Saturday, March 6, 2010

Remembering Koh Ker

Okay, I look like a shaggy sheepdog but in my defense I'd just spent 8 hours on a moto
Reading about the project to turn Koh Ker into a world heritage site took me back in time to my first visit to the temple complex in November 2001 with my pal Sokhom and his trusty Daelim moto. It was a wonderful adventure, one of many I've had in the company of Sokhom, and although Koh Ker had yet to reveal many of its treasures that you can see today, I was chuffed to bits to be one of the first visitors to get to Koh Ker under our own steam, though it was a gruelling journey, there and back. Here's my story from that first-ever Koh Ker adventure:

The journey by moto along Route 12 from Kompong Thom to Tbeng Meanchey was gruelling and uncomfortable enough but paled by comparison to the 70 kms of road to Koh Ker. However, more of that soon enough. The tenth century royal capital of Koh Ker had been a magnet for me for a long while after Sok Thea, a Khmer friend of mine blazed the trail there just under two years earlier. In a remote and inhospitable corner of Preah Vihear province, for so long under the control of the feared Khmer Rouge and in an area awash with landmines, Sok Thea's stories had whetted my appetite for a similiar adventure and with Sokhom's help, it became a reality. Koh Ker became the centrepiece of the Khmer kingdom in 928 when Jayavarman IV built a series of colossal monuments in a twenty year period of frenzied temple construction. When the capital returned to Angkor, Koh Ker fell into disrepair and has remained isolated and inaccessible ever since. The Koh Ker period of Khmer history is renowned for its architecture and sculpture on a monumental scale and the museum in Phnom Penh has many key pieces on display that prove the point. Recently, the Cambodian government has earmarked the site as a key historical attraction which they plan to develop in a bid to attract foreign tourists, so I was desperately keen to visit the complex before that happens.

After our first night in Tbeng Meanchey at the 27 May guesthouse, Sokhom and I rose early and took the road heading west, after breakfast at a nearby cafe. It was just before 7am and little did I know our eventual destination was nearly eight hours away, although Sokhom had an idea as he'd made the trip once before. We immediately got a foretaste of what was to come as the road surface alternated between heavily rutted and sandy and quickly turned into little more than an ox-cart trail rather than a navigable road, once we'd taken a left turn at the village of Thbal Bek. Parts of the track were underwater and we had to detour into rice fields to avoid some of the flooded stretches. Apart from a couple of ox-carts, we saw very few people until we stopped a motorbike rider for directions. Remarkably, Sokhom knew him as an aid worker with Health Unlimited in Kompong Thom and he told us of the poor state of the road ahead. Three hours into our trek, we arrived at the village of Koulen, at the half-way point, and time for a well-earned rest, while Sokhom brought out his repair kit and tinkered with the engine and suspension. We ate some noodles and quizzed the local policemen about road conditions, safety and other ancient sites in the area. Suitably rested, the track continued in the same vein as before, with the sandy surface making it impossible to drive at anything more than a crawl. The route remained flooded in places and whilst crossing one stream, we lost control of the moto and had to pick it, and ourselves, out of the water. We stopped one of the few ox-carts we encountered, to buy a couple of bunches of bananas, whilst a noticeable feature of the flooded areas was the abundance of brightly-coloured butterflies.

As the trail wound its way through a heavily wooded area, I was relieved that Sokhom had made the trip before as I'm sure we would've got lost. At times, the route ahead was blocked but he somehow found a way forward and kept us on track. The sound of a helicopter overhead suggested some visitors to Koh Ker had decided on the more comfortable travelling option, and who could blame them. My back and bottom were aching and sore, my face was red from the sun and the rest of me covered in dust and dirt. Then, as if sensing my desire to curl up and go to sleep, Sokhom announced we had arrived. Imagine my surprise when he stopped the moto and pointed off to the right, where through the trees I spied a large laterite tower and wall. My tiredness evaporated and my sense of excitement took over as we walked through the light brush towards a hole in the laterite wall surrounding the tower. It was just under eight hours since we'd left Tbeng Meanchey and our arrival at Prasat Neang Khmau, the southernmost temple of the Koh Ker group, was a great relief. The temple itself faces west and is a tall, dark laterite tower inside a walled compound. Through the sandstone doorway with carved colonettes and below a cracked and defaced floral lintel propped up by a large wooden pole, a large pedestal and broken linga litter the inside of the sanctuary. Back on the moto, we covered a kilometre or so to the state temple of the whole Koh Ker complex, Prasat Thom. The eastern gopura entrance was blocked by fallen sandstone columns and vegetation had taken a firm hold around the other sanctuaries and galleries as I quickly made my way through the ruins to catch my first glimpse of the giant sandstone pyramid - the complex's crowning glory.

