Tuesday, 5 October 2010

AKP - Agent Kampuchea Press

via CAAI

Samdech Chea Sim Meets Thai and Lao Ambassadors

Phnom Penh, October 5, 2010 AKP -- Cambodia’s Acting Head of State Samdech Akka Moha Thamma Pothisal Chea Sim received here today newly appointed Thai Ambassador to Cambodia, H.E. Prasas Prasasvinitchai.

In the meeting, Samdech Chea Sim welcomed the diplomatic mission of H.E. Prasas Prasasvinitchai in Cambodia. He was convinced that through this mission, the ties of friendship and cooperation between Cambodia and Thailand will be improved.

All problems between both countries should be resolved by peaceful means, he said.

In reply, the Thai diplomat said the recent talks with Cambodian and Thai prime ministers will help solve all problems peacefully.

H.E. Prasas Prasasvinitchai pledged to do his utmost to further strengthen and expand the friendship and cooperation between the two neighboring Kingdoms, and to promote the bilateral cooperation in the fields of health and education.

On the same day, Samdech Chea Sim also met with newly appointed Lao Ambassador to Cambodia, H.E. Yaseng Lao.

On the occasion, the Cambodian head of state thanked the Lao government for its support to Cambodia’s development.

For his part, H.E. Yaseng Lao was committed to try his best to further promote the cooperation in all fields between Cambodia and Laos. --AKP

(By SOKMOM Nimul)


Afghanistan Learns about Cambodia’s Food Security Management

Phnom Penh, October 5, 2010 AKP -- Cambodian Senior Minister H.E. Tao Seng Hour, first vice president of the Council for the Rural and Agricultural Rehabilitation and Development, met here on Oct. 4 with visiting Afghan Vice Minister of Techniques Mr. Ghani Ghuriani.

The Afghan delegation led by Mr. Ghani Ghuriani, has been being here for a three-day visit to learn about food security and nutrition management in Cambodia, which is recognized by its notable progress in setting up mechanisms to manage food security.

H.E. Tao Seng Hour warmly welcomed the visit of the Afghan delegation and pledged to provide cooperation and to share Cambodia’s experiences related to food security issue to the Afghan delegation in an effort to help strengthen food security in the region.

H.E. Srun Darith, secretary general of the Council for the Rural and Agricultural Rehabilitation and Development, said Cambodia’s food security and nutrition management has attracted many regional countries’ attention.

The key point is that Cambodia has coordination mechanism, which plays principal role, correct strategic framework, information management system and training mechanism to raise awareness, he explained.

At the national level, food security and nutrition has been improved as Cambodia has over three million tons of rice surplus, but at the local level, approximately 20 percent of people are facing food insecurity, he said.

However, he added, this problem lasts only for a short period of time and the royal government has been setting up strategic plan to help them.

In late August 2010, the delegations from Laos and Myanmar also came to Cambodia to learn about its food security management. --AKP

(By LIM Nary)


NBC Governor Leaves for IMF and WB Annual Meetings in Washington D.C.

Phnom Penh, October 5, 2010 AKP -- Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) H.E. Chea Chanto left here last Saturday for the U.S. to join the 2010 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WB) to be held from Oct. 8 to 10 in Washington D.C.

This is an annual forum attended by governors of the central banks and finance ministers of the 187 member countries of IMF to discuss world challenges such as world economic perspectives, poverty elimination, economic development and assistance efficiency.

The IMF and WB Annual Meetings are very important for NBC because this international forum will provide opportunities to leaders of the central banks of industrial, agro-industrial and developing countries to exchange experiences on challenges to banking and financial system management.

According to an NBC official, H.E. Chea Chanto will also participate in the SEA-LAC Central Bank Governors’ Meeting on Oct. 6 and the 43rd Meeting on monetary and development issues on Oct. 8. --AKP

(By OU Sokha)


Ministry of Agriculture Urges Farmers to Use Ten Species of Rice Seeds

Phnom Penh, October 5, 2010 AKP -- Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries H.E. Chan Sarun yesterday urged local farmers to use ten selected species of rice seeds.

Speaking at a national consultative workshop attended by 70 rice experts and rice millers, H.E. Chan Sarun said his ministry has determined ten important local species of rice seeds including Sen Pidor, IR66, Chulsar, Pkar Rumduol, Pkar Romdeng, Pkar Romeat, Pkar Chan Sen Sor, Raing Chey, Kha 4 and Kha 6.

According to H.E. Chan Sarun, those rice seeds are the main potential to promote Cambodia’s rice production and export. He therefore encouraged the ministry’s officials and experts to introduce those rice seeds to the farmers.

The royal government in mid August was committed to transform Cambodia into a stockpile country for rice and a major rice exporter to the world’s markets by increasing the paddy surplus to over 4 million tons a year by 2015, of them at least one million tons of rice for export. --AKP

(By KHAN Sophirom)


Japan To Provide Arsenic Removing Equipment to Cambodia

Phnom Penh, October 5, 2010 AKP -- Japan will equip 16 places in three Cambodian provinces – Prey Veng, Kampong Cham, and Kandal – with arsenic removing equipment.

The arsenic removing equipment, which provides clean and safe water for drinking and daily use, costs US$9,000 each, said Ryosuke Takeda, CEO of Aqua Design System Co., Ltd. that assembles the equipment.

The project, which is part of the Removing Arsenic from Groundwater Using High Performance Iron Absorbent Project, will take place from Dec. 20, 2010 to early Jan. 2011, in Peam Ror district of Prey Veng, Kampong Seam district of Kampong Cham, and Kien Svay district of Kandal province. --AKP

(By CHEA Vannak)

Noam Chomsky maintains the rage

Photo supplied
The octogenarian Noam Chomsky photographed earlier this year

via CAAI

Written by Stuart Alan
Tuesday, 05 October 2010 13:00

Renowned philosopher and linguist Noam Chomsky may be approaching his 83rd year but he has maintained the rage.

Part of his fury is directed at the United States and former secretary of state Henry Kissinger for their role in the bombing of Cambodia.

Chomsky has told the The Phnom Penh Post that the US owes Cambodia an apology and massive reparations for the B-52 bombing campaign that killed up to a million people.

The campaign lasted from March 18, 1969, to May 26, 1970, destroyed an estimated 1,000 towns and villages, displaced 2 million people and, Chomsky says, helped bring the Khmer Rouge to power.

