Saturday, 20 March 2010

See it to Believe it : To Serve the Nation or To Rob The Nation? "If you want to kill me just do now because I want to die How could I survive if lost everything": yelled the villagers in Kampong Speu province


Red shirts" try to win over Thai capital

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TVNZ ( TV New Zealand)
Saturday March 20, 2010
Source: Reuters

Source: Reuters
Thai riot policemen guard the home of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva after supporters of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra splashed human blood on the gates

Thousands of opposition activists fanned out across Thailand's capital in a bid to win the hearts of Bangkok's middle classes and recruit them for their anti-government campaign.

The red-shirted supporters of ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra moved through city districts, handing out leaflets saying "We love Bangkokians" and calling on urban sympathisers to join their push for new elections.

Wearing trademark red shirts, honking horns, singing songs and waving red flags, protesters on motocycles and aboard pickup trucks drove slowly in the 13-km long procession that paralysed traffic.

The rally got under way at 10am (4pm NZT), with organisers planning to cover about 46 km and finish at around 6pm (12am Sunday NZT).

"We want to invite Bangkok residents to oust aristocrats and the government," one of the red-shirted leaders said.

The week-long mass rally, which drew up to 150,000 people last Sunday, has so far been peaceful, boosting investor sentiment and helping to lift Thai stocks to a 20-month high.

Foreign investors have in the last month pumped 35.5 billion baht into the bourse, one of Asia's cheapest, much of that based on confidence that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's government will ride out the storm.

Although fatigue and the sizzling sun has persuaded many protesters to return to their rural provinces, tens of thousands have remained in the capital for a rally leaders said would continue for at least another two weeks .

"We are asking Bangkok people to join our non-violent movement if they hate double standards and hypocrisy," Weng Tojirakarn, a protest leader, told the crowd on Friday.

The "red shirts" say big businessmen, royal advisers, army generals and court judges have colluded to undermine elected governments, and want people in the city of 15 million to join their rally and help return power to the people. They say the Oxford-educated Abhisit, who enjoys the backing of an influential establishment elite and the politically potent military, is illegitimate and should step down.

The "red shirts" believe that by broadening their support base, the mostly grassroots movement stands a better chance of prolonging the rally and bringing down the government.

Thaksin stigma

Blocked from his office and parliament, Abhisit has taken refuge at a military base. He insists the country is too divided to face a general election right now.

Analysts said the "red shirts" had earned many sympathisers in six days of non-violent rallies but face an uphill struggle to bring the politically powerful middle classes fully on board.

Many in the capital remain staunchly opposed to Thaksin, a former telecommunications tycoon derided by opponents as a corrupt autocrat who abused power to enrich his family business.

Pitch Pongsawat, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University, said many residents sympathised with the movement, but chafed at the prospect of being labeled a Thaksin supporter.

"They have many followers in Bangkok, but these people are ambivalent because of the stigma of Thaksin," he said.

"The Thai media is their obstacle, it portray the 'red shirts' as blind followers of Thaksin, which means if you join them, you approve of Thaksin."

Thaksin lives in self-imposed exile, mostly in Dubai, and has delivered rousing video-link addresses to the "red shirts", many of whom brought him two landslide election wins and remain loyal because of his populist policies.

Cambodia bans citizens from marrying S Koreans
via CAAI News Media

TVNZ (TV New Zealand)
Saturday March 20, 2010
Source: Reuters

Cambodia has temporarily banned marriages between local women and South Korean men over concerns about human trafficking, officials said.

The ban was enforced after Cambodian police arrested a woman who had lured 25 girls from rural areas, each of whom paid money to marry South Korean men, government spokesman Koy Kuong said.

"This act was trafficking of women and children," he said, adding that the Cambodian court recently sentenced the woman to 10 years in prison.

Koy Kuong said the South Korean embassy in Phnom Penh had been notified on March 5 about the temporary ban. It was not known when the restriction would be lifted.

Cambodia is a hugely popular destination for South Korean tourists and investors. South Korea is Cambodia's second-biggest source of foreign direct investment after China.

An influx of investment from the country after 2004, mainly in garments, IT, and tourism, helped spur four years of double-digit growth in Cambodia. It has since fallen by about 50 percent as a result of the global financial crisis.

Bith Kimhong, head of the police's Anti-Human Trafficking Department, said that the convicted woman had charged $100 from every girl selected by South Korean men for marriage.

He said agents were banned from facilitating marriages, adding that the law required foreigners to first talk to the parents of their future spouses.

"Taking commission for marriage is illegal," he said. "If you want to have a Cambodian woman to be your wife, you have to ask for her hand traditionally and be registered at the village and community level."

Vietnamese-funded highway inaugurated in Cambodia

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Saturday ,Mar 20,2010

A Vietnamese-funded national highway opened to traffic in Banlung city, in Cambodia’s Rattanakirri province, on March 18.

Attending the inauguration ceremony were Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Speaking at the ceremony, PM Hun Sen spoke highly of the Vietnamese Government’s financial assistance to the construction of National Highway 78, considering it a valuable instance of cooperation between the two countries.

The project will help Cambodia’s north-eastern border provinces develop on a par with border provinces of Vietnam and Laos within their Development Triangle, he said.

He also thanked Vietnam for providing great assistance to Cambodia during its struggle against the genocidal Khmer-Rouge regime of Pol Tot in the past, as well as in the current process of national construction and development.

Deputy PM Trong described the National Highway as a vivid symbol of the traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Cambodia.

The four-lane highway, which is 70km long, linking Banlung city and Vietnam’s Le Thanh border gate, was built at a total cost of 25.8 million USD.

Source: Vietnam Plus

Cambodian Family moves into new digs

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Published: March 19, 2010

SANTA ANA – A local nonprofit group that has assisted tens of thousands of refugees and immigrant families over the past 20 years is hoping to affect thousands more now that it's acquired a spacious new headquarters.

