Friday, 11 February 2011

DAP News. Breaking News by Soy Sopheap

via CAAI

UN Assistant Secretary–General to Visit Cambodia

Friday, 11 February 2011 08:45 DAP-NEWS/VESNA

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA, FEB 11, 2011-Dr. Ajay Chhibber, UN Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director for Asia and the Pacific, will visit Cambodia next week to address the 4th Cambodia Economic Forum, a press release from UNDP here said on Friday.

“He will meet with high-level government officials to discuss the country’s economic and social prospects in the near future. Dr. Chhibber arrives in Phnom Penh on Sunday 13 February for his visit which aims to strengthen the partnership between the Royal Government of Cambodia and UNDP in advancing socio-economic development to reduce poverty in the country,” it added

During his stay, Dr. Chhibber will meet with Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and other senior government officials. Discussions will cover issues of strategic importance, including the outlook of Cambodian economic recovery following the recent global economic downturn; aid effectiveness; the threat, impact and mitigation of climate change on the country’s economic and social growth; and local measures to accelerate achievement of the Cambodian Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

On Wednesday 16 February, Dr. Chhibber will address the 4th Cambodia Economic Forum, a high-level policy dialogue organized by Cambodia’s Supreme National Economic Council (SNEC) that aims to influence strategic, long-term sustainable and equitable growth in Cambodia.


France Replies to Thai Reaction on Border Treaty with Cambodia

Friday, 11 February 2011 06:34 DAP-NEWS/CHAN VESNA

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA, FEB 11, 2011- The French embassy in Phnom Penh has explained to Thai media and Thai officials about the border treaty between France and Siam in the earlier 19th century. France ruled Cambodia from 1863 -1953.

The response from French embassy here occurred after Thai media and Thai officials said recently. In response to media enquiries about the French offer to help resolve the current situation along the Thai-Cambodian border, Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Director-General of the Department of Information and Foreign Ministry Spokesperson of Thailand, said there may have been some misunderstanding about the proposal as France had not offered to mediate between the two countries as some media had reported. Rather, France had expressed its readiness to provide access to maps of the region it had made in the early 20th century should any country wish to study or make copies of them.

The Foreign Ministry Spokesperson further stated that Thailand welcomed the offer. In fact, Thailand had in the past received good cooperation from Quai d'Orsay, which had given Thai officials access to their archives several times before. Should there be additional maps that Thailand has not yet examined, it would certainly consider examining such maps without prejudice to its boundary claims.

This Embassy (French embassy here) would also like to draw your attention to the last press release from the spokesman of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs: "La Direction des Archives du ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes conserve l'alternat français du traité franco-siamois de 1907 ainsi que les archives de la partie française de la commission de délimitation, parmi lesquelles des documents cartographiques. Ces archives sont accessibles et ont déjà été consultées au cours des dernières années. Nous apporterons bien entendu toute l'aide nécessaire à tout pays qui nous demanderait de consulter ou prendre copie de ces documents." French embassy said in its statement on February 10.

In an unofficial translation of the sentences, "The Archives Directorate of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has kept an official copy of the Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907 and the archives of the joint delimitation commission's French side, notably some cartographic documents. These archives are opened and have already been consulted in the past few years. We will of course give our assistance to any country that would ask us to consult or to have copies of these documents." It stresses.

Thailand has stated to be afraid of Cambodia after it had invaded Cambodian soil since July 2008 at area near 11th century Khmer Preah Vihear temple. Thailand called 4.6 square kilometers near the temple as disputed area but Cambodia rejected, it is Cambodian land. France recently said that it will give border treaty made in 1904-1907 with Siam (Thailand) for clearness. Thailand is fearful of shame after international community expressed their support for Cambodia because Thailand invaded Cambodia soil


Cambodian Government Officials Pray for One Minute for Dead Soldiers in War

Friday, 11 February 2011 05:53 DAP-NEWS/VENG SAKADA

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA, FEB 11, 2011-Cambodian government officials on Friday prayed for a minute for soldiers who died during fighting with Thai invasion recently.

The cabinet meeting today presided over by Samdech PM Hun Sen and all prayed for our great soldiers who sacrificed their lives for protecting our motherland from enemy, an official said.

Samdech earlier week expressed his thank for all political parties in the country supported his plan to defense the land at area near Preah Vihear temple from robberies that has always invaded shamelessly. Thai troops on 4 Feb invaded freshly at the area.


Former Cambodian King and Queen Mother Donate Gift for Soldiers and Citizens at Border

Friday, 11 February 2011 06:07 DAP-NEWS/VENG SAKANA

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA, FEB 11, 2011-Cambodian Former King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Mother have donated the gift to soldiers and citizens at the border, a press release from cabinet of former king obtained On Friday.

“ The donation will provide to 3,000 families fled home from Thai invasion and soldiers at the battlefield, it stresses.

The gift for soldiers at the frontiers included $25,000, 500 large cases of instant noodles, 100 large cases of canned fish, 500 larges cases of mineral water, and gift for citizens included karmas, sarongs, noodles, and some cash.

Cambodia is waging war against Thai invasion at area near the 11th century Khmer Preah Vihear temple. Thai troops invaded Cambodia on July 15, 2008 after Cambodian enlisted the temple as world heritage site.

News anchor in court for questioning

via CAAI

Friday, 11 February 2011 15:03 Meas Sokchea

Prominent television personality Soy Sopheap appeared yesterday at Phnom Penh Municipal Court for questioning over allegations that he tampered with letters addressed to a rice trading company.

A complaint was filed last month by Lim Bun Heng, director of Loran Import-Export Company, accusing Soy Sopheap of criminal infringement of correspondence, a charge that carries between one month and one year jail and fines of up to US$500.

The anchor was summoned for questioning by the court last Friday, though details of the alleged infringement remain vague, with both parties refusing to comment on specifics.

After leaving the court, Soy Sopheap said he didn’t open the letters, adding that he didn’t know how to use email.

“I have requested the court remove this case because I saw that his complaint does not have any real basis,” he said.

Lim Bun Heng refused to comment yesterday, saying only that the court should follow through with the case.

Deputy prosecutor Hin Bun Chea also declined to comment yesterday, but last week said the complaint was related to the creation of a Deum Ampil radio station in Battambang province. Soy Sopheap is director of Deum Ampil News and a presenter for Bayon TV.

