Sunday, March 13, 2011

Address at the 13th Anniversary of the National Culture Day

Chaktomuk Conference Hall, March 3rd, 2011

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Veteran actors, actresses and instructors,
Dear all the actors and actresses,

Today, my wife and I are pleased to be here in the 13th Anniversary of the National Culture Day and the closing of the 2011 Khmer Cultural Show which is an event organized to promote and conserve our national culture. This event not only represents the policy program and cultural development plan of the Royal Government, but it is also intended to conserve, protect and develop the national culture and eliminate any campaign against the Cambodian culture.

Along with this, the Royal Government strongly supports the production of cultural crafts by encouraging innovation, promoting the richness of Khmer cultural products, raising awareness of the wonderful Khmer culture and morality, preventing the inflow of negative culture and eliminating negative activities among the youths and children that could dirty the wonderful tradition and culture of our society. In this spirit, the Royal Government firmly uphold the national solidarity policy to mobilize people from all corners and political factions to come under the national motto “Nation-Religion-King” to form a combined force to conserve and develop our culture, tradition, custom and social achievements to promote the image and dignity of the country with egalitarian status in the international arena. In general, the solidarity of our people not only contributes to an important input for protecting the sovereignty, integrity, peace and progress in Cambodian society, but it also help us conserve the wonderful culture of our nation.

Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and myself personally, I would like to commend the effort of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts for the organization of this event. I strongly believe that the event will become a dynamic dissemination movement of “the culture” that will trigger further research and understanding. Despite it only runs for one day, this event will greatly benefit the socio-economic development effort and motivate all Cambodian citizens to take part in cultural conservation and development.

As all of us have been aware of, each society has been striving to conserve and develop their culture and civilization. Cambodia has a very long history and clear origin, can build its own culture, civilization and identity including language, music, musical equipments, dances, titles, temples, foods and other daily use equipments without having to steal from other nations. This richness in Khmer culture is reflected through stone scripts and unearthing of prehistoric sites. The claim is also supported by millions of sculpture found on all Khmer temples. This shows Khmer's cultural richness which has become an eternal spirit, heritage and identity of the Khmer kingdom and ancestors. We are proud since some of our cultural heritage have been globally acknowledged and inscribed in the world heritage list. In this sense, I would like to appeal to the people to ensure the safety of the Khmer culture by conserving and transferring cultural knowledge and experience to the next generation in order to conserve and develop the culture according to the Royal Government’s policy.

The theme of this year's cultural day is “Cambodia, Kingdom of Culture: all for safety, sustainability, harmony and progress”. Indeed, our country is full of cultural heritage and so it can also be known as the “Kingdom of Culture”. What we have raised so far are contextually and honestly true. The key factor is we are the descendents who have inherited this great cultural heritage; we together need to continue promoting the utmost potential, knowledge capacity, and know-how through research, documentation, restoration, information-dissemination, modernization and creation of new works complying with conservation methods in order to germinate the spirit of national culture and motherland loving that is the core of ensuring the security of culture, maintaining sustainability, and the progress of our society in the future.

Taking the opportunity of this culture day, I would like to request compatriots and all relevant ministries and institutions to unify and closely collaborate to achieve the goals that have been shown including continue imposing preventive measures through all means to make the entire society receive the continuity, security of culture, harmonization of national culture, and national reputation on international stage. In this regard, with respect to promoting of all kinds of cultures in our country, we do not promote only multiculturalism in our nation but also promote the sustainability of national culture as well. Hence, cultural institutions at all levels need to continue the hard-work and efforts more vigorously in order to make the spirit of our “3rd March National Culture Day” become a day to increase the potential of national culture aimed to make this sector contribute to the national socio-economic development. Before us now, our priority policy is culture conservation and development. For that we have many other missions including recommendations and guidance on culture to ensure the dignity, reputation, sustainability and progress of the country.

For this cause, we need to work harder together in order to make our culture sector become a genuine foundation of national socio-economic development, and we also need to continue germinating the youth spirit on national culture through promoting the participation of the people especially youth groups in maintaining, protecting and developing the culture. Hence, the training and knowledge-dissemination on the importance of culture conservation and development work along with encouraging the movement of popular arts are necessary for Cambodia at the present as well as in the future.

My wife and I would like to express our admiration and gratitude for popular art groups from all places in the country who have worked hard in training and producing many performances under the management of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts in order to participate in the popular arts opera nationwide, and congratulate the great “3rd March National Culture Day”. All these great activities certainly have many advantages for contributing further to the building of the kingdom of culture.

In parallel, my wife and I are indeed pleased to see the performances of the popular arts, participating in the arts show in this 2011, have increased compared to 2010. Indeed, last year we had only 27 but this year we have 52 performances; those performances are operas, Lkorn, Ayai, and dances as such, all these are our cultural assets with national pride. I have a belief that though all the performance in this year show have not shown perfect quality yet but through the opening of this show it has allowed all those performances to be improved and become productions for culture sector that can entertain the public and be used for businesses.

