Thursday, January 14, 2010

Where's the day gone?

The authors of Cambodians and Their Doctors, Jan Oversen and Ing-Britt Trankell at Monument Books tonight
Not a spare minute in the day. That's my excuse for my lack of blogging. My working day have been full on with visits from hotel sales teams and travel agency partners from Laos and Vietnam. I must finish work early today to get to a book launch, Cambodians and Their Doctors, at Monument at 6pm, then off to Meta House for a film show including Aki Ra's Boys at 7pm and then onto the moto again, this time heading for the Cavern and high volume punk music by Stiff Little Punks. Not sure when I'm going to manage to grab a bite to eat. Any spare time I can find at the moment is being used up on finishing off the manuscript for my travel book, To Cambodia With Love, which we hope will see the light of day sometime this year. I have shamefully dragged my feet with this but there is now light at the end of the tunnel thanks to the pushing, shoving and threatening from the series editor Kim Fay. Gotta run.
Update: The book launch at Monument for Cambodians and Their Doctors was well attended and pretty interesting. The authors addressed some of the key topics they covered in their research which included local kru medicine, Western influences in French colonial times and the Khmer Rouge period, up to the present time. It came as no surprise to hear that whilst many believed Western medicines were destroyed under the Pol Pot regime, they were in fact kept hidden and used exclusively by the party hierarchy, whilst non-cadre Khmers received only ineffectual herbal medicines, if anything at all. As for the bookshop, there's a stack of books I'd like to buy but my bank account wouldn't be able to take the strain. I'll have to do it in small doses (staying on the medical theme). There were two films shown at Meta House, both showing disability in Cambodia and both highlighting the positives with a film about the work of Handicap International in Battambang and the other, Aki Ra's Boys. The Stiff Little Punks were exactly what they said on the label, loud thrashing punk rock, just like I used to listen to thirty years ago.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Health in Cambodia

This book sounds pretty specialist though reading the review by the publisher they promise it's more than it appears. Cambodians and Their Doctors - A Medical Anthropology of Colonial and Post-Colonial Cambodia is a 336-page look through the archives at the arrival of modern medicine in Cambodia during the French colonial period and the existing Khmer health practices, that in the main, still exist today. Published by NIAS, Jan Oversen and Ing-Britt Trankell are the authors and they include sections on indigenous healers, spirit mediums and magic monks as well as the Khmer Rouge health regime. The authors are presenting a lecture on their topic at Baitong Restaurant in BKK1 on Wednesday 13th at 6pm and then there's a book launch at Monument Books the following night at 6pm.
On a totally different topic, Meta House, who celebrated their 3rd anniversary tonight with a party, and who will be moving location in a few months, host a new Khmer dance with How Do You Sound on Saturday night at 7pm. Next Thursday I'll be there with the hour-long documentary Aki Ra's Boys as part of celebration for disabled Cambodians and then a second new dance, Moving Into Feeling will take place on Saturday 16th. The Messenger Band are finally back at Meta House on 22nd together with a positive take on the garment industry in the country.

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