Recent comments made by Soy Sopheap on the government-aligned station have also irked Son Soubert, the president of the Son Sann Foundation, who has threatened legal action against Bayon.

On February 4, Soy Sopheap allegedly made comments suggesting that Son Sann – Son Soubert’s father and a leading nationalist figure – sold land to Thailand during the 1980s.

Son Soubert said yesterday that he had sent a letter to Hun Mana, the general manager of Bayon and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s daughter, asking that Soy Sopheap’s comments be retracted on-air.

“I have written to the director of Bayon TV, but she has not yet responded,” he said. “If Bayon TV does not broadcast my letter, I will sue them. They have defamed my father.”

Executives at Bayon TV could not be reached yesterday.

ASEAN meets on terrorism

via CAAI

Friday, 11 February 2011 15:02 Thomas Miller

Delegates from ASEAN member states and Japan gathered in Phnom Penh yesterday as part of a three-day meeting to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts within the regional bloc.

Sar Kheng, minister of the interior, said terrorism remains a threat but claimed progress in counter-terrorism efforts.

“We have achieved successes in preventing and suppressing terrorism,” he said, citing international and inter-agency cooperation alongside recent legislation as reasons for Cambodia’s achievements.

Neth Savoeun, national police chief, also said the government’s draft NGO law would “enhance the effectiveness of the fight against terrorism.”

Cambodia is seeking support for efforts to secure its rivers, borders and seaports, said Sieng Lapresse, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Interior.

“It’s not just Cambodia neglect this kind of waterway, but it seems like the whole region been neglect of this thing,” he said.

Sieng Lapresse said financing for ASEAN member state projects, to come from a joint ASEAN-Japan fund, was not discussed.

Cambodia was granted US$82,445 from the fund to organise the three-day meeting, according to a list of projects obtained by The Post.

Andong village still divided

Photo by: Pha Lina
Residents dismantle their homes at the Andong village relocation site, in Dangkor district’s Kouk Roka commune, yesterday after initially protesting against plans for a housing project.

via CAAI

Friday, 11 February 2011 15:02 Khouth Sophakchakrya

More than 10 families in Dangkor district’s Andong village have agreed to dismantle their homes, one day after protesting against local authorities who attempted to demolish their housing.

The housing project, which would build 50 new concrete homes in the village, requires the affected families to pay a monthly rent of 96,000 riel (US$23) for five years to assume ownership. The program is spearheaded by the Urban Poor Development Fund, a joint venture of civil society groups and the Phnom Penh Municipality.

Den Kimchhuon, 41, agreed to dismantle his house because he felt the housing upgrade was worthwhile.

“We should take the risk as it’s our opportunity to have one concrete house to live in like others,” he said.

Te Phat, an official with the UPDF, said the payment plan would not require villagers to pay on a monthly basis if they fell on financial hardship.

“We won’t force them to pay us with full payments every month,” she said. “The villagers can pay us based on their ability outside the five year [plan].”

More than 30 families, however, have not agreed to dismantle their homes for the project.

Sok Voeum, a 41-year-old vendor of snails and morning glory, was skeptical of whether he’d obtain land rights. Like the other Andong villagers, he was forcibly evicted from Sambok Chab in Phnom Penh in 2006 by authorities working on behalf of a developer.

“The authority just said that our houses would not be seized,” said Sok Voeum. “But how about in the next five years when we couldn’t afford to pay them – they would take it back.”

NGOs weigh in on Laos dam

via CAAI

Friday, 11 February 2011 15:02 Summer Walker

The Cambodian National Mekong Commission met with local government officials and NGO representatives yesterday in Kratie province at Cambodia’s first consultative meeting regarding the Xayaburi dam planned for Northern Laos.

Peou Vuthyrak, national environmental program coordinator for CNMC, said the meeting was organised so local-level representatives could address concerns about the dam.

Participants included representatives from several NGOs and government officials from Stung Treng, Kratie, Takeo, Kampong Cham, Prey Veng, and Kandal provinces.

Peou Vuthyrak said the concerns voiced by local participants would serve as the basis for a national-level meeting on February 28,

The planning process for the Xayaburi dam is the most advanced of the 11 dams slated for the Lower Mekong River. Yesterday’s meeting was the first time the Mekong River Commission’s regional decision-making process, called Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement, has been employed. The six-month process was initiated last October and is expected to conclude in March 2011.

Chea Phallika, hydropower and community rights program officer for NGO Forum, an umbrella group of NGOs operating in Cambodia, said the committee provided a summary of the dam’s projected economic benefits, the consultation process and the environmental impact assessment.

She noted the major concerns raised by participants included a lack of transparency regarding information on the Xayaburi dam, the rapid pace of a six-month decision period and the potential impact to agriculture and fisheries.

Sun Mao, executive director of the Cambodian Rural Development Team, said there was agreement between NGOs and local officials on issues related to the ecosystem, food security and water quality, but that the recommendation was made to delay the entire process for 10 years, based on the Mekong River Commission’s independent Strategic Environmental Assessment.

“There was no representation from villagers who live along the river apart from commune council officials,” he said. “We recommended the CNMC invite people from local river communities to the next meeting.”

Tep Bunnarith, executive director of the Culture and Environment Preservation Association, welcomed the space given by the CNMC to question the process and add comment, but he expressed concerns that the EIA had not been provided in full.

“Without seeing the EIA report, we only have a summary to guide our discussion. They have asked us to wait until the second consultation on February 28 to see the EIA.”

According to PNPCA guidelines, summaries of impact assessment and technical documents are sufficient for the consultation process.

However in a Joint Development Partner Statement dated January 26, the MRC’s donors called for full disclosure of all technical reviews and impact assessments, and suggested the consultation process be extended since relevant information has not been made public.

The first consultation on the Xayaburi dam was held in Vietnam on January 14, where it was concluded that documentation on the project provided inadequate information about the dam’s technical features and potential cross-border and cumulative impact, according to the Vietnam National Mekong Commission website.

Russei Keo raid nets drugs, two soldiers

via CAAI

Friday, 11 February 2011 15:02 Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A commune official in Russei Keo district said yesterday that four people, including two Royal Cambodian Armed Forces officers, were arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking Chey Sameth, deputy chief of Prek Leap commune, said the suspects, three men and one woman, were arrested yesterday at about noon.