Keen to organise our overnight accommodation before the sun went down, Sokhom and I made the short hop to the nearby village of Koh Ker and quickly located the village chief, Yuon. He was only too happy to let us stay at his home for the night, so we dropped off our hammocks and water bottles, booked our chicken supper and returned to Prasat Thom to watch the sunset. While Sokhom took the opportunity to wash off the dust and dirt of our trip in one of the royal ponds, I carefully negotiated the rickety wooden ladders that straddled each of the terraced pyramid's seven tiers. The square pyramid is 36 metres high with the steep stairways on the east side ravaged by time and replaced by the wooden ladders to make access to the summit a little easier. From the top, the view over the surrounding forest canopy with the Kulen mountains in the far distance was simply breathtaking, enhanced by the glow of the setting sun in the west. There wasn't a great deal of room at the top, as I sat down next to some broken carvings of lions and elephants and enjoyed the peace and quiet, noticing a column of smoke rising from the village nearby. At the foot of the pyramid, I could just make out Sokhom in the deepening gloom as I cautiously made my way down the ladders to join him and we returned to the village.

At the top of a much smaller ladder, Yuon welcomed us into his two-roomed bamboo home on stilts and introduced us to his wife, five children and brother. As headman of the village, his home is one of the largest in the hamlet and under the slatted verandah, where we hung our hammocks and mozzie nets and an hour later ate supper, was his collection of family animals including two dogs, chickens, pigs and piglets and tied up closeby, two oxen. Yuon's wife served up our supper of chicken, rice and vegetables as we all sat cross-legged in a circle under the naked flame of a lighted torch, with Sokhom translating the conversation. It was just before 8pm when we thanked the family, the flame was extinquished and we climbed into our hammocks. Any thoughts I had of falling asleep were forgotten as the family continued with their chores in complete darkness, a Khmer language radio was switched on and under the house a fire was lit and neighbours stopped to chat. It was another two hours before everyone settled down for the night, leaving the occasional animal sound and the creaking of the bamboo structure as the final sounds I heard before I fell asleep.

Awakened first from my slumber by a crowing cockerel at 3am, two hours later the whole village erupted into a similar morning chorus that signalled the start of the day. Sokhom and I arose and in the glow of a lighted torch - the village had no electricity, or water-pump for that matter - we ate the remainder of the previous night's chicken with the family, thanked them for their hospitality with handshakes and a small payment in riel and paused for photographs. Sokhom's moto had aroused considerable interest as no-one in the village owned one and a farewell party had gathered to wave us off at 7.30am, as we returned to a deserted Prasat Thom for one final look. The early morning dew and fine mist gave the temple an eerie feel as we clambered across the broken entrance gopura and reached the large tower known as Prasat Kraham ('red temple'). Broken statues and pedestals littered the floor of this massive structure and the mist lifted as the rays of the sun pierced the tree cover and highlighted a headless apsara on a doorframe. Dense green vegetation throughout the complex restricted exploration to the main pathways as we ambled past a series of nine small identical brick towers with weather-worn lintels and colonettes in situ, and made our way to the giant terraced pyramid at the rear. The unsteady wooden ladders didn't fill me with sufficient confidence to attempt another ascent of the tower, so we retraced our steps, investigating a few broken lion statues, more lintels and carvings amongst the ruined structures.

Our final visit to Prasat Thom lasted an hour before we headed back out of the complex, past faded 'Danger Mines' signs on our left and the remains of a laterite wall in the wooded undergrowth on our right. I signalled to Sokhom that a wall usually meant a temple, so we parked the moto and went to investigate. The brush was waist-high but not too thick as we traversed the wall and headed for a clump of large trees. A ruined brick gopura with broken carved colonettes signalled the entrance to another temple but the vegetation was simply too dense for us to inspect the large laterite temple any closer without a machete or scythe. Frustrated, we returned to the moto as I checked my map and decided that this must be either Prasat Bak or Prasat Chen, most likely the latter. There are believed to be up to 35 major monuments in the Koh Ker group and we'd only just scratched the surface. Our village friends were unaware of the location of the other structures as much of the land surrounding their village was potentially mined and unsafe even to collect firewood. I'm sure the Koh Ker group has many more delights to offer the adventurous traveller once the mines have been cleared and the land has been made safe and with the government earmarking the site for development, that might be sooner than later. Koh Ker is already attracting a small trickle of visitors, as we were told a group of five motorcyclists had spent a night camping at the main temple the night before we arrived.

