Some Thursday ASEAN links:
Pol Pot’s daughter was married earlier this week at a lavish ceremony held in the former Khmer Rouge rebel stronghold.
Sar Patchata, the communist dictator’s only daughter, was the centerpiece of a two-day ceremony held in Cambodia’s Malai district. It was attended by friends, family and local monks – in addition to at least one alleged war criminal.
Patchata was adopted by the Khmer Rouge’s ambassador to the UN, Tep Khunnal, after her father’s death in 1998. Another high-ranking former Khmer Rouge, head of state Khieu Samphan, was seated near the bride and groom. Samphan is currently on trial in Phonm Penh for crimes against humanity.
“Our idea was to not be too traditional, or too sophisticated,” Khunnal told Cambodia Daily. “It’s only a small wedding.”
For the average Cambodian, the party was a parade of affluence in a country where garment workers went on strike over $80-a-month salaries. Imported liquor from France was flowing and seven elaborate chandeliers were hung in wedding tents.
Patchata met her new husband, Sy Vicheka, while studying abroad in Malaysia.
Over in Singapore, preparations are being made for the upcoming Southeast Asian Film Festival. The city-state will be hosting the event for the fourth time between April 11 and May 4.
The event will showcase 20 films from both “established and up-and-coming” directors from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. It will also mark the Asian premiere for four of the films, as well as the world premiere for one of them.
“[Organizers] said this year’s selection will feature a strong focus on documentaries, with the films making up close to half of the festival’s line-up, and festival goers can watch on film ‘some of the most urgent contemporary challenges facing this diverse and rapidly developing region through the lenses of the directors,’” wrote Channel NewsAsia.
Some of the titles showing include Pascalina by Pam Miras (shot entirely with a “toy camera” effect), Behind the Flickering Light (The Archive) by Hafiz Rancajale, and Sayang Disayang by Sanif Olek.
Finally, Myanmar has stopped the construction of new hotels in the city of Bagan as the government prepares to nominate it as a World Heritage site in the near future.
“Bagan was a Buddhist kingdom during the 9th to 13th centuries. It boasts thousands of pagodas and monasteries and is one of Myanmar’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing an estimated 400,000 tourists last year,” said The Bangkok Post. “Myanmar first proposed Bagan as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the mid-1990s, when the country was still under military rule, but withdrew the nomination after the United Nations agency requested more details on preservation and management plans.”
President Thein Sein suggested that the application should be re-submitted after a recent visit.
The city already houses 75 hotels. It is estimated that 1,100 tourists visit the ancient site daily – a huge source of government revenue.