The arrests were made during a raid on a residence in Prek Leap village conducted by local authorities in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Drug Police Unit.

“The suspects have been detained at the Ministry of Interior for further investigation and interrogation,” Chey Sameth said.

Police seized 10 packages of 2,000 tablets of an unidentified drug, a K-59 pistol, a sport utility vehicle and drug-related paraphernalia, he said.

The seized items were sent to the Ministry of Interior for cataloguing and storage, he said.

“I think this is another successful crackdown on drug smuggling in Russei Keo district,” Chey Sameth said.

“To combat trafficking, we will continue our hard work and will also appeal to the public to cooperate and report any information they have about drug trafficking and drug abuse carried out in Phnom Penh.”

Governor names new district

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Friday, 11 February 2011 15:02 Chhay Channyda

Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema has proposed that a planned new district – the city’s ninth – be named Pormeanchey district, though the move is yet to be officially approved by the Ministry of Interior, officials said.

Dangkor deputy district governor Seng Kun said the announcement was made during a meeting in the district on Wednesday.

According to Kep Chuktema, Pormeanchey district will be formed from eight communes from Dangkor district and five from Kandal Stung district in Kandal province in line with a plan first mooted by City Hall in December.

“The municipality has suggested the name to the Ministry of Interior, but there is no official approval yet,” Seng Kun said.

Leng Vy, director general of the Interior Ministry’s General Department of Local Administration, said yesterday that the municipality had not yet requested the creation of a new district and that no date is set for a meeting on the issue.

Dangkor district expanded in size from 15 to 26 communes in December, when 11 communes from Kandal’s Kandal Stung and Ang Snuol districts were incorporated into Phnom Penh.

Chea Nyta, deputy governor of Dangkor district, said in December that the creation of a new district was necessary to facilitate administration of the area.

“Higher leaders have prepared to split our district into two districts because it is now too wide to govern,” she said in early December.

During an expansion of the area carried out in September, a total of 20 communes were cut from Kandal province and incorporated into four of the capital’s districts: Dangkor, Russey Keo, Meanchey and Sen Sok.

In addition to the 11 communes incorporated into Dangkor district, two communes were also added to Russey Keo, four communes were added to Meanchey and three communes were added to Sen Sok.

Chea Nyta said in December that municipal authorities were studying the specifics of the proposed division, and that it would require careful consideration and additional financial support from the government.

UBB on the right course

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Friday, 11 February 2011 15:02 Gregory Brock and Mike Mann

Your January 28 article about the University of Battambang (UBB) was considerably off the mark in our opinion. The reader is left with a sour impression of UBB that does not match with our experience.

We are a foreign faculty at UBB with many years of teaching and administrative experience at Canadian and US universities. We also have extensive experience with higher education accreditation both here in Cambodia and with accrediting agencies in Canada and the US. We know what a successful university looks like.

While UBB does have growing pains, it is going in the correct direction on many fronts. For example: Courses, teachers, programmes and administration systems are evaluated yearly. Student satisfaction is measured by university research. All students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels complete a thesis. UBB is setting the standard for a high quality education in Cambodia.

UBB has a strong commitment to the community through relevant applied research on issues important to the region. UNESCO and the World Bank fund projects at UBB.

Students are flocking to UBB because of its emphasis on programme quality. Enrollment has jumped to 5,000 in only three years. UBB plans to reach its capacity of 10,000 within a short time. Good support for students is provided through 350 scholarships. Low income students enroll in classes through a work-study programme.

Flexible programming (short courses, a weekend programme, an Associate Degree programme and a Foundation Year programme) helps students access a university education who otherwise would not have the opportunity.

Lastly, we observe high morale among academic and administrative staff. There is a strong sense of mission among faculty, staff and management to growing a new, responsive university through high quality education. The leadership at UBB is competent, ethical and committed. The results speak for themselves.

Gregory Brock, Ph.D.
Jeanette Coufal, Ph.D.
Mike Mann, M.Ed., MBA

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.
Last Updated ( Friday, 11 February 2011 14:24 )

People before politics

Photo by: REUTERS
Thousands of displaced Cambodians receive government-supported aid at a temporary shelter after fleeing their villages.

via CAAI

Friday, 11 February 2011 15:02 Ou Virak

The cessation of fighting at the border along Preah Vihear since Monday raises hopes of an end to violence in the region. As the Thai and Cambodian governments point the finger of blame at each other and bicker over whether the dispute ought to be resolved bilaterally or with the assistance of an international body, both governments must give immediate attention to the plight of the people who have been displaced by the fighting.

On the Cambodian side of the border, it is reported that as many as 4,100 people have been evacuated from their homes. A previous clash at Preah Vihear in April 2009 resulted in the evacuation of three Cambodian villages and the creation of an internally displaced persons’ camp – Sa Em IDP Camp – which struggled to accommodate and provide for the 1,660 evacuees who were reported to have been housed there.

Despite support from the Cambodian Red Cross and other humanitarian aid agencies as well as the local authorities, shortages of food, a lack of adequate shelter, unsafe drinking water, complications relating to human waste management and a lack of medical provisions and practitioners rendered the camp uninhabitable.

The humanitarian challenge now facing the Cambodian authorities – with the number of displaced persons two and a half times greater than in 2009 – is on a scale not previously encountered throughout the course of this conflict. Conditions in camps that have been set up in Koulen district are said to be cramped, and while the Red Cross has said that there are no major concerns regarding health or disease, the situation could change quickly.

The clashes of the last week are reported to have reached new levels of intensity and have affected a much larger geographical area than in 2009; while the 2009 clash was limited to the immediate area surrounding Preah Vihear temple, it is reported in this instance that Thai shells landed as far as 27 kilometres inside Cambodian territory.

The tense stand-off, with no real resolution in sight, and the damage that has likely resulted from the clashes, may keep evacuated persons from their homes for a much more prolonged period than in 2009, making adequate humanitarian efforts all the more vital.

The reported use of cluster munitions by the Thai military further complicates matters as it will demand a survey and clearance operation to guarantee the physical safety of these people when they do return to their homes.

