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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Vietnam and Cambodia will resume landmark in May


Vietnam and Cambodia have agreed to start posting landmarks on their common border this May. The countries aim to post 100 landmarks by the end of the year.

Cambodia is expecting to lose more land to Vietnamese encrouchment. The join cooperation with communist Hanoi had never been good for Cambodia. The join cooperations are the bribes or value gifts for the Communist Vietnam in all options.

The agreement was reached at a chairman-level meeting of the Vietnam-Cambodia Joint Committee for Land Border Demarcation and Landmark Planting in Phnom Penh this week.

The two sides unanimously confirmed to complete the border demarcation before the end of 2008.

The Vietnamese side was represented by the committee's chairman Vu Dung, Deputy Foreign Minister and Head of the Border Department. The Cambodian side was led by chairman Var Kimhong, Senior Minister in charge of border affairs.

The two countries also agreed to discuss with Laos the possibility of marking the T-junction border line where the three countries meet. This is the chilling moment for Lao and Cambodia will lose more land to the Communist Vietnam.

Deputy FM Dung was received on April 5 by Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, who appreciated the joint committees' efforts. The two Deputy PMs discussed the landmark cooperation.
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Mekong Delta Provinces open business fair in Cambodia

Cambodia: More than 30 businesses from the Mekong Delta provinces of both sides of the borders Vietnam and Cambodia are displaying their products at a trade fair opened in Cambodia's Prey Veng neighbouring province on April 7.

All products were displaying from medical equipment and medicines to farming facilities and consumption goods. Tourism services and five-day tours of Dong Thap are also being introduced to Cambodia.

Vietnamese and Cambodian businesses are looking for their suitable business partners. All importers and exporters on both sides are looking to expand their sale to new and old customers.

Present at the opening, State Secretary of Cambodia's Ministry of Commerce Kuok Ky said the fair concreted the willingness of the two sister provinces to boost cooperation in social, economic and cultural fields.

He also said that the development of the two provinces' multifaceted cooperation is in line with a plan for the development of border areas designed by the two governments. The development was aimed to ease livelihood in both sides of the borders.
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Local church helps build orphanage in Cambodia

ByJoyell Nevins
staff writer

Even though Community Grace Brethren Church is nestled in West Milton, it's heart and hands reach out to the other end of the world. Most recently those hands have become an integral part in the recovery of the revolution-devastated Cambodia.

The Asian country Cambodia has been referred to by historians as a "beautiful woman who was raped". In 1975, a group called the Khmer Rouge, led by dictator Pol Pot, took power and although were officially pushed out by the Vietnamese in 1979, didn't leave the political picture until the late '90s. In their five year regime, approximately 2 million Cambodians were killed through the combined result of political executions, starvation, and forced labor, about 25% to 30% of the entire population. The goal was to get rid of education and original thought and start at 'ground zero'. As was often said by the Khmer Rouge, 2000 years of Cambodian history had now come to an end; April 17 (the day they took power) was the beginning of Year Zero for the new Cambodia: Democratic Kampuchea.

In order to create the ideal communist society, all people would have to live and work in the countryside as peasants. Urban areas - the 'roots of capitalism' - were evacuated by force, as people in cities were driven into the country. The Khmer Rouge created a faction between what they called the "new people," those driven out of the towns, and the "old people", the poor and lower middle-class peasants who had remained in the countryside.

The Khmer Rouge felt that new people had made an active choice to live in the cities and thus declared their allegiance to capitalism. All city dwellers became enemies of the new communist state. They were treated as slave laborers, constantly moved, were forced to do the hardest physical labor, and worked in the most inhospitable, fever-ridden parts of the country. New people were segregated from old people, enjoyed little or no privacy, and received the smallest rice rations. The medical care available to them was primitive or nonexistent. Families often were separated because people were divided into work brigades according to age and sex and sent to different parts of the country. New people were also subjected to unending political indoctrination and could be executed without trial (in one interrogation center, over 17000 people were questioned - 6 survived).

The Khmer Rouge regarded traditional education as an opponent to their communist regime. They executed thousands of teachers. Those who had been educators prior to 1975 survived by hiding their identities. Soldiers would feel people's hands, to determine if they worked with physical labor (if your hands were soft, you were likely to be killed). Like with Al Quaida, children were taught political allegiance and hatred. A special secret organization, called the Alliance of Communist Youth of Kampuchea, was considered by Pol Pot as his most loyal and reliable supporters, and was used to flush out any who were against him.

Like education, religion was not allowed either. The country's 40,000 to 60,000 Buddhist monks were defrocked and forced into labor brigades. Many monks were executed; temples and pagodas were destroyed or turned into storehouses or jails. Images of the Buddha were defaced and dumped into rivers and lakes. People who were discovered praying or expressing religious sentiments were often killed. The Christian and Muslim communities were even more persecuted, as they were labeled as part of a pro-Western cosmopolitan sphere, hindering Cambodian culture and society. The Roman Catholic cathedral of the capital was completely razed. Christian clergy and Muslim imams were executed. Even the Jews and Hindus were persecuted. A common torture tactic for Jews was to brand them with the star of David, using a white-hot metal rod, in the way used to brand cattle.

