Heroscope on newspaper

By Sun Narin

Horoscope on Tuesday January, 11th, 2010 I am in the year of dragon;

I am now 22 years old

Raksmey Kampuchea:

You have a fairly good luck. Every work you are doing today is up and down, not stable. Therefore, you have to be careful and strongly surmountable with everything to succeed. For those who are business people are able to earn money as normal without any impediment. For love those who have love, the love partners understand each other and there is no argument at all.

Kampuchea Thmey:

Your today luck is down. You work very hard without free time to rest but you have no specific job goal. Business is not making profit at all. You will care about money, making you upset and sad. For love, it is intimate without any problem at all.

Phnom Penh Post: Your luck is declining. When you go somewhere near or distant to work, you will meet failure and obstacles, which makes you depressed. Your speaking is not acceptable to other people. For love, the partners do not understand and forgive each other, which can lead to the separation or break-up.

Reality: Study: I am really happy with my study on that day since I can finish my assignment on time and am appreciated by my friends since I am able to finish the work on time with good result. In conclusion, my study from morning till evening is good for me. For family, I do not have argument with each other and everybody is fine but a bit problem with money. I ask my sister for more money, but she says she has no more money for me.

In conclusion: I think that horoscope for Tuesday on these 3 newspapers is not correct to me as a university student.

Advantages of Mekong River in Phnom Penh

By SUN Narin and LAY Rattana

Cambodia has two large rivers including Tonle Sap and Mekong river which are the two main water source. Cambodia’s 500-meter Mekong flows passing five provinces such as Kratie, Stung Treng, Kampong Cham, Prey Veng and Kandal, so it can benefit a lot people living along the river. Moreover, people living in Phnom Penh and Kandal can make use of water for their daily consumption and business.

Every day, canoes and ships always take the guests to enjoy seeing the view of Tonle Sap in front of the Royal Palace to Bassac and Mekong River. Fresh air, slight wind with beautiful songs and the nice scenery of Phnom Penh at night attract the local and international tourists to take boat to see the view on the river. Besides tourism and giving pleasure to the tourists, Mekong River is beneficial to people living in Kandal province including every day uses, crop and farm watering and fishing.

Sim Mith, 39 years old, is a resident living adjacent to the river in Svay Chruom village, said that she has been living here for nearly 10 years and makes use of water every day. “The river is advantageous to me. I can take it for cooking rice, drinking, washing and watering my crop,” she said.

Lim Sokha, 39, living about 100 meter distance from the river in the same village said that he takes water for treating and selling to the villagers of some 400 families. “It really benefits me a lot. I pump 400 to 500 cubic meter every day. The water is clear, and the ministry says that it is quality,” he said.

He adds that due to the fact that the water is clear, so he finds it easy to treat, but he says that the water this year is declining comparing to previous year, which can impact people’s fishing.

Reung Meun, 58 years old living near the river in a hut consists of 20 people, says that he has been doing fishing for more than 10 years, adding that it can ease his living condition, but complaining that this year fishing is down since the water goes down unusually. “I take it to plant my crop. Last year I can fish up to 1 ton a day, but now the water is declining, so there is lack of fish. I can fish only 200 to 300 kilogram fish,” he said.

In addition, the river is full of sand which businesspeople in Phnom Penh can pump it for selling. But what is more important that this Mekong River is the source for water consumption throughout the city.

Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority PPWSA pumps water from 3 rivers including Tonle Sap, Bassac and Mekong for treatment. The total amount of water is 30, 0000 cubic meter and 13, 0000 cubic meters of which is from Mekong River.

Ek Sonn Chan, the secretary General of PPWSA says that Mekong River is better in term of water quality. “Mekong river is the early and original river which brings water to Tonle Sap and Bassac so it has better quality. It has less dust,” he said. However, people and critics the quantity of water of water is down and the quality is changing because of dams.

But PPWSA Secretary General Ek Sonn Chan says that the increase of the water quality with dust is seasonal, adding that there is no problem for us, but it is beneficial. According to the recent report from Mekong commission, approximately 300,000 tons of fish was estimated to lose per year due to the dam construction. Cambodia’s government is allowing China to study the feasibility of other 4 dams which people and critics say that it can affect the river, but Prime Minister Hun Sen said in November last year that it did affect.

Blood Donation at RUPP

By SUN Narin

National Blood Transfusion Center (CBTC) is conducting blood donation at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), voluntarily blood provided by the students.

Blood Donation at Royal University of Phnom Penh/Photo by Sok Eng

Mr. OU Sokleang, senior blood donor recruiter of CBTC, said that blood donation is the ” privilege” of the students who want to help the country.