In a press release dated February 8, 2011, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights called on the Thai and Cambodian governments to put people before politics and to ensure an immediate end to hostilities.

As the Cambodian government appeals to the international community to intervene to resolve the issue of ownership of the disputed territory surrounding the temple, it must ensure that any request for assistance is not limited to the political side of this conflict, but also addresses the humanitarian situation that the conflict has created, so that the dignity and well-being of the displaced people is guaranteed.

Ou Virak,
President of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights.

Border dispute keeps Thai businesses away

via CAAI

Friday, 11 February 2011 15:01 Steve Finch

RECENT fighting on the border between Cambodia and Thailand has had a minimal impact on the country’s economic interests in a direct, measurable way. But the fallout comes from the fear factor generated as a result of the clashes, a much more difficult outcome to assess.

Speaking on the sidelines of a press conference on Wednesday confirming that a Thai trade fair would go ahead in Phnom Penh next week despite the fighting, representatives of companies including Thai Airways and Siam Cement Group said they had experienced little or no adverse effects.

Thailand’s national carrier has seen only 100 cancellations on outbound flights to Bangkok for this month as a direct result of fighting, said Narinthorn Purnagupta, Thai Airways general manager in Cambodia, which represents just 1 percent of traffic.

Inbound flights had seen even fewer cancellations, he added, just 40 so far.

Siam Cement Group (Cambodia) Managing Director Patham Sirikul said the company’s joint venture Kampot Cement had not seen any impact. SCG imports construction materials mostly through the Poipet border crossing which has remained open throughout.

A few cancelled holidays by Thai tourists does not represent a major dent to business ties between Cambodia and Thailand, but tensions translate into a lack of economic development in the border area around Preah Vihear and a lack of enthusiasm among Thai investors who may have otherwise considered Cambodia.

“The first thing is the feeling of their security,” Jiranun Wongmongkol, Thailand’s commercial counselor in Cambodia, said of the main impact on Thai investors here.

In August last year B-Quik, a Thai vehicle service chain, announced it planned to delay opening its first outlets in Phnom Penh until the end of this year because the company’s senior management were concerned about the attitude of Cambodians towards Thais in the wake of border clashes.

Whether or not other Thai companies have decided against expansion into Cambodia for the same reason is difficult to gauge, but clearly the current tense climate does not bode well for investment.

Cambodia’s trade with Thailand climbed 54 percent last year to US$2.6 billion, a sign that the Preah Vihear dispute has hardly had an impact, but clearly other countries in the region such as Vietnam and China have much better business relationships with the Kingdom than Thailand.

From Cambodia’s perspective this is unfortunate. As the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia, Thailand as a neighbour of Cambodia should be much more involved in the domestic economy than it is at the moment.

The reason behind this stuttering economic relationship is obvious. Reluctance in doing business derives directly from tensions at Preah Vihear.

Rose City set for mid-year finish

Rose City Condominiums under construction in Phnom Penh yesterday. The project is expected to be completed mid-year. Photo by: Wesley Monts

Even though the property market hit a slump caused by the world financial crisis, we never delayed

via CAAI

Friday, 11 February 2011 15:00 Soeun Say

THE developers behind the US$70 million Rose City Condominiums said yesterday the project would be completed in the middle of 2011.

Work on the four separate 29-storey condominium buildings – located near the Sofitel Phnom Penh in the capital’s Chamkarmon district – has been ongoing since late 2008, according to Touch Samnang, project manager at the developers, Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation (OCIC).

“We have almost completed our project,” he said. “We are just doing interior design and will be finished by mid-2011, and open for clients to move in later this year.”

The Rose City Condominiums project is part of the larger Bassac Garden City development. The OCIC ownership also holds a stake in Canadia Bank

Rose City towers stands on 1.5 hectares, with each of the four buildings set to contain more than 100 units.

Work on the project began during the start of the downturn in the Cambodia’s real estate market, according to Touch Samnang.

“Even though the property market hit a slump caused by the world financial crisis, we never delayed,” he said. “We’re not worried [about the project’s success], because we have a lot of funds from our bank.”

Other prominent Phnom Penh developments have seen work halt recently.

Gold Tower 42, at the corner of Sihanouk and Monivong Boulevards, saw work halt in September, while other projects in the capital have delayed beginning construction.

Touch Samnang claims that the Rose City project was already sold out, fetching between $100,000 and $200,000 per unit.

Clients, he said, were mostly businesspeople, government officials, and a few foreigners.

Ministry of Land Planning, Urban Management and Construction department of construction director Lao Tip Seiha said yesterday that Rose City was being constructed smoothly – adding the project was so far without delay.

“This is a big project, among other big projects belonging to Canadia Bank. It aims to share in and push the construction sector in Cambodia to grow,” he said yesterday.

“There is still activity in the construction sector.

‘‘Some development projects have been postponed, but construction on other projects is still underway.”

OCIC owns other projects, including the Diamond Island development, as well as Canadia Tower - currently the Kingdom’s tallest building.

Total construction in Cambodia declined nearly 58 percent in 2010 compared to a year earlier, according to previous ministry statistics.

The figures – which include individual buildings as well as developments with multiple buildings – show 2,149 projects worth $840 million were given the green light last year, down from $1.988 billion in 2009.

Recruiting the Kingdom's best

Top Recruitment managing director Kevin Britten at his Phnom Penh office. Photo by: Wesley Monts

via CAAI

Friday, 11 February 2011 15:00 Ellie Dyer

THE recruitment sector has often been billed as an economic bellwether, and for one Phnom Penh-based employment agency, business is booming as Cambodia’s recovery gathers pace.

Launched in January 2007 as a company offering office services, support and recruitment for inbound investors and start-ups, Top Recruitment has grown to become one of the country’s best-known employment agencies.

The Phnom Penh-based firm fills hundred of roles for international companies and foreigner-owned and managed firms each year. It also outsources its own pool of staff to local companies.

After experiencing “phenomenal” growth in 2010 as firms started recruiting in earnest as the threat of the financial crisis diminished, managing director Kevin Britten believes that Cambodia’s development is gathering pace.

“Cambodia is so well positioned to explode internationally because of its reputation, its work ethic, its dynamism and at the end of the day, its people,” he said.