Vekhoun Tang was one of the persecuted Christian pastors. Out of his group of colleagues, Tang was the only one that survived. He and his family traveled the country - the distance of Cinncinati to Cleveland - on foot to escape, eventually ending up in Long Beach, California. That is where he met Pastor Steve Peters of Community Grace in 1991.

Tang had been praying about going back to Cambodia to build churches. Peters invited him to come to Community Grace's annual missions conference, and at the end of the conference, Tang said he would specifically like to start Grace Brethren churches in Cambodia. Their partnership has been extremely helpful in the movement of Christianity and the physical rebuilding in that country.

"He's the Billy Graham of Cambodia," describes Peters, "He is a mover and shaker and directs things very well."

1992 marked the first trip from West Milton to Cambodia, one of six Missions Director Woody Curtis and five Peters would make. Peters, Curtis and company met Ben Noun, a pastor discipled by Tang and who with Community Grace's help would found many house churches.

Another ground-breaking trip came in 1998. With the assistance of former pastor Scott Distler and the foundation Asia Hope (started by a pastor from Wooster, Ohio), Community Grace sent six guys with six suitcases of electronics. Miraculously the luggage was not searched or opened, and the equipment was used to start a radio station that reaches a large portion of Cambodia and down into Vietnam.

However, any time there are people involved, personal issues can come up. In November of 2005, it became 'increasingly obvious' that Community Grace would have to make another trip. A few weeks ago, Peters and Curtis traveled to Asia once again to smooth out situations.

Their other goal was to start an orphanage - institutions that are desperately needed in that country. The pair ran across a house that a wealthy man had built for his daughter, but had sat empty for years because she didn't want it.

The house has five bathrooms, four of which are Western toilets, which is absolutely unheard of, and even a 2 ½ feet deep pool. The man decided to lease it to the church for $150 a month - an extremely good deal. He even delivered paint for them.

Before Peters and Curtis left, the house had been prayed for, removed of spirit houses (places for Buddhist idols), and was starting to be fixed up. Since Community Grace as an American church cannot officially own property, they go through a foundation of four men. No changes can be made to the house or deed without the agreement of all four.

Peters and Curtis also found a staff. Both an administrator and a certified school teacher that they had worked with in the past suddenly became available while they were there. Then the pair found a widow to be the cook, fulfilling the Bible verse about caring for the fatherless and the widowed.

"God worked this out - it's just incredible," enthuses Peters.

Asia Hope will run the orphanage, and Community Grace will pay the bill. They left $2500 to start, for desks, mats, and other school supplies. The budget calls for $2000 a month, to cover everything from salaries to rent to medical needs.

"We're believing God that we can get the first year in the bank so we can expand as God brings the kids," Peters declares.

They already have at least 10 children who will come, hope to start with 20, and have room for 50 (in Thailand, an orphanage Community Grace helps with has a waiting list of 150). The kids lose their parents to crippling diseases like AIDS, are abandoned because of lack of resources, or simply tossed aside because their mom remarries and the new husband will have nothing to do with them.

Those children will all be screened by the staff to make sure they are actually without a mom or dad. With the rampant poverty, many parents endeavor to scam places they think can give their kids a better life.

"Money is so tough - it's a rough life," describes Peters, "It's just terrible."

The name of the orphanage will be Community Grace's Seeds of Hope. At the church in West Milton, Peters talks about an "army of kids" that have grown up in the church and have a heart for reaching people. Their goal is to make the same thing in Cambodia.

"That's our dream," Peters declares, "Each kid becomes a seed as they come to Christ and bring hope to their nation."

For more information, to sponsor the orphanage, or adopt a child, contact the church at 698-4048.
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Cambodia's Red-king Sihanouk returns home from China


Phnom Penh (Cambodia), April 9 (AP): Cambodia's retired King Norodom Sihanouk arrived in Phnom Penh on Sunday after a seven-month stay in China for medical reasons.

He and his wife, former Queen Monineath, were received by their son King Norodom Sihamoni, as well as Cambodian leaders including Prime Minister Hun Sen and Senate President Chea Sim on their arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport.

Several foreign diplomats, Government Ministers and Sam Rainsy, Cambodia's main opposition leader, were also there to greet the 84-year-old former monarch, who spent the last seven months in Beijing for medical examinations.

He travels regularly for health checkups to China, which granted him exile after he was ousted from power in a 1970 coup. He has suffered from a number of ailments, including colon cancer, diabetes, hypertension and two strokes.

Sihanouk abdicated in October 2004, citing poor health. He was succeeded by Norodom Sihamoni, one of his two sons.

In November, he said he wanted his body cremated after he passes away, and his ashes should be put in a marble urn, blessed by Cambodian Buddhist monks, and placed in a stupa he built for his "most-loved daughter Kantha Bopha,'' who died at age 4 from leukemia in 1952.
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