He added that people who want to donate the blood should be:

-age from 17 to 60 years old

– Weight: from 45 kilograms

– Have good health

– volunteer

The amount of blood per person:

– amount of weight x 66ml for female= the amount of blood

– amount of weight x 77ml for male = the amount of blood

Sok Chan, student of the Department of Media and Communication, is donating blood/ Photo by Sok Eng

Mr. Ou Sokleang said that  voluntary blood donation student can change the blood flow and can check his or her health including blood speed, hemoglobin, and type of blood, adding that it was a kind of deed saving people’s lives in the society.

He had a speech to hundreds of students in the hall and answered some critical questions from students.

Dozens of students are registering, donating their blood. (Additional Reporting by Noy Kimhong)

Can Cambodian TV news be trusted?

By Dara Saoyuth and Sun Narin

According to a census taken of Cambodia’s population in 2008, 58.41 percent of households own at least one television set. News programmes are what every station cannot do without. Cambodia’s television stations present a variety of both national and international news to their audiences and also produce some other programmes including live reports and news analysis.

Huot Kheangveng, the deputy general director of the Bayon station which is owned by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s daughter, said his station tries to cater to its audience’s needs, adding that the audience likes news which impacts their lives and is a bridge between the government and the people.

Pen Samithy, the president of the Club of Cambodian Journalists and editor of the Raksmey Kampuchea newspaper, said that developing a variety of news for television was good for the people and the country as a whole since people can learn what’s happening around them.

He said, however, there were not very many local television programmes and they were not updated. Information Minister and Government Spokesman Khieu Kanharith said making shows for TV is a big expense, and added that just to get a good camera like the ones being used at TVK costs about $30,000 to $40,000.

He said that privately-owned television stations have to make money, so they are not able to have lots of people capturing the news from all over the country. “Most of the news focuses on the government’s achievements and is positive,” said Pen Samithy. “I just want all the news that impacts the people.” Lift conducted a survey of 100 university students in Phnom Penh and the results showed that 70 percent said the news is biased towards the government.

However, Huot Kheangveng said his television station carried both the positive and negative points of the government to let people know about its achievements and also to constructively criticise government. “We have references, real sources and our reporters do it professionally. We disseminate the truth only,” he said. Launched in March 2003, the Cambodian Television Network, or CTN, is the most popular station in Cambodia and is now broadcasting news for seven hours each day. Its programmes include the morning news, which has been running for the past year.

“Any bad news has already been reported by some radio stations and newspapers, so we don’t have to follow because it’s not good,” said Som Chhaya, CTN’s deputy director general and news editor, explaining that the market for news is very small and they cannot survive on news shows alone. “As you can see, some newspapers are still printed in black and white and have not changed to colour printing like the others.”

Som Chhaya also said there are some obstacles he and his crews face in getting news. Getting information is sometimes difficult for him because some departments and ministries don’t have any spokesperson, so he has to try to contact other relevant sources who sometimes cannot be reached.

Now most television stations produce news programmes and analysis, which Som Chhaya compares with having a meal that is delicious after adding the seasoning, more meat and more vegetables, meaning that news analysis provides more detail for the audience to better understand a situation.

Soy Sopheap, a news analyst at Bayon TV, said he always recaps and analyses the important news of the week, but acknowledged that “it’s not correct all the time, but we say what is true and adhere to our profession as journalists”. However, Khieu Kanharith stressed that news analysis is not news but opinion. “They have the freedom to express their opinions,” he said, adding that some people are not very professional in their analysis, but the majority of them are.

Lift did a survey of 100 Cambodian youth, ramdonly selected at the countries university campuses. Here are the results.

What Cambodian TV station do you watch the most?

CTN: 63
Bayon: 17
TVK: 8
TV9: 3
Apsara: 2
TV5: 1

How often do you watch TV news programs?

Every day: 46
At lease 1 time a week: 45
At least one time a month: 9

Which TV channel do you watch for Cambodian news? (You can choose multiple answers)

CTN: 68
Bayon: 45
TVK: 27
TV5: 9
Apsara: 3
TV9: 2

Do you think political stories on Cambodian TV news programmes are bias towards the Cambodian People’s Party (pro-government)?

Yes: 65
I don’t care: 20
No: 7
No answer: 8

Would you like to see news that is more critical?

Yes: 73
No: 12
I don’t care: 10
No answer: 5

* Survey conducted by Dara Saoyuth and Sun Narin

People living along the Mekong River

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This afternoon, I went to Kandal province to interview people living along Mekong river. I drove motor across Chruoy Changva bridge and turning right to take the ferry to the other district called Khsach Kandal. My friend and I were driving through two villages called Svay Chroum and Bar Chum.

At there I interviewed a farmer who plating corn and cucumber by using water from the river. I also interviewed people who stored the water for treatment to sell to the people living there.