The route back to Srayang, where we stopped for running repairs, was as bad as I remembered it. The sandy track, tree roots and stumps posed as many problems as the waterlogged sections but it was a slippery slope that undid Sokhom as he ended up knee-deep in mud and his moto submerged underwater. Fortunately, I managed to jump off the back of the bike at the last moment. We eventually completed the first half of the trip back to Tbeng Meanchey in four hours, with a noodle and petrol stop at Koulen, accompanied by loud music bellowing out from loudspeakers, celebrating a wedding party next door. Three hours later and with my bottom and back in agony, we arrived back in town. Covered in dust, I was grateful for the cold shower I had after booking into the Mlop Trosek guesthouse and the beef and chicken meal at the Mlop Dong restaurant as I reflected with Sokhom, what a wonderful adventure the trip to Koh Ker had been. It was a tough test for the two of us on his moto, my aching bones were testimony to that, but Sokhom had once again come up with the goods when it mattered. I can't speak highly enough of my resourceful friend.

Sokhom (left) and Yuon, holding his son, alongwith family and friends at their home in Koh Ker village

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Koh Ker's heritage

The temple pyramid known as the Prang of Prasat Thom at Koh Ker, when the top was still accessible in 2001
As promised, I've had a longer peek at the annual report of the JAYA Koh Ker Project and it makes very interesting reading. As I said a couple of days ago, the idea is to develop a master plan aimed at putting the Koh Ker complex of temples up for world heritage status. The Hungarians are working in tandem with Apsara on creating this master plan which will see more than just a few temples to visit, with sustainable tourism at the forefront of their thinking and the involvement of the local communities. First things first though, they have to properly demine the whole area, which will take a while. Then they have to consider any urgent steps that are needed to prop up some of the monuments that are currently falling down, complete an inventory of all the temples and other sites of interest in the area - they are still uncovering temples such as Prasat Trapeang Russei which came to light last year - appraise the 66 inscriptions they've found on temple walls and doors and lots more besides.

Koh Ker means 'island of glory' though it was formerly known by the name Chok Gar Gyar ('the koki-tree thicket') and even Lingapura when Jayavarman IV proclaimed himself 'supreme king of the Khmer kings' at Koh Ker in 928. Knowledge of this king's early days are scratchy, but what is known is that he commenced and completed an incredible array of over 40 temples during a frenzied twenty year period before his death in 940 and a return of the royal court to Angkor a few years later. The first man-made creation at Koh Ker was the baray, known as Rahal. The most memorable of the monuments is the Prang of Prasat Thom, a 32 metre high temple-pyramid, the largest ever built, rising over seven levels and originally crowned by a giant linga more than a metre in diameter. The linga disappeared long ago. The prang is no longer accessible by visitors for safety reasons. The five unique temples, some 750 metres east of Prasat Thom, each contained a massive linga on its yoni pedestal, each linga estimated to weigh some fifteen tons, some carved from a single rock. Inscriptions abound at Prasat Krachap, with over a thousand lines of script, a huge statue of Ganesha is known to have been stolen from Prasat Bak after the civil war, Prasat Chen produced the famous monkey brothers statue that is housed at the national museum, whilst Prasat Thom gave up the colossal garuda that stands at the entrance of the capital's museum. The rock carvings at Ang Khna, dotted around the pond known as Trapeang Khna, contain a variety of reliefs depicting deities and animal shapes, including a monitor lizard and a pair of freshwater dugongs. There's a suggestion that these sacred carvings were made by hermits at a later date. One other noteworthy monument is Prasat Andong Kuk, which is the last temple to be built and has been identified as one of the hospitals created by Jayavarman VII and shows that the city was still active as late as the 12th century. There is still so much to uncover about Koh Ker. It still holds many mysteries but the completion of a master plan will set the wheels in motion for those investigations to take place. We await the results with great interest.
This is a 2007 map of Koh Ker's temples from the EFEO
The green type and shapes surrounding the pond of Trapeang Khna denote carved rocks which include lingas and animals


