Cambodian, Vietnamese parliamentarians boost cooperation

A delegation of the Vietnam- Cambodia friendship parliamentarians group, led by Head of the NA committee for deputies’ affairs Pham Minh Tuyen, is visiting Cambodia from Dec. 22-27.

During the visit, the delegation met with representatives of the Cambodia-Vietnam friendship parliamentarians group, headed by permanent Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An.

At the meeting, the two sides informed each other of their countries’ political situation and economic achievements and review their bilateral cooperative activities.

They agreed to further exchange information and delegations so as to strengthen friendship between the two nations.

The delegation was received by acting President of the Cambodian National Assembly Nguol Nhel and visited some localities in the country as part of the working visit.

Groundbreaking report looks at LGBT Cambodians

The Cambodian Center for Human Rights released a groundbreaking report on the 9 December titled “Coming Out in the Kingdom: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People in Cambodia.”

Rex Wockner

The Cambodian Center for Human Rights released a groundbreaking report on the 9 December titled “Coming Out in the Kingdom: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People in Cambodia.”

It says that LGBT Cambodians face unique challenges, including ostracism from their families and communities that often leads to economic hardship as well as discrimination by employers and authorities.

The report argues that the concept of homosexuality as understood in “the West” may not directly transfer to Cambodia.

“The Cambodian understanding of sexuality is derived from concepts of gender, character and personality,” it says. “The focus on these character traits and outwardly visible characteristics instead of sexual orientation means that many Cambodians who are homosexual do not identify themselves as such.”

Buddhism, the report says, generally tolerates homosexuality.

“Homosexuality, whilst seen as an oddity, does not attract the kind of aggressive reaction as can be seen in Christian or Muslim cultures,” it states. “Buddhism itself places no value on marriage or procreation. Marriage and procreation are considered positive if they bring about love and respect, but may be deemed negative if pain or strife is caused. However, in Cambodia, cultural, social and economic pressures override Buddhist teachings on marriage — family values are incredibly important and pressure is strong for sons and daughters to marry and have children.”

“Sexual behavior amongst male youths may be seen as harmless experimentation, since women are expected to remain ‘pure’ until marriage,” the report continues. “Youthful indiscretions may be forgotten or may continue unnoticed. However, eventually men are expected to marry and father children. Given traditional gender roles, women have less ability to pursue same-sex relationships than homosexual males, either privately or publicly.”

“The risk of ostracism from a close family network and economic difficulties posed by living outside the family network may mean that LGBT persons do not live the lives they wish to or have to conduct homosexual relationships in secret,” the researchers conclude.

Nonetheless, an LGBT community is emerging in the nation. A pride celebration, which includes workshops, movies, art exhibits and social gatherings, launched in 2003. Four hundred people attended the culmination of the events in 2009.

Pride organisers have formed an organisation called RoCK to support LGBT people and raise awareness among non-gay Cambodians.

A gay “scene” has developed in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

And “the Internet has allowed gay Cambodian people to connect to other gay people, thus raising awareness of a wider, global LGBT community and the possibilities of participating in this,” the report said.

Cambodia to let 62 Vietnamese refugees stay longer

Cambodia said Friday it will allow 62 Vietnamese refugees to stay in the country a few more weeks as a favor to the U.N. refugee agency but believes they no longer face any danger in Vietnam and can be sent back.

Cambodia previously gave the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees a New Year’s Day deadline to close a refugee compound in the Cambodian capital. But the country will now give the agency until Feb. 15 instead, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said.

“Vietnam is speeding up its economic growth. There is no war and no bombs, therefore Vietnam should not have any refugees,” Hor Namhong told reporters. “For the refugees who have not been granted asylum, they must be sent back to Vietnam. They cannot stay in Cambodia.”

The Foreign Ministry notified the UNHCR this month it planned to shut the housing compound Jan. 1 and send the residents home. Cambodia wants to close the compound in Phnom Penh to deter more arrivals.

The UNHCR pleaded for a little more time to help resettle the refugees.

“We’ll do them a favor. Prime Minister Hun Sen decided to postpone the deadline,” the foreign minister said.

Thousands of hill tribe people known as Montagnards fled to Cambodia since 2001, when Vietnam cracked down on protests against land confiscation and religious restrictions.

The current group is the last batch of asylum-seekers from 1,812 Vietnamese hill tribe people taken in by the UNHCR since 2006. The agency has resettled 999, mostly in the United States, and sent 751 home.

Many Montagnards sided with the United States during the Vietnam War, attend Protestant churches not recognized in Vietnam and are generally distrusted by the communist government.