In fact, I acknowledge that all artists have worked tirelessly making each group and each performance have their own good quality worth to be merited. In addition, I would like to provide some recommendations to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, relevant ministries and institutions, production owners, composters, movie directors, and all artists in the aim to contribute to improving, conserving, and developing our national culture as followed:

  • The production of popular arts performances need to be linked to the national policy on culture sector; knowing the national policy on culture sector is necessary knowledge and a compass for composers, movie directors all artists. Extensive and in-depth research on national policy and national strategy on this culture sector will help composers, performance and show producers to be line with the social aspiration that reflects the true identity of Khmer culture. Hence, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts need to continue providing education and information-dissemination on national policy on the culture sector, which need to be done extensively among production owners, composers, directors, popular arts performance producers and all artists of us.
  • All productions need to be in compliance with national norms. Truly, our ancestors have created countless norms for composition, creation of art performances, and art shows that reflects our great culture. In general, our colors and identities of our nation are hidden in these methodologies. The creation of art performances lacking of norms is a destruction of the value and the spirit of our art culture. Hence, I would like to request production owners, composers, directors and all artists to continue studying thoroughly the norms of each art form so that we can maintain our identity and the spirit of art culture of our nation. We together need to remember that progress occurs from study, knowledge is valuable for conservation and development. If we have no extensive knowledge, development will face obstacles; and it is the same for the popular art groups. In parallel, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts should host a meeting for composers, directors and artists in order to strengthen their consultations aimed to share knowledge and experiences through mutual understanding and forgiveness. In overall, I am of the view that this method will provide key to effective improvement for unlimited development and new creation.
  • The quantity must be connected to the quality that is qualification to acknowledgement of art creativity. Repetition is vital enemy to the artists. In this sense, if we achieve many products without quality, those products will not be supported from people. In fact, creating a lot of art products is necessary, but ensue those product with high quality with objective to attain honorable entertainment for the people and dissemination knowledge for national cultural development is even more important and essential.
  • It is alright to be poor in anything, except ideas. Hence, initiative is prerequisites to overcoming poverty and creation. Although we have culture of diversity, but it requires new initiatives to further create more art products. Initiative and creativity enable us to avoid copying someone’s achievement. Copying someone‘s achievement is crime against intellectual property right which dampen growth of national cultural art. Of course, artists always learn from other, but they should copy from others thoughtlessly or copy the whole. They should draw good lessons for consideration and extract it into knowledge to create new product, so that national cultural art can make progress.
  • We need to use art to feed art. Obviously, un-depleted resources are supports from our people towards protection, conservation and development of national cultural heritage. Through this, our group of popular artists should try their best to train and perform in order to get supported by our people, and then it will enable our group to gain popularity and gain income for livelihood easily.
  • Opening up the opera house is a school because it will provide artists with the opportunity to share exchange experience and learn from each other in terms of stage performing and other arts such molding statute, craftsmanship, food and so on. As future visions, cultural institutions at all level should develop their own plan for hosting opera shows at their respective provincial, regional, and central levels to sustain the continuity of the national cultural art sector across the country. The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts must try the utmost to constantly provide the pedagogical training to performers by consecutively organizing annual opera shows at the community, regional, and central levels. If we can make this happen, we can truly transform our people’s arts to be more developed, which may significantly contribute to the name as Cambodia: National Center of Culture Dissemination and the Kingdom of Culture.
  • The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts must comprehensively consider the words of Cultural Safety, which is not only aimed at the abstract culture, but also pay attention to the safety of the physical relics, meaning that we have to take care of the management, maintenance, preservation, protection, and repairing of the temples beside the Angkor and Preah Vihear areas, which are facing the collapse. At least when the national economy is not favorable enough for repairing, the management or protection should be paid attention to in order to prevent those shattered temples from becoming more serious with the lack of maintenance and we have to work hard to transform all historical temples and resorts to be welcoming places to serve the national tourism sector.
  • The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts must make laws on the management of the national cultural asset management in either physical or abstract condition, and promote the implementation of the intellectual property, especially the law of writer’s rights and other rights in order to eliminate the stealing or plagiarism of other writers’ masterworks and protect the new masterworks, which are the intellectual property of the actors and actresses and writers, or this new masterwork creators.

In the substance as mentioned above, I strongly believe that Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen will continue your cooperation by discussing, sharing, exchanging dialogues and contributing to the development of awareness, experiences, findings, and visions for the cause of jointly preserving and developing the national cultural relics. Along with this, we have to increase closer and loyal solidarity based on the principles of maintenance, protection, promotion of the national cultural heritage and development of cultural actions, prevention and elimination of every campaign posing cultural war against Cambodia. At the same time, the Royal Government will continue implementing various measures in order to encourage all levels of civil servants, especially the production owners, composers, managers, people’s arts and all to abide by the dignity, noble morality, and effective implementation of the professional conscience with creativity and high responsibility, which is suitable to be citizen of theKingdom of Culture and builder of the rich cultural properties in the world.

Once again, my wife and I would like to thank for the efforts made by the management and officials of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, who have organized such significant national cultural event. Through this, I firmly believe that Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen will fully support the national wide people’s arts and this National Culture Day.

Finally, together with the dedication to the 13th National Culture Day on 3rd March, which is the day to commemorate the gratitude of our Khmer ancestors who have left the legacy of national cultural relics and the Closing of the 2011 Khmer Cultural Show nation-wide, my wife and I would like to wish Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen and all Actors and Actresses the four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.

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