Excllencies, Lok Chumteav, Ladies, and Gentlemen
Where should I begin? Maybe I should sing a song of Basac. Perhaps I should not. If I were to do so, I wonder if coach Yieng and coach Samit would keep their jobs. If I were to sing a song of Yike, Coach Yan Borin and Coach Prak Vorn would suffer the fate. If I were to sing traditional (rhythm) songs, Coach Eang Sithul and Coach Ouk Sitha would have their jobs to lose. Actors Khat Sokhim and Khat Chamroeun would leave the stage if I were to perform Ayay. Today my wife and I are so happy to be able to participate in the closing ceremony of the “Cambodian Cultural Heritage – Samdech Techo Awards” Song Contest organized by the General Directorate of Bayon Radio and TV, with cooperation and instruction from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.
I am so pleased that our Cambodian cultural heritage have finally mobilized and developed to the present. I remember that about some thirty years ago, everything in those days was in stage of gathering (cultural) capitals conducted under the leadership of Ministers of Culture HE Keo Chenda and Chheng Phon, respectively.
Owing to the many works I had, I did not have chance to follow every bit of the contest. However, I did watch their replays after 7pm. May I suggest the Bayon Radio and TV to broadcast their replays on the day that the contest held. I do not know if their General Directors know that the replays broadcasts were not from the same day but from the week before and were on after midnight. Viewers therefore would not be able to see replay of the actual contest on Tuesday. We have very good jury team though and they are heroic artists and professors who can ensure perfect judgment for contestants in the program.
I thank contestant Heng Sitha, from Phnom Penh, for simulating one of my songs, though he may have mistaken the title … “Life of a fruit tree farmer, fate of a rice farmer,” which is about my life. (I do not have a talent for singing or operating music instrument) however, if anyone can coach me to play Tro (the Cambodian music instrument like violin) I would pay him well. I wanted to play Tro to serenade my wife. I would perform a rhythm Phat Popok (push away the cloud) when we are in the mood of bitter life under the time of war and genocidal regime.
I may not go on but wish to express my sincere thanks and evaluation on efforts made by staff, Masters of Ceremony, presenters, and program managers of Bayon Radio and TV for their valuable contributions. Though I am not going to say now how much are the awards, I would say that we have spent about Riel 200 million for the contest program and we will keep going with the contests though there may or may not be sponsorships.
We have made five tradition music forms our subjects for contesting. We are now working on three and there will be two more subjects coming up – poem and symphony. As we have more contestants and there are growing supports from people, I would suggest to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and Bayon Radio and TV to make each time three subjects for contest. We can add traditional music and song as one more subject. However, I see that Japei (soloist of Cambodian guitar like instrument) and Ayay (singing without written lyrics) would be difficult ones to add to the contest list.
Well that would be an opinion and suggestion. Still, it is up to the committee, especially the leadership of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, with cooperation given from the private partner – Bayon Radio and TV. I would also appeal from here for sponsorship and collaboration from other companies as well. Today, I would like to express my sincere thanks for Lok Chumteav Phoeung Sakona, Minister for Culture and Fine Arts, for her brilliant idea of inviting some 17 living (cultural) heritages who are senior citizens of arts to join us today that I consider it Cambodian Cultural Gathering Day.
In addition to awards defined by the General Directorate of Bayon Radio and TV, my wife and I offer Riel 5 million for each of the six jury members, Riel 2 million each for eleven musicians, Riel 10 million for dancers of National Cultural Heritage group. We also offer Riel 5 million for the Ayay team of the Khat’s family, and Riel 5 million for live broadcast team of Bayon Radio and TV. My wife and I are so grateful for the invitation to join this important event. I hope that there will be ceremony like this for the coming years. Let me wish those who have won the awards and those who have not as well. Those who did not win the awards may also continue with their singing jobs in various tradition teams.
There is one thing I need to say to traffic police. I just received information from the Minister of Culture and Fine Arts that while traffic law came into force, the performance art groups had suspended their performances. Normally these performance art teams travel with their stages, scenes, and performers in a Korean made trucks. Now they could not travel like that because of the enforcement. I am asking the traffic police everywhere to allow and facilitate their traveling in safety to where they need to go for performances. At this time of year, Cambodia is in season of festivity and performance art plays a major role in it. That is what the country needs.
I would take this opportune moment to wish the best of luck for both contestants who won and did not win the awards. I hope they would keep trying and there will be more applicants for the contests. I would take this opportune moment to wish on behalf of the Royal Government, my wife and my own name, artists and performers, students and those present here the four Buddhist blessings. Thank You.