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Photo by Kak Sok Phirom at Phirom Photography 

The Pigeon’s Song – Yeng Chheanly’s Visual Poetry asks the difficult questions

The Pigeon’s Song – Yeng Chheanly’s Visual Poetry asks the difficult questions

Blue Pigeons - Mixed Media by Jinx Davis. All rights reserved by JustJinx.comYeng Chheanly's visual poetry seems serene and calming when viewed. Yet beneath each piece, he is reckoning with the difficult questions that societies must ask if they are to survive. In Pigeon's Song, the ultimate question of survival is posed. Here is how the poet describes it: ពេលព្រលឹម ពេលថ្ងៃរះ គឺពេលដែលព្រាបចាប់ផ្តើមឃ្លាន។ ប្រសិនបើមានអាហារ នោះជីវិតព្រាមនឹងមានសន្តិភាព។ តែ...តើមានបទអ្វីដែលវានឹងច្រៀង...

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Cambodia Is On Her Way to Another Golden Age of Arts and Music

Cambodia Is On Her Way to Another Golden Age of Arts and Music

Sinn Sisamouth painting by Sasha Constable at The Little Red Fox Espresso in Siem Reap, Cambodia  During the three years, eight months and twenty days of the Khmer Rouge occupation, leading up to the Vietnamese invasion of 1979, Phnom Penh was a silent capital, abandoned to its scars of violence and bomb squads. The once-bustling sounds of celebration, music, and dance were suddenly taken away in minutes by the marching red army of genocide. The Khmer Rouge came pronouncing against...

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Peter Chin and Tribal Crackling Wind Dance company in Siem Reap

Peter Chin and Tribal Crackling Wind Dance company in Siem Reap

Cambodian Dancers with Peter Chin’s Dance Company, The Crackling Wind.  Photo courtesy of The Crackling Wind.The Dance of Mortals   If Apsara is of the realm of the divine and the immortals, then Peter Chin embodies this earth and the suffering body of the ordinary mortal, whose concern is to fight and defend the complexities of life and what it entails in the natural and physical realm of contemporary existence. There’s solitude. There’s a process of worship. The ritualistic form calling...

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Sharp Eyes – By Sithis Yim Samnang

Sharp Eyes – By Sithis Yim Samnang

Editor's note:  We hope you read this short piece out loud to discover its eloquence in rhythm and sound. Written while thinking of the images in the"First They Killed My Father" movie, it speaks to contemporary times throughout troubled neighborhoods and nations. Sithis Yim Samnang is a young writer to keep on your horizon. Sharp Eyes By Sithis Yim Samnang   I used to have a heart made of rice fields and cattle farms, a stomach enough for a grateful meal, and an eye rich in sunsets. Our...

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The Orange Silk Dress by Sithis Yim Samnang

The Orange Silk Dress by Sithis Yim Samnang

The Orange Silk Dress by Sithis Yim Samnang   Between our dreams fear in realities meet the unfortunate bravery captured an uncalled treachery.   My mother sewed a dress made of orange silk wounded her hand and her mouth with needle made weapon, to quilt the flesh of her own and her son   She gave him his dress to impress his father to confess his future to commit to his wonder   She gave him his dress to leave unwanted identity his father momentarily startled uncontrolled...

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A Nail the Evening Hangs On – review of Monika sok’s debut book by Chath Piersath

A Nail the Evening Hangs On – review of Monika sok’s debut book by Chath Piersath

From the publisher Copper Canyon Press:  In this staggering poetry debut, Monica Sok illuminates the experiences of Cambodian diaspora and reflects on America’s role in escalating the genocide in Cambodia. A Nail the Evening Hangs On travels from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, where Tuol Sleng and other war museums reshape the imagination of a child of refugees; to New York City and Lancaster, where the dailiness of intergenerational trauma persists on the subway or among the cornfields of a small...

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Rap Music: Ancient and Contemporary Poetry Flourishing in Cambodia

Rap Music: Ancient and Contemporary Poetry Flourishing in Cambodia

Painting by Chath pierSath Rap may have been born from the streets and the culture of African-Americans, but in Cambodia, it has ancient roots. Poetry was often recited or sung. The passing on of stories and various forms of narratives started with the speaking tongue, in rhymes, and improvisation.   The Ayai and Chepey were often improvisations that can be a satire of something, or on the subject of the occasion, marriage or sex. The singer introduces himself or herself, thanking...

