Someday I hope that our family will be able to attend the Cambodian Heritage Camp - I've heard great things about it. It isn't in the cards this year, but maybe next year.
Here's the description:
Cambodian Heritage Camp is a family camp where campers from age 3 to 18, plus
their parents participate in classes, workshops and family-oriented special
events presented by Cambodian Americans, adult adoptees, professionals in the
field of adoption, and the campers themselves, all of whom enthusiastically
share their perspectives and expertise with adoptive families. More than 30
Cambodian American young adults serve as counselors, acting as warm and caring
role models and mentors to the children as they participate with them in cultural
classes. Adult family members attend cultural and adoption-related workshops
ranging from Cambodian cooking to the blessings and challenges inherent in
our adoptive families. Founded and run by adoptive parent volunteers, CamHC
is one of ten camps facilitated by the highly respected Colorado Heritage Camps
organization, which has been running heritage camps for adoptive families for
The Angkor Dance Troupe is having a dinner and show for family and friends
on Saturday, April 21 to celebrate the Cambodian new year. This event will be
held at Sompao Meas Hall, 450 Chelmsford Street, in Lowell. Tickets for adults
are $25, and tickets for children, students, and seniors are $15.
This is a casual affair, and dinner will be served Cambodian family style.
Our dancers will also perform, including some of our newest, younger dancers!
The evening will start at 6:00 p.m., dinner will be served around 7:00 p.m., and
expect that the show will start around 8:00 p.m. For the late-night partying
and dancing crowd, they're planning to have a DJ after the show, and the evening
will end around midnight.
If you're interested in joining the fun, please call the dance troupe's office
at (978) 275-1823 or e-mail the founder and program director, Tim Thou, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last night we attended a performance of Sandglass and Sovanna Phum (Here too)- the culmination of these two artists working together from different cultures, puppetry traditions, and language. What they produced was gorgeous, brilliant, and exceptional. It was a fusion of khmer/American artistry like I haven't seen.
We took Mongkol - and after a quick dinner at Whole Foods, we had a fabulous evening. My camera really sucks at taking indoor photos (probably something stupid about the settings I'm not doing) or maybe it is me. Mongkol, the expert photographer he is, has some beautiful ones here. I used them to create the slide show above.
Mongkol did a great write up here. He points out our meeting with a blog reader who recognized us!
However, that’s not all. While we were waiting for the Q&A session with the artists, we noticed one white guy approaching us from the distance. Surprising us from behind, he said, “Hello Mongkol and Beth! How are you? Mongkol, how are things going with your study?” At first I thought he was Beth’s friend, but yet how did he know my name? Hmmm.. A big question, huh? Only later did I find out that his name was Decker and he was one of our regular blog readers. Decker is from the UK and currently resides in Providence. He loves Cambodia and viewing Cambodia-related blogs is one of his ways to get in touch with Cambodia. Well, what a coincidence! Nice to meet you, Decker! :D I hope to see you again sometimes. :p
I took a lot of video clips and I'm editing them and will post later.
I know it will be past New Year's, but will be doing a classroom activity for both Sara and Harry about Cambodian New Year's. I expect to be in Harry's class on April 28th. Is there anyone in Cambodia who would like to talk to his class via skype or Yahoo IM Talk?
That week is also National Dance Week, so will also include an activity around dance. Lots to think about and do in the next few weeks.
Today I visited both Harry's and Sara's schools and did a lesson on the Lunar/Chinese New Year which ends this weekend.
Sara's school does not have an Internet-connected computer, so the activities were focused on movement, reading a book about it, circle time, doing related crafts, and singing a song. The kids were age four and five year olds. I was impressed that they were able to sit still for the ten-minute circle time where we talked about Chinese New Year.
I told them the story about the Animal Zodiac race and I asked why you did Rat won? One kid answered, "Because he exercised!" I interpersed circle talk with some hands-on tasks - like they got to fold the buddhist prayer money and put it inside the red envelope and touch the firecrackers.
They made "Year of the Dog" New Year's cards and good luck scrolls. I used photoshop and word to create templates and "stickers" on address labels for them to use.
They really enjoyed the "Gung Hay Fat Choy" song. Before I introduced the song, in the circle time we practiced saying Happy New Year in Chinese. (I told the kids that if they say that in Chinese restaurant to the waiter, it will make the waiter happy and they might even get a second fortune cookie.) I made up a game on the spot where I would point to someone and they would have to Gung Hay Fat Choy and then point to someone else unitl we went around the circle.
Then I played the song and had them raise their hand when they heard the phrase. Next we sang the song together - mostly the chorus. And for each verse, we made up hand movements to match the words. The song has a nice relaxing tune. If I were to do this lesson again, I'd put the song at the end before the snack and right after the circle I would do a more energetic movement activity. We didn't have a video in the classroom, so couldn't do the lion dance stuff I did in Harry's class.