“The people are open to new ideas, new methods and new standards. Everyone wants tomorrow to be better than yesterday. That drives everybody to want to improve themselves, and they want to do it in English.”

Citing language skills as the most important attribute for new graduates, followed by familiarity with the commercial world, he said that vocational experience is essential for would-be employees.

“Ideally we want experience in a structured operation with clear lines of reporting and clear responsibilities. It is important because of a lack of vocational input in the education system.

“We talk to people all the time about vocational schemes, and more are interested in setting them up. It has to happen.”

Nurturing domestic talent is also key to international businesses operating in Cambodia, he said.

“You can’t rely on foreigners if you want your business to be a success, you have to have Cambodians in key roles,” said Britten.

“We always ask clients would you like to see foreign profiles for this role, and the normal answer is: ‘Only after I have seen there is no candidate from Cambodia who can do this job’.”

But as Cambodia develops, the needs of employers are changing.

Chinese influence is increasing the need for Mandarin speakers in the Kingdom, he said, a gap which has yet to be filled. Meanwhile, 2010 saw a boom in the need for candidates to fill roles in advertising, media and marketing.

“It’s maturity in the market. Just like they need a recruitment company you need an advertising specialist,” said Britten.

“All the international agencies want that and smart Cambodians realise Khmer input in this is so important – they’ve added media and advertising onto other businesses that they were doing.”

Looking ahead, Top Recruitment – which sources candidates from a mixture of advertisements, applicants and referrals and draws a fee for its services based on a successful candidate’s wage – plans to continue to answer the demands of the nation’s employers.

For its pool of outsourced staff, that means offering a flexible labour-law compliant workforce to the manufacturing, logistics, sales and business development sectors.

“Life’s too short to look at what your competitors are doing. Offering an honest service for an honest fee, every service industry has to be like that,” said Britten.

Royal visit crowns jump finale

A young rider competes during the first day of the 2011 Norodom Sihanouk du Cambodge Horse Jumping Championships at the Cambodian Country Club on January 31. Photo by: Heng Chivoan

via CAAI

Friday, 11 February 2011 15:00 H S Manjunath

Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein will visit Cambodia in her capacity as the President of the International Equestrian Federation to preside over the conclusion of the 2011 Norodom Sihanouk du Cambodge Show Jumping Championship at the Cambodian Country Club on Sunday.

The Princess, who represented Jordan in show jumping at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, is a junior wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and also the ruler of Dubai.

The famous Al Maktoum colours are prominent in English horse racing and the family fully supports the richest horse racing festival, the Dubai World Cup, at the Nada Al Sheeba race course every year.

As the daughter of Jordan’s King Hussein and Queen Alia, Princess Haya rode horses from a very young age and quickly gained notoriety in equestrian sport.

At the age of 13, she became the first female from Jordan to compete in an international show jumping competition. In 1992, she won a bronze medal at the Pan Arab Equestrian meet.

A major turning point for her equestrian pursuits came in 1994, when King Hussein formed Team Harmony - a string of international show jumping horses - and named his 20-year-old daughter as Athletic Director to run its affairs. In the next five years, Team Harmony collected victories in as many as 36 international classes, eight national Grands Prix, eight international Grands Prix, and a Volvo World Qualifier.

Princess Haya rode a mare from Team Harmony called Lucilla II at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and was flag bearer for the Jordanian team during the opening ceremony. She became the first Arab women to qualify and compete in the World Equestrian Games at Jerez in Spain the same year.

Five years later she took part in the World Endurance Championships in Dubai and, between 1995 and 2002, competed at an average of 39 international meets a year from training bases throughout Europe.

On the way to the apex of world acclaim, she became the first Jordanian athlete to turn professional, signing a contract with Italian designer Loro Piana.

She moved to Dubai in 2004 following her marriage, and two years later became the first Arab to assume the office of the President of the International Equestrian Federation.

She also became a member of the International Olympic Committee and was even named a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

On Sunday, the third and final day of the seventh edition of Cambodia’s annual show jumping event will find champions in four categories. With notable performers from the last two weeks of intense competition going for the ribbons an exciting fare is well on the cards.

Local riders Hoy Sophirath and Long Sopheaktra currently hold sway in the Grand Prix division. The second round last Sunday also saw Goosens Chenda take the lead in Gallop 4/5, while Alicia Khiem came out trumps in Gallop 2/3. Lili Duverge emerged winner in the Gallop 1 category.

A US$5 entrance fee will allow spectators access to all the Cambodian Country Club facilities from morning until evening Sunday, and each ticket grants admission to a lucky draw that offers a one-year membership of the club as the grand prize.

Top-spot rating for family-run restaurant

Moun Sophors and Moun Sobey are proof that hard work pays off in the restaurant game. Photo by: PETER OLSZEWSKI

Dara Khoy, who is now proud proprietor of Selantra Restaurant, Siem Reap. Photo by: PETER OLSZEWSKI

via CAAI

Friday, 11 February 2011 15:00 Craig Miles

A NEW breed of entrepreneurial Khmer restaurant owners is starting to give the established old hands a run for their customers in Siem Reap.

Restaurant-owning husband and wife team, 41-year-old Moun Sobey and his 28-year-old bride Moun Sophors, operate an extremely hard-to-find restaurant that few resident expats have heard about, yet it’s usually packed with travellers.

Even more astounding, Touich Restaurant Bar, named after Sophors’ nickname “short”, is listed on as being the number one restaurant in Siem Reap, with a perfect rating of 5 out of 5. And the rating isn’t just the result of a smattering of reviews, as Touich has had more than 100.

It’s a pretty good result for a 28-seat restaurant that’s tucked away several kilometres from Pub Street, near Wat Preah Enkosei. Even the tuk tuk drivers don’t know how to get there, which is why the adventurous pair purchased a $3000 jeep that they use to pick up guests and deliver them back to their hotels. And this little touch of extra service has also become a handy marketing tool, with the novelty attracting custom.

Touich opened in 2009, after being built by the owners themselves and their families over a five-month period.

“We only had $2500 to open,” Sobey said. “We were thinking, ‘wow, how are we going to do this?’

“My brother-in-law is a policeman and he traded rice in villages for bamboo and wood. We had no knowledge of how to build, so I became the architect and my brother Yorl was the builder.