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Chin Meas – Monk, Noodle Man & Revered Poet

Chin Meas – Monk, Noodle Man & Revered Poet

Thanks to my fellow poet YENG Chheangly, I have learned to admire CHIN Meas. I invited him to our Khmer Literature Festival in 2017 and he has returned for the following years. Both his life and his personhood deserve our attention. Many of his poems have a Buddhist resonance and serve as cautionary tales about our tragic flaws.  He embraces the impermanence of life and hauntingly leaves his readers pondering multiple layers of meaning. Chin Meas lives in Siem Reap with his wife and two young...

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Cambodian Field notes from Haley & Sothy

Cambodian Field notes from Haley & Sothy

Editor's Note: Haley and Sothy personify the spirit of Cambodia. In their presence, you catch a sense of joy, astonishment, and curiosity. Each in their own way is a storyteller and story is the juice that energizes all our comings and goings.  Sothy carries an innate connection to nature’s total consciousness and intuitively lives in the wrinkles of time past, present, and future.  Haley is a master at creating community, digging deeply into the culture, and understanding that no lives or...

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in pictures – Cambodia through your eyes

in pictures – Cambodia through your eyes

Photograph by Bunnawath ChhunIn Pictures Magical Cambodia is collecting original photographs taken by Khmers, ex-pats, and visitors from around the world. We know you have your favorite photographs of Cambodia's life and landscapes that speak to you. Please share them with us through the link below and we will continue to create galleries that express the magic of the Land of Wonder. You get full photo credit and we will share it with the world. Our first gallery is collected from Urban Street...

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Reflections on Chef Nav by Sokunthea Oum

Reflections on Chef Nav by Sokunthea Oum

Chef Nak, whose real name is Rotanak Ros, has become an essential ambassador of culture from Cambodia.  Nak is a self-taught chef and entrepreneur who energetically is resurrecting Khmer food and introducing its glory to the rest of the world. “Nhum: Recipes From a Cambodian Kitchen,” is a collaboration with Phnom Penh-based photographer Nataly Lee.  Nak explores recipes from her childhood and her travels throughout Cambodia. Her documentation of the ingredients and their health benefits bring...

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KHMER LANGUAGE LEARNING DIARIES – IN SEARCH OF Khmer #2 – Duck!

KHMER LANGUAGE LEARNING DIARIES – IN SEARCH OF Khmer #2 – Duck!

KHMER LANGUAGE LEARNING DIARIES – Chapter 2 Sunday morning. It was one of those days where you wake up at about 3 am and just think, bugger it, I’ll put the coffee on. I'll sit down and listen to 24 vowel sounds that sound pretty much the same, and keep cycling them until my ear can pick out the difference. I do a good job of getting into it. My roommate soon rises with typical cheer. 'Morning, Dickhead!' (We live in a Southeast-Asian millennial young one's world. If the English aren't...

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I see you & Khmer Dogs – Poems by Yeng Chheangly

I see you & Khmer Dogs – Poems by Yeng Chheangly

I see you   You’re a soldier                                     ​ A wanderer and a beggar You beg at bus stations and in the market                          By clasping your palms together. Young people like me ask                                  ​ Whether you’re real or fake. Are you real or fake?   I keenly observe                                                ​ Your gestures, both soft and frail, Harsh and callous —   Your actual manners I...

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Experiments in video Poetry – Yeng Chheangly

Experiments in video Poetry – Yeng Chheangly

Mekong River speak out her grief to villagers. Created from the inspiration of documenting the images of Tommyo Costa Ito.    នេះគឺជាវីដេអូនកំណាព្យទីបីហើយ ដែលខ្ញុំ បានរៀនផលិត។ លើកនេះ ខ្ញុំបានដកស្រងយកច្បាប់ប្រុសដោយបណ្ឌិត ម៉ឺង ម៉ៃ មកបង្ហាញ ដោយបង្កើតរូបភាពថ្មីបន្ថែមទាក់ទងនឹងមុខ របស់កុមារី យ៉េង ចន្ទគឺមអ៊ី និង ថន ណាត់ថាក់លី។ I've been learning this process of making video merging them with Khmer poetry. This time I took some part of the old master poet work, Chok Moen Mai. The piece I...

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