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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

From Cochrane to Cambodia, Kids helping kids

Noelle Hjelte
Wednesday March 28, 2007

From Cochrane to Cambodia, local kids are raising money to help orphan children in Phnom-Penh. The Kids for Christ are putting on a musical drama called ‘On the Trail of Billy Baxter’. While the production is free to attend, they will be asking for donations after the performance. All funds raised will go to A Place of Rescue, an orphanage for families of AIDS victims.

Kerry Johnsen is the director of ‘On the Trail of Billy Baxter’ and she thinks it is important to encourage community involvement“We want the community to realize this is not just a church event, it’s a community event, “said Johnsen. “...these kids have worked hard all year (putting the performance together).”The money raised will go specifically to buying bicycles for the children for their eleventh birthday.

A Place of Rescue currently houses over 100 orphans and when a child turns 11 they must go to a school farther away, two to three miles from the orphanage. Without the bicycles, which cost $80 each, they have no way to get an education.

“There’s little kids who don’t have any way to get to school,” said Chris Johnsen, one of the Kids for Christ who plays a detective in the performance. “This is one way we can help.”‘On the Trail of Billy Baxter’ is about school bullying and the challenges young people face today. Although there are religious elements to the performance, Kerry Johnsen says there will be no sermon and the play deals with a variety of issues.

“It’s basically about how this little boy changes, “Johnsen said. “It’s about a lot of issues; when kids are worried or scared.”Organizers are hoping to raise $1,000 dollars from Cochrane for the charity. People who are not able to attend can still make a donation and get a tax-deductible receipt.‘On the Trail of Billy Baxter’ opens for a one-night only performance on Saturday, March 31 at 7p.m. at the Cochrane Alliance Church, 902 Glenbow Drive.

For more information on the performance contact Lydia Parrott at 932-6100.For details on A Place of Rescue go to Read more!

Springboard Research Report Forecasts Increased Market Opportunities for IT Vendors in Cambodia

Report finds that increasing government and large enterprise demand for automation is driving PC market growth in Cambodia

[ClickPress, Wed Mar 28 2007] Springboard Research, a leading innovator in the IT Market Research industry, today announced that according to its Asia Emerging Countries (AEC) Quarterly Tracker, PC/Server shipments in Cambodia grew a healthy 29.4% in 2006. Driving this growth has been the government’s recent push for automation in developing e-governance in the country. Large enterprise demand for automation has also surged, mainly to support industry growth in banking and finance, telecom and tourism. In addition, governmental efforts to promote both private and foreign participation in Cambodia’s IT infrastructure development is expected to fuel IT market growth and yield greater hardware and software business opportunities for vendors in 2007.

“In spite of economic difficulties and low IT penetration, IT demand in Cambodia will be maintained by the government and large enterprise’s increasing IT awareness and appreciation of the value of computing in growing the economy,” explained Springboard’s Manager of AEC Research, Manish Bahl.

The Cambodian government continues to lead the market for the procurement of IT-related products with the largest share (25.6%) of total PC shipments in 2006, followed by large and medium enterprises. However in its report, Springboard Research also observed increased IT usage by small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) during the last quarter of 2006. This trend is expected to gain momentum in 2007 and beyond.

“There is much potential for IT market expansion in Cambodia,” said Bahl. “But to sustain this growth, the Cambodian government will need to develop proactive IT policies and initiatives to support the country’s technological development.”

Springboard’s AEC report also noted that the Cambodian PC market continues to be dominated by the whitebox/assembler segment, although in the last few quarters of 2006, demand for branded computers has increased. Among branded players, HP continued to dominate the PC market with 9.2% share of the total shipments in 2006, followed by Dell and Lenovo. The desktop market led growth among product sectors in 2006 with 29.7% expansion over the previous year, followed by the portable and X86 server segments.

About the Asia Emerging Countries Tracker

The Asia Emerging Countries Tracker is a Springboard Research service that tracks PC/Server market developments in Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan on a quarterly basis. The methodology employed for this service leverages interviews with IT resellers, vendors, component suppliers and end-users at the local and regional level.