Associated Press

UAE, Cambodia initial Air Services Agreement

DUBAI – The United Arab Emirates, represented by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) initialed an Air Services Agreement (ASA) with the Kingdom of Cambodia in Phnom Penh on December22th, 2010.

It is the first time such an agreement is initialed between the two countries, said GCAA in an emailed statement.

The agreement was initialed by Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director General of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and Chea Aoun, the Director General of the Secretariat for Civil Aviation of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

The UAE Delegation designated Etihad Airways, Emirates Airline, Air Arabia RAK Airways, and FlyDubai as UAE designated carriers to operate the agreed services between the two countries.

The agreement grants each of the designated carriers one daily flight with third and fourth freedom traffic rights between the two countries and the right to exercise full fifth freedom traffic rights through three (3) intermediate points (Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore) and to three points beyond to be freely selected by the designated carriers.

The two delegations agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding in UAE during the first quarter of 2011.

Television Commercial

By SUN Narin

Most of Cambodia’s people throughout the country living in the remote and the countryside are now able to have an access to television. To date, there have been nine television stations nationwide including Cambodian Television Network (CTN), Bayon, SEATV (Southeast Asian Television), Municipal TV3, TVK, Khmer TV9, Khemarak Phomin TV5, Apsara and MYTV stations. All of the stations have been competing with one another to be the most popular and watching. Some of which are becoming the most leading TV stations such as CTN, MYTV, Bayon, and TV5. According to TV market index survey conducted in Phnom Penh issued in October 2010, CTN is the most leading station accounting for 45 percent; MYTV, TV5 and Bayon respectively for 14%, 10% and 9 percent (see the attached document).

Since people are aware that television is very efficacious and large audience-reached medium, the product owners or companies decide to promote their products on television and try to make advertisement appealing to the watchers. A lot of products are displayed and broadcast on television every day to the audience during dramas and concerts. This leads to the recently rapid increase in the television advertisement. However, what is the concern is that how can the television stations make all these advertisings effective?

I think and most people support my idea that advertising on leading television is a clever strategy to make the products be known to the audience and best-selling after the promotion. One more important thing to consider is the way that all the television stations present the commercial to the watchers effectively. I have got some document concerning the TV advertisement cost of three TV stations including CTN, Bayon and TV5 (see the attached document). According to CTN and Bayon advertising manager, the cost is charged differently given the length time of the spots and types of programs such as drama or concert. Television stations play an important role in presenting the advertising spots to the watchers. For example, they have to know what time that they should advertise such kinds of certain products. How many products have to be advertised for a certain break? Otherwise, the advertisements will not be effective and watched by the people. However, I think that people are not satisfied with these advertising on recent TV because it is too much.

To illustrate this, one example of Cambodian Television Network is raised. I agree that CTN is very effective for advertising since a large number of people all over the country watch this television. Due to the fact that most people, especially the young aged, prefer to watching concert than drama, a lot of ad are advertised in this program in the purpose of attracting the audience. During the break, they display a lot of advertisements which take long minutes and when the spot finishes, they also let the presenters take some time to say about the products in the program. So does the advertisement in the drama. The full story is short and the advertisement takes long time. For example, the sequence of drama is 1 hour with 4-time break and one time covers more than 10 spots and it totally takes more than 20 minute.

I think this is too much for the advertisement and leads to the ineffectiveness of the promotion. I observe and notice that the audience are now tired of the advertising since there are a lot advertisings in the break time. Therefore, people do not always stay tune when there is a break time. They change to the other channels which do not display the advertisement. I think all the television stations think about the advertisers rather than the audience’s preference. In addition to this, I see that recent TV stations seem not to care about which advertisement fits the program. For instance, what kind of products will be advertised during the drama or concert program?

In conclusion, all television stations should consider the case of promoting the advertisement and make the audience not bored and not change the channel. They have to take the length of advertisement and fitting ad with program during the break into account. By doing this, the promotion will be effective and appealing to the audience.

Cambodian PM accepts WFP apology

Cambodia’s premier said yesterday he accepted an apology from the World Food Programme for an incorrect statement about the country’s food security, days after the controversial jailing of a WFP worker.

Cambodian warehouse employee Seng Kunnaka was sentenced on Sunday to six months in prison for printing and distributing anti-government material in a rushed trial criticised by rights groups.

The arrest came not long after Prime Minister Hun Sen gave a speech in which he attacked the WFP for wrongly claiming Cambodia was vulnerable to food shortages. The UN organisation has since apologised for the error.

A government spokesman told AFP earlier this week that there was no connection between the arrest and Hun Sen’s attack on WFP.

“This is an individual case… They did not prosecute WFP,” Khieu Kanharith said Monday.