The Cambodian Family, founded in the early 1980s to assist Cambodian refugees living in the Minnie Street neighborhood, has grown to provide health, employment and youth programs for central Santa Ana residents and refugees of all nationalities.
The Cambodian Family, a Santa Ana based nonprofit has moved into a new facility at 1626 E. 4th Street. The group, which serves 1,500 people a year, hopes that they'll be able to expand their services now that they have a more spacious headquarters. MARK RIGHTMIRE, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Sundaram S. Rama, executive director of The Cambodian Family, a Santa Ana based nonprofit organization, holds a 1981 photograph in his office of his mother and brothers and sisters, as they stood in a refugee camp in Thailand after fleeing Cambodia. MARK RIGHTMIRE, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Dave Hall, front, read an exercise during an ESL class at The Cambodian Family, a Santa Ana based nonprofit, located in its new facility at 1626 E. 4th Street. MARK RIGHTMIRE, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

In a move that representatives say signals a new chapter in the organization's evolution, the group in the last week moved out of a cramped warehouse it's rented since 1983 and into an 11,500-square-foot office building purchased with the help of a $1.9-million federal grant.

"This is a dream come true," said Mike Murtaugh, a program director who's been involved with the center since 1993. "It gives people a sense of pride to walk into the new building. We made the other facility as nice as we could, but there was a limit to what we could do."

The money comes through the Federal Empowerment Zone, a 10-year program designed to revitalize and spur job growth in selected communities across the country through special tax incentives and federal grants. Santa Ana's Empowerment Zone encompasses four-square miles.

The Cambodian Family will use about $1.73 million for the purchase of the $2.25 million building, said Executive Director Sundaram Rama; the group will take out loans on the remainder.

The organization assists about 1,500 regular clients annually, said Rama, adding that the figure does not include scores of drop-in clients who seek its services each year.

About 37 percent of its client base is Cambodian; 33 percent is Hispanic; 20 percent is Vietnamese; 4 percent is Iranian and 6 percent is of other heritages.

The center partners with government agencies to offer an array of services, from English as a Second Language courses for adults to a kindergarten-readiness program.

Samel Suos, 58, has attended English classes through The Cambodian Family for 18 months. Through an interpreter, he described the experience as "excellent" and said he's impressed that the center can unify immigrants from various countries.

"People come here to learn and access services and they seem to get along," said Suos, who is originally from Cambodia and resides in Santa Ana.

Those associated with The Cambodian Family say they hope the new digs, at 1626 E. Fourth St., will allow them to expand their offerings and serve more clients.

Rama said the organization wants to convert a fenced-off section of the parking lot into a playground so that it can obtain a child-care license and offer day care for local families. That wasn't at option at the old facility, bordered by a chain-link fence with barbed wire on one side and a marble-grinding company on another.

Center staffers are busy organizing offices and assisting a new crop of clients from the surrounding neighborhood.

"It's about sustainability," said Rama, standing in a lobby filled with a popcorn machine, grass hula skirts and other items that still need to be stored away. "The new building gives the image that we're grounded here. We're doing well, and we're continuing to provide services."

Contact the writer:  or 714-704-3707

Cambodia to build memorial for slain journalists

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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – Cambodia will erect a memorial to nearly 40 foreign and Cambodian journalists who died covering a savage five-year war that ended with the triumph of the Khmer Rouge 35 years ago, a government official said Saturday.

The groundbreaking for the monument will take place at the end of April, the anniversary of the Khmer Rouge victory, as foreign journalists who covered the conflict also gather for a reunion, government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said.

At least 37 journalists were killed or are listed as missing from the 1970-75 war, which pitted the U.S.-backed Lon Nol government against the North Vietnamese-supported Khmer Rouge.

They included reporters, photographers and television cameramen from Japan, France, the United States, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, India, Laos, Australia and Cambodia.

A number of the journalists were captured by the Khmer Rouge and never seen again. When the ultra-communists seized control and began their reign of terror, at least 17 Cambodian journalists were executed or disappeared.

Khieu Kanharith said the memorial, built to remember the work of the journalists, is being designed and will be erected near the hillside Buddhist monastery of Wat Phnom in the heart of the city.

The initiative for the monument came from Chhang Song, who served as information minister in the Lon Nol government, and organizers of the April 20-23 reunion, which will be followed by a similar one in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, a week later.

Thai protesters stage weekend march around capital

Anti- government protesters march in Bangkok, Thailand, on Saturday March 20, 2010. Protesters in more than 1,000 vehicles set off Saturday for a daylong caravan through the streets of the Thai capital, hoping to enlist residents in their 'class war' against the government. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

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By THANYARAT DOKSONE, Associated Press Writer

BANGKOK – Tens of thousands of protesters riding motorcycles and crammed into trucks and cars rolled through the streets of the Thai capital Saturday in a giant caravan to rally residents to their "class war" against the government.

The "Red Shirt" protesters plan to follow up the march with a giant painting made from their own blood on Sunday, the latest shock tactic in their weeklong campaign to oust the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

The caravan stretched at least six miles (10 kilometers) along Bangkok's streets, and Metropolitan Police commander Vichai Sangparpai estimated the number of participants at 100,000.

Large crowds cheered the procession from the sidewalks as it passed with red flags and ribbons fluttering and car horns honking. Some motorcyclists plastered their license plates with stickers reading "The Red Shirts love Bangkok people."

"Please come out into the streets to change Thailand. Time waits for no one. No matter what color of shirt you wear — it doesn't have to be red — you can join our cause if you love equality and democracy," a protest leader, Natthawut Saikua, said as onlookers showered him with red roses.

The caravan included rural pickup trucks, taxis, minibuses, luxury sedans and Bangkok's iconic three-wheeled "tuk-tuks."

The protesters want Abhisit, whom they accuse of taking power through illegitimate means, to dissolve Parliament and call new elections — a demand he has repeatedly rejected. Abhisit has been sleeping and working at an army base for the past week to avoid the demonstrators.

The protesters planned a 40-mile (70-kilometer) loop through Bangkok, setting off from their encampment in the historic center of the city and driving through the central business district, Chinatown and outlying residential areas.

Protest leaders have increasingly portrayed the weeklong demonstrations as a struggle between Thailand's impoverished, mainly rural masses and a Bangkok-based elite impervious to their plight.

Dusting off vocabulary last used during the era of absolute monarchy that ended in 1932, the Red Shirts describe their struggle as one between "phrai," the common people, and "amataya," upper class bureaucrats and other members of the elite.

The group largely consists of supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by a 2006 military coup for alleged corruption, and pro-democracy activists who opposed the army takeover.

