What's New
By : Phoung Thida, Picture by : John Seow ( October, 2001 Volume 1 No.5 )

SEA Games Gold

Cambodia clinched the kingdom's first gold medal in an international competition in nearly 40 years last month when the petanque team took gold at the 21st South East Asian (SEA) Games, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Duch Sopjhoan and Ke Leng, the two women gold medallists in their early thirties said they were overjoyed and happily dedicated their victory to Cambodia and the Cambodian people. It was Cambodia's first gold medal in an international competition since 1965. The games proved very profitable for the kingdom. Cambodia bagged seven medals in total _ one gold, one silver and five bronze. They included a silver in boxing and two bronze in Taekwando. The petanque team was responsible for snaring all remaining medals.
Petanque is a game similar to bowls played with heavy metal balls. Competitors vie to bowl a metal ball closest to a marked game line. The Cambodian team was able to outdo all the other teams to clinch the gold medal.

TVK beams worldwide

National broadcaster TVK has officially announced that its new Satellite Unit is now operational and both rural Cambodians and audiences in 126 countries across four continents can now access the best in Cambodian entertainment. The September 20 announcement followed a successful two-year trial of the satellite. Vice Director General of TVK, Mr Him Suong, said he was echoing Prime Minister Hun Sen in announcing that the new technology would have "positive impacts on poverty reduction and sustainable development". He said TVK broadcasts for nine hours a day, from Monday to Friday, and 17 hours on Saturday and Sundays. Programs span all aspects of Cambodian life, including farming and culture. The lineup will be further supplemented this month with the addition of an extra two-hour program with English subtitling. The show's lineup will range from news to music and educational entertainment. Besides making television accessible to hundreds of Cambodians in rural areas previously out of signal range, the new satellite means TVK will now also be seen in Europe, Africa, parts of Asia, Australasia and the Pacific. The satellite station cost the government $270,000 plus an ongoing quarterly fee of $156,250 to Thaicom-3 for the lease of their satellite.
Mr Him Suong asked new viewers to tell the station about the quality of reception as TVK appreciated audience feedback. The settings needed to receive the new TVK service are Satellite Thaicom-3 are: Orbit location 78.5 degrees East; Down-link frequency 3447.5Mhz; Low-band Frequency 1702.5Mhz; Symbol Rate 6.312 Msyms and FEC ½. Literacy work reviewed Literacy levels and opportunities for education in Cambodia have improved enormously but there is still a lot of work to be done, a conference held at the Faculty of Pedagogy in Phnom Penh to mark the 31st International Literacy Day heard recently.
More than 200 people attended the conference, including representatives from the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Education (MoEYS), UNESCO, UNICEF, World Vision and PADEK (Partnership for Development in Kampuchea). Education Minister, Mr Tol Lah, said the number of literacy classes held across the kingdom and students who attended them rose by 120 classes and 9,500 students respectively last year, and there were 1000 more teachers now under official contract than the year before.
“There was a strong correlation between literacy and poverty, Ms Desires Jongsma, Head of the Education Section for UNICEF Cambodia told the meeting, quoting statistics from a 1999 MoEYS study. She said the UNICEF and UNESCO funded study showed that people able to read are more responsive to change and absorb new information better. Infant mortality, vaccination rates and school attendance rates, for instance, were markedly better if the mother was educated.
“HIV/AIDS education also had a stronger impact among educated communities,” she said. A report released in May last year estimated that six out of 10 Cambodians aged 15 or above were either totally illiterate or semi-literate, meaning they can read but not write.