About Springboard Research

Springboard Research’s core values are value, integrity and insight. Led by a team of dynamic industry experts, Springboard Research provides its customers with high value IT market research that helps them identify new market opportunities, growth engines and innovative ways to go to market. As a result, Springboard’s clients lead rather than follow market trends. Not bound by legacy, Springboard’s cutting-edge research model leverages its offshore research centers, the Internet, and an increased use of technology as engines of innovation to deliver unique research value. Provided as an alternative to traditional IT market research, Springboard’s reports deliver data and knowledge in a more usable and interactive format for our clients. Springboard Research works with the largest IT companies in the world in the software, services, hardware, and telecommunications sectors.

Founded in 2004, Springboard Research serves the needs of its clients globally through offices in the United States, Singapore and Japan as well as global research centers in India and Pakistan.

For more information regarding Springboard Research, please visit Read more!

Federal Court adjourns application by Cambodia's ex-police chief

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has adjourned an application by Cambodia’s deported ex-police chief Heng Pov to cite three senior Government officers for contempt, to allow them time to reply to an application served to them on Monday.

Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Justice Richard Malanjum, and Federal Court judges Justices Hashim Yusoff and Azmel Ma’amor allowed Deputy Public Prosecutor Tun Majid Tun Hamzah’s request for the case to be postponed to a date yet to be determined.

Heng Pov’s lawyer N. Sivananthan did not have any objections.

“I feel the cited parties should be allowed time to reply to the affidavit which contains serious allegations against them,” he said.

Heng Pov, 52, is seeking to cite Immigration director-general Datuk Wahid Mohd Don, the department’s enforcement director Datuk Ishak Mohamed and the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ deputy head of prosecution Mohd Hanafiah Zakaria for contempt, for deporting him before he had exhausted all his avenues of appeal here.

Heng Pov, who filed the action in January, had also accused them of orchestrating his premature deportation to Cambodia to serve an 18-year jail sentence for conspiring in the murder of a municipal court judge there.

He was sent home last year on Dec 21, and an urgent convening of the Federal Court here was too late to stop his deportation as he had already been despatched.

The action is supported by the affidavit of his wife Ngin Sotheavy.
Read more!

Cambodia, Vietnam to cooperate again on archives

PHNOM PENH, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia and Vietnam have endorsed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in archives, initially established more than two decades ago, local media reported on Wednesday.

Chea Sophorn, secretary of state for the Cambodian Council of Misters, signed the agreement with Vietnamese State Record and Archives Department (VSRAD) General Director Tran Hoang during a ceremony at the council on Tuesday, reported Rasmei Kampuchea daily.

Under the three-point agreement, the VSRAD will annually welcome two officials from the National Archives of Cambodia (NAC)to be trained in document recording for a month in Vietnam, and provide nine Cambodians with archive management scholarships at secondary schools, tertiary institutions and senior level, the KohSantepheap daily reported.

VSRAD and NAC will also exchange technical documents on leadership principles, archives management and publications.

VSRAD will also assist the NAC in building an archives warehouse under a grant from the Vietnamese government.

"This is the second time that NAC has had a chance to cooperate with (Vietnam) on archives to share experiences and learn from each other," said Deputy Prime Minister Sok An while presiding the ceremony.

Vietnamese experts once helped train Cambodian officials in archives management and record taking between 1985 and 1986.

The NAC, which has been open to the public since 1993, is a member of the International Council of Archives, the Southeast Asian Regional Branch of the International Council of Archives (SARBICA), and the South East Asian Pacific Audio Visual Archives Association (SEAPAVAA).

The NAC will host the 11th meeting of SEAPAVAA in Phnom Penh at the end of August. Read more!

Building Phnom Penh: An Angkorian heritage

PHNOM PENH: Many Asian cities have laid claim to the title of "Paris of the East." During the 1930s, Phnom Penh's candidature was supported by no less a luminary than Charlie Chaplin, who described its orderly, tree-lined avenues as "little sisters" to the Champs-Elysées.
But today's visitors to Cambodia are surprised to discover that the true architectural legacy of this former French protectorate is not colonial at all, but a unique synthesis of postwar European modernism and what might be called "Angkorian vernacular."

"New Khmer Architecture" emerged from Cambodia's 15 years of prosperity following the end of French rule in 1953. The euphoria of independence spawned an entire school of designers and architects who, rather than replicate international styles, chose to reinterpret them according to a set of local conditions, foremost among them flooding and hot temperatures.