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The future of Koh Ker

Here I am at Prasat Pram (Koh Ker) a few years ago, just after it had been cleared of landmines
I'm just reading a very interesting report on Koh Ker that is essentially an end of 2009 progress update from the JAYA Koh Ker Project that is investigating all the aspects necessary to be able to get the site in a position to be able to apply for world heritage status. Apsara, who manage the main Angkor park and beyond, are working closely with the Royal Angkor Foundation from Hungary over a 3 year period and a budget of just under $1 million, to prepare a master plan for the complex of temples situated 60kms northeast of the Angkor temples, as the crow flies. Sections of the designated area are still believed to contain mines though the temples that tourists currently visit at Koh Ker are clear and safe. The temples date from the 10th century though the site is considerably larger than at first thought and the temples you see today are just a sample of what is to be found in the locality. Once I've read the report in full, I'll divulge more information though the longer term plan is to not only present visitors with the variety of temples but designate nature trails, boat trips, a botanical garden, a museum, cycling trails, elephant rides and so on. A similar type of sustainable project is also underway at Banteay Chhmar, in the northwest of the country, which will also be put forward for the world heritage stamp of approval sometime in the future.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

More of the same

This looks like Yama to me, the God of the Dead, who is usually seen riding a buffalo, armed with his mace
The rock-bed carvings at Koh Ker look quite crude in comparison to other rock-face bas reliefs that can be found in the river at Kbal Spean for example or on the cave walls on and in the lee of Phnom Kulen. They need to be cleaned up and all the carvings revealed properly before making a serious assessment of them, though I counted nearly 100 individual sculptures, some more clearly defined than others. They may've been part of an underwater group of carvings in the dim and distant past if the water level of Trapeang Ang Khnar had been higher, or they could've been an offering to the gods depicted on the rock-face, though their location is not close to any of the larger temples at the site. They begin about 50m east of the small shrine of Prasat Khnar. They are facing west - the temples of Koh Ker have mixed orientation to the east and the west - and look out over the small pond. I hope to get back out to Koh Ker in the near future for another scout around and to get to visit some of the temples that have now become accessible in the last year or so.
I reckon this is the elephant-head of Ganesha, son of Shiva, who cut his son'r head off in a fit of anger and replaced it with the first thing he found! I've never seen Ganesha with multi-arms before though, so someone may be able to offer an alternative explanation.
This picture shows where the carvings are situated and that some of them are still covered up by earth
This looks like a worn carving of Shiva dancing whilst drunk
The figure on the right of the central trio looks like a hermit or rishi praying with his long beard
This section of rock with multiple carvings has been defaced and the heads destroyed except for the central figure
My guess is the underworld god Varuna riding a hamsa, though Brahma also rode a hamsa mount at times
An unidentifiable Buddhist figure in traditional posture, with the top of a linga above the boulder
Some of the final rock carvings at the Trapeang Ang Khnar site
Sitting atop one of the carved rock-beds was this three linga-yoni carved on top of the natural sandstone boulder