The crafts were a big hit. With two crafts stations set up, and so many kids, I was so busy I didn't remember to take out my digital camera until the end.
At Harry's class, I spent circle time explaining Chinese New Year -- mostly as an inquiry lecture - asking them lots of questions and encouraging them to raise their hand and ask me questions. I also showed them examples. Each kid got a red envelope with Buddhist Prayer Money.
I told them that after circle we would use SKYPE internet phone to call Nick in Hong Kong. These six-year olds were amazed that we could do that with a computer and very impressed that I knew someone in Hong Kong. I explained to them that my computer was turned into a phone and showed on the globe where Hong Kong was. I told them Nick could answer the questions they had about the flickr photo set he put together.
The day before, I had worked with the school's IT Director to get access to their wireless network and get ports cleared so we could I jack in my laptop and get beyond the firewall. I was not able to get on with my laptop. While IT director went back to her office and grabbed her laptop loaded with SKYPE, Harry's teacher and I asked the kids to brainstorm a list of questions they wanted to ask Nick.
I wasn't sure whether Nick would be available -- after it all there is like a 12 hour time difference and that would make 2:00 a.m.. So, we left a message on his voice mail and the kids screamed all together "Gung Hay Fat Choy." Later that evening, Harry and I spoke with Nick via Skype and then Nick created a podcast of the answers.
Here's the list of questions from some pretty curious 6 year olds:
What time do Asian people go to bed on Chinese New Year?
How did the animals know what the emperor ("god") was saying to them when he suggested having a race to name the animal zodiac?
Was there really a dragon named Nien -- or is that just a story?
Why did the emperor decide to have a race? What other animals besides the cat didn't win and why?
When Nieth the Dragon sees the color red, why is he so afraid?
Did Nieth think the red color was blood?
Why were the villagers so scared of the dragon if dragons aren't real? Could they have been afraid of something else?
Is the dragon smart or stupid because he was afraid of firecrackers and loud noise?
What kind of food do people eat for Chinese New Year? What is the food in the first flickr photo? Is something sweet? It looks yucky.
Is hard is it to learn how to write Gung Hay Fat Choy?
The kids watched a video of the lion dance. I showed them the photo of the Lion Dance in Cambodia. Then I had them color in the masks and then I taught them a very simplified lion dance gestures. Finally, they settled down for a snack!
In response to my question to my Camboida colleagues about the March for Freedom of Expression and Non-Violence in Cambodia, Khmerak posted some more information. The March will take place from Feb. 11-13th and participants will March from Phnom Penh to Udong Mountain. The march will consist of a core group of 50 nominated by member
organizations of the AFEC. The public along the way will be invited to
participate in the march during the whole time or on a part of the way
that is about 50 kilometers totally. Human
rights monitors from LICADHO and CCHR will accompany the marchers.
What I didn't know was the symbolism associated with the timing ...
The marchers are heading to Phnom Oudong where they will participate
in the celebration of “Bon Meak Bochea” on Monday, February 13th. This
commemoration of Buddha’s funeral is traditionally linked with the
ideas of peace, tolerance and non-violence.
All participants will wear Yellow Ribbons as symbols for the demand
for Freedom of Expression. The core group will wear t-shirts with the
same symbol and hold large foam models of it.
The marchers will be accompanied by two ox-carts carrying big
banners with the message of the march. The participants are invited by
the Pagodas of Chetha Udom and Pakdemakor to stay overnight.
Phatry Derek Pan has had an incredible week! He met, interviewed, and posted about his experience meeting two Khmer legends, Master Kung Nai and Mr. Vann Nath.
Kung Nai is a master musician of the long-necked guitar, known as the chapey dong veng. I first learned about him from Arn Chourn Pond's project, Cambodian Living Arts, and then the POV Documentary The Flute Player. You can hear a recording of Kung Nai here. Phatry heard him perform at pre-CD release party at the restaurant, Romdeng. (Romdeng is run by the NGO, Street Friends, and provides restaurant training for youth)
Mr. Vann Nath is the famous painter of S-21, the KR's torture machine, a high school turned prison. For one full year in Tuol Sleng, he painted KR propaganda and of Pol Pot. For his talent, his life was spared. For being alive, he witnessed humanity's cruelest moments of execution.
then we hooked up with a group of kids who perform traditional song and dance
from the ghetto, they gave us a private show of dance and singing in the projects
1:30pm...so touching and beautiful...then we rehearsed a bunch of songs with them
to play in the Basaac district in the shanty town... then we played at the shanty town stage 6pm...it was insane and way out of any
of our elements. comunication was minimal...raw wires and crazy lights, generators
and trash...naked kids and crazy security dudes....sound was like we were coming
out of a giant telephone...the pa was an assortment of about 50 different speakers..it
What I'm wondering is about is whether or not Bassac is the place I photographed when in Cambodia? My driver pronounced it Bouring. If not, are there photos online someplace?