Chomsky says Kissinger would certainly be brought to trial for his role in the bombing, if the world were governed by justice, not forces.

Bellow are extracts of Journalist Stuart Alan Becker’s exclusive question-and-answer session with Chomsky, the full version of which will be available with an exclusive report in tomorrow’s Phnom Penh Post or online from 3PM.

When you look at the genocide under the Khmer Rouge that occurred in Cambodia, do you put the blame on the American bombing of Cambodia for creating the conditions that brought Pol Pot to power, or is it more complex than that?

Two leading Cambodia scholars, Owen Taylor and Ben Kiernan, point out that when the intense US bombing of rural Cambodia began, the Khmer Rouge were a small group of perhaps 10,000. Within a few years, the KR had grown to a huge army of some 200,000, deeply embittered and seeking revenge. Their recruitment propaganda successful highlighted the US bombing. Pentagon records reveal that the tonnage of bombs released on rural Cambodia was about the same as total US bombing in the Pacific during World War II, and of course far more intense. But that was surely not the only factor.

Do you think Henry Kissinger ought to be brought to trial for the bombing of Cambodia? Do you think the Khmer Rouge would have remained a marginal force and never taken power had the US bombing of Cambodia never taken place? Does the US owe Cambodia an apology for the bombing?

In a world governed by justice, not forces, Kissinger would certainly be brought to trial, not just for his hideous crimes in Cambodia. These, as I mentioned earlier, contributed to the rise of the Khmer Rouge while killing unknown numbers of people and leaving vast destruction. The effects were so severe that high US officials predicted that a million would die under the best of circumstances after the war ended in 1975, and that two years of virtual slave labour would be required to at least partially restore a functioning society in Cambodia. The US owes Cambodia not just an apology but massive reparations. And that is very far from the only case.

How is it that people got the idea you were soft on Khmer Rouge atrocities as a result of your 1988 book with Edward S. Herman, Manufacturing Consent?

In our 1988 book, Herman and I reviewed the way the horrors in Cambodia had been treated through three distinct phases: the US war before the Khmer Rouge takeover in April 1975; the Khmer Rouge period; the period after Vietnam invaded and drove out the Khmer Rouge and the US and Britain turned at once to direct military and diplomatic support for the Khmer Rouge ("Democratic Kampuchea"). By the time we wrote, it was known that the pre-1975 US war was horrendous, but it is only in the past few years that more extensive documents have been released.

We now know that the most brutal phase began in 1970, when Henry Kissinger transmitted President Nixon's orders for "massive bombing of Cambodia, anything that flies on anything that moves" (Kissinger's words, to General Haig). It is hard to find a declaration with such clear genocidal intent in the archival record of any state. And the orders were carried out. Bombing of rural Cambodia was at the level of total allied bombing in the Pacific theatre during World War II. The Khmer Rouge, as we now know, expanded to about 200,000, largely recruited by the bombing.

During the first and third period there was quite a lot that Americans -- more generally Westerners - could do. During the second period no one even had a suggestion as to what to do. The coverage is exactly the opposite of what elementary moral considerations would dictate. During the first period, there was some protest, but coverage was slight and it was quickly forgotten. The new revelations have been almost entirely suppressed. During the third period, coverage again was very slight and the history has also been almost entirely forgotten.

Our accurate review of these facts did lead to considerable outrage, and massive lies, such as what you mention. That was even more true of our 1979 two-volume study Political Economy of Human Rights, which provides extensive documentation to show that this pattern was (and is) quite generally, extending all over the world. Most of the study concerned US crimes, so it was therefore unreviewed and unread - confirming our thesis. One chapter was about Cambodia. In it, we harshly condemned Pol Pot's crimes, and also revealed extraordinary fabrication and deceit. We wrote that the crimes were horrible enough, but commentators ought to keep to the truth, and to the most reliable sources, like State Department intelligence, by all accounts the most knowledgeable source at the time - and also largely suppressed, apart from our review, because it did not conform to the image that was manufactured. That image was important.

It was exploited quite explicitly to whitewash past US crimes in Indochina, and to lay the groundwork for new and quite awful crimes in Central America, justified on grounds that the US had to stop the "Pol Pot left." We compared Cambodia to East Timor, accurately: two huge atrocities in the same time period and same area of the world, differing in one crucial respect: in East Timor the US and its allies had primary responsibility for the atrocities, and could have easily brought them to an end; in Cambodia they could do little or nothing - as noted, there was scarcely even a suggestion - and the enemy's atrocities could be and were exploited to justify our own.

We showed that in both cases there was massive deceit in the US and the West, but in opposite directions: in the case of East Timor, where the crimes could have easily been terminated, they were suppressed or denied; in the case of Cambodia, where nothing could be done, the fabrication and lies would, literally, have impressed Stalin.

What we wrote about East Timor was entirely ignored (except in Australia), along with the rest of what we wrote about US crimes and how they were covered up.

What we wrote about Cambodia, in contrast, elicited huge outrage and a new flood of lies, as we discussed in our 1988 book. And it continues. In general, it is extremely important to suppress our own crimes and to defend the right to lie at will about the crimes of enemies. Those are major tasks of the educated classes, as we documented at length, in these books and elsewhere.

It is a rare study that does not contain errors, but our chapter on Cambodia seems to be an exception. Despite massive effort, no one has found even a misplaced comma, let alone any substantive error. We would be more than happy to concede and correct any error, but despite Herculean efforts, none has been found. Please don't take my word for it, of course. Check and see for yourself. ...read the full exclusive interview and report in tomorrow’s Phnom Penh Post or see the updated story version from 3PM UTC/GMT +7 hours.

Miss landmine furore

Photo by: Gorm K. Gaare
Miss Battambang, Dos Sopheap, posses for a promotional photo in March 2009

via CAAI

Monday, 04 October 2010 18:53 Keeley Smith

The organiser of the 2009 Miss Landmine pageant has accused an Australian NGO head of “playing a direct role” in its cancellation last year.

In August 2009, the Ministry of Social Affairs announced that the pageant – which was to feature 20 Cambodian victims of land mines and explosives remnants of war – would not be allowed to go forward, saying it would damage the “dignity and rights of the disabled”.

