Battambang’s bamboo railway to keep on chugging

Bamboo train owners set up their carriage for a trip in Battambang province in 2015. Kimberley McCosker

Kong Meta, The Phnom Penh Post
Fri, 10 February 2017

Battambang’s famed “bamboo railroad” will keep rolling after all.

Authorities confirmed yesterday that the government is planning to rebuild the bamboo line in a new location after it is destroyed to make way for a full-service railway connected to Phnom Penh.

Ngoun Rattanak, spokesman for the provincial governor’s office, told The Post that tours on the railroad will first be halted at some point in the next two months.

“We will stop letting people ride the [railroad] when the construction team reaches the area,” Rattanak said, saying construction is currently advancing through Banteay Meanchey province.

“Now provincial authorities are looking for a new location, because we don’t want to lose it in Battambang for tourism,” he added.

Uch Omthiny Sara, director of the Battambang Tourism Department, had previously reported that 80 percent of visitors to Battambang ride the railroad. (more…)

Posted on: February 9, 2017 8:51 pm

The villages between life and death

In Thmor San village, young residents live, eat and play atop tombstones. Eli Lillis

Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon and Kong Meta
The Phnom Penh Post, Fri, 18 November 2016

Walking through the narrow alleyways of Trea village, in the capital’s Meanchey district, it is nearly impossible to tell that it once held a large Chinese cemetery. The last trace is the temple in which bodies were stored between death and burial.

The temple is now the home of Nob Vann Darith and his family, who took up residence in 1992. Before, it was used as the village administrative office. “The staff experienced being haunted there,” says village chief Pho Vanna, though he officially attributes the move to fears that the structure might collapse.

“I believe in ghosts, but so far as I’ve lived here, it is not a problem. I used to hear that people did not dare walk by here for fear of being haunted,” says Darith, who works as an electrician.

He attributes his amiable relationship to the spirit world to his parents, who called upon the services of a Chinese medium when they moved in. So that the ghosts would accept the intrusion, he recommended the family make regular offerings – a spiritual rent of sorts.

“We sacrifice a chicken, pouring out its blood; we slice its neck and then apply the blood to our wooden shrine, and we offer six types of fruits, and also Chinese [fortune] paper,” Darith says.

While Darith is ethnically Khmer, he says he makes a point of offering both Khmer and Chinese prayers, especially during Chinese New Year and Ching Ming, the tomb-sweeping festival. “We are living at their house, so we pray to ask for harmony,” he explains.  (more…)

Posted on: November 17, 2016 8:54 pm

Rice fields destroyed by high waters in Prey Veng

A truck dumps soil on the side of a road yesterday morning for sandbags as authorities plan to make a levee to contain rising water levels. Photo supplied

Khouth Sophak Chakrya
The Phnom Penh Post, Fri, 14 October 2016

Some 1,000 hectares of rice fields in Prey Veng province have been completely destroyed by flooding and thousands more are at risk elsewhere, according to Keo Vy, spokesman for the National Committee for Disaster Management.

Vy said yesterday that the floods, caused by two weeks of heavy rain, has damaged homes, fields and even roads.

“One thousand hectares of seeding in Preah Sdech district, Prey Veng province, are completely damaged,” he said, adding that they will not yield any crops.

Vy said that 10,000 hectares of rice seeding in Tbong Khmum province and 813 hectares in Kampong Chhnang province are also flooded and in danger of being completely destroyed if water levels don’t drop soon. Sections of four roads in Tbong Khmum, including parts of national roads 11 and 7, have also been temporarily closed, he added.

The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology on Wednesday forecasted continued heavy rains nationwide until October 17, warning that Tbong Khmum, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Kandal, Kampong Speu and Preah Sihanouk provinces are all at serious risk of flooding.

Posted on: October 13, 2016 9:36 pm

One who can show us the right path

One who can show us the right path is a good teacher. One who can walk the right path with us is a good friend. ~Master Cheng Yen

RFA photo

Posted on: August 25, 2016 8:25 pm

There’s a battle between two wolves inside us all

An old Cherokee told his grandson:
“My son, there’s a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It’s anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is Good. It’s joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness & truth.”

The boy thought about it, and asked:
“Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man quietly replied:
“The one you feed.”

Source: CoolnSmart

RFA photo

Posted on: August 16, 2016 9:02 am

Circle of compassion

A human being is part of the whole called by us ‘universe’ – a part limited in time and space. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. ~Albert Einstein

RFA photo

Posted on: January 28, 2016 8:46 pm