Today, my friends and I got the last tickets for an ancient dance entitled “Thunder and Lightning” by the Sophiline Arts Ensemble. Basically, it depicts the myth of “Ream Eyso & Moni Mekhala”. Needless to say I fell in love with the graceful movements of the dancers. Each and every one of them moved so fluidly as a result of long hours of rehearsing I assume. This begs the question, just why haven’t I learned to appreciate Khmer ancient dances? Growing up, like most kids, (the fact that almost half of the audience today were foreigners supported this point), Khmer ancient dances are just a far-fetched fantasy land of some sort. It was never “there”, so to speak. I have never been to a dance before. I think it’s because of the lack of exposure. Anything worth-while can be loved by all if it is exposed to the public enough (that is the basis of marketing). Take the case of Sean Seavmey for example. The main reason for the lack of exposure, I suspect, is the lack of funding. This brings me back to the time when art is promoted and properly funded with prestige by the late king Norodom Sihanoulk. Artists were rich, famous, loved, and most importantly, given pride. I mean, for god’s sake, the late king himself has starred in as well as directed several movies. However, now, artists have to make-do all by themselves. They have to seek fund, promote, and perform all by themselves. I mean… can you imagine how hard it is in a country where art is not widely appreciated and generally regarded as a waste of money and time? At the end of the show, I figured that if the leaders ain’t gonna support them, only the fans remain. For me (and a whole lot of others out there), art is what gives meaning to life. I do not want this art to be lost which will deprive the future generations from being inspired. So to Cambodian youths, I urge you, stop wasting your time and money on Chattime or Koi and actually go support Khmer arts. If you keep an open mind while observing any art, you will find meanings that you would not have found anywhere else otherwise, I can assure you.
Mrs. Sophiline Cheam Shapiro said there would be another ancient dance four months from now. Set your eyes out for those fliers and get your money ready.
This is a somewhat personal post. Not so scientifically well-researched, not persuasive, the aim of this article is just to express my gratitude for my group of friends. Continue reading The Potato Clan
As a Cambodian citizen, born and raised, you see, your life is pretty much influenced by Buddhism. More than 95% of the people here are Buddhist… you get the point. You are brought to pagodas in nearly every religious holidays (Khmer New Year, Bon Pchum, Bon Pisak, etc). However, just like how Christianity has die-hard believers and meh believers, so does Buddhism. You see, my parents are half Chinese, but Alas! They see themselves as more Chinese than some of my “true” Chinese friends. It gives them a proud identity to take on, i presume. Anyhow, having been raised in a Chinese household, they are not “die hard” fans of Buddhism, per se. Thus to me, Buddhism is like a far-fetched daydream- vague but always there. Continue reading Buddhism: Bye Bye
This has probably been expressed by countless people, through a wide variety of mediums; I mean, Carrie Underwood basically made a song comparing (some) men to dogs. (Dogs won, naturally). Charles De Gaulle said the more he knew about men, the more he loved his dog (just like how the admirable Mark Twaindid so). I wouldn’t mind joining these (awesome) people and express my fondness for dogs.
Here listed the reasons why I think dogs are wonderfully awesome:
They are probably the most loyal animals (human species included) I (or anybody else of that matter) have known! : If you have ever had a dog, you would know what I am talking about. If not, get one, and you’ll know. Not convinced? Well, let’s go see some examples, shall we? Answer these questions: have you ever seen anybody weeping about her/his dog stealing their money and leaving them behind? Have you ever heard someone being abandoned by their dogs because they are not pretty enough? Or rich enough? Or cool enough? A solid example would be Hachiko, the dog who waited for his dead master, Hidesaburō Ueno, for over nine years because he just didn’t understand how his master had died and was not going to show up. (If you are interested in a good sob for this weekend, I highly recommend this film which is based on Hachiko’s life.)
They love you unconditionally: you got no money? Here, come pat me. You are unemployed? Here, come pat my stomach. You are not considered pretty? Here, let me lick your face a little. You don’t like me? Let me just be here and love you until you love me. Here’s some super personal stuff for you. I had once lost faith in myself and the people around me. I became hateful to almost everyone. Then my dog, ដឹកដឿ Deukdeur (she was chubby when she was born!), came on to me once and again. though rejected several times, she always made her move and wagged her tail at me. As time got passed, my icy cold heart got warmed, and thus marked the day I restored my love for the world again. (I aim to dedicate this post to her, really. Much thanks to you, Deukdeur!)
Only two reasons? Are you fucking kidding me? I could probably find at least thirty reasons on other blogs! Well, before you go on full hulk and judge me and my inability to list some more bullet points, let me tell you, I decided to cut this crap short because the two points have already proven to be enough. Love and loyalty are the components we need most, especially in our Cambodian society right about now. Dogs own them, and aren’t afraid to flaunt ‘em!
So the next time someone curses you: “you dog!” (If you aren’t Cambodian, here’s a simple explanation. We, Cambodian people, like to think of dogs as immoral beings. If somebody is being rude, disrespectful, then he loses his human status, and descends to that of a dog’s). back to our story, the next time someone calls you អាឆ្កែ! Be flattered, they are practically praising you for your faithfulness and love. I’d recommend you to smile, and say: “thanks, you too!”