Story Writers/Directors Meeting
Let me say a few things in relation to meeting, as is expressed to be necessary by the forum, of story writers/directors. I totally agree with the idea. So far I have noticed that in every TV station, for example, there seems to be so and so writer/director of a TV drama while neglecting the need for a meeting with other writers. I am sure the meeting among story writers and/or editors/directors would be a useful event from which everyone is benefiting from each other’s experiences.
There has to be a rule and value that story writers should pursue. There was this story in which a woman is being sold on auction. Auctioning for a husband would soon be the case if this is to go on without a measure being taken to remedy it. Therefore, I would have your full attention that before releasing their story, things as such must be checked and one way of doing so is to convene a (regular) story writers meeting. As everyone is King in his/her Kingdom (of professionalism), story that is harmful to our own and society has been on the rise without notice.
There must be a coherent coordination, which such a meeting (of writers/directors) would be helpful and I also foresee the need for involvement from other sectors such as culture and information as well.
I have said on several occasions about the need to unify services provided by Buddhist ceremony assistants or gurus. I noted that the Ministry of Cult and Religious Affairs has done a great deal to get more (religious) gurus or gurus to perform uniformed services. However, I think the effort should also involve or have consultation with the Ministry of Culture. We should try and streamline procedure by which all gurus have to perform in their duty of assisting and leading the religious (mainly Buddhist) ceremony.
I would like to have your attention on this point that more of the old-aged gurus have passed away, while, despite effort to train younger ones, an insufficient number of gurus has continued to be the case. As of the moment of speaking, you may notice that we have so many wedding parties going on. In addition to need for gurus, there also is a need for artistic performers for these events too. That is why I suggest that both gurus (of Buddhist or traditional ceremonies) and the artistic performers need to be working in close collaboration.
There is also room for the Ministry of Information to get involved because there is a need for wider awareness among our people of the uniformed services and procedures to be performed for so and so event. We have to take a lead in not only events and their procedures in term of religious and cultural aspects but also that of information awareness service as well.
Again, it is a good thing about being creative in one’s story writing or directing but as I said earlier attention must be raised against creating value that is detrimental to those of our society. I think that being monotonous, i.e. lacking in variety, would be a failure for performance arts. That is why creativity, within the framework of our cultural values, is what we are after.
Let me give you an example. A few years ago there was this new culture of Valentine Day in our society. It was then (literally translated and) called the lovers’ day. It has been changed now though to the day of loving. It is not our culture indeed. It is imported. This is not what we should blame to be an aggression on our culture since we have voluntarily accepted it ourselves. This is a matter of concern as accepting a new value does not mean being creative.
As far as creativity is the point here I would raise three scenarios for the sake of our consideration and for more efforts to be made in line of the fact that one is dead but his/her work will continue to be alive. That is the best fact I expect. After their death, the works of those writers, composers, and/or directors are still alive. I have termed three scenarios in this development. Being dead but alive is one, and being alive but dead is the opposite of the first one, while being dead together is the third consequence.
It is easy to understand the first case scenario. As of present, despites their death, the late writers’, compositors’ and/or directors’ works have been preserved and replayed. Their works do not die with them. Take for example the story of Tum and Tiev (this story is like Romeo and Juliet of the western literature), The Pailin Rose (about life struggles for education and love) A Fading Flower (a sad story) or those from the former King Preah Baat Angduong. You all are well aware that those writers or compositors from the 50s, 60s and 70s had been executed under the Pol Pot’s regime. However, we still listen to their songs and read their works.
The case in opposite is the fact that writers or compositors are still alive but their works have gone. Some songs have come to market in just one or two months before they disappear. My third case scenario is about the fact that we should not let the works of famous writers/compositors to die with them. There was this suggestion about intellectual property’s rights in one of the Cabinet’s meetings, but I affirm that let’s not be too rigid to not allow contemporary singers to sing those songs. In this pattern of rigid thought, we may have buried the songs or works of our famous late singers, writers and/or compositors together with them.
I would urge that we should not be going to extremes on issue of intellectual property’s rights of these songs that are left from the past. I am so worried that because of extreme actions for intellectual property’s rights, which would be prohibiting development. I think we should in this case encourage our younger generation singers to sing and perform old songs.
It is truly difficult to organize teams of all performance and theatrical arts. However, to manage and sustain these teams would require even more efforts and challenges. I have seen the brief performances by various groups from the provinces of Kampot and Takeo, etc. I agree that they have attained a credible level of artistic performance value. As there are more and more people organizing ceremonies, I am sure they would do well in this business. The best team would indeed be sought after and they would do well to survive and make progress in this profession.
I have instructed HE Him Chhem on his request for a reorganization of performance and/or theatrical art teams for roving duty to all parts of the country that there is no need for such efforts as the country has now developed into a different stage already. You can see that because of high demand in ceremonial business, places where people hire to launch wedding party, for example, need to be booked a long time before the actual date due. Witnessing this growing need, I am sure efforts to organize such teams would not be a viable option. However, I would like to have the attention that those that have been organized already, take for instance the Kompong Cham’s performance/theatrical art teams, should do their best to sustain.
