Accessibility links

No Party Gigs for Band of Disabled

For members of the Disabled Band, whose members are blind or amputees, playing parties and weddings has become difficult, as organizers seek to throw happy events with beautiful beer girls and singers.

“There are some people who mind that we are disabled; they do not want us,” said Kheng Sovann Reaksmey, who was a guest on “Hello VOA” Thursday.

“But that’s OK,” he said. “I do not mind them.”

Kheng Sovann Reaksmey lost is right eye and right arm in an explosion of ordnance left over from years of Cambodia’s wars, becoming one of thousands of victims still found in Cambodia, sometimes wandering the streets or markets as beggars.

He and other members of the band make a living playing outside a supermarket in Phnom Penh, earning between 10,000 riel, or $2.50, and 100,000 riel, $25, a day, despite what they say is a prejudice against them for other venues.

Sometimes they play NGO parties, Kheng Sovann Reaksmey said, but the band was losing some of its equipment.

Still, he said, a disabled musician with enough talent can find work with ordinary bands.