The organiser of the pageant has laid part of the blame for that decision at the feet of Chris Minko, secretary general of Cambodian National Volleyball League (Disabled).

A press release points to an interview Minko gave for a Canadian documentary on the pageant, set to premiere in the United States on October 16, in which he allegedly “shares his passionately dismissive views on the Miss Landmine project, labeling it ‘sexist’, ‘a flesh market’ and ‘in very bad taste’.”

The release goes on to say that Minko advised Social Affairs Minister Ith Sam Heng to kick pageant director Morten Traavik out of the country, saying, “Get him out. People like that are not needed in this landscape.”

Minko said via email that he had merely made his opinion on the pageant known to the ministry.

I find beauty pageants degrade and exploit women – be it women with a disability or without a disability,” he said. “There are more dignified ways of showcasing the ability of Cambodian women landmine survivors.”

Traavik said he found Minko’s “apparently central” role in the cancellation of the pageant “troubling on a number of levels”.

“Most troubling is that these are the kinds of advisers that the Cambodian government apparently take cues from,” he said.

He also said he hoped the documentary, titled “Miss Landmine”, would be screened in Cambodia.

Sem Sokha, a secretary of state at the ministry, said he had not received any proposal for the screening of the documentary. Asked if the government would allow it to be shown, he said, “We have banned [the pageant]. Now there is no new news about it.”


Music to the ears

via CAAI

Monday, 04 October 2010 21:29 Jeremy Mullins

Technology firm Sabay intends to launch a paid-per download music service in Cambodia, partnering with domestic mobile phone companies to challenge the Kingdom’s free download market.

The IT entertainment firm has signed a deal to become the sole distributor in Cambodia and Vietnam for a catalogue of Korean pop music hits, making more than 50 albums from popular acts such as Rain and JQT available to users of mobile phones, according to Sabay chief operations officer Mike Gaertner.

The online store, which enables music tracks to be downloaded to mobiles, will be launched on October 22, when popular Korean group JQT will be flown in for a concert.

Although music piracy - which has led millions to download music for free worldwide - was a concern for distribution, Gaertner said the firm would rely on competitive pricing to combat unauthorised downloading.

“For mobile downloads, we hope prices will be attractive enough that people will not bother with piracy,” he said.

Music downloads will be available from around 30 to 50 US cents when the store launches, and 50 to 60 cents for ring tones, Gaertner said.

A large share of sales are expected to be ringback tones – the songs played after dialing but before a call was answered – which will be hosted by mobile providers.

Agreements have been signed with Metfone, Hello, Smart Mobile and Beeline, and negotiations are ongoing with the Kingdom’s other mobile providers.

The music store will require Sabay to reach deals with each of Cambodia’s nine mobile providers for users of each network to access the service, which Gaertner said was the “biggest obstacle” for the store.

The company was also looking to expand beyond its Korean catalogue, and was eyeing collaborations with Chinese and American firms, he said.

“We are trying to build up legal music,” he said, though it could be a challenge to convince some that Cambodia was a worthwhile partner given concerns with regard to counterfeiting.

Cambodian law presently recognizes intellectual property rights for only goods produced in Cambodia, but the situation may change after 2013 when the Berne Convention takes effect in the Kingdom. That agreement will “automatically protect” rights, according to Var Roth San, director of the Intellectual Property Department at the Ministry of Commerce.

Sabay is known for its popular online game Justice X Wars II, but according to Gaertner has always intended to branch into other online products.

New US$1.25 bn development project headed for Siem Reap

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Monday, 04 October 2010 22:20 Rann Reuy

Construction of the Angkor New City development project in Siem Reap province’s Varin district will begin at the end of the year, according to an investor in the project, amid concerns from villagers about the compensation they will receive for being displaced.

Tea Kosol, CEO of the Cambodian company Banya Group, said investors would spend US$1.25 billion in the first phase of construction, which will include hotels, condominiums and a golf course. He said that roughly 4,000 hectares of the 7,000-hectare site in Sre Noy and Lavea Kreaing communes would be developed.

Tea Kosol said that about 200 families were still living on the project site, roughly 100 kilometres from Angkor Wat, and he blamed these families for slowing development. But he said he was optimistic that the families would accept a compensation offer of US$200 per hectare following a meeting between investors, provincial officials and village representatives last week.

Families living on the land rejected this same offer early last year.

Sre Noy commune chief Chhem Savoeun said he had not yet heard of the construction timetable. Since 2005, he said, villagers have protested frequently against the development, in part because its scale has expanded from an original plan of 2,000 hectares to its current 7,000 hectares.

“Some families demand to exchange their land with land off the company’s site, and some families demand a higher price” of $1,500 per hectare in compensation, he said.

Phoeung Tha, a villager in Sre Noy commune who will be affected by the development, said more than 300 families would be affected by the development plans.

“I have 4 hectares and I demand $1,500 per hectare of farmland and $800 per hectare for unused field,” he said. “I wait to see them come to a settlement on this issue, but I am concerned about the policy of compensation.”

Last year, local rights group Adhoc filed complaints on behalf of villagers objecting to the estimated $12 billion project.

Business blossoms in third quarter

via CAAI

Monday, 04 October 2010 21:51 May Kunmakara

Business registrations in Cambodia have surged more than 50 percent quarter on quarter, an indicator that fiscal experts and officials welcomed yesterday as a sign of economic recovery.

Firms registering at the Kingdom’s Ministry of Commerce hit 894 in the July to September period, a 54 percent jump compared to the 579 in quarter two and a 59 percent increase on the same period of 2009.

Over the quarter, the number of domestic firms listed surged 65 percent, to 520, while international companies rose by 42 percent, to 374.

Independent economist and president of the Cambodia Institute for Development Study, Kang Chandararot, said yesterday the increase was in line with positive estimates for 2010 GDP growth – issued in recent weeks by the Asian Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund – of up to 5 percent.

“This emphasises that our economy is recovering as projected,” he said.

Tous Sapha, deputy chief of business registration at the Ministry of Commerce said: “We have had good political stability during that period of time which has made the business environment grow stronger and has given confidence to business people.”

In August diplomatic ties between Thailand and Cambodia resumed after ousted Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra quit as the Kingdom’s economic adviser.

Director general of Cambodia’s Chamber of Commerce, Nguon Meng Tech, put the rise down to growth in the garment and agricultural sectors and highlighted the importance of Chinese investment.