Let’s look into the past when our ancestors spent so much resources, material and human, as well as intellectual efforts in building cities and temples throughout the country. As of now, despite the fact that there have been so many proposed theories as to how those temples were built, I still could not reason them out. The architectures from our ancestor’s days, be it at the Angkor Wat complex or the Preah Vihear temple, are still amazingly beyond belief and understanding to me. Our ancestors spent so much to build them, now it is our duty to continue to spend resources to maintain them.
In this state of economic difficulty, if we are not able to set more resources to improve our maintenance efforts, it is important that we have to take utmost measures to prevent them from looting and neglect. Having said so, I would urge involved officials to take into consideration issue such as trees that are growing on temple structures. It is true that smaller trees would not be a big deal but as they grow bigger, their weight will be heavier and more weight will be brought to bear by the temple structures. Considering balancing the weight of the trees would be ideal in this matter.
I have found it beyond belief and expectation that the Thai leaders, at this moment, dared talk to UNESCO Special Envoy Koïchiro Matsuura about withdrawing the temple of Preah Vihear from the World Heritage list. At first I had an understanding that Thailand was against the management plan of the temple only. It took me a full surprise when I learned that our neighbor has in fact nurtured the above aim. It is in this meaning that they had no concern of a thing when they opened attack on the temple. Out of this shock I reasoned with the UNESCO special envoy if it were because of Cambodia’s registration of the temple (as the world heritage) too that Thailand invaded and plundered (the temple and territory) in between 1954 and 1962.
I have told a story to HE Koïchiro Matsuura, and he admitted there is similar story in his home country, about two women fight to be birthmother to a child. The court decided that the child has to be split into two parts so that each woman could have a half. As real mother, one of the women gives the child to the other woman since she could not bear to see the child to be split. Firing 414 shells on the temple is really a gross action. It is truly a war. It is a war that is not only invading our territory but also Cambodian culture. It is a despicable act by the (the current) Government of our neighboring country.
In addition to act of dishonesty against Cambodia, they pretended as if they were the ones to seek third party’s assistance to the conflict and even asked Cambodia to reciprocate with their “position.” In fact, since February 17, Cambodia already appealed to ASEAN to send in their observers to the area. I have made it clear that if by any chance that Thailand did not accept the observers’ presence, Cambodia would do that unilaterally. It is so ironical that on February 20 they asked Cambodia to reciprocate with their position.
I told them that it is not a problem because Hun Sen has been offered with his own plan. The ASEAN chairman sent last Saturday, after the ASEAN meeting on February 22, procedures of observation, obligations of Indonesian observation’s duty and of hosting parties, which consists also areas where observations will be carried out.
I have told the Ministers for Foreign Affairs and National Defense to get things ready and ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to respond within 24 hours to the proposal from the Indonesian party. We have done so. In our response, we have offered 14 points for observation to the Indonesian side and a mandate of 12 months with possible extension. It is now ridiculous that Bangkok came about (saying such meeting could not be commencing) for their foreign and defense ministers have not yet met. At the same time the Thai commanders said they would not allow the Indonesians to observe their sides.
With regard to the UN Security Council’s recommendation that ASEAN oversee the process with a progress report back to UN Security Council, the Thai leaders have even tricked (their people and others concerned) on the condition that there should be a time for them to work it out first. Let me be clear here. Whatever meeting supposed to be held must be convened by Indonesia or there will be no such negotiation. As observer, Indonesia could not be left ignored. Cambodia no longer talks with Thailand without Indonesian presence. We will respond to call for a meeting by Indonesia.
There should not be attempt of defraud between bilateral and multilateral mechanism, and also the third party. Cambodia will continue bilateral negotiation only on issues of trade and investment, whereas discussion on border issue must be held with the presence of the third party.
Maybe I should reaffirm that the UN Security Council or ASEAN would be in the conflict zone not to resolve the border issues but to observe who might start the fighting. There is nothing to be worried about.
The issue of Preah Vihear will take a long time to resolve. I have read a commentary in a newspaper about this issue. The commentator seems to have suggested six possibilities for the resolution of the Preah Vihear issue. He has evaluated the issue to be in impasse but not yet deadlock. One of the possibilities is to use force to resolve the issue and another is to go to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Both of the possibilities, as are proposed by the commentator, seem to have put Thai in a loss already. If they choose to go through military means, in the end, like in the previous time, there needs to observe the Tokyo convention and the Washington Agreement, by which a solution will come to our favor.
As International Court of Justice is the advantage of Cambodian side, the commentator also proposed various other options that I could not remember them all. However, co-ownership of the temple is not an option for us. Last November, Kasit Phiromya, Thai foreign minister asked me if it is ok if Thai registers Srah Trao as the world heritage. I told him and also said to HE Koïchiro Matsuura that I would not obstruct that. Preah Vihear belongs to Cambodia and it is our rights to get a world heritage registration. Srah Trao belongs to Thai and it is up to Thailand to see what fit to do with it.
As far as the border issue is concerned, it is certain that we need the International Court of Justice to clarify its decision as negotiation on the basis of two different maps would not lead to anywhere. The Thai leaders should try and tell the truth to their people about the fact that UNESCO rejected their proposal to cancel the Preah Vihear’s membership of the world heritage. In fact the yellow shirts are speaking the truth about the Thai Government’s failures. They should not in this case say I am one of the “yellow-shirts’ allies”./.