“I checked on the internet and chose a style of building from Indonesia. It was funny when we built it, with even my sister-in-law hammering away.”

Sobay had absolutely no experience running a restaurant, although Sophors had done some waitressing. She’s now the chef, after learning cooking at home for her family when she was younger. The waitressing, cleaning and other jobs are also done by other members of the family.

Before opening the restaurant, Sophors and Sobey visited almost every restaurant in Siem Reap to gain cuisine insights.

“The internet is very important for us now,” Sobey said. “We had no money for marketing or flyers and one day someone told me about TripAdvisor, that it’s free.”

Sobey said he and his wife were surprised when they realised they were number one in Siem Reap, but added that being the top rater on TripAdvisor has drawbacks, with many people expecting
a five-star restaurant.

“We are just a simple Khmer restaurant,” he said. “We have to explain that the restaurant is not five stars and that we are just a family restaurant.”

For Sobey and his wife, hard work and a dream is paying dividends. The same is the case for 26-year-old Dara Khoy, married with six children and owner of Selantra Restaurant and Lounge on Wat Bo Road. Dara grew up in an orphanage, now known as Sunrise Children’s Orphanage, where his mother worked as a cook. He first went to school at age nine, when he was sponsored by a French lady.

Dara said he studied hard, and in 2001 at age 17, he started working at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor as a waiter. In 2002 he moved to the Victoria Hotel as a waiter, and in 2003, was appointed restaurant captain.

In 2004 he was appointed restaurant supervisor at Hotel de la Paix and was later promoted to assistant manager of the restaurant.

In 2008 he opened his own restaurant, then called Honolulu. He was supported by a Hawaiian sponsor named Magda Alexander.

“She was interested in helping me and she paid to open my restaurant,” Dara said. “She keeps coming back and sponsoring me. For me, it was an unbelievable life change, from being in an orphanage to now opening a restaurant.

“The first year was very difficult. But we started to become very busy and needed more room, so I needed to renovate.”

Which is what Dara did. In three months, he extended the size of the restaurant and renamed it Selantra.

Selantra is now thriving and Dara is thrilled with his business, which has now doubled its high season takings.

Now he wants to expand again. He lives with his wife, two children and four other children whom he adopted, above the restaurant.

He now wants to buy a house and turn the living area into a small hotel, or open another restaurant with air-conditioning.

The common factor with both of these stories? It’s hard work and persistence that always pays off in the end.

Bike marathon changes course across borders

via CAAI

Friday, 11 February 2011 15:00 Craig Miles

BIG changes are planned for this year’s bike marathon organised by former Australian iron man, 57-year-old Norm Clark, on behalf of the Siem Reap NGO Kampuchea House.

The marathon itself has been extended in duration.

It will be held in September and will span two countries – Vietnam and Cambodia – rather than just Cambodia as in earlier events.

A second mini-marathon has also been scheduled for May or June.

Record numbers of riders have prompted the reorganisation of the marathon, which has come a long way since 2008, when two riders took part.

Last year it had increased to 10 riders, who raised a whopping $56,000.

In 2010 the marathon started in Siem Reap, weaving its way through Cambodia for a stamina-testing 1200-kilometre trek.

This year, Clark said the trip was planned to start at Da Nang in Vietnam before heading down the coast and crossing the Cambodian border.

The marathon will be extended to 10 days because of the vigorous course spanning two countries.

“Last year, some days we had eight to nine hours riding,” he said. “Other days we had four hours. Many

of the people were quite surprised how tough it was with the heat and roads. Last year we used 1500 litres of water in eight days, and that didn’t include water riders bought themselves.”

Clark said the shorter trip, for three or four days, was being organised for May or June this year because several people last year requested a less challenging journey. The trip will encompass the temples around the Angkor area, plus further north near the Cambodian-Thai border.

Clark said the riders of the longer marathon must raise $3000 to participate, while riders of the shorter marathon will need to raise $2000. Last year one rider raised $10,000 which included a $5000 sponsorship from JB Hi-Fi, a major Australian electronic goods retailer.

“This year we are hoping for more corporate sponsors,” Clark said.

Money raised during the bike trips this year will be spent upgrading many of Kampuchea House’s amenities.

Tel interview: Latest on Cambodian-Thai clashes CCTV News

Cambodians Flee Fighting Near Border Temple, Face Food, Shelter Shortages (Cambodia news in Khmer)

Quiet Day On Thai-Cambodian Border CCTV News

Cambodia-Thailand Clash Over Border

Thailand And Cambodia Soldiers Clash In Jungle Temple Dispute In Preah Vihear

Thailand, Cambodia clash over Hindu temple

Thai Villagers Return Home after Cambodia Clashes

via CAAI


On Thursday, Thai villagers began trickling back to their homes near a disputed stretch of the border with Cambodia. Tension is starting to ease after deadly clashes over an ancient temple.

[Colonel Chinkart Ratanajittree, Army Spokesman]:
"If there is nothing happening on Friday the 11th, I think we can tell the villagers to begin returning to their homes."

But both Thai and Cambodian forces remained on alert a day after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said the four days of fighting that began last Friday constituted "real war."

Thailand and Cambodia blame each other for the exchanges of fire near the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple. The violence left three Thais and eight Cambodians dead. At least 34 Thais and 55 Cambodians have been wounded, according to statements from both sides.

The temple ruins, perched on a cliff overlooking the north Cambodian plain, have been an issue of contention between the neighbors since the 1950s.

Though the guns have been silent for a few days and attention is turning to diplomatic efforts to restore calm, more forces have been heading to the area.

One witness says several Thai army tanks and other armored vehicle were seen, a day after Thailand moved up about 20 tanks.

Although Thai army officials said the tanks are not reinforcing in the area, the message to Cambodia is clear.

Commanders on the Cambodian side have also denied beefing up their forces and say they are acting with maximum restraint.

Bilateral talks could take place in New York, possibly on Monday of next week.