“We see most of the registrations are from firms working in the agricultural sector, especially from China, as product prices are rising this year,” he said.

“If we can develop skills to add value to agricultural products, such as cassava, rubber and corn, and export the processed products we will gain even more economic benefits.”

Rulings come on garment complaints

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Tuesday, 05 October 2010 15:02 Mom Kunthear

COURTS have begun ruling on the legality of strikes by garment workers held last month, though industry and union representatives offered conflicting accounts of the rulings and the number of employees who had been unable to return to work.

Ken Loo, secretary general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, said yesterday that 358 workers protesting the suspension of union representatives had seen their contracts terminated because they ignored court orders requiring them to return to work within 48 hours.

Roughly 140 unionists remained suspended pending court rulings on the legality of last month’s strikes, he said.

But Ek Sopheakdey, secretary general of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, said that more than 800 workers remained suspended.

“The government appealed to the companies and the unions to stop their dispute, but the companies have filed complaints against us and won’t negotiate,” Ek Sopheakdey said. “Their purpose is to destroy independent unions.”

In a speech last week, Prime Minister Hun Sen called for garment factories to drop their complaints against union representatives and allow suspended workers to return to their jobs.

Ek Sopheakdey said that in five cases, courts had dismissed complaints filed by factories, while rulings had yet to be made in five other cases pending at Kandal provincial court.

Loo said, however, that complaints by eight factories had yet to be ruled on, and that in three cases, the courts had dismissed the factories’ complaints and allowed workers to return to their jobs. In a ruling at Phnom Penh Municipal court, he added, the judge said the factory did not have the right to appeal the decision.

“We’ve seen today that in one of the cases, the judge said that the factory is not allowed to appeal,” Loo said yesterday, and called the decision “really, really weird”.

“Obviously this is completely wrong, because the Municipal Court is the court of first instance,” he said.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court President Chiv Keng said yesterday that his court had dropped the case because there was “agreement from the companies and also the intervention from the prime minister”.

“We did not rule on whether the strike was illegal or not, but because of the compromise from the factories and also the government, we withdrew the injunction,” Chiv Keng said yesterday before hanging up on a reporter.

When reached later in the day and asked if factories could appeal decisions against them, Chiv Keng said: “We have already found ways to end the disagreement in a compromise between both parties, so please, all you journalists, don’t attempt to start a blaze when the fire has almost calmed down.”

Kandal provincial court president In Vanvibol said his court was “still in the process” of assessing complaints filed against union representatives.


Analysis: People still need to know why Khmers killed Khmers

via CAAI

Tuesday, 05 October 2010 15:01 Sayana Ser



Sayana Ser

THE question of why Khmers killed Khmers has been raised privately among Khmer Rouge survivors as well as publicly to legal, human rights and historical institutes, organisations and activists.

Most survivors’ children must have asked this question of their parents, older relatives and teachers who they hope can provide them with a clear answer.

This query shows that survivors’ need is not to know who committed the crime but why. The Khmer Rouge brought so much destruction, tragedy and misery. Even the society today remains divided. Did the Khmer Rouge think they were doing a good thing?

The question “Why did the Khmer Rouge mistreat and barbarously kill their own” has been raised at almost every forum held by the Documentation Centre of Cambodia’s outreach and education programmes.

It seems that the questioners find it hard to believe, or don’t want to accept the fact, that their own nation was destroyed and put into chaos by their own blood. Or they feel ashamed of their own people, so they try to escape from the truth by grasping at other explanations. So far, world scholars on Cambodia including David Chandler have no answer to this “why”.

But there is still hope for an answer to this question.

Recently, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia announced the filing of the Closing Order for Case File 002, indicting Khmer Rouge senior leaders Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea, and sending them for trial before the ECCC Trial Chamber on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide and crimes under the 1956 Cambodian penal code. The whole case file extends to more than 350,000 pages – more than 223,000 of which relate to the substance of the charges.

Will Case 002 put the question of “why” to rest? Will all Cambodians wake up and accept that it was Khmers killing Khmers during the Khmer Rouge time?

Through the ECCC process some survivor questions have been answered and many more will hopefully be answered next year when the trial begins. Those responsible for the crimes of the Khmer Rouge period must pay for them so that survivors can finally be relieved from their suffering.

We need to learn from the trials to work for a virtuous life and social harmony. Society must judge the people who act wrongly within society.

Otherwise, there will be no justice in this world and we will never know the answer to the question “why”.

Sayana Ser is a team leader with the student/community outreach programme at the Documentation Centre of Cambodia.

Analysis: The re-emergence of an old power

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Tuesday, 05 October 2010 15:01 Catherine Oh



Catherine Oh

Over the past two centuries, China has suffered as a victim of domestic despotism as well as a victim of aggressive imperialism at the hands of both Western industrial powers and Japan. In spite of the trials it has endured, in the summer of 2010 China became the world’s second-largest economy, pushing Japan down to third place.

From Africa to Latin America, the Chinese, backed by a formidable bankroll, have secured economic and diplomatic partners. From a longer time perspective, the rise of modern China is not the rise of an unknown power, but the re-emergence of the old China, a great nation that was once the centre of Eastern civilisation. What is different today is that China has expanded its influence much farther beyond its borders. As the daughter of a Korean professor of Chinese history and literature, I am simply overwhelmed to observe changes in the new China. An old Chinese phrase envisions change in this way: “The blue ocean turns to mulberry fields.” Another version speaks of the danger of conflict: “The mulberry fields will turn into a blue ocean and a chaotic world will result.”

China’s progress and power are impressive, but also chilling. As China steps forward, other nations tend to politely step back. Is this the modus operandi of the new China, pushing polite others to the corner to gain a status for itself?

We observe that it is not unusual for an aggrieved person to behave harshly toward others. For example, the traditional daughter who was treated badly by her mother-in-law might, when her son marries, become a mother-in-law terrorist herself.

Did Japan’s harsh imperialism turn China into an aggressive power? We don’t know yet. But the clashes between China and its neighbors in the East and South China seas, for example with Japan over the last month, are not a good omen.

During the first half of 2010, the trade volume between China and Japan reached a staggering US$151 billion. Throughout the 2000s, Japan has been one of the top five investors in China, and now China is eagerly buying bonds in the sluggish Japanese economy, amounting to $6.7 billion just in the first quarter of 2010.