It was a kind of Asian Bauhaus in that its members worked concurrently and in a similar style.
The movement's influence was short-lived: few of its architects survived the Khmer Rouge. However, Vann Molyvann, the leader and most prolific member of the group, remains, at 80, an enterprising and respected figure, even if his work has yet to acquire the protection it so patently deserves.

The first Cambodian architect to be trained in Europe - at Paris's Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts - Vann returned to Cambodia in 1956. Introduced to the left-leaning King Norodom Sihanouk, the two spearheaded a campaign of urban development and construction that transformed Phnom Penh from a sleepy colonial backwater to a vibrant, ambitious capital.

From universities to sports facilities, the architect and his royal mentor created more than a hundred public projects throughout Cambodia, using funds from the Chinese, Russian and French governments as well as "nonaligned" states during the decade and a half before Cambodia was dragged into a regional war with the United States. The engineer Vladimir Bodiansky and the urbanist Gerald Hanning provided technical assistance.

Vann's imposing Independence Monument at the intersection of Sihanouk and Norodom boulevards symbolizes the era. Paying direct homage to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the chocolate-hued Phnom Penh structure built in 1960 is adorned, appropriately enough, with a profusion of nagas, the protective serpents of Hindu mythology.

Vann's 1964 National Sports Center, constructed before Kenzo Tange's Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, is as clear a statement of civic pride and for Sihanouk an attempt to proclaim the country's neutrality in the face of growing Cold War hostilities. Cambodia's rejection by the pro-Western International Olympic Committee prompted Sihanouk to join Ganefo (Games of the Nonaligned and Emerging Forces), a sporting event created by China, Russia and others. Cambodia's turn to host the Games came in 1966.

Though Vann shared Sihanouk's utopian vision, his inspiration is drawn from his own architectural heritage. The Sports Center's large ornamental pools directly imitate the barays, or reservoirs, surrounding Angkorian temples, while the elevated walkways at both his Cham Car Mon palace and the School of Foreign Languages pay homage to Angkor Wat's kilometer-long causeway.

Vann's signature suspended "zigzag" roof lines created artificial space to enable air to flow in what he describes as "a reworking of the concave shape of the temple roofs."

The other major influence was Le Corbusier and his complex theories of communal living. Vann's use of the Frenchman's "modular"' as a tool for establishing proportions is best emulated in the "White" and "Gray" buildings of the Front du Bassac, a development begun in 1964 to house foreign advisers and Ganefo's athletes.

"His buildings are like sculptures in the way they celebrate depth and space as well as light and darkness," said the architect today.

Assessing Phnom Penh at that time as "an active sedimentation zone with poor ventilation and prone to flooding," Vann found traditional solutions to mass housing in a rapidly expanding city.

A new book, "Building Cambodia: 'New Khmer Architecture' (1953-1970)" by Darryl Leon Collins and Helen Grant Ross (The Key Publishers, Bangkok 2006) applauds the movement's aims and philosophy while establishing Vann as a seminal figure in postwar Asian architecture.

But while steadily collecting admirers abroad and celebrated by the more enlightened sections of Phnom Penh society, this architectural patrimony has not been protected by the authorities. Rather than celebrate the achievements of Sihanouk's "golden age," the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen seems to go to considerable lengths to undermine them.

To the dismay of international groups attempting to stimulate cultural continuity, Vann has been largely shunned by the political establishment in Cambodia. When Unesco organized a conference on how to protect this legacy and designated Vann as its head, it had to disinvite him after complaints by the government. Rarely consulted on the fate of his buildings, Vann has been forced to watch from the sidelines while his work has been ripped out or ineptly renovated.

The refurbishment of Vann's fan-shaped Chaktomuk Conference Hall met with the architect's general approval. However, the Taiwanese Yuanta Group's cosmetic makeover of the National Sports Center in 2000 robbed this voluminous site of a good deal of its land to make way for commercial development. "Economic tradeoffs with foreign developers result in short-term quick-fix solutions that ignore longterm planning," Collins said.