CMAC Mine Risk Education (MRE) teams to raise awareness of mines, ERW and Cluster Munitions for the communities in Prah Vihear

Thursday, 10 February 2011_CMAC is deploying special tasked force to Preah Vihear province to conduct risk educations of Mine/ERW in particular Cluster Munitions for residents and displaced communities in conflict areas of Cambodia. This is a quick emergency response to raise the communities’ awareness of Mine/ERW risk and preventative actions to avoid accidents, noting the significant amount of people have been displaced and the confirmed evidences of Cluster Munitions used by the Thai Military on Cambodia.

An immediate preventative measure is being taken by CMAC to quickly deploy Mine/UXO Risk Education (MRE) teams to begin a massive rapid campaign for the populations affected by the four day clash between Thailand and Cambodia that took place from the 4th to 7th February this year. CMAC had verified and confirmed the use of Cluster Munitions by the Thai military to bombard Cambodia. During the cross fire, there identified evidence of heavy artilleries such as 105MM, 130MM and 155MMused by Thai military, and CMAC experts have verified and confirmed that these artilleries contained Cluster Munitions including M35, M42 and M46 types.

As an emergency response, CMAC is deploying a number team of multi-skilled experts Mine Risk Education to Preah Vihear to alert the communities of the risk and equip them with the knowledge to keep them from harm’s way. Teams are posting announcements and leaflets to provide information to help the communities identifying mines, unexploded ordnances (UXO) and in particular Cluster munitions. Teams will also conduct sessions of training to educate the populations on the risks and appropriate course of actions to be taken when come across dangerous items.

A lot of attentions have also been directed towards children as they are a high risk group, more prone to have accidents due to their limited knowledge and awareness of the issues.
A number of CMAC Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) expert teams are also being installed in the area to operate in hand with the MRE teams to provide quick rapid responses to emergency requests from the communities. The EOD experts will address technical aspects dealing with mine, UXO and Cluster munitions items.

Cluster Munitions are air-dropped or ground-launched weapons that dispense smaller munitions, a cluster of bomblets, a type of explosive weapon which scatters sub-munitions ("bomblets") over an area. During the attack, because of their dispersing bomblets, they strike indiscriminately, especially over populated areas. In the aftermath, unexploded cluster bomblets continue to cause harms on the populations long after the conflict has ended.

H.E Heng Ratana expressed in his grave statement that: “It is a sad to see that Thai Military are using Cluster Munitions. I could not emphasize strong enough how serious the problem of Cluster Munitions can be both at time of attack and in the aftermath.” “The most pressing priorities now for us at this point,” he added “is to let the people in the area know of the risk of landmines/UXO and also Cluster Munitions so that they can take precautions especially as some communities had to move from one area to another to seek safety shelters from the fighting.

It is worth noting that Cambodia and Thailand have not signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions which prohibits the use of cluster munitions. However, Cambodia had been addressing the issues of Cluster Munitions since the beginning of mine action in the country. CMAC is a national institution in Cambodia who had been in a forefront in this issue, working with the supports from the Cambodian Government and cooperative partners such as Handicap International_Belgium (HI-B), Japan Mine Action Service (JMAS), Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), and Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) to clear UXO and cluster munitions in the affected provinces. In the beginning of 2011, with the cooperation and supports from NPA, CMAC is implementing Explosive Remnants of War/Cluster Munitions Survey and Land Release project which aim to enable Cambodia to obtain accurate and updated baseline data of landmine and ERW/Cluster Munitions contaminations.

H.E Heng Ratana, would like to take this opportunity to express high regards and gratitude for the CMAC staff and management who are taking on this task to go into conflict zone and conduct mine risk educations to the people, for the people. They are performing beyond their normal duty; however their bravery is nothing new for the CMAC mission that stays true in their hearts, working to save lives and support Cambodia for its growth and development.

Area of North-west of Cambodia, along the Thai-Cambodia border, had already been identified as a heavily mined zone. The area had been long-term battle grounds between warring factions during decades of war since the 1960s. CMAC continues to work alongside the Royal Government of Cambodia to address issues and problems that the country may face.

CMAC’s Mine/ERW Risk Awareness Poster on Cluster Munitions _ To be used in Preah Vihear February 2011

Item was found recently in Svay Chrum Village, Kantout Commune, Chuam Khsan District, Prah Vihear province, Cambodia

Former King Sihanouk donated money and gifts to displaced people and front line troops

Sihanouk and his wife Monique.

By Khmerization
Source: DAP News

Cambodia's former King Norodom Sihanouk has aid from Beijing that he decided to donate money and gifts to 3,000 displaced people by recent fighting between Cambodian and Thai troops.

In a letter to palace officials obtained by DAP News, the former king said he will donate $25,000 to 3,000 displaced families and $25,000 to Cambodian troops. On top of these, the troops will also receive 500 boxes of instant noodle, 100 cans of sardines and 500 boxes of pure water.

The letter said that each of the 3,000 will receive one sarong, 15 packets of instant noodle and 20,000 riels ($5) in cash.

Russia, France, China and India support Cambodia's legal resolution to the Khmer-Thai congflict

By Khmerization
Source: Kampuchea Thmey

via CAAI

The Kampuchea Themy Daily reported that Russia, China, France and India have offered their supports to Cambodia's position to have the Khmer-Thai border conflict resolved through legal channels and France has offered to make available Cambodia-Thai border maps to any nations interested to have them. However, Thailand has rejected France's offer outright.

Thai troops had provoked a fight: Front line troops reported that at 10 p.m on Wednesday night, 9th February, Thai troops attempted to provoke a fight by throwing hand grenades at Cambodian troops at Phnom Trop, but Cambodian troops did not respond. The next morning, on Thursday 10th, Thai troops had thrown 3 more grenades at Cambodian troops, but, again, they did not respond.

At 3:10 p.m yesterday, Thai fighter jets had flown very close to Cambodian borders and over Preah Vihear temple.

Thai residents at Sisaket opposed visit of yellow shirts: Thai residents of Sisaket province has staged a small protest against the planned visit of the Thai yellow shirt People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) to area. The residents blamed the PAD for causing the fighting with Cambodian troops which have brought them troubles and affected their life and livelihood.

They have held placards saying:

1. Your group has created the war.
2. You have caused misery for our families.
3. You are not welcomed here.

In Sakeo, opposite Cambodia's Banteay Meanchey province where 7 Thai trespassers were arrested on 29th December by Cambodian troops, there are also protests by local villagers against the PAD.