Rock carvings at Koh Ker

Sunlight shines on carvings of multi-headed Brahma and Yama holding his heavy mace
Now back to those carvings at Koh Ker that I promised you a few days ago. Koh Ker is a fascinating site in many ways. It was a brief blip in the dominance of Angkor as the capital of the Khmer Empire for over 500 years, when Jayavarman IV based himself there for a 23 year period from 921. At that time it was called Chok Gargyar. The temples built there were mainly dedicated to Shiva and the brief period saw a frenzy of temple construction and gigantic sculpture, topped off by the 40m-high pyramid of Prasat Thom. It was believed that a linga of at least 5m in height stood on top of Prasat Thom though no trace of it has been found. On my recent whistle-stop visit, I came across a series of rockbed bas-relief carvings at the site for the first time, numbering around 100 individually carved figures, representing all of the major gods, including Vishnu, Indra, Shiva and Brahma. The reliefs lie in two locations, close to the small pond of Trapeang Ang Khnar, and carved into the sandstone bedrock facing the small pool. Time and thieves have taken their toll on some of the carvings at the site but they are well worth a quick detour to see them and they provide the path for a nice walk through the forest to visit Prasat Damrei. Once the conservation folks have had chance to renovate and clean the carvings, and dig away at some of the earth to expose even more reliefs, then this will become a key stop on any tour of Koh Ker, a site that is now easily accessible by a 2-hour road journey from Siem Reap.
My guess is a brown bear - what's yours? This carving is the first in a long line of rock-bed carvings at Koh Ker
This carving looks almost prehistoric in its form. Does anyone want to hazard a guess as to what animal it is? My guess is rhinoceros.
I think the figure on the left is a rare relief of the elephant head of Ganesha, accompanied by a series of praying females
This looks like a carving of Yama - king of the dead - riding on his buffalo, or it could be Shiva riding on the bull nandi
This is Indra on the 3-headed elephant Airavata, though Indra's head has been cut away
Both central figures riding their mounts have lost their heads. It looks like Indra riding his elephant on the right but the other carving is too indistinct to identify
Varuna was the god of invisibility and is shown ridng his hamsa (swan) mount
Two seated figures, one holding a ball (!), the other a mace, though I'm loathe to guess either of them!
I'm erring on the side of Brahma for this carving though like many of the others, its indistinct and worn through time


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cambodia's largest linga

The location of Cambodia's largest linga - Phnom Bok
It's difficult not to connect the linga with the male organ especially when it sits astride the pedestal or yoni, which represents the female form. There are schools of thought that support that connotation whilst others see no sexual symbolism in it at all, choosing to identify the linga in its three components; the bottom part (representing Brahma) which is four-sided and remains under ground, the middle part (Vishnu) which is eight-sided and remains on a pedestal and the top part which is round and symbolizes the essence of Shiva. There are some fine examples of large linga at Koh Ker - as seen in the photo below - though the largest linga that I know of in Cambodia is to be found at Phnom Bok, but it takes an exhausting climb to reach the summit of the hill and the 10-ton linga itself is badly damaged. Phnom Bok is 25kms north of Siem Reap and is one of three mountain-temples built by King Yasovarman I in the late 9th or early 10th century, each of which was believed to have contained a giant linga in worship of Shiva. Only the Phnom Bok linga remains today and despite its damaged state, the 4 metre long stylised image of a phallus sits next to its original location and must've been a dramatic figure of worship in its heyday. About 150 metres away sits a three sanctuary tower temple also dedicated to the Hindu Trinity of gods (Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma). Work has recently been completed to renovate the linga site but the wood and corrugated iron roof above it looks awful. The hole into which the linga would've stood upright is pretty deep and constructed of laterite stone blocks. And believe me when I say the 630 steps to reach the top demand a lot of energy. However, you are rewarded with gorgeous views over the surrounding countryside, an interesting hilltop temple and the largest linga in Cambodia.
The three sections of the massive linga are clearly visible, the round section is at the top
The linga looks a bit like a beached whale from this angle
The laterite-lined hole into which the linga would've stood upright
The rebuilt foundation of the linga was effectively a massive laterite pedestal
Another substantial linga, this time at the Koh Ker temple complex. I'm standing next to it to give you an idea of its height, I'm about 1.8 metres tall.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Koh Ker prelude

This woman tending her herb garden was happy in her labour
I have a lot of photos to show you from Koh Ker, considering I only paid it a very brief visit earlier this week. They will follow soon enough, but in the meantime here's a few snaps to keep your interest. At the moment, there's not enough hours in the day. This weekend I'm staying with friends in Kien Svay, about 20 kms south of Phnom Penh, so my posting may be a bit erratic, again.
Yours truly and one of the giant linga of Koh Ker at Prasat Thneng
I love this reconstructed male figure which I found on the ground near Trapeang Ang Khnar
The sturdy laterite wall of Prasat Pram, with sandstone finials on top
At Prasat Damrei broken elephants lie on the ground, disconnected from their feet