Thaksin is popular among the rural poor for his populist policies. They believe Abhisit came to power illegitimately with the connivance of the military and other parts of the traditional ruling class and that only new elections can restore integrity to Thai democracy.

About 100,000 people protested in the capital last Sunday, but the numbers fell by as much as half during the work week.

On Tuesday, thousands of Red Shirts donated blood to dramatize their demands, with leaders claiming they collected 80 gallons (300,000 cubic centimeters).

Most of the blood was splattered at Abhisit's office, at the headquarters of his ruling party and at his private residence.

Protest leaders say they have 15 jugs of blood left and plan to use it to create a massive work of art.

"Artists and Red Shirts will be invited to partake in a blood painting," said a protest leader, Jatuporn Prompan. They plan to unfurl a giant white cloth on which supporters will be invited to paint pictures, scrawl poems and express political statements.

"The theme of this artwork will be the history of the people's fight for democracy," Jatuporn said.

Thaksin, in a video linkup Friday evening, urged Bangkok residents to back the caravan.

"Fellow Bangkokians, send any kind of signals, wave a red flag, give some water, so that our Red Shirts can feel at ease," he said.

"I apologize for the traffic congestion lately and there will be more traffic jams when we march. I apologize. I owe you one. When I return, (I promise) 10 electric train lines from Bangkok to the surrounding provinces," he said.

Thaksin, who faces a two-year jail sentence for abuse of power, was reportedly in Dubai, his base in exile despite Thai government efforts to have the United Arab Emirates expel him.

In Bangkok, the protests have sparked a gamut of reactions from zealous support to anger at "peasants" coming to disrupt people's lives. A substantial number of people appear to be simply fed up with several years of protests by both pro- and anti-Thaksin forces that have undermined the country's economy and stability.

DAP News ; Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

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PM Orders Gambling, Brothel, Karaoke Crackdown again

Saturday, 20 March 2010 03:27 DAP-NEWS

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday again ordered all levels of authority to crack down all illegal brothels, gambling establishments and karaoke joints, saying these enterprises lead to trafficking of women and are a drag of society’s development.

The premier also recommended that businesses not be allowed to reopen shortly after they have been closed, as has sometimes previously been seen.

“For the year of 2010, we have to crack down these illegal activities. I want to know that the law is solid and we are strong,” the premier said at a Education, Youth and Sports Ministry convention, which more than 1,000 officials and teachers attended.

The premier ruled that Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chutema must take action to crack down on these activities. PM called on all teachers to inform authorities of any gambling around schools, and send a copy of the letter to his cabinet to check whether the local authority has taken action or not.

The PM warned he would remove any officials who support such criminality.

Medical Enterprise Exports to Africa

Saturday, 20 March 2010 03:26 DAP-NEWS

PPM Medical Enterprise, a Cambodian company producing medicines, is now exporting products to 15 countries in Africa worth US$3 million, the Health Ministry on said Thursday.

MoH Secretary of State Chou Yinsim said the six factories export 32 products to Africa

General Manager of PPM Chheng Eangtek told DAP News Cambodia that the company was established in 1996 and sells around 100 medical products locally.

Director of the MoH’s Department of Food and Medical Equipment Heng Bunkeat said the MoH is proud of PPM’s achievement.

He asked the company continue exports and provide products for the national market.

Chou Yinsim said Cambodia lacks investors in the medical sector and Cambodia imports medicine worth US$4-5 million a month.

Lon Nol Root of War in Cambodia: PM

Saturday, 20 March 2010 03:26 DAP-NEWS

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday blamed Lon Nol regime as the cause of 40 years of war in Cambodia.

On March 18, 1970 Lon Nol, backed by the US, toppled former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk, then a prince, 40 years ago.

“It is not by chance that 40 years ago Cambodia fell to war, but now we want to inform the world that Cambodia is at peace, stable and developing,” the PM said during the inauguration of National Road 78 in Ratanakiri province.

The premier, himself a former Khmer Rouge cadre, also stated that, without the Lon Nol regime, there would have been no murderous Pol Pot regime (1975-79).

The premier criticized opposition officials who refuse to accept January 7, officially called Victory Day, as the day of liberation from Pol Pot regime. So-called ‘Vietnamese Volunteer Soldiers’, including the PM and other current high-ranking members of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), forced the Khmer Rouge from the capital. Opposition leaders and those Cambodians skeptical of Vietnamese motives have instead dubbed the national holiday ‘Invasion Day’.

The government must protect the country and “fight with all criticisms both inside and outside,” the PM said.

Tuberculosis Cases Increasing in 2009: MoH

Saturday, 20 March 2010 03:25 DAP-NEWS

Ministry of Health found about 40,000 cases of Tuberculosis in 2009, an increase on 2008 figures, a senior health official said on Thursday.

Secretary of State of the MoH Eng Hourt said 2010 would be struggle, though there would be significant by 2015. “Prevention is better than cure,” he stressed.

A report in 2009 said, Cambodia is a country which spread Tuberculosis and AIDS at least 11.8 percent in 2003, but 2009 it decreased to 6.4.

National Anti-Tuberculosis Director Mao Tann Eang told DAP News Cambodia that the MoH’s five year plan hopes to curb the spread of TB by about 75-80 percent.

Democracy requires opposition leadership

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Supporters of Sam Rainsy watch as the opposition leader holds a press conference earlier this year via a video link from Paris, where he has been living to avoid legal problems in Cambodia.

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Friday, 19 March 2010 15:04 Ou Virak

Dear Editor,

In comments recently published in The Phnom Penh Post, Constitutional Council member and political analyst Sonn Soubert described new criminal charges against Sam Rainsy as an attempt to remove the opposition leader from the country.

In His Excellency’s opinion, the treatment of the opposition leader is similar to the treatment of imprisoned Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi by the government.

These comments raise important concerns as to the increasingly distressing state of democracy in Cambodia.

In particular, the apparent efforts by the Royal Government of Cambodia to ensure that the eponymous leader of the Sam Rainsy Party is precluded from standing in the 2013 National Assembly Elections are comparable to recent legislative actions taken by the government of Myanmar that serve to exclude Suu Kyi from standing in elections later this year, and which have been described by the US state department as making a “mockery of the democratic process”.

Under new legislation passed recently, in anticipation of the first election to be held in Myanmar since 1990, Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi, the leader of the country’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy, will be precluded from participation in the election on the basis that she is serving a prison sentence.