Their bilateral trade, investment and respective shares of the global economy as number two and number three make China and Japan immensely important economic powers for the global economy. The prospect of poor relations between these economic giants is bad news for us all.

Since the beginning of recorded history, territorial disputes have produced tribal killings, community conflicts and sometimes wars. Maritime disputes are especially difficult to settle because boundaries are not easily drawn in what appears to be a common area and laws of the sea are weak. On the map, the East and South China seas may look like an empty expanse for international sailing, but the riches of its sea life and seabed have given rise to fierce territorial disputes. Some maritime analysts argue that China’s recent attempts to claim nautical jurisdiction have the potential to create more tension than its past land border disputes (eg, with Vietnam and the former Soviet Union). Japan’s navy is by no means powerless, but China’s relentless military buildup, whether seen as an attempt to match economic power with military power, or as a new imperialism, is worrisome and mortifying to the Japanese, who seem unable to emerge from their economic doldrums and are already under threat from their North Korean neighbour. In a heated debate on this issue, a prominent Asian scholar summed up the situation from Japan’s perspective: “Well, if the thief is trying to beat up the weak policeman, whose side should the United States take?”

I suggest a “shelving strategy” for such territorial disputes – not referring to the continental shelf. When a son inherits an ugly family heirloom from his dying father (“Son, keep this well and remember me”), the son can hardly sell or discard the unwanted item. So he puts it on a high shelf where it is out of reach of children who might damage it, and by the same token, out of the sight of family and visitors.

When the son dies, he bequeaths the same troublesome item to his children. In the meantime, everyone respects the status of the item.

In the oceans, there are likewise rules to respect: freedom of navigation and preservation of natural resources held in common for present and future generations.

There is more to gain by respecting such rules than by inciting violence for short-term gain.

China and Japan, both wealthy countries that can prosper quite well without extracting the resources or monopolising the sea lanes of the East and South China seas, should not lose time and patience by fighting each other, because there are many other countries trying to catch up with them.

They can both win if they set this territorial issue aside and concentrate on cultivating a better economic and political relationship.

Catherine Oh is a research staff member at the Institute for Defense Analysis and a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Hun Sen and Abhisit ready to meet

Photo by: AFP
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (right) welcomes Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday before a working session at EU headquarters in Brussels on the sidelines of the two-day Asia-Europe Meeting.

via CAAI

Tuesday, 05 October 2010 15:02 Cheang Sokha

PRIME Minister Hun Sen was set to meet Thai premier Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting in Belgium, officials said.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said the two were scheduled to hold a short meeting following Hun Sen’s address at the meeting’s opening session.

“I can confirm that the two premiers will meet for about 15 minutes,” Koy Kuong said.

Abhisit and Hun Sen met for the first time in almost six months in New York last month, on the sidelines of a summit between leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and United States President Barack Obama.

Relations between the two countries had been strained following Cambodia’s appointment last year of former Thai prime minister and fugitive from justice Thaksin Shinawatra as an economic adviser. With the announcement of Thaksin’s resignation in August, however, Cambodia and Thailand returned their previously withdrawn ambassadors in a sign of warming relations.

Thai state media reported that Abhisit said the talks in Belgium would focus on the countries’ ongoing border dispute.

“Asked whether he would ask Mr Hun Sen for a troop withdrawal to ease tensions when they meet at the upcoming meeting, Mr Abhisit said the Cambodian government fully realises that existing bilateral mechanisms agreed by the two countries must be approved by the Thai parliament,” MCOT news agency said Sunday.

The demarcation of the contentious border has been stalled since last year pending approval in the Thai parliament of the latest round of border negotiations. The Thai parliament again delayed a planned vote on the issue in August, to the consternation of Cambodian officials.

Hun Sen said last week at a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh that his meeting with Abhisit in New York had been “fruitful” and had strengthened the countries’ relationship.

At the two-day Asia-Europe Meeting, set to conclude today, representatives from 46 nations converged on Brussels. These nations comprise 60 percent of the world’s population and global trade, and talks were expected to focus primarily on economic issues.

ASEM, which meets every two years, groups the European Union, ASEAN, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Pakistan and Mongolia, and new members Australia, New Zealand and Russia.

Cockfighting raid nets seven men

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Tuesday, 05 October 2010 15:02 Thet Sambath

SEVEN men in Phnom Penh were released yesterday after being held for 48 hours following a raid on an illegal cockfighting ring in Dangkor district, police said.

Born Sam Ath, the district police chief, said a total of 16 cocks, including two dead ones, were confiscated at the site of the raid in Dangkor’s Kakab commune.

During their detention, he said, the seven men were made to cut grass around the police station and clean offices.

Though cockfighting constitutes a violation of the Law on the Suppression of Gambling, Born Sam Ath said the men were not fined or sent to court “because the operation was small-scale”.

“But if they do not respect their promise to stop the cockfights, we will send them to court,” he said.

More than a year ago, Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly denounced all forms of gambling, and drew attention to cockfighting in particular, calling on Deputy Prime Minister Sok An to close his cockfighting arena in Takeo province.

“I am announcing today the closure of all cockfighting arenas including the cockfighting arena of Sok An in the Bati district of Takeo. It must close – it is absolutely obvious,” Hun Sen said in a March 2009 speech.

Song Ly, chief of the Municipal Police Minor Crimes Bureau, said the premier’s remarks had pushed cockfighting underground. “Only a small number of people are still fighting cocks, and they’re doing it secretly,” he said.

Choup Sok Heng, Dangkor district deputy police chief, said police would remain vigilant in cracking down on such activity.

“We will not allow this game to happen in our district,” he said. “We will crack down on them, because gambling, drugs, gangs and robbery cause people in the villages and communes to feel unsafe.”

Police Blotter: 5 Oct 2010

via CAAI

Tuesday, 05 October 2010 15:01 Phak Seangly

Man substitutes rape for marriage proposal
A 23-year-old man told police that he raped a 16-year-old girl in Pursat province’s Bakan district because he loved her and was afraid she would marry someone else. District police said the man attacked the girl on Thursday as she was on her way to a local pagoda to make offerings for the Pchum Ben festival. The man claimed that he had been in a relationship with the girl, but that she had recently begun to ignore him, according to police. He said he would still marry her if she dropped the charges against him.