Friday, January 23, 2009

Safari adventures

My Koh Ker safari experience, warmed by a blazing log fire
Do you fancy a night under the stars in the forest next to one of Cambodia's remote temples? Well that's what I did earlier this week as I road-tested Hanuman's already highly-successful Temple Safari (or Beach Safari) experience. Koh Ker was the location - two hours north of Siem Reap and in the middle of a 10th century former capital of the Khmer Empire - and the proximity of the massive pyramid of Prasat Thom couldn't be bettered. Although the top of the pyramid is currently closed for safety reasons (when its open again it will give you amazing views over the tree-line for miles around), there are more than twenty other temples that have been demined, made safe and opened up in the last couple of years, that still very few people have seen. As for the experience itself, a team erected my tent in the bush near to the temple walls whilst I was exploring and I came back to take a hot shower in the 'African bush-style' tent provided for that sole purpose. There was also a toilet tent with a wooden box and standard toilet seat to ensure my privacy. The main tent itself is 2.5 metres high, so plenty of standing room, it's 3 metres wide too, so lots of space for two camp-beds, tables and clothes stands. It has two-layers of waterproofing and comes with mosquito protection and five meshed windows for light and breeze. For sustenance, I sat at the table under the veranda awning and enjoyed an abundant meal prepared by a local cook from the village with 4-courses, fruit to finish, plenty of drinks and accompanied by a blazing log fire just a few metres away. My previous camping experiences were never like this. I fell asleep to the sounds of Cambodian wedding music drifting my way from the village about a kilometre away and awoke to a cacophony of bird song at 6am, ready for an early breakfast, more exploration and a trip back to reality. Hanuman offer temple safaris to other locations such as Preah Vihear, Banteay Chhmar, Preah Khan, as well as beach locations along the south coast. Link: Hanuman
The main sleeping tent, 2.5m high, in the late afternoon
The toilet and shower tents nearby
My bed for the night

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hidden treasures

Brahma, the god of creation, with 4 faces and the remains of 4 arms, at Koh Ker
I was only at Koh Ker for a couple of hours of daylight on Monday of this week - I was testing out Hanuman's safari tents - but made a discovery amongst the trees and bushes which I failed to see on any of my previous visits to the former Khmer capital of the 10th century. It was a hunch that turned into a goldmine when I located a series of rockbed bas-relief carvings at the site, which number around 100 individually carved figures, representing all of the major gods, including Vishnu, Indra, Shiva and Brahma. It looked like the area they were in had recently been cleared of vegetation so I'm assuming the majority of them have lain undisturbed for a long time. The bedrock in that corner of the site was sandstone and the figures had been carved facing a small pond known as Trapeang Ang Khnar lying closeby; the bas-reliefs were in two locations, one of which had clearly acted as a quarry for some of the material that was used in constructing the nearby temples. I'll post more photos in due course, but here's a taster of these carvings, which reminded me of other rockface carvings at Kbal Spean and on Phnom Kulen.
Eight figures carved into the sandstone bedrock include hermits and the odd god or two



My night in the forest of Koh Ker, warmed by the log fire
Apologies for the lack of posts, but I've had a hectic schedule these last few days. Following my quad-bike adventure, it was off into the forest surrounding the temples at Koh Ker, a couple of hours north of Siem Reap, to experience for myself, the safari tents that Hanuman provide for their guests who wish to enjoy a unique adventure at the remote temple sites around Cambodia. And I would say this of course, but really, they are damn good. Then it was back on the bus to Phnom Penh and straight off to see the documentary Sleepwalking Through The Mekong at Meta House last night. The film's director John Pirozzi was present to introduce his film, shot when the band Dengue Fever came to Cambodia a couple of years ago to bring their own brand of 60s and 70s psychedelic Khmer pop-rock back home. Fronted by a Cambodian-born singer Chhom Nimol, the rest of the band originate from Los Angeles and have become a major tour de force on the American music scene, releasing three critically-acclaimed albums to-date. The film follows their fortunes as they encounter Cambodia for the first-time during a 9-day visit and from the footage we saw, they had a ball. The scene where they join the children from the Bassac slum, who are part of the Cambodian Living Arts program, was just classic soppy entertainment. And the accompanying musical soundtrack was bread and butter to my two Khmer friends that joined me at the screening. Nice film, great band. Tonight, at the French Cultural Centre, I've been invited to a preview screening of Anne Bass' Dancing Across Borders documentary with cocktails beforehand. Should I wear a suit? Have I got a suit? No is the answer, so I'll go smart casual.
Film director John Pirozzi introduces his documentary on the band Dengue Fever
Chhom Nimol, the Cambodian-born lead singer with Dengue Fever
Chhom Nimol and the band are introduced to the Cambodian public on the CTN tv channel
Kong Nai was one of the masters that the band performed with during their visit to Cambodia

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