The latest building to attract scrutiny is a theater commissioned by Sihanouk in 1966 to promote Cambodia's performing arts. A masterpiece of concrete plasticity with staircases suspended over shallow pools of water, the Preah Suramarit was gutted by fire in 1994, devastating the auditorium and stage area. It has remained in its ruined state for more than a decade.

Only days after Cambodia's new King Norodom Sihamoni declared a desire to see the theater rebuilt, the government pre-emptively announced its sale to a local telecommunications company, which is expected to replace it with a conference hall and TV tower.

Given the minimal architectural merit, much less public interest to be found in the latest rash of government offices, casino and private villas, this is especially depressing. Read more!

Global Challenges | HIV Prevalence in Cambodia Decreases Since 1997

HIV prevalence in Cambodia has decreased from 3.2% in 1997 to 1.6% currently, according to figures from UNAIDS, VOA News reports. In addition, UNAIDS data indicate that HIV prevalence among commercial sex workers in the country has decreased from 40% in 1997 to 20% currently.

According to Mean Chhi Vun -- director of Cambodia's National Center for HIV, AIDS, Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Infections -- the decrease in HIV prevalence in part is because of a plan that combines government efforts with the efforts of international finance agencies, academic institutions, and nongovernmental and community-based organizations. UNAIDS co-coordinator in Cambodia Tony Lisle said a main component of the plan is the 100% condom use program, which encourages condom use among sex workers.

Dan Borapich -- spokesperson for Population Services International, which distributes subsidized condoms in the country -- said that PSI makes condoms available at supermarkets, pharmacies and other venues.

The government also is sponsoring safer-sex advertisements on billboards, radio and television, according to VOA News. In addition, about 25,000 HIV-positive people in the country, or 80% of those who need treatment access, have access to antiretroviral drugs, according to Lisle.

Grants from the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria purchase most antiretrovirals in the country, according to VOA News. Some experts have said that despite progress, HIV prevalence could increase among groups participating in high-risk sex, as well as injection drug users. In addition, stigma and discrimination against HIV-positive people continues to be an issue in Cambodia, VOA News reports (Byrne, VOA News, 3/22). Read more!

Club helps people discover Cambodia

A TRAVEL club has just returned from its latest adventure - a three-week trip to south east Asia.

It was organised by Sharon and Ian Dixon who run Dixon Tours - formally known as Chiseldon Travel Club.

Sharon, 60, of Draycott Road, Chiseldon, had to miss the trip for the first time in 28 years after breaking her shoulder days before the group was due to leave.

But she said the tour party of 20, aged between 25 and 75, had a brilliant time exploring during their adventure holiday.

The group visited the Royal Palace in Bangkok and took a rice barge cruise and a speedboat trip along the Chaophraya River.

They also flew to Siam Reap, Cambodia, to see the world heritage site of Ankor Wat, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.Sharon said: "Although I missed out on going they all had an absolutely wonderful time out there. It always seems worthwhile when you spend ages planning a trip to hear how much people enjoyed it.

"We have well and truly been bitten by the travel bug and to think so many other people have too because of the trips we organise, then that can only be a good thing.

"It's a hobby and a great pleasure for us to show people different cultures and the beautiful world in which we live."

Dixon Tours is a non-profit organisation that began in 1981. It is run with no membership fee and aims to bring people together to explore the world.

Hundreds have benefited from the Dixons' willingness to organise these exotic holidays.

She added: "To be able to pass some of our knowledge and experience back to those in the community for whom these things are generally dreams rather than a reality is a great personal satisfaction for us and gives us tremendous pleasure."

The highlight of the trip for many was seeing the sunrise and sunset riding on the back of elephants at Siam Reap.

They also spent a week travelling on the luxury Pandaw Ship travelling along the Mekong Delta before ending up in Saigon, Vietnam, for two nights.

Monica Thompson, 58, of West Swindon said: "The trip was fantastic. It was interesting to see how the people out there live and work. I have to say my favourite part of the three weeks was visiting the temples in Siam Reap's National Park. To think they were discovered under so much jungle is amazing."

Dixon Tours has previously visited many far-flung locations including New Zealand an astonishing eight times - with another visit planned for January.

Plans are already in place for trips later this year to the United States to visit New England and, closer to home, Normandy and Versailles in France.

If you would like to find out information on future trips, call Sharon or Ian on 01793 741210 or email
Read more!