He said that the water helped him alot. He pumped it around 200 cubic meter per day.

The fishermen said that now the water is not plentiful of fish like before. Last year he can fish around 1 ton of fish per day, but now only 200 to 300 kilograms of fish.

The village chief said most people do farming and fishing for their life. The use the water for planting, daily consumption and for drinking by boiling it.

She added that before some people drink the water directly but now they have clay filters to treat the water.

She said that this year the water is not much like before making the lack of fish.

However, people said that because of the dams which lead to the decline of water.

Unfortunately, I did not go to Koh Dach and Koh Okhna Tey since it takes time and I do not have much time.

Architect Profile of Chea Bunseang

By SUN Narin

MOST Cambodian people do not highly value their country’s architects and feel that they do not have the expertise and ability to design a special and striking building.

To challenge this perception, young professional architect Chea Bunseang has been making great efforts to show to Cambodians and indeed an international audience what he can achieve through the latest modern drawing and design techniques and concepts.

Bunseang, at 35, has already contributed to the planning of some important Cambodian buildings, having been born with a talent for drawing, a strong commitment to invention and innovation, and a realisation of the impact buildings can have in a modern society.

He is now a formidable architect and lecturer, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture and Urban Planning, Masters Degree of Science in the field of Urban Environmental Management; has traveled widely, worked for the United Nations in East Timor and with an international architectural firm in New York.

In early 2009, he was asked to help  local construction company Ly Chhoung Co. erect a new building, known as the New Council of Ministers and International Conference Hall which will be the venue for the 2011 Asian Summit and is scheduled to be completed shortly. He worked as the chief architect taking the lead in managing the construction,drawings and coordination of the project.

Though his parents were in business and wanted him to follow in their footsteps, he decided to study architecture.

“When I was young, I liked playing with soil, turning it into houses and construction as well as drawing. When I imagine something emerging from this I want to make it happen,” said Bunseang.

With enough ability and the desire to have his own design firm, at the end of 2009 he decided to set up a company, Bunseang Architects and Associates (BAA), and designed a 12-storey residential project in Phnom Penh which is now under construction.

He said that he designed the apartments with a unique concept of classic-modern architecture.

“I want a building to express the way of life I want, remind me of my family living there. In the modern age with technology and materialism we all have to know the roots from where we came and past history,” Bunseang said.

He takes time out to teach students and is an architecture lecturer at Pannhasastra university, which provides him with the opportunity to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of would-be architects hoping that those with potential will go on to become professional architects.

Given a scholarship, Bunseang spent seven years studying for his bachelor degree of Architecture and Urban Planning from the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA) which he completed in 1998.

In his academic life Bunseang was chosen by his university to do a short vacation course in countries such as India and Thailand which he said made him be aware of other country’s architecture and by seeing modern and sophisticated buildings in the developed world wanted to aim at improving Cambodian architecture and giving it prestige.

Wanting to work and help poor people while he was studying, he also worked from 1997 to 2000 with one of the United Nations organisations to help build housing for poor people and educate them in hygienic living.

In 2000, Bunseang was selected to work for the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNTAET) for more than two years as a United Nations volunteer and while there succeeded in helping with the building, design of infrastructure and administration facilities.

“I learned and contributed to developing poor communities in Timor and helped poor people there.”

Returning to Cambodia in 2003 and in his quest to learn more about architecture, he pursued his Master’s Degree of Science in the field of Urban Environmental Management by winning a scholarship to study at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok.

After completing his Master’s degree, he worked as a development consultant for the World Bank’s Cambodian country office in Phnom Penh and then in 2007 spent two years gaining experience in high rise building design in New York. He worked for an international architectural firm as an in-house staffer who designed projects such as the Lexington House Hotel and other Marriott Hotel brand projects.

His employment with such a prestigious company gave Bunseang a tremendous opportunity to work with many qualified and talented designers and professionals within one of the world’s truly great cities – New York.

“I was absolutely delighted that I had the chance to work abroad and relate to these activities,” he said.

Different from other subjects, architecture, including the knowledge of science and art, is a combination of thinking and doing which requires natural talent, according to Bunseang.

“Thought becomes reality. When I design a building, I always consider myself as the owner of the building.”

Cambodia’s architecture has improved from year to year, especially in the last few years. Several modern skyscrapers have been built or are under construction, while Premier Hun Sen declared last month that Cambodia planned to build 555-metre-tall tower on Phnom Penh’s Diamond Island.

“Cambodia is going forward towards a civilised modern country and society and will be growing up with many tall buildings and many real estate development projects. It expresses how Cambodia’s economy goes forward and will bring a confidence to the foreign investment,” he said.

