Cambodia's LOST Art and Phnom Penh's forgotten people (evicted)

Phnom Penh Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 78 › view all entries
Students at Suvanaphum Arts school
Upon arrival in Phnom Penh, I popped into a Internet joint and came across a poster promoting Khmer Art's. Cambodia's Classical, Traditional and Royal Arts were almost lost forever during the 4 years of genocide in 1975-1979. However with the help of surviving masters the art has been given a second chance.

Cambodian Dance is a very intricate and patient art to practice as it required girls to be very flexible. Cambodian Dance is famous for talented dancers who can easily flex their fingers back to an unbelievable degree. The dances are very slow and traditional and the dancers pay a great attention to detail.

Suvanaphum, the mini Khmer Art's organization consists of more than 200 students.
Students at Suvanaphum Arts school
The performance that I witnessed was Shadow Puppetry (Sbak Thom), which also incorporated both classical dance and shadow puppetry. The performance lasted 1 hour, which consisted off a blend of entertainment, history, storytelling and comedy. I joined countless Berungs and other westerners alike, intrigued by the use of over 60 different puppets.

Before leaving for Malaysia, I visited a small community located near the new industrial development sites. These people were living literally in the slums, some of the poorest pheasants. On top of this they were being evicted and kicked off the land as a large Chinese Company had purchased the land near by to construct large garment factories (not that, Cambodia' doesn't already have enough!). In the light of this, they were being relocated about 10km away with small 4x5m blocks of land. Land evictions are getting out of control in Phnom Penh, as large companies are purchasing the lands from the top dogs and developing them to their liking, not thinking of the local inhabitants who have lived there for years.

I don't know if anyone of this makes any sense, as I'm just typing it as I remember it and haven't bothered to proof read it. My next post will be in a few days, as I'm heading off to Malaysia in a few hours time.
BTW: Surprising it hasn't been TOOOO hot; the weather is pretty mild, just the humidity that's killing me
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Students at Suvanaphum Arts school
Students at Suvanaphum Arts school
Students at Suvanaphum Arts school
Students at Suvanaphum Arts school
Poor villagers at the outskirts of…
Poor villagers at the outskirts o…
Some poor kids at the villages who…
Some poor kids at the villages wh…
Shadow Puppets on display
Shadow Puppets on display
Khmer Dancer
Khmer Dancer
Dance performance
Dance performance
Khmer traditions
Khmer traditions
Large Shadow Puppets
Large Shadow Puppets
Khmer Dancer
Khmer Dancer
Independence Monument at Night
Independence Monument at Night
Phnom Penh
photo by: terminalfunk