As Cambodian-Americans prepare to celebrate the Khmer New Year, different communities must pick different weekends to celebrate in April. Sok Sovannarorth, of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, shares her New Year’s plans with VOA Khmer’s Men Kimseng.
Across the country this weekend, Cambodian-Americans welcomed the Year of the Snake. At the Wat Buddhikaram temple in Silver Spring, Md., Cambodian residents welcomed others from the community in celebrations. Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett called the Khmer New Year celebrations "a major annual event" demonstrating how Cambodian-Americans "continue to make significant contributions to enhance the quality of life" in Maryland. VOA Khmer's Im Sothearith reports from the temple.
Many of California's 100,000 Cambodians welcomed the Year of the Snake this weekend. That includes the city of San Bernandino, east of Los Angeles. The city has struggled financially since the 2008 crisis. And many here are hoping now for a prosperous New Year. Thousands of Cambodians now live in this city, which filed for bankruptcy last year. This year, they want to see a change. (Cheang Sophinarath, San Bernadino)
A Cambodian play called "Maktheung" was featured along with popular games and other art performances for Khmer New Year celebrations at the Buddhikaram Temple in Silver Spring, Maryland, last week. The play depicts the value of loyalty, love and justice. VOA Khmer's Im Sothearith speaks with organizer Ben Bao about the importance of justice and its application to Cambodia today.
The documentary "Golden Slumbers," which explores the heyday of Cambodian films, showed recently in Washington. Filmmaker Chou Davy joined a panel to discuss the award-winning film with former New York Times correspondent Elizabeth Becker and others. The documentary shows how important film was to Cambodia, prior to its rapid decline following the Khmer Rouge takeover. (Im Sothearith, Washington)
A group of performing artists in Cambodia say they are working to ensure that Cambodia is internationally known for more than a genocidal regime that ruled the country more than 30 years ago. That includes the ongoing performances now underway in New York for the Season of Cambodia festival—where many works and performances are on display in April and May. In Phnom Penh, dance rehearsal is underway. VOA Khmer's Say Mony reports from Phnom Penh.
Vorn Kim Heng, who won Third Runner Up in the 2010 Miss Asia USA contest, says she now hopes to give something back. She arrived in the US in 1982, and she tells VOA Khmer's Poch Reasey she entered a beauty contest to highlight Cambodia's culture and tradition.
At Phare Ponleu Selpak, an arts organization in Battambang city, Ot Veasna has been learning painting for about five years now. The 31-year-old artist, who has been deaf and dumb since birth, told VOA Khmer in a recent interview that the skills have helped him express his feelings through abstract paintings. Using sign language and an interpreter, he explained the meaning of the painting skills he is honing. VOA Khmer's Say Mony reports from Battambang province.