However, he believes there will be many  consequences which urban planners or the government has to address including infrastructure, the urban transportation system, and housing and living space for the rural-urban immigration to the city as people seek job opportunities.

Bunseang expressed his concern that “the conservation of the historical buildings may be gone due to the fast urban economic growth and development.”

But he says that it will take time to improve Cambodian architecture and  the government needed to work on comprehensive building and zoning codes for the cities, which would serve to shape the architecture employed to meet  high standards and good design.

Carrying Khmer style into the future

Sun Narin, Touch Sopor and Ngo Menghourng

Construction in Cambodia has been booming in the last decade, and despite the economic crisis, the modernising of Cambodia’s urban centres has continued to progress at a steady pace. Although the last 10 years have seen unprecedented growth in Cambodia’s cities, many of the buildings have been designed by foreigners, raising concern among Cambodian architects and historians that the country’s modern buildings are lacking Khmer style and causing cities in the Kingdom to lose their cultural identity.

Chea Bunseang, the principal architect at Bunseang Architects and Associates, said Cambodian architects lack the skills and practical experience due to out-of-date programmes at the Kingdom’s architectural schools, a lack of comprehensive building codes and zoning codes, and a lack of professional architecture instruction or an architecture society to act as a support network for designers working in the public and private sector.

Loy Bunleng, a 22-year-old architecture student in his fourth year at Norton University, said he is concerned that too many foreigners are being brought in to design buildings. He suggested that the government should “encourage Cambodian architects by giving them a chance to show their ideas, because we are capable of drawing good plans for the building”. Besides missed opportunities for the Kingdom’s emerging architects to hone their skills, the lack of Cambodians designing the country’s new buildings is also jeopardising the traditional identity of Cambodia’s urban centres.

“We all want the buildings, especially the state buildings, to be representative of traditional Khmer culture,” said Tang Sochet Vitou, an architecture lecturer at Royal University of Fine Arts, explaining that, as opposed to foreigners who have minimal understanding of traditional Khmer architecture, Cambodian architects have precise styles that are representative of Khmer identity.

“We are creative and retain the originality of Khmer characteristics. I want our architects to show their attainment like Vann Molyvann.” Vann Molyvann was the pioneer of “new Khmer architecture”, which emerged during the French colonial era in the 1950s, and he has since established himself as the country’s most famous contemporary architect. Over the last five decades, he has designed many of Phnom Penh’s most recognisable buildings. Some of his designs, such as the Independence Monument, have obvious similarities to ancient Cambodian architecture, while others, such as the Chaktomok Theatre or Olympic Stadium, feature more modern designs and subtle Khmer characteristics. Vann Molyvann is one of many Khmer architects who have taken modern designs and integrated traditional Cambodian building styles to create new styles that preserve the aesthetic traditions and functionality of traditional buildings. The French Department at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (pictured above), designed by Vann Molyvann, is an obvious example.

The moats that surround the modern-looking building are an homage to the moats that surround Angkor Wat and other temples. “Other countries don’t have these buildings,” said Hok Sokol, a Cambodian researcher on Khmer architecture, adding that Vann Molyvann was the first of a new generation of Khmer architects to “use new methods which made the buildings look good as well as serving the right functions.” Darryl Collins, an independent researcher and architecture historian, said that Khmer architecture has changed significantly over the years. There are four periods of Khmer architecture: local Khmer architecture (from the Angkor empire to 1863), French colonial architecture (1863-1953), New Khmer architecture (1953-1970) and contemporary architecture. What remains to be seen is whether or not contemporary architects can learn from their predecessors and design buildings that maintain elements of traditional Khmer styles.

As Phnom Penh and other urban centres develop in the coming decades, it will be architecture students like Loy Bunleng who decide exactly how to preserve Cambodia’s much-celebrated architectural history in the bigger and more modern buildings being constructed.

Despite the fact that many of the major construction projects in Cambodia are being designed by foreign architects, Hok Sokol said that a renewed effort by the Ministry of culture to train highly skilled architects would help preserve Cambodia’s aesthetic identity in the decades to come. “There is no need to worry,” he said. “We will not lose Khmer identity in the modern architectural designs because there are a number of proud Cambodian architects who will be sure to include Khmer styles into their creations before they begin building.”

Street Paper Man

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Prak Saborn, 33 years old, has been working as the street paper man for nearly 3 years. He goes to Russian boulevard street at Tuol Kork Stop every day, selling from 6am till 11am. He earns around 50,000 riels per day to feed his wife and two children.

Acid Attack Law


Draft law against the acid attack will be sent to the Council of Ministers next week after careful discussion on the lacking points.

The proposed law also includes life-imprisonment if the case is very severe.

To date, there are 70 cases of acid attack in Cambodia and 35 of which happened early 2010.