According to the US state department, the measures – which will also preclude Suu Kyi’s continued membership in the opposition party – ensure that the elections, which are expected before the end of the year, “will be devoid of credibility”.

By way of comparison, Sam Rainsy – the leader of the main opposition party here in Cambodia – has recently been convicted of racial incitement and destruction of property for uprooting demarcation posts on Cambodia’s border with Vietnam, and sentenced to two years in prison in what Human Rights Watch described as a “new extreme” in “Prime Minister Hun Sen’s campaign of persecution of critics”.

On February 26, 2010, two further charges of disinformation and falsification of documents were filed by government lawyers against Sam Rainsy after he posted a number of border maps and other documents on his party’s Web site to support his claim that the Royal Government of Cambodia has turned a blind eye to Vietnamese encroachment into Cambodian territory.

If convicted of these charges Sam Rainsy could face a sentence of up to 18 years imprisonment.

In his comments on the issue, His Excellency Sonn Soubert described the treatment of Sam Rainsy as a “political issue, not a criminal issue”.

Indeed, the comments of Hun Sen throughout the affair serve only to support this conclusion.

On February 25 – the day before the filing of new charges against Sam Rainsy was reported – Hun Sen was quoted in The Phnom Penh Post to the effect that Sam Rainsy would not be able to contest the next National Assembly election in 2013. Referring to his 2005 conviction for defamation and his subsequent Royal pardon in 2006, Hun Sen stated that “this time, the court sentenced [Sam Rainsy] to jail – no pardon this time”.

These comments are important and leave little doubt as to the pointed political motivations behind the charges against Sam Rainsy.

According to Article 34(2) of the Law on the Election of Members of National Assembly, persons who are sentenced to imprisonment on conviction of a felony or misdemeanour by the courts and who have not been rehabilitated shall not be eligible to stand as candidates for election to the National Assembly.

The Code of Criminal Procedure provides for two forms of rehabilitation: judicial rehabilitation and rehabilitation by law. Even if Sam Rainsy is not convicted of the further charges filed against him, he will not be eligible for rehabilitation until three years after completing his two-year sentence for racial incitement and destruction of property.

He will, therefore, be precluded from standing in the 2013 National Assembly election.

On March 12, 2010, Hun Sen was quoted in The Phnom Penh Post to the effect that opposition members disappointed by the drafting process and passage of the Anticorruption Law by the National Assembly ought to put their energies into winning the National Assembly election in 2013.

In view of the efforts by the Royal Government of Cambodia to preclude the leader of the main opposition party from the next election, questions need to be asked about the credibility of the democratic process in Cambodia and whether the next election – much like the one expected to take place in Myanmar before the end of the year – will be “devoid of credibility”.

Ou Virak, president
Cambodian Centre for Human Rights

Send letters to: or PO Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length. The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.

Students offer dental care to Cambodia's children in need

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19th Mar 2010

A group of dental students have just returned from their mission to Cambodia where they helped 1,500 children to better oral health.

Dr Monika Suorn, of the Tooth Angel Project, put together the team for the mission to Cambodia where dental treatment is a luxury and the average five year old has 8-10 decayed teeth.

The project – supported by Grahame Gardner Ltd – saw the team travel to many of the country's provinces, treating 1,500 children across five orphanages, using rudimentary facilities and a mobile dental laboratory.

The students were from the University of Manchester and have since returned to their studies after the three-week trip.

Jennifer Archer, a final-year student in dentistry at the University of Manchester approached Grahame Gardner to ask for support.

She said: ‘Our Cambodian adventure was an eye opener for all involved, from the second day after arrival we got stuck into extractions, fillings, scaling and oral hygiene advice. It was obvious from the start that this was going to be a big challenge! Many of the children had never received dental care and there were a few tears on occasions but, generally, the children were amazing, despite the basic conditions.

‘We experienced all levels of decay during our three-week mission. The average five year old child in Cambodia has 8-10 decayed teeth and some had been experiencing extreme infections and pain. Despite our training to help younger children, sometimes all it took was a blown up glove or a game of football to put a smile on their faces.'

‘We were also able to impart oral hygiene advice and give out donated toothbrushes and fluoride toothpaste to all the children during the evening. Not only was the elective project an amazing dental experience but also a fantastic insight into Cambodian culture. We were the first UK students to join the Cambodian Enfants d'Asie (ASPECA) dental mission and we hope that we have now established a successful link that will continue to provide dental care to the children of Cambodia for years to come.'

Jenni's fellow students included Matthew Bullock, Danny Adam, Alex Payne and Shahrzad Dasti.

Grahame Gardner Ltd provided cool scrub suits from their range for the team. In addition they also provided a number of patterned scrub suits for the team to take over with them to give to the permanent team operating in Cambodia.

The team from Manchester University carried out the work with a group of volunteers for Enfants d'asie, which supports more than 8,000 children in 50 centres located in South East Asia, including Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines.

For more information on the project, click here.

If you would like any further information on Grahame Gardner,

EU says it plans to increase imports from Cambodia

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EU is planning to increase its imports of agricultural produce from Cambodia under its "Everything But Arms" trade initiative, an EU official said.

Friday, 19 March 2010

The European Union is planning to increase its imports of agricultural produce from Cambodia under its "Everything But Arms" trade initiative, an EU official said on Friday.

Cambodia, one of Asia's poorest countries, had "huge potential" to boost its exports and should take advantage of the special concessions offered by the EU, said Rafael Dochao Moreno, Charge d' Affaire of the EU Delegation to Cambodia.

The "Everything But Arms" trade initiative allows tariff-free imports of any product except weapons from poor countries.

"What we want to see is Cambodia increasing exports, especially in the agro business. There is huge potential for Cambodia to export to the EU," he told a news conference.

Cambodia's exports to the EU last year totaled $700 million, while its imports from European countries were worth about 200 million, Dochao Moreno said.

Cambodia is seeking to modernise and expand its agricultural sector, its biggest currency earner ahead of tourism and garments, with recent moves to boost production of sugar and rice, mainly for export.

Cambodia recently revived its sugar industry after a halt of almost 40 years, mainly due to civil war, and plans to produce at least 160,000 tonnes a year by 2013, mostly for export to EU markets.

