Volume 1 No.7

What's New

Place of Interest

Phrase Of The Month


By: H.P. Raingsy. Pictures by : H.P. Rajana. ( December, 2001 Volume 1 No.7 )

New Ferry Across the Tonle Sap

A new free ferry service that helped thousands to cross back and forth across the Tonle Sap during Water Festival recently will continue and plans are in place to expand it even further. Run by the Phnom Penh Port Authority, the ferry departs Phnom Penh just south of Wat Phnom. Although free for passengers, no cars or motos are allowed on the ferry. Instead parking is provided at 500 riel (or just over 10 cents) per moto and 2000 riel (about 50 cents) per car. As the service expands, more stops are planned for Phnom Penh's river front at Wat Ounolom and Hun Sen Park (near the Cambodiana Hotel).
A further stop will be added across the river in Ksach Kandal District, Kandal Province. The ferry service is part of extensive beautification projects being undertaken by the Municipality of Phnom Penh for both Phnom Penh and Chroy Changvar. The new park and promenade area on the Chroy Changvar side is expected to be fully completed around the end of the year. The three days of boat races on the Tonle Sap marking Water Festival held recently saw 30,000 rowers camping on Chroy Changvar along with their families and supporters. This influx tested the new service right out, but patrons said it came through with flying colours. A convention center is also planned for the peninsular, scheduled for completion in time for an international ASEAN tourism conference in 2003.

Lunar Festival Predicts Drought

Predictions concerning rainfall for the coming season were made as usual at this year's festival of Full Moon Salutation, which coincides with Water Festival, and the results released by the astrologers of the Royal Palace are a cause for concern for farmers in many parts of the country. On the night of the full moon, candles are lit at a special ceremony held inside the palace, a total of 24 candles representing each one of the 24 provinces and municipalities. Rainfall is predicted by the amount of wax which drips from each candle, and from the patterns it forms. But according to the royal astrologers, the Year of the Horse will be a tough one for many. Kampong Cham, Kampong Speu, Koh Kong, Kratie, Mondulkiri, Phnom Penh, Preah Vihear, Rattanakiri, Siem Reap, Svay Rieng and Takeo will all receive very little rain throughout the season, according to the interpretations of the wax drippings made by the royal experts. Only Kep and Kampong Thom are predicted to do well in the rainfall stakes. The predictions are taken very seriously by many Cambodian farmers, and the full results are published in local media and studied and discussed around the country. Venerable Ya Loeung, Second Assistant to the Chief Monk at Samrong Andet Pagoda, Kandal Province, said his pagoda had held a separate ceremony and had come up with similar results. "Perhaps it is not as scientific as modern methods but it is part of our culture so it is important that we keep practicing it," he said, and urged farmers not to give up hope based solely on this ancient method, but rather to incorporate it into their calculations.

Aviation Law Passed

A draft law strengthening penalties and improving security concerning civil aviation was passed by the Council of Ministers recently. The draft law, containing 65 articles, sets new penalties for "crimes concerning civil aviation" and outlines a minimum penalty of one year's imprisonment and a $513 fine for infringements and a new maximum of 20 years in prison and a $5130 fine.

Ramadan Celebrated

Mid-November saw Cambodia's ethnic Muslim population, the Chams, observe the international Islamic tradition of Ramadan. Muslims fast during daylight hours for the duration of Ramadan, which commemorates the first revelation of the Koran to Mohamad. Cambodia has a population of about 200,000 ethnic Muslims. The total population of Cambodia is approximately 12 million.