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Groups Ready for Obama Inauguration

As president-elect Barack Obama prepares for his inauguration, Cambodian-American associations prepare apace, as many plan to gather with other Americans on Capitol Hill in Washington next week.

Te Bouy, a school program director for the National Education Association in America, saud his group has already invited many people from other different associations, including the Cambodian-American and Asian-American associations, to gather ahead of celebrations on Sunday, Jan. 18. The inauguration will be held Jan. 20.

“Not only Cambodian-Americans, but also some other Asian-American associations, too,” he said, calling it an unforgettable, historic day.

“I believe that Obama is the first in opening a door for Cambodian-American children, or other Asian children, or Hispanic children, or those from other ethnicities, in their hopes to be president,” he said. “Even if we have black skin or Asian skin, we still have a chance to become president of the United States in the future.”

Yap Kim Tung, president of the group Cambodian-Americans for Human Rights and Democracy, said his group will join inauguration day marches to hail the incoming president.

The inauguration was a day to celebrate American democracy, he said, where people change their leaders without blood or racism.

“America is a big, powerful country, and they have free and fair elections,” he said. “They transfer power from one party to another party without blood or using weapons, without people having to die.”

The process was “fantastic,” he said, “and it is a good standard to show our country, Cambodia, as well as some small countries.”

While some associations prepared to celebrate the inauguration, other Cambodian groups prepared for a bit of hard work.

A dance troupe from the Puthikaram pagoda, in the nearby state of Maryland, was preparing for a performance to bless the inauguration at the American-Indian Museum on the Mall, near the Capitol, on Sunday afternoon.

“We’ll send our classical dance troupe with good dress to applaud and congratulate the event, so that they can see our Khmer art with high honor,” Tun Sovan, president of the Cambodian Buddhist Society, said.

Dance conductor Chouan Chhomma Nath said she would bring eight traditional musician along with the troup, and planned to demonstrate the Tep Monorom, or “Happiness of God and Godesses,” as well as others.

“I think the dance of blessing is appropriate to congratulate Mr. Obama,” she said.