It is forecast to produce 700,000 tonnes of unmilled rice this year and aims to boost that figure with new investment, mainly from China, in new irrigation systems.

Dochao Moreno said Cambodia should diversify its economy and reduce its reliance on garment manufacturing.

Cambodia's garment industry shed almost 30,000 jobs in 2009 after a drop in sales to the United States and Europe. It could struggle this year, industry officials say.

The decline has caused a ripple effect in the countryside, where many impoverished rural families rely on remittances from the salaries of urban-based garment workers.

Cambodia exported garments, textiles and shoes to the value of $2.3 billion last year, down from $2.9 billion in 2008. The garment sector accounts for about 16 percent of gross domestic product.


Cambodia ceramists stoked

Lost art: Iwami Shinsuke explains to ceramists how to improve their products in the Cambodian village of Andong Russey on March 8. KYODO PHOTOS

With Japanese assistance, potters are beginning to recover lost skills

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Kyodo News

ANDONG RUSSEY, Cambodia — For generations, the Cambodian village of Andong Russey has been known for its pottery for daily use, such as water containers and food bowls.

A villager removes cups from a kiln.

But as the country plunged into political upheaval and warfare, which ended just about a decade ago, pottery-making skills that had passed from generation to generation in Andong Russey were lost.

Today, only simple, handmade pottery is produced and the products can only fetch a fraction of the price of imports or those produced by foreign companies in Cambodia.

Yukie Yamazaki, 37, a Japanese who first arrived in Cambodia 16 years ago, has been working with the villagers in Andong Russey since last year in a bid to turn the situation around.

Yamazaki said her dream is to turn Andong Russey, located about 90 km northwest of Phnom Penh, into a model ceramic-making community under Japan's "One Village, One Product" concept.

Since Yamazaki launched her project last October, a new kiln has produced hundreds of pieces of ceramics, including jars, jugs, cups, bowls and vases.

Funded by the Nippon Foundation, the Cambodia Traditional Pottery Project is one of Yamazaki's several projects and businesses in Cambodia, which include the NyoNyum (Smile) Magazine and Shop, and a translation service.

Shinsuke Iwami, 45, a Japanese ceramics expert who arrived in Cambodia four months ago, said he is impressed by how quickly the potters in Andong Russey pick up skills.

The villagers learn fast, Iwami said, probably because they have inherited ceramic-making talent from their ancestors.

Uon Pov, 45, a leader of seven Cambodian villagers who have volunteered to work with the Cambodia Traditional Pottery Project, said she is happy to learn from Iwami the skills of using local materials to generate the glaze and color for standardized ceramics.

"This is fantastic and special . . . we do not need to import it," she said.

She said a single piece of her homemade pottery fetches 300 riel to 1,000 riel (¥6.5 to ¥22). At the Yamazaki Shop, pieces carry a price tag of $4 to $5.

Keo Chantha, head of Andong Russey village, said more than 130 of the 363 families in the village work on pottery, and the rest are farmers.

Chuch Phoeung, secretary of state at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and a noted archaeologist himself, said Cambodia has many creative visual arts that have made the country rich in traditional arts and pointed to the famous Angkor Wat temple by way of example.

He said some of the Khmer pottery artifacts found in the country go back as far as 4,200 B.C.

According to Chuch Phoeung, many of the pottery pieces, used as cooking pots and other household utensils, are hand-turned and fired in an open fire with no glaze.

Cambodian potters fire their pots in the open air at a temperature of as low as 700, but pots are fired as high as 1,280 in a Japanese-designed kiln.

Traditional Cambodian pots and wares are not waterproof and cracks occur commonly during firing.

Chuch Phoeung thanks foreign development partners for assistance in redeveloping Cambodian pottery skills.

While Cambodia's tradition and arts are thus preserved, the country still needs to fight illicit trade of Khmer antiques, particularly the looting and trafficking of archaeological pieces.

China Signed Three Commercial Agreements with Cambodia – Friday, 19.3.2010

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Posted on 20 March 2010
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“The spokesperson of the Royal Government told Deum Ampil on 17 March 2010 that a visit by a Chinese delegation to Cambodia concentrates on stepping up commercial ties between both countries, and three memorandums of understanding were to be signed.

“The spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Phay Siphan, said that a Chinese Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Hui Liangyu [ 回良玉 ], visits Cambodia for three days from 17 to 19 March 2010. And the visit is not just to improve the already-good relationship with Cambodia, but also to expand commercial ties.

“Mr. Liangyu presided over the signing ceremony of agreements on agriculture, a sector that accounts for almost 27% of the country’s GDP. According to the announcement, another agreement to be signed is in the field of post and telecommunications between the Huawei Technologies of China and the Cambodian telecommunication system of CamGSM.

“It is seen that Cambodia has been successful in agricultural production in the last decade. Also, it is expected that the rice production of Cambodia for 2009-2010 will yield 7.286 million tonnes where 3.1 million tonnes are planned to be exported.

“In February 2010, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Hun Sen, stated that Cambodia plans to invest US$310 million, including a loan of US$240 million from China, to develop the irrigation systems in the country, a key factor to increase rice production for export.

“Many analysts said that paddy rice is a potential for Cambodian investment, but the opportunity to boost export remains weak, as Cambodia has not had sufficient irrigation systems for rice production.

“The Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Chan Sarun, said that the paddy rice cultivation might increase to 3.5 million hectares, while previously, rice was grown on just 2.6 million hectares. And this might yield 12.25 million tonnes.

“In 2008, the total market value of the Cambodian post and telecommunications sector remains unchanged at US$429 million in 2008. According to a report of the Cambodian government, for six years, the average growth of the Cambodian post and telecommunications sector was 31%. There are eight mobile phone companies in Cambodia, except for the Mobitel company that is co-owned by Luxembourg-registered Millicom International Cellular [Note: Interesting in the environment of present discussions of planned increased regulations for the telecommunications sector in Cambodia: Millicom International Cellular's declared Mission is Freedom to access today's world for people in emerging markets].

“Mobitel, also under the name of Cellcard, offers up to 66% of all services countrywide, followed by Camshin under the name of MFone with 12%. It is estimated that Cambodia might have more than 4 million mobile phone users among the population of 14 millions, where 90% of the population lives in rural areas. In addition, Cambodia has a potential for rice investment. Besides China, there are other big donors supporting Cambodia such as Japan and South Korea.

