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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cambodian Exhibition Shows Cultural Aesthetics, History

By Jonathan Van Dyke
Staff Writer

The Second Annual Cambodian Arts and Culture Exhibition will give younger members of the community and outsiders a sense of the diverse and interesting Cambodian culture, organizers say.

“We expect probably between 500 and 600 people and it’s going to be a very diverse group,” said Richer San, exhibitions coordinator. “This year’s program is going to be much better (than last year’s).”

There will be events from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, split between MacArthur Park and Mark Twain Library, that will demonstrate a number of the cultural aesthetics and history that make up Cambodian culture, San said. Admission will be free, and attendees will have an opportunity to participate in several different interactive demonstrations.

San said the exhibition also is a chance for local artisans and vendors to show off an area that not everyone in Long Beach may be familiar with.

“We do this to bring in some traffic to central Long Beach for the business folks who need this,” he said.

There will be textiles, dressmaking, weddings, games, Yantra Mantra, cooking, costuming, painting, drawing, shadow puppets, Cambodian Court Dance, music and different musical instruments.

At 11:30 a.m., curator Jeffrey Weaver of the J. Paul Getty Museum will make a special presentation on the Gods of Angkor in the community room of the Mark Twain Library. He will talk about the Getty Center’s (in Los Angeles) upcoming exhibition on the subject, which opens in February of next year.

At 2 p.m., there will be a movie screening of “Twilight.” King Norodom Sihanouk made the film in 1969, during a strong period of Cambodian cinema, San said. It follows the story of a prince falling in love, and demonstrates a great deal of what Cambodia was like before war changed it. There will be English subtitles. Former United Nations Ambassador Sichan Siv will introduce the screening.

“This is before the war came to Cambodia,” San said. “It’s going to be so important for the younger generation (to see). It shows Cambodia back in the 1960s, when it was very peaceful and vibrant.”

Both the movie and presentations will provide an important opportunity to remind the youth in the community of a heritage they may feel removed from, while introducing the rest of the community to it, San said.

“It is important,” he said. “Mainly we want to share with our neighbors and our new generation. We want to show them our heritage and rich culture — to promote harmony. People can communicate through culture.”

The Second Annual Cambodian Arts and Culture Exhibition will take place from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday at MacArthur Park, 1321 E. Anaheim St. The special presentation and movie screening will take place at Mark Twain Library, 1401 E. Anaheim St. Admission will be free.

For details, call Sixth District Councilman Dee Andrews’s office at 570-6816.
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Kathin in Cambodia

Re: ''About Politics'' (BP, Nov 13), wherein the article ''Vichit gets neighbourly'' raises certain points about this year's Royal Kathin ceremony in Cambodia which need clarifying.

The Foreign Ministry firmly believes that deeply rooted, people-to-people bonds will help enhance mutual understanding and hence overall bilateral relations with other countries. Great effort has thus been made to promote cultural cooperation.

The Royal Kathin Robe Offering Project is one avenue of fostering friendly ties between Thais and other countries through our shared affinity with Buddhism.

This year, the Royal Kathin ceremony in Cambodia organised by the ministry will be held on Nov 19 at the Svey Por-pe Temple. Former Thai ambassador to Cambodia, Poksak Nilubol, who is chairman of the Thailand-Cambodia Friendship Association, has graciously been designated by His Majesty the King to preside over this year's ceremony in Cambodia.

As a rule, in making arrangements for such ceremonies, the ministry _ through the Thai embassy _ coordinates with the government of the receiving country, in choosing the appropriate temple. In this particular case, the choice of the Svey Por-pe Temple was approved by the Cambodian government.

Also, it has been a practice since 2000 that Royal Kathin robes are presented alter nately at Mahanikaya and Dhammayuth temples.

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France Telecom's Stephane Richard May Direct Deals Cash to Southeast Asia

France Telecom SA may direct some of its up to 7 billion euro ($9.45 billion) war chest for emerging- markets expansion to Southeast Asia as the company’s historic turf in Africa becomes more crowded.

Europe’s third-largest phone company may look to expand in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos, Chief Executive Officer Stephane Richard said today on the sidelines of the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecoms Conference in Barcelona.

“We said emerging markets, with a focus on Africa and the Middle East,” he said. “But we don’t exclude, naturally, that there could be a good opportunity in a region that makes sense for us we could look at.” The company could weigh deals in “Southeast Asia, which means the formerly French colonies -- Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos,” he said.

France Telecom is increasingly confronting international rivals in Africa and the Middle East, including South Africa’s MTN Group Ltd., U.K.-based Vodafone Group Plc, France’s Vivendi SA and Indian operator Bharti Airtel Ltd., all looking to offset slow-growing home markets. Southeast Asia hasn’t seen a similar push by foreign operators, with the exception of Russian operator VimpelCom Ltd.’s operations in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Separately, Richard today told investors in Barcelona that the company may consider a share buyback or other form of cash return to investors if it can’t find productive targets for increased investment.

Doubling Revenue

While the Paris-based company doesn’t have specific plans to expand in Southeast Asia, the region has “strong economic growth, and a penetration rate that is still pretty weak, so of course these are interesting countries,” Richard added. In Vietnam, France Telecom is working with the state telecom operator to install new phone lines in Ho Chi Minh province.

Emerging markets last year accounted for about 3.3 billion euros of sales at France Telecom, or about 7 percent of the total of 46 billion euros. The company is looking to double that revenue in the next five years. It has operations in Africa, including in Senegal, Cameroon, and Niger. Expansion in the Americas and large Asian countries isn’t on the table, he said.

Meanwhile, a decision by the French government, which holds 27% of France Telecom, to sell part of its stake “could be an opportunity to work also on a share buyback,” although it’s not clear when or if such a sale would occur, he said.

Home Market

France Telecom had free cash flow of 8.3 billion euros at the end of last year. The company also has projected cash flow of 8 billion euros for this year and next.

Revenue from its home market slipped below 50 percent of the total for the first time last year at the one-time state- owned monopoly, sliding to about 45 percent. France Telecom’s domestic sales fell 2 percent in the first half of the year to about 11.6 billion euros.

At home, France Telecom will face an aggressive new competitor when discount broadband provider Iliad SA enters the mobile market as the fourth French operator. Iliad’s billionaire owner Xavier Niel has pledged to force mobile prices down in France, where operators charge subscription rates higher than the European average, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Campbell in Paris at mcampbell39@bloomberg.net.
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