Taxi driver accused of bid to cut competition
Military police in Meanchey district on Wednesday arrested a 25-year-old motorbike-taxi driver accused of attacking another driver with a cleaver as part of a dispute over a customer. Police said the suspect had become enraged after the other driver was selected to ferry a customer that both drivers had been vying for, and went home to collect his weapon before returning two hours later to assault his rival.

Drive-by robbers foiled by stalled motorbike
Military police arrested two male suspects at the scene of an attempted robbery after their vehicle broke down in Phnom Penh’s Toul Kork district on Friday. The two men, who were on a motorbike, reportedly snatched a necklace from a woman, who was also on a motorbike, seconds before their vehicle broke down, thereby enabling police to swoop in and arrest them. The victim said the necklace had been returned to her after the arrest, but that a diamond pendant worth around US$1,000 was missing.

Police nab suspect in rape of friend’s wife
Police in Kampong Cham province’s Batheay district last week apprehended a man accused of raping a pregnant 19-year-old woman who had been sleeping next to her drunken husband when she was attacked. Police said the husband had passed out after a heavy drinking session with the suspect, who later gagged the woman and raped her. The victim, who is six months pregnant, has requested US$2,000 in compensation.

Three detained in moto theft conspiracy
Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Saturday temporarily detained three men accused of conspiring to steal a motorbike from a motorbike-taxi driver. One of the suspects asked the driver to take him to a park and wait for his return. After about 20 minutes, the man returned with four others, the driver said. He said the five men then “overwhelmed” him before escaping on his motorbike. Police said they were searching for the remaining two suspects.

Officials see little change in dengue fever cases

via CAAI

Tuesday, 05 October 2010 15:01 Sen David

HEALTH officials have recorded slightly fewer dengue fever cases and two fewer deaths during the first nine months of the year, according to statistics provided yesterday by the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control.

Ngan Chantha, director of the Health Ministry’s National Anti-Dengue Programme, said the figure of 9,996 cases was down from 10,069 recorded during the same period last year, and that the 29 deaths fell short of the 31 recorded last year.

He said, though, that the ministry was “still concerned about [dengue fever] because we don’t want to see children die of it”, and that the majority of deaths were children under the age of 15.

The report listed four provinces in addition to Phnom Penh as dengue fever hot spots: Kampong Cham, Kandal, Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap.

Hai Ra, head of dengue control at Kampong Cham’s provincial health department, said he believed the number of cases in his province – 934 were recorded through the first nine months of the year – was on the rise, though he could not provide a figure for last year.

Activist called to testify on KDC land row

via CAAI

Tuesday, 05 October 2010 15:01 May Titthara

KAMPONG Chhnang provincial court has issued a second summons for an activist who has been accused of disinformation by a company owned by the wife of a government minister.

Sam Chankea, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said he had been initially summoned to appear for questioning on September 29, but had been unable to appear because of a scheduling conflict. The court then issued a second summons yesterday asking him to appear on Wednesday, he said.

“I have received a second court summons today after I asked for a delay to appear at the court on September 29,” he said. He added that he was hoping to appear, provided that his lawyer was able to join him.

The complaint against Sam Chankea stems from a December 26, 2009 interview with Radio Free Asia, in which he suggested that the clearance of disputed land in Kampong Tralach district by KDC International – headed by Chea Kheng, the wife of Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Suy Sem – might have been illegal.

The row originally involved 108 families who claimed to have lived for years on land in Ta Ches commune’s Lorpeang village, which the company says it bought in 1996. In 2007, the company asserted its ownership of roughly 145 hectares of disputed land, saying it had struck a deal with 105 of the families. Rights groups, however, say 64 holdout families never agreed to the deal.

Since 2002, the company has filed complaints against villagers five times, including a case last year in which the village chief was convicted of forging residents’ thumbprints on a complaint saying villagers never sold their land.

Thai Hy, a representative of KDC International, declined to comment yesterday. Phat Pouv Seang, a lawyer for the company, said a company representative had already answered questions at the court.

Lake concerns aired on World Habitat Day

Photo by: Uy Nousereimony
Boeung Kak residents facing displacement attend a World Habitat Day event yesterday at Chenla Theatre. UY NOUSEREIMONY

via CAAI

Tuesday, 05 October 2010 15:01 Khouth Sophakchakrya

RESIDENTS who face eviction from the Boeung Kak lake area joined an event to celebrate World Habitat Day yesterday in Phnom Penh, and vowed to continue agitating for their land rights until Prime Minister Hun Sen intervened on their behalf.

“Residents are being forced to leave [the lakeside], as their homes are swamped with sand and water, while those [residents] who attempt to claim their rights face intimidation and physical violence,” said Y Sarom, a representative of the coalition of NGOs that helped organise yesterday’s World Habitat Day event at Chenla Theatre.

“Better City, Better Life” was the theme of this year’s World Habitat Day, an observance that was first established by the United Nations in 1986.

Y Sarom said that despite multiple requests and petitions, the Cambodian government had not taken any proactive measures to prevent abuses from being committed against lakeside residents. He added that the current situation was “untenable”.

In February 2007, Shukaku Inc, a local developer owned by Cambodian People’s Party Senator Lao Meng Khin, signed a lease agreement with the municipality giving it the right to develop the lakeside. The following year the company began filling in the lake to make way for a 133-hectare housing and commercial development.

Touch Naruth, Phnom Penh municipal police chief, said yesterday that NGOs and Boeung Kak lake residents “should not exaggerate” when describing actions used by police to break up protests.

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema and Daun Penh district governor Sok Sambath could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Sam Rainsy appeal to be held today, court official says

via CAAI

Tuesday, 05 October 2010 15:01 Meas Sokchea

THE Appeal Court plans to hold a hearing in the case that saw opposition leader Sam Rainsy sentenced to two years in jail earlier this year, after two failed attempts in recent months.

“Sam Rainsy’s appeal will be held tomorrow,” court Prosecutor Nget Sarath said.

“We will not postpone anything anymore. We have enough of everyone, including lawyers and defendants.”

Svay Rieng provincial court in January found Sam Rainsy guilty of racial incitement and destroying public property after an October 2009 incident in which he led villagers in uprooting border demarcation posts in Svay Rieng province’s Chantrea district. Two Svay Rieng villagers – Meas Srey and Prum Chea – received one-year jail terms in the same case.