“Besides of the loans provided by the Chinese government to Cambodia, also the Kuwait government agreed to provide a loan of US$546 million to Cambodia, where US$486 million will be used to build up irrigation systems and US$60 million to construct roads in northeastern Cambodia, including in Battambang province, the biggest source of paddy rice. Moreover, Kuwait planned to invest US$200 million on rice production in Cambodia.

“Mr. Chan Sarun said, ‘We have money and we have land. They would not have come to invest if we would not have the potential to expand our agricultural systems.’

“It should be noted that the Chinese government had promised to provide more loans for investments for irrigation such as in Pursat, Prey Veng, and Oddar Meanchey.

“Responding to requests by the head of the Cambodia government to the Chinese government to invest more in Cambodia, the Chinese government eased Cambodian exports to China, allowing Cambodia to export up to 418 items of goods. In 2008, investment from China in Cambodia amounted to US$4.48 billion. But in 2009, the investment dropped to US$349.15 million due to the global financial crisis.

“Last December, the Chinese Vice President, Mr. Xi Jingping [ 习近平 ], visited Cambodia, and he encouraged more investments to be made in Cambodia. At that time, the Chinese government promised to provide US$1.2 billion in grant aid and loans for Cambodia to restore infrastructures which were devastated by two decades of civil war in the 1970s.”

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #438, 19.3.2010
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 19 March 2010

World Bank Failed Lake Residents: Complaint

via CAAI News Media

By Men Kimseng, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
19 March 2010

A multi-million-dollar World Bank land project failed to help residents in an impoverished community in Phnom Penh establish legal land titles, allowing their ouster and leaving them in limbo, a US rights group says in an official complaint.

The World Bank’s Land Management and Administrative project failed to protect the people of Beoung Kak lake in northern Phnom Penh, who were pushed out to make way for a lucrative real estate development, the Center on Housing Rights and Evictions says in a Sept. 4, 2009, complaint.

“As Boeung Kak residents were unable to transfer their customary rights into formalized land titles under LMAP, the project not only failed to formalize their tenure but in effect also degraded their pre-existing tenure status,” the Minnesota-based COHRE said in the complaint, a copy of which was obtained by VOA Khmer.

The $28.83 million land management project was initiated in June 2002 and implemented by the Ministry of Land Management but was terminated by the government in September 2009, just a few months before its final date, for having too many conditions.

Local residents said that in 2006, Sras Chak commune, which includes the Boeung Kak community, was declared an adjudication zone, but when they asked to register their land, they were denied and told they lived in a development zone.

“They don’t have a land title, but they have purchasing documents that some of the new residents bought from older ones, and authorities have recognized them,” said Eang Vuthy, a legal education officer of the Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia, which operates in alliance with COHRE.

“The reason why they don’t have a legalized land title was that in 2006 or 2007 the LMAP declared that Sras Chak commune would be an adjudication zone, but the Phnom Penh municipality stopped the registration process,” he said. “They don’t have a land title, only customary rights.”

Vuthy said that according to the Cambodian land law those who live more than five years on uncontested land are the rightful owners.

There are more than 4,000 families of Boeung Kak residents, some of which have been living there for almost 20 years. Most of them are poor people, while some have guesthouse businesses. Many were evicted after the government decided in 2007 to lease the land to Shukaku, Inc., a developer.

According to the Development Credit Agreement for the LMAP, in order to mitigate the potential harm of evictions from state property, an application of the Environment and Social Guidelines, including the Resettlement Policy Framework is required, COHRE said.

However, the framework was not applied in the case of Boeung Kak. Therefore, in addition to the “weakening of the customary land rights of Boeung Kak residents, the protections that the DCA required have not been implemented by the government,” COHRE said.

More than 900 families have so far been evicted from the Boeung Kak area. Some have been relocated to Damnak Troyeung, some 20 kilometers outside of Phnom Penh, while others received a lump sum of $8,500 in compensation.

“We, the Boeung Kak residents, don’t know where else to seek intervention because three countries have announced registration of our land, but now the government says the land is still in dispute and cannot be registered,” said Thai Nary, a local resident who claimed to have settled in Village 22 since 1993. “I am so hopeless hearing that. I cannot even fix my leaking roof. I almost cry every day and cannot stand up anymore. If I raise my roof a bit higher, I am scared that the company will besiege and stop me.”

Thai Nary and other residents have asked for onsite development.

The residents have asked COHRE for assistance, and the case has so far been brought to the attention of the World Bank’s Inspection Panel, according to COHRE documents.

Officials at the World Bank in Washington declined to comment, referring VOA Khmer to see documents posted on its Web site.

An Inspection Panel’s report dated Dec. 2, 2009, posted on the bank’s site, concludes that in order to make an independent assessment for management compliance, “Bank policies and procedures and related issues of harm in the context of the project, the Panel would need to conduct an appropriate review of all relevant facts and applicable policies and procedure.”

The Panel, however, asked the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors to refrain from issuing any recommendation pending a management meeting with the government.

“The Panel, as it has done in similar situations in the past with Board approval, will not take a position at this time on whether the issues of non-compliance and harm raised in the Requester merit an investigation,” the Panel concluded.

After COHRE’s request for an investigation, on Dec. 17, 2009, the World Bank’s Cambodia manager, Annette Dixon, issued a statement saying the bank was ready to support Cambodia to improve living conditions of people who have been resettled or are facing settlement from land facing development.

An initiative for negotiations between the government and the Bank is underway, sources told VOA Khmer.

Verdict Expected in June for ‘Complicated’ Duch Case

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By Kong Sothanarith, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
19 March 2010

A Khmer Rouge tribunal verdict in the trial of Kaing Kek Iev, the prison chief better known as Duch, is expected in June, although judges face numerous complexities brought about by the hybrid, international nature of the UN-backed court.

Duch’s trial, which ended in November 2009, was a test case for the court. Prosecutors have asked he be given 40 years in prison, while the defense asked for leniency. In his monthslong trial, Duch took responsibility for the deaths of thousands of Cambodians and asked families of his victims to forgive him.

In a lengthy interview with VOA Khmer, Lars Olsen, a spokesman for the tribunal, said the case was complicated in terms the laws involved, the differences in languages among international and Cambodia judges and their search for a suitable punishment.