Maj-Gen. Hun Manet visits troops at Phnom Trop

Hun Manet (3rd from left) visited Cambodian troops on Thursday. The visit and this pictured have dispelled rumours that he was injured during the fighting with Thai troops.

By Khmerization
Source: Kampuchea Thmey

via CAAI

Maj-Hun Manet, eldest son of Prime Minister Hun Sen and Deputy Commander of Royal Cambodian Army, has made a visit to Phnom Trop, the scene of the most heavy fighting between Cambodian and Thai troops from 4-7 February.

His delegation arrived at the Cambodian camp site at 10:30 a.m yesterday, Thursday 10th February. During a speech to the troops, he told them that he will he sacrifice everything to defend Cambodian sovereignty and territorial integrity against the Thai invasion.

At the base he met with Gen. Chea Dara, commander of the Preah Vihear Operations and Gen. Yim Pim, commander of the 8th Division, who briefed Gen. Hun Manet about the military situations and the bravely of Cambodian troops who fought fiercely against the Thai troops in the areas of Chak Chreng, Phnom Trop, Ta Thav, Ta Sem and Veal Entry.

Gen. Hun Manet had also conveyed a message of congratulations from his father, Prime Minister Hun Sen and his mother, Lady Bun Rany, to the troops for their sacrifices to defend the nation against foreign aggression. After the meeting, Hun Manet had lunch with the troops and local commanders before leaving the front line.

A Thai newspaper recently reported that Hun Manet was injured during the fight on Sunday 6th February. With this visit and the picture, it seem that he is uninjured.

Cambodia Seeks to Evaluate a Growing Number of Universities

via CAAI

February 10, 2011

With the number of private universities in Cambodia growing in recent years, the country wants to do more to evaluate the value of higher-education institutions, The Phnom Penh Post reports. As competition is increasing among institutions, the general quality of higher education is improving, says Pen Sithol, director of the Department of Standards and Accreditation in the Ministry of Education. Roughly 30 percent of the country’s approximately 40 higher-education institutions are private, according to the ministry.

Fees at Cambodia’s universities range from $3,000 to $250 per year, the newspaper says, but a steeper price tag doesn’t always mean a better education. That’s because some of the less-expensive schools receive outside funds and offer students subsidized tuition.

In a bid to offer some clarification, the ministry’s Accreditation Committee of Cambodia evaluates universities according to factors such as academic programs, teaching, physical facilities, and more. In 2008, the committee’s analysis of Phnom Penh’s institutions found that five did not meet the required standards. The evaluations are designed to assess broad-based quality, and rather than focus on fees alone, “the most important thing is whether students can absorb knowledge from their lecturers,” Mr. Pen says.

Thai-Cambodia Fighting Slows Border Trade, Traffic

Daniel Schearf, VOA Khmer
Si Sa Ket, Thailand Thursday, 10 February 2011

via CAAI

Pich Samnang, VOA Khmer
Cambodians displaced by the Thai-Cambodia border clashes take shelter at a temporary camp at Wat Srenoy, in Siem Reap province' Varin district, around 70 kilometers from Siem Reap on February 09, 2011.

"If you want to know about Thai history, [as] part of that you should know about Cambodia, the Khmer, I can say Khmer history, too, because they used to control our land in Thailand, you know, before. And a lot of things, ruins, things, and other things, you know, just come from Khmer culture."

The Thai-Cambodia border is at an uneasy calm after recent deadly clashes near disputed territory left several people dead and scores injured. Thousands on both sides have fled the area. The fighting led to a dramatic drop in the number of tourists and traders crossing the border.

At the Chong Jom market on the Thai-Cambodia border, Cambodian shopkeeper Kaew Yungurn squeezes auto polish onto a rag. He demonstrates his product for a couple journalists and onlookers on a sample piece of a car hood.

As he works, Kaew says sometimes you have to apply two coats of the white liquid, which cost $6 a bottle. But now he shows how it can repair minor scratches.

Unfortunately, the normally busy market that brings together Thai and Cambodian traders is almost empty and Kaew has no customers.

When fighting between Thai and Cambodian troops broke out last Friday, hundreds of shops were abandoned as people fled for safety.

On Wednesday, most shops remained closed.

He says he wants both sides to hold talks so he can get back to business as soon as possible.

At the Chong Sangum immigration checkpoint, the number of people crossing the border has dropped from 50 to fewer than 10 a day.

Immigration Bureau Deputy Commissioner Pansak Kasemsant says there have been no tourists since Friday.

He says the number of tourists decreased because of the unclear situation. But actually, he says, there is no fighting here. The place where the problem occurs is 90 kilometers from this checkpoint.

The clashes erupted near disputed territory surrounding a 900-year-old Hindu Khmer temple known as Preah Vihear in Cambodia and Phra Viharn in Thailand.

Thailand and Cambodia have soldiers stationed near the temple, leading to occasional exchanges of fire.

The weekend fighting was the worst in years with both sides shooting artillery and machine guns.

Several people were killed, scores injured, and thousands of villagers fled the border.

In 1962, the International Court ruled the temple lies in Cambodia, but a key access point is in Thailand. A dispute over the border near the access point lay dormant for decades, until in 2008, when the United Nations granted the temple World Heritage status, at Cambodia’s request.

The designation angered some Thai nationalists, and there have been periodic military clashes around the area since then. Disputes over other parts of the border also have flared up.

In Bangkok, a group of nationalists is holding a protest around the main government offices. They demand that Thailand abandon a memorandum of understanding it signed with Cambodia in 2000 on settling border disputes.

Despite the tensions, at least one group of Thai visitors on Wednesday crossed into Cambodia.

Thaveesilp Suvwattana is a history professor at Thailand's Mahasarakham University.

He is taking his master's degree students to learn about Thailand and Cambodia's shared culture and history.

"If you want to know about Thai history, [as] part of that you should know about Cambodia, the Khmer, I can say Khmer history, too, because they used to control our land in Thailand, you know, before. And a lot of things, ruins, things, and other things, you know, just come from Khmer culture," he said.

Thaveesilp says the border dispute is about politics and nationalism with people on both sides interpreting history for their own hidden political agendas.

He says Thailand and Cambodia should accept the past, move on from historical disputes, and hold talks to build a peaceful future as neighbors.