Sam Rainsy, who is in self-imposed exile in Europe, said the posts had been placed inside Cambodia and thus constituted evidence of Vietnamese encroachment.

On June 6, Sam Rainsy’s lawyer and the lawyer for Meas Srey and Prum Chea walked out of the Appeal Court because the two villagers had not been brought to a scheduled hearing.

In August, a second attempt to hold an appeal hearing was aborted because Sam Sokong, the lawyer for the two villagers, was absent.

Yesterday, both Sam Sokong and Choung Choungy, Sam Rainsy’s lawyer, said they planned to appear today.

“I do not think of hope. I am just committing to try my best to defend my client’s rights as best as I can,” Choung Choungy said. “I have strong documents and I have already prepared them to defend my client.”

Government lawyer Chan Sok Yeang, meanwhile, said he was confident that the guilty verdicts would be upheld.

Sam Sokong said yesterday that his clients had been serving pretrial detention since December, and their sentences are almost finished.

On September 23, Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Sam Rainsy in absentia to 10 years in prison on charges of disinformation and falsifying public documents.

Those charges stemmed from evidence he publicised on the SRP’s website and in video press conferences following his January conviction that also alleged Vietnamese encroachment on Cambodian territory.

Workers file case against temple body

via CAAI

Tuesday, 05 October 2010 15:01 Rann Reuy

FIVE workers employed by the Sou Ching conglomerate filed a complaint to a local rights group yesterday accusing a group of Apsara Authority officials of injuring them during a clash over unauthorised construction work on a property within a protected area of Siem Reap district’s Thnal village.

The complaint came one day after the Apsara Authority announced plans to sue Ros Chhoudeth, CEO of the Sou Ching Electric Company. An Apsara official said that around 70 security guards hired by Ros Chhoudeth had threatened and injured members of a team of around 30 Apsara Authority officials and workers who had attempted to shut down construction work on the property on Friday.

Ros Chhoudeth denied that he had hired security guards to protect the property, and said Apsara Authority officials had clashed with a group of around 10 construction workers.

Sous Narin, an investigator for the rights group Adhoc, said yesterday that both the company and the authorities were at fault.

“We see that the Sou Ching company’s fault is that it doesn’t have permission to make repairs, and the Apsara Authority’s fault is in using violence against the workers,” he said. “The activities violated the individuals’ rights because they are security guards, and the authorities should have discussed [the problem] with the property owner.”

He said the Sou Ching workers had been repairing a fence on the property because it was coming to the end of its lease.

Ty Borey, a Sou Ching security guard, said he was among the five who had filed a complaint against the Apsara Authority.

“They injured me when I was guarding the house,” he said, and added that some of the officials had been carrying guns.

“I felt anger, but I did not have anything to fight back with,” he said.

Prom Karona, director of the Apsara Authority’s Public Order and Cooperation Department, said he had prepared the documents to sue Ros Chhoudeth, and was waiting for approval from “higher” officials before submitting them to court.

Seasoning factory set to open in capital SEZ

via CAAI

Written by Chun Sophal
Tuesday, 05 October 2010 15:00

JAPAN’S Ajinomoto Company plans to officially open its first US$6 million seasoning packaging factory in Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone today.

The firm’s general director Masatoshi Ito said the plant would be the firm’s seventh factory in the ASEAN region and would package goods primarily for the Cambodian market.

“We would provide food with protein through our seasoning production to contribute to enhancing Cambodian people’s health and lives for a better condition,” he said in a draft speech.

The main component of Ajinomoto’s seasoning is monosodium glutamate (MSG), according to a presentation posted on the company’s website. The firm says the safety of the product has been confirmed in multiple international tests.

The plant would provide a boost for the Kingdom’s economy, according to officials. It will employ some 200 people and wrap up to 10,000 tonnes of seasoning in its first year of operation, with greater production to follow, according to Masatoshi Ito.

Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Suy Sem said, in a draft speech, the operation would not only help Cambodians increase local production of foodstuffs, but could lead to further expansion of Japanese companies.

“We welcome the factory, and hope it convinces other Japanese investors to come to Cambodia,” he said.

Ichiro Nishimura, company director of Ajinomoto (Cambodia) said the company established its first Phnom Penh sales branch in 2001. Last year, it decided to establish a Cambodian subsidiary.

Ajinomoto first began in 1909, selling seasoning products in Japan. It claims to sell its products in more than 100 countries worldwide.

It maintains operations in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam.

ZTE signs agreement to aid trade technology

via CAAI

Tuesday, 05 October 2010 15:00 Ellie Dyer

A “LANDMARK” deal for Chinese and Cambodian cooperation was made last week, said deputy prime minister Sok An, as the government inked a deal with telecommunications firm ZTE Corporation. Zhao Yong, ZTE’s vice president for the East and Southeast Asia region, and Chun Vat, secretary general for the National Information Communications Technology Development Authority, inked a memorandum of understanding for ZTE to assist the Kingdom in enhancing trade and administrative work through information technology. “The signing ceremony marked another landmark of cooperation with our great friend China,” said Sok An, according to an online government statement.

Australia's Be Vannara lifts Cambodia profile

via CAAI

Tuesday, 05 October 2010 15:00 H S Manjunath

Cambodia is not among the participating nations at the Commonwealth Games but one of its proud sons, 22-year-old weightlifter Be Vannara, is competing in this year’s event in New Dehli in the green-and-gold colours of Australia, the first Cambodian native to earn that distinction.

Be Vannara, who grew up in Phnom Penh, was whisked away from the Kingdom at the age of 10 with his three sisters to start a new life in Australia. His father had found refuge and a job as a grape picker in a Yarra Glen winery in Victoria after being persuaded by one of his brothers to relocate.

Not until he was old enough to go to nearby Mount Lilydale Mercy College did Be Vannara realise to the fullest extent what his father and his family had gone through under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Two of his uncles had been killed, his grandmother had lost an eye and his father was left with deep psychological scars.

It was one of Be Vannara’s uncles who ventured out to Australia first in a small boat after fleeing Phnom Penh to Thailand. Once he got asylum, he called out his brother for a short work trip at a farm in Victoria. The owner of the farm was so moved and impressed by the heartbreaking story and her employee’s work ethics that she helped the entire family move over in 1998.

