APAD 161: A success story in Cambodia

Posted by on Sep 19, 2011 in A Photo a Day, Addicted to Meme, All things Khmer, Cambodia, Cambodia life, culture, Mellow Yellow Monday, people, sights | 2 comments

Found this old photo I took in one of our project activities in Kampong Speu province. It shows the village children performing a traditional Khmer dance for the guests at the official launching of the Chambok Ecotourism Site years ago, a project of the organisation, Mlup Baitong, where I used to work. Looking at this picture reminded me of the challenges, the stress, and of our success, big and small, while working at Mlup Baitong.  I’m really proud to be part of the working force there.

The Chambok Community-based Eco-tourism is one of Mlup Baitong’s flagship projects and one of the firsts in Cambodia. It was deemed successful and was awarded as one of the best practices in the country. Because of this, the project was used as a model for all eco-tourism projects in Cambodia. At present, Mlup Baitong is implementing two more ecotourism projects in Stung Treng and Kandal provinces. More about the Chambok Community-based Ecotourism site can be found here and here.


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APAD 056: A Khmer wedding reception

Posted by on May 4, 2011 in A Photo a Day, Addicted to Meme, All things Khmer, Cambodia life, culture, Wordless Wednesday | 1 comment

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>Wordless Wednesday 007: A traditional Khmer wedding

Posted by on Nov 4, 2009 in A Photo a Day, All things Khmer, Cambodia, Cambodia life, culture, people, Wordless Wednesday | 3 comments

>a khmer traditional wedding

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>That’s My World 003: Psah Kandal, Phnom Penh

Posted by on Apr 21, 2009 in A Photo a Day, All things Khmer, culture, festivals, Phnom Penh, sights, That's My World, What's On | 6 comments

>IC APAD 049
Traffic frenzy a day before the Khmer New Year. See story here.

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>Suosdei Chhnam Thmey!

Posted by on Apr 16, 2009 in A Photo a Day, All things Khmer, Cambodia, Cambodia life, culture | 1 comment

>kny and iggy2
Our landlady preparing her offerings

I’d like to say… suosdei chhnam thmey to my Khmer friends. Happy New Year to the Buddhist world. Today is leung sakk, the last of the 3-day celebration of the Khmer New Year. I didn’t go out today as I didn’t fancy (dirty) canal water thrown at me, as is the tradition here.

“New Year in April?!?”, you may ask. Don’t worry, my non-Buddhist friends also asked me that in a rather incredulous tone, the same kind of incredulous response I get from them upon learning that after nine years, I am still here in Cambodia. But that’s another story.

To answer the question… yes, dear friends. Not all cultures celebrate the new year on January 1st, and one of them is Cambodia.

The Khmer New Year started Tuesday, April 14. It began around 1:36pm, according to the Buddhist astrology, and runs until today, April 16th. Here, and in other Buddhist countries such as Thailand and Sri Lanka, among others, the new year is based on astrological calculations. When the old year ends and the new year begins, is also based on these calculations. So the year here now is 2553 BE (Buddhist Era) — that is, 2,553 years since Buddha achieved enlightenment and entered the state of nirvana.

The first day of the celebration is called the grand Maha Songkran, or the first day of the Khmer New Year. According to the Buddhist beliefs, angels known as apsaras or devatas come down to replace the old ones here to watch the earth. Cambodians clad in their best clothes go to wats and pay homage to Buddha and offer food to the monks.

fruit offerings
And this is our offering at home

The second day is called vanabot. It is the time when families donate or give to their less fortunate neighbours and relatives. They also go to wats for a special ceremony dedicated to their ancestors. The third day is called leung sakk, and the one I like the most. Cambodians wash all their Buddha statues in scented water. Children pay respects to their elders by washing their feet in water, and in turn, they are blessed by them. Read more about Khmer New Year traditions here.

kny and iggy4
A facade of Buddhist wat decorated for the Khmer New Year celebrations

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>Wordless Wednesday #55: Working girl

Posted by on Oct 7, 2008 in Around the World, Bangladesh, culture, faces, people, sights, travel, Wordless Wednesday, work | 0 comments


young Bangla girl

My entry for the Tuesday-Wednesday edition. Taken in Dhaka, Bangladesh in December, 2002. After getting off a bus, I chanced upon this pretty girl, roaming around with this mat on her head. Through my interpreter, I learned that this girl is one of the many displaced people in Bangladesh. She used to live along the Buriganga river and constant floodings swept away her family’s house and livelihood. This drove them to the capital of Dhaka where they have no permanent shelter and no food to eat. She earns money picking garbages and, sometimes, begging, too.

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