The advancement has come in the computer software. This now can run Khmer names in alphabetical order. Their programmer Mr. Meas Chandy illustrates: "previously computers could not automatically run Khmer names in alphabetical order, instead it was done by hand." In 2002 it is estimated there will be 47,570 applicants, 80 examination centres and 1,927 examination rooms.
The results for this year are out. The total number of successful students who will go to university is 14,000. Whilst considered par for the course within much of the world, this computerized system is a novel development within the kingdom. Not necessarily being popular with the students - it will eliminate any chance of any "clerical errors" resulting in the wrong scores for certain students. Time to put the rocks away and stop writing on your arm - try studying instead.


A new book, which examines the effect of the Khmer Rouge regime on a minority group within the kingdom, has been published. The Cham minority, or indigenous Muslims, constitute about half a million people. The book, called "Oukoubah", focuses on the suffering of these people during this dark time of the kingdoms history. Evidence suggests that there was discrimination and victimization of this minority, as the author Ysa Osman points out. He highlights the figure that 71%, of the pre-1975 Cham population, were killed during the regime's rule of terror. The research was carried out with the support of the American State Department, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour (DRL) and the government of the Netherlands. The actual publishing was achieved with the help of Human Rights Project Funds of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, through the British Embassy in Phnom Penh.


In a ceremony, during the Full Moon Salutation, last year there were predictions for the present drought. (As was published in Leisure Volume One Issue 7 December 2001.) The ceremony was held during the Full Moon of the Water Festival. The method of divination is that 24 candles - representing the 24 provinces - are lit. The amount and shape of the wax that drips from these candles is studied and a prediction based on these factors. Astrologers had predicted The Year of The Horse would not be plentiful. Their predictions have come true with horrific accuracy. They highlighted Kampong Speu, Kampong Cham, Koh Kong, Kratie, Mondulkiri, Phnom Penh, Rattanakiri, Siem Reap, Svay Rieng and Takeo provinces, as those who will suffer drought. Kep and Kampong Thom however would receive the required rainfall. The figures, released during August, show that only a small fraction of the arable land, within the kingdom, has received enough rainfall to make it productive. At the time Venerable Ya Loeung - Second Assistant to the Chief Monk at Samrong Andet Pagoda in Kandal Province - is quoted as saying: "perhaps it is not as scientific as modern methods." However it would seem that ancient traditions foretold of the current crisis with much more accuracy than anyone expected.


The end of October may see the launch of an exciting new game of chance. Still cloaked in a degree of secrecy, the name is not yet announced. The Khaou Chuly Group has been in negotiations with Singaporean partners to establish a new version of a lottery. In reality, it is more than a lottery: it is a chance for ordinary people to really strive for success. The payout will be like no other in the kingdom. The odds are immensely favourable: for every three tickets sold, there will be a staggering two winners. Obviously not all winners will win the jackpot. The prizes range from 1000 riel - the cost of one ticket - to the jackpot of 20,000 dollars. The proposed joint venture company behind this newfangled contest plans to donate a percentage of their earnings to local community based charities as well. Oknha Khaou Phallaboth is finalizing the details with the Singaporean partners. Renowned for their scrupulous dealings and unfaltering honesty, the Singaporean input is sure to be positive. Alas, hope is coming for the ordinary man in the streets.