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Hun Sen Set for Victory in Cambodia’s General Election

Hun Sen

Hun Sen

It was a firey week here in Siem Reap with the anticipation for the July 28th elections. Campaigners in the hundreds took to the streets of Siem Reap all week honking their horns and blaring election noise on their loud speakers.

Although the election results are obviously in favor of the CPP, it is an important election in Cambodia. It was only a few months ago that President Barack Obama was in Cambodia. Obama became the first ever U.S. president to visit Cambodia. During his visit he emphasized his concerns over the Cambodian leader’s poor democratic leadership model and the country’s worsening human rights abuses. Prime Minister Hun Sen is Asia’s longest-serving prime minister, ruling for 28 years.

The US and other countries had said the exclusion of Opposition Leader Sam Rainsy would call into question the polls’ legitimacy in Cambodia’s General Election. Last week the Government gave a royal pardon to the exiled Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy.

Upon arrival he received a hero’s welcome with thousands of cheering supporters. The US welcomed Cambodia’s decision to pardon Sam Rainsy earlier this month, with the State Department urging Phnom Penh “to allow for his meaningful and unfettered participation in the elections”.

“I have come home to rescue the country.” Rainsy told the crowd gathered at Phnom Penh’s airport after kneeling to kiss the ground. Supporters shouted, “We Want change!”

As the main challenger to Prime Minister Hun Sen, Rainsy has been barred from the elections. His application had been rejected to stand against Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“If I can’t participate, after the elections all the Cambodian people will protest and the whole international community will condemn the result and regard this as a sham election,” Sam Rainsy was quoted as saying.

Reports of violence today over missing names. Rocks were also being lobbed despite police presence.  Military trucks were reported to have been deployed, and water cannon trucks have been assembled on the streets of Phnom Penh. A power outage here in Siem Reap gave a boost to the frenzy as well.

Tonight Sam Rainsy and Hun Sen call for calm after 2 security forces trucks destroyed by angry mob. Sam Rainsy also said in a press conference tonight “We want rule of law, we do not want chaos”.

From what we’re hearing on the ground, it’s quite certain the CPP will win the general election.

It’s a tense weekend in Cambodia, but for the most part, things are as usual. Tourism is still bustling and the sun setting over the beautiful temples of Angkor are always mesmerizing.

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Old Images of Phnom Penh from Early 1900’s

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King Sisowath 7 September 1840 to 9 August 1927 seated at his desk

King Sisowath 7 September 1840 to 9 August 1927 seated at his desk

Phnom Penh - Group of women, servants of the Royal Palace.

Phnom Penh – Group of women, servants of the Royal Palace.

Phnom Penh  HM Sisowath Monivong 27 December 1875 to 24 April 1941 leaving the Royal Palace

Phnom Penh HM Sisowath Monivong 27 December 1875 to 24 April 1941 leaving the Royal Palace

Former War Minister

Former War Minister

Phnom Penh - King's dancers ready for the show

Phnom Penh – King’s dancers ready for the show

1910 Cambodia - Musicians of Princess Kanakari

1910 Cambodia – Musicians of Princess Kanakari

Procession of Crown Prince Matchato.

Procession of Crown Prince Matchato.

Phnom Penh- Elephants caravan on the treasure bridge.

Phnom Penh- Elephants caravan on the treasure bridge.

Phnom Penh - Young children.

Phnom Penh – Young children.

Canada Day in Cambodia!

The Lotus Lodge is Canadian owned and operated and while Siem Reap is approx 13711 Km’s from Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. That didn’t stop Lotus Lodge from celebrating Canada Day. It certainly was exciting to see so much Canadian patriotism at the Lodge!

Happy Canada Day from Cambodia

Happy Canada Day from Cambodia

Other than showing some Canadian pride, it was a good excuse to have fireworks, wear red and white, and dare I say it, eat some oh so delicious Canadian poutine. We were pleasantly surprised to see so many people attend and not just Canadian expats, but expats from all around the globe! From Australia to Great Britain, guests swarmed in, chowing down on poutine, drinking their free draught, and proudly wearing their Canada Flag pin that was given to everyone at the bar. Not to sound soft, but it did warm our hearts.

Thanks to our lovely staff and everyone who came out for Canada Day.

Canada Day at the Lotus Lodge in Siem Reap

Canada Day at the Lotus Lodge in Siem Reap

Canada Day at the Lotus Lodge in Siem Reap

Canada Day at the Lotus Lodge in Siem Reap

Canada Day at the Lotus Lodge in Siem Reap

Canada Day at the Lotus Lodge in Siem Reap

Cambodian Version of Gangnam Style by 160 Kids from the Slums

Now this is just awesome!

What happens when 160 kids from a slum of Phnom Penh decide to do a parody of Gangnam Style? This amazingly funny video.
These impoverished kids live in extremely basic conditions but are full of talent and potential. We wanted to give them an opportunity to express themselves through an artistic and fun project. They didn’t disappoint us.

To learn more about this project and give back to the kids:http://www.taramana.org/en/gs/

Don’t miss the behind the scenes: http://youtu.be/rPfnrI_Jw3I

And the kid’s reaction when they see the parody

Credits:
Taramana NGO: http://www.taramana.org
Film director: Jean-Luc Nguyen http://www.jeanlucnguyen.com

Thanks to all the locations who let us shoot:
Sorya Shopping Center
Phnom Penh Sorya Bus (http://www.ppsoryatransport.com/)
River Palace Hotel (http://www.riverpalacehotels.com/)
Eclipse sky bar (https://www.facebook.com/eclipse.skyb…)
Phnom Penh Port (http://www.ppap.com.kh/)
Dreamland (http://www.dreamland.com.kh/)
Slum of Boeng Salang
Wat Phnom
Independence Monument
Royal Palace
Koh Pich park

New flame-Headed Bird Species Found in Cambodia Capital

(AFP)

PHNOM PENH — A new species of bird with a distinctive orange-red coloured tuft of feathers on its head has been found in Cambodia’s populous capital city, conservationists said on Wednesday.

The remarkable discovery of the Cambodian tailorbird, or orthotomus chaktomuk, in Phnom Penh — and several other locations including a construction site just outside of the city of 1.5 million people — has astounded conservationists.

“The modern discovery of an undescribed bird species within the limits of a large populous city… is extraordinary,” Simon Mahood of the Wildlife Conversation Society told AFP.

“It’s very surprising,” he added.

Cambodian tailorbird

Cambodian tailorbird, recently discovered in Cambodia’s populous capital city, Phnom Penh

The small bird, which has a black-feathered throat and is the size of the more common wren, lives in thick, lowland scrub in Phnom Penh and other sites in the nearby floodplain, which the WCS said had kept it concealed for so long.

Known for its “distinct plumage and a loud call”, the bird was discovered by scientists from conservation groups, including WCS and BirdLife International.

The bird was named after a Phnom Penh riverfront area “chaktomuk” — the conjunction of three rivers — where it was found, the (WCS) said in a statement.

“The discovery indicates that new species of birds may still be found in familiar and unexpected locations,” Mahood added.

Mahood said scientists started the research on the bird in June last year explaining it is currently not a threatened species despite its habitat in the city of 1.5 million people.

But WCS recommended that the species is classified as “Near Threatened” under the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) because the bird’s “habitat is declining” due to agricultural and urban expansion.

Hong Chamnan, a Cambodian forestry official who has worked with the team, told AFP the discovery brought great “pride” to the country.

“I believe that we may have this new bird in other areas in the country,” he added.

Steve Zack, WCS coordinator of bird conservation said more study was needed to understand “the distribution and ecology of this exciting newly described species to determine its conservation needs”.