“They will look at what is normal in other courts in dealing with crimes against humanity and with war crimes when they make decision” Olsen said.

The tribunal is a mix of international and Cambodia judges and prosecutors and includes unprecedented procedures for operation. It is now preparing for its second case, which will try Duch alongside four more leaders—Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith—for atrocities, including genocide.

Cambodia Has Role To Play: US Official

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By Poch Reasey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
19 March 2010

A high-ranking State Department official said Wednesday that Cambodia plays an important role in some US issues, although the two countries sometimes have disagreements.

Assistant Secretary of State for Asia Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell said Wednesday Cambodia can help the US in many ways.

“First of all just welcoming the role of the Unites States in Asia is something we very much appreciated,” Campbell told VOA Khmer in an exclusive interview in Washington. “There are a host of new issues we are dealing with in Asia, like climate change, and Cambodia would be affected if climate change continues given its reliance on the Mekong River.”

Under the administration of President Barrack Obama, US foreign policy will focus more on Southeast Asia, he said.

The US and Cambodia recently increased cooperation on many issues, including human trafficking, narcotics and terrorism, but Campbell acknowledged relations had not been perfect.

“There are issues on which our two countries disagree, but one of the things that we are seeking is the kind of dialogue where we are able to balance it,” he said. “We are working closely together with the enduring areas where we still have difficulties.”

The two sides are currently at odds over $300 million in debt accrued under the Lon Nol regime, which the US wants paid back but Cambodia wants turned into humanitarian aid.

Phay Siphan, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said the two sides have a good partnership, but they differ on freedoms and human rights.

“The two cultures are different,” he said. “On the US side, there is still a lack of understanding about the reality in Cambodia.”

This year will mark 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and Campbell said he was looking forward to celebrations in July.

“I think one of the things we want to underscore is our support for Cambodia and our excitement for the 60th anniversary, so that’s why it’s one of the reasons I am looking forward to the visit,” he said.

Court Delays Verdict To Avoid Protest Violence

via CAAI News Media

By Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
19 March 2010

A judge postponed a decision in a land case to prevent a repeat conflict between villagers and police, as protesters burned effigies in front of the provincial court Friday.

The court is hearing a dispute over 65 hectares of land in Kampong Speu province’s Oudong district, where villagers say a Taiwanese company is taking over property they claim to have owned for more than 20 years.

Judge Keo Mony said Friday the court would delay its decision, “to avoid clashes between authorities and villagers like yesterday.”

Twelve police and 13 villagers were injured in Thursday’s confrontation, when police sought to break up an assembly of protesters, using electric batons and water canons. Sun Bun Chhoun, a 49-year-old representative of the 88 families in the case, said villagers will protest the court until they get their land back.

Protesters burnt effigies in front of the court Friday, he said, to prevent the judge from issuing a verdict “without thinking.”

Investigators for the rights group Adhoc are monitoring the protests daily, an official of the group said.

Ky Dara, a representative of the Taiwanese company, said the protesters were not the rightful owners of the land, which the company purchased in 2000 to run a paper factory.

Women Must ‘Dare’ To Demand More: Activist

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By Men Kimseng, VOA Khmer
19 March 2010

Cambodian women need to be engaged in politics and prepare themselves to seek justice and freedom for other women, an opposition politician said Monday.

“We, women activists, or politicians, must dare to speak out to criticize political parties to get what we want, which is to free women from domestic violence and injustice, and [against] the denial of access to health service and poverty,” Mu Sochua, a lawmaker for the Sam Rainsy Party, said on “Hello VOA.”

Mu Sochua, who is also deputy secretary-general for the party, urged women to cast their votes for a party that prioritizes women’s health and education and is committed to fighting discrimination against women.

“We have a policy to, firstly, give women resources, knowledge, and money, and secondly, to ensure that they are on the first, second or third place of the candidate list,” Mu Sochua said.

A caller from Kampong Thom province, Sun Thon, suggested that emphasis be put on younger generations of women so that they can be prepared to be agents of change.

Mu Sochua also encouraged women to pay attention to issues around them by listening to the radio to follow the news and “clearly analyze it.”

Leader Abhisit says Thailand divided

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Friday, 19 March 2010
By Alastair Leithead
BBC News, Bangkok

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has admitted his country is divided, as protests continue in the capital.

Thousands of demonstrators are still camped out in Bangkok after a week of rallies which saw them daubing blood on the gates of Government House.

But they number far fewer than those who gathered at the start of this week.

Speaking to the BBC from a military base, Mr Abhisit said he had offered to meet leaders of the red-shirt movement to talk about their grievances.

The prime minister appeared confident and pleased with the way he had handled the demonstration so far, but admitted the country was divided, and not just between the cities and the rural areas.

" All governments must try to address the issues that are of concern to urban and rural people alike "
Abhisit Vejjajiva,
Thai Prime Minister

"I'm saying that the divisions do run deep, and that political differences occur in a democracy," he said. "But we have to stick to the rule of law."

"We try to make sure that we can somehow move this country forward in terms of political conflicts, so that they can be resolved through the ballot box and also through the court procedures, depending on the issues, and that all governments must try to address the issues that are of concern to urban and rural people alike."

Mr Abhisit said he was doing all he could to bring Thailand together, including policies to help the economy in the countryside, and said he had offered to meet red-shirt leaders in order to tackle their grievances.

He denied being a puppet of the military, as some opponents suggest, but he gave the interview from the military headquarters where he has been working and sleeping all week.

Demonstrators daubed their own blood on the gates of Government House and the prime minister's house as part of their demonstrations, and they have said they will block traffic in Bangkok on Saturday.

Mr Vejjajiva said he was pleased there had been no violence, saying he was confident the government was in control and managing the situation.

He said he was happy to allow demonstrations in the country, as long as they were constitutional and non-violent.

Thailand: Bangkok: “red shirts” reject overtures by Thai PM

Anti-government demonstrators confirm they will continue their protest, announce new action for tomorrow. They want to see the government resign, parliament dissolve and new elections held. Their target is the ruling elite and the military, against whom they have declared “class warfare”.

via CAAI News Media

By Asia News
Friday, March 19, 2010

Bangkok – Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday said he was open to negotiations with anti-government 'red shirts' who want fresh elections. But Mr Veera Musigapong, a key leader of the red-shirted United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), said there would be no negotiations so long as the government held to its attitude of superiority.