Be Vannara was no ironman when it came to Aussie Rules football, in which he dabbled during his early teens. He was too skinny at the time to succeed in a sport so physically demanding. Then his attention turned to weightlifting.

Even today he is not sure as to where he drew his impressive weightlifting strength from, but probably the hours of picking grapes and carrying loads on his back working alongside his father helped him in his sporting career.

By the age of 16, Be Vannara had grown to be the strongest schoolboy of his age group under Hawthorn Club coach Anthony Dove, whose only worry at the time was that he could not persuade the youngster to do more than one training session a week. “His heart was just not in it,” said the coach.

But Be Vannara, who took up sport more as a diversion from school than for the love of it, was instead seeking permanency, eagerly awaiting a citizenship that would remove most of his nagging uncertainties. Once his papers came through in November 2009, he began training five to six days a week, and the results were amazing.

In March this year, Be Vannara recorded his personal best of 248 kilograms – 113kg snatch and 135kg clean & jerk – and celebrated his first call up to the Australian team in May by winning a bronze medal at the Oceania Senior Championships in Suva, Fiji.

A great honour was then in store for him when he became one of few Australian lifters, male or female, to join the Senior Elite Standard for 62kg.

Be Vannara’s best lift of 248kg may not be enough, however, to get him a Commonwealth Games medal. He will have to step up a great deal to match such fierce competitors as Aricco Jumitih of Malaysia (272kg), and the Indian pair of Omkar Shekar Ottari (264kg) and Rustam Sarang (263kg), but he is already a winner in the category of tenacity trumping adversity.

Be Vannara is competing in the finals of the 62kg Men’s event today from 3:30pm Cambodian time.

News in Pics

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (L), Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen (C) and Belgium's King Albert II (R) pose for an official photo at the start of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Brussels October 4, 2010. European and Asian leaders will try to narrow differences over representation on the IMF at talks intended to break down barriers between countries representing more than half the world's population. REUTERS/Thierry Roge

In this Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010 photo, a local vendor cooks chickens for sale in Baseth village on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

In this Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010 photo, a local vendor prepares dead chickens to be sold in Baseth village on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Cambodian children collecting scrap walk along the road in the rain at Steung Meanchey on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Oct. 4, 2010. (Photo/Heng Sinith)

A Cambodian woman uses a wooden boat for selling some snacks and fruits along the floating resort of Mekong river in Kien Svay village in the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Kien Svay is a well-known picnic destination for people in Phnom Penh for relaxation in the weekend. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

The Elephant Walk chefs share their history in the restaurant business and an easy family Ecuadorian−style soup recipe


via CAAI

How to make avocado citrus soup, Ecuadorian style

By Jon Cheng
Published: Monday, October 4, 2010

Courtesy Nadsa de Monteiro
Nadsa and Lonteine de Monteiro prepare French-Cambodian cuisine at Boston’s renowned The Elephant Walk.

Nadsa de Monteiro and her mother Longteine de Monteiro, chef−owners of the Massachusetts restaurant chain The Elephant Walk, claim that their family was the first to bring Cambodian cuisine to Boston when The Elephant Walk opened in 1991.

The restaurant gained renown almost immediately - Esquire Magazine named it one of America's Best New Restaurants in 1992 - but the de Monteiros attribute the restaurant's success to the decades of hardship they experienced before its establishment.

Nadsa, who oversees operations of the restaurant's three branches, said The Elephant Walk's menu, which she calls "three parts Cambodian and one part French," derives directly from her family's background.

Though she was born in Cambodia, her father's work as a diplomat and ambassador brought her to Yugoslavia, the Philippines and Taipei before her family was finally forced to take asylum in France to escape massacres brought on by the Khmer Rouge's takeover of the Cambodian government in 1975, she said. Nadsa's grandmother and uncle were among the fatalities in the country's infamous "Killing Fields" period.

It was in France where her affinity for French cuisine developed, Nadsa said, and where her mother began cooking.

"Before France, my mother has always been the ambassador's wife, so she didn't have to cook," Nadsa said, but when they moved to France, her mother taught herself how to cook in order to preserve the family's standard of living. "My sister and I, when we came home from school, had an amazing spread of food that she prepared."

Soon after her move to France, Nadsa moved again - this time to the United States to work as a travel agent - while her parents stayed in France, hoping to immigrate eventually but having been denied refugee status.

In the meantime, Longteine quickly became a skilled culinarian and decided to turn cooking into a profession. She pawned her jewelry to open up a restaurant, Amrita, which saw success during its 10−year run. After Nadsa became a naturalized citizen, Longteine and Nadsa's father were finally able to move to the United States and they left Amrita behind. Upon their reunion, Nadsa was drawn into the culinary world, "mostly by necessity and mostly by chance," she said.

"Until my parents moved here, I never cooked. Then, I got sucked into the restaurant business," Nadsa said. "So I went to get culinary training in France [under Michelin−starred chef Yves Thuris], but I also learned from eating my mother's food."

After graduating from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts and working as sous−chef at The Elephant Walk for two years, Nadsa succeeded her mother as executive chef. From then on, the restaurant's success has been overwhelming, she said.

"We've been receiving the Best of Boston award every year for the last 10 years. Just last year we were inducted in the magazine's Hall of Fame," she said. "We have also published an ‘Elephant Walk' cookbook that is being sold in bookstores and on Amazon.com."

Once a week, Nadsa holds a Saturday morning cooking class with her mother and brother−in−law chef Gerard Lopez that usually draws in eight to 18 people.

"We've had couples, even teenagers take the class - the youngest one being nine years old and the oldest one 81 years old," she said.

Due to the establishments' proximity to nearby colleges, the classes and restaurants alike tend to attract a lot of students. But the family still strives to further spread the culture of their food to younger generations.

"Don't be afraid to taste new things; be adventurous. Hamburgers, fries and pizza aren't the only things - Boston now has tons of ethnic foods. If you're limiting your scope, that's your own problem," Nadsa said.

To help, she offers a simple recipe for a chilled avocado citrus soup, which students can easily whip up in their own kitchens (see page 3).

"This is a recipe that was inspired by one of my trips to Ecuador," Nadsa said. "I brought it back, played with it, recreated it and put it on the menu five years ago. It's just a big hit and everybody just loved it. I get requests for it all the time. Anybody can make this. If you can't make it, you're an idiot."