One day after they declared “class war” against the elites, the red shirts showed no sign that they would back off from their threat against the leaders and military who ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin in 2006 and brought to power current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Anti-government leaders have reiterated their position, saying that demonstrations would end only with new elections. Dialogue will be possible if the government resigns and parliament is dissolved.

Following their unusual form of peaceful protest adopted in the last few days when donated blood was poured at the entrance of the prime minister’s residence and the cabinet office, the “red shirts” plan a fresh round of citywide protests for tomorrow.

Patron Turns Home Movies Into a Feature

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Published: March 19, 2010

HAVING spent the day climbing ancient temples in debilitating jungle heat, Anne Bass didn’t want to leave her hotel room again. Not even for a dance recital at Preah Khan, the 12th-century complex that is one of the jewels of Angkor, in Cambodia.

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
The arts patron Anne Bass, right, with Sokvannara Sar, the dancer she discovered in Cambodia 10 years ago

For Ms. Bass, a mainstay of the society pages and a longtime arts patron, dance is a passion. She returned to ballet class when her daughters, now grown, began lessons; at 68, she still attends religiously. But this performance, in January 2000, seemed one obligation too many.

“I said, ‘I just can’t, I’m too tired,’ ” she recalled this month, while sipping tea in the Greenwich Village studio of her companion of 15 years, the painter Julian Lethbridge. Ms. Bass was in Cambodia with the World Monuments Fund, which had arranged the recital she was about to skip. But at the last minute something — she still can’t figure out what — sent her out the door.

That snap decision started her and a young man named Sokvannara Sar on a cross-cultural adventure that, improbably, turned a poor Cambodian teenager into a ballet dancer and, just as improbably, Ms. Bass into a documentary filmmaker.

In her “Dancing Across Borders,” which opens Friday at the Quad Cinema in Manhattan and then barnstorms through more than a dozen other cities, Mr. Sar travels from the rice paddies of his small village to Ms. Bass’s sprawling estate in Connecticut; from a dance studio in New York to the outdoor stage of the famed ballet competition in Varna, Bulgaria; and, ultimately, to Seattle, where he joins the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Along the way the film’s talking heads — ballet-world stars like Jock Soto and Peter Boal, Cambodian culture experts and Ms. Bass herself — elucidate Mr. Sar’s journey. “Dancing Across Borders” also shows the irrepressible ballet mistress Olga Kostritzky at work as she points Mr. Sar’s feet, turns out his hips and teaches his 16-year-old body to speak ballet’s arcane language.

Mr. Sar, known as Sy (rhymes with ‘we’), is now 25, and looking for another berth after leaving Seattle. But when he first caught Ms. Bass’s eye, he was performing with other students of the Wat Bo School of Traditional Dance at Preah Khan. In 2000 dance, like all the arts in Cambodia, was rebuilding after the chaos and destruction of the Khmer Rouge years. Back in the United States, Ms. Bass recalled: “I started thinking about Sy’s performance and the fact that he didn’t have a future there. And I couldn’t bear to think of that talent going to waste.”

Sokvannara Sar taking part in the ballet competition in Varna, Bulgaria

So without giving it too much thought — “It was quite naïve” — Ms. Bass, one of the richest women in the United States thanks to her 1988 divorce from the Texas billionaire Sid Bass, offered to bring Mr. Sar to the United States to study ballet. Then on the board of the prestigious School of American Ballet, she had a plan: “I thought that I would announce to the school that I had found this really talented dancer, that he would move into the dorm, and occasionally I’d take him out for dinner or something.”

It wasn’t quite that simple. The elegant curlicues and stylized movements of Cambodian dance are difficult to learn but, Mr. Sar found, not particularly germane to ballet.

“Cambodian dance is very slow and low to the ground,” Mr. Sar said in a telephone interview. “There are no turns and very little jumping. It is not as demanding as Western ballet.”

He’d had no idea “this ballet thing,” as he calls it in the movie, would take so long to learn or be so hard on his body. “I was already a performer in Cambodia,” Mr. Sar said. “Here I was almost less than a 10-year-old boy.”

He was not immediately accepted at the school, so Ms. Bass hired Ms. Kostritzky to coach him. And she bought a video camera to record his progress.

“It was just to give his mother on the other side of the world an idea of what he was doing,” she said. “I never thought I was making a movie. If I had,” she added with a laugh, “I assure you, it would have been a lot better.”

Those home videos revealed Mr. Sar’s increasing prowess. In 2006 he made it to the Varna semifinals, and afterward Ms. Bass invited some friends — “two New York City Ballet dancers, some writers, artists and art critics and a few friends who had a connection with Sy” — to dinner in Connecticut to show them some clips she’d received of the Varna competition.

She enlisted a film student to label the various ballets and edit them into a DVD.

“Once I saw how easy it was, I said: ‘Listen, I’ve also got television footage from his performance in Phnom Penh.’ Then there was the classroom footage, and I had photographs. And he just put together this little film that I showed my friends.”

Her friends were impressed, and they urged her to turn the story into a feature-length documentary. When she did a reality check with dance-world friends, they concurred. Ms. Bass signed the Emmy-winning documentary maker Catherine Tatge to direct.

“As we were working,” Ms. Tatge said by phone, “it became clear than Anne had really been living and breathing this story, had spent a long time nurturing Sy.” Ms. Tatge stepped into a more advisory role as co-producer, and Ms. Bass took over as director.

Three years and $700,000 later, Ms. Bass said, “I surprised myself with how much I was engaged by the process.”

She was especially taken with the job of editing: “There were so many different ways the story could have gone. There were stories within stories.”

Some of the stories she left out are about her. There’s no mention of the dispute that led her to resign from the School of American Ballet board in 2005, or evidence of the bond she now shares with Mr. Sar. (“She’s like my American mother,” he said.)

“I would happily have not been in the movie at all,” she said. “It’s very hard to look at yourself. I just ended up trusting my editors. Where they really felt they needed me, that’s where I ended up.”

The film also ignores Ms. Bass’s charity work in Cambodia. “Anything you do there makes a difference,” she said. “Anything.”

And now when she visits a fledgling dance school she’s become interested in, she takes her video camera. “If I make a film of them someday,” she explained, “I want to have something from the very beginning.”