A Change of Guard

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Saturday, 23 April 2016

Golden memories ...

Dear School of Vice,

To commemorate and appreciate the great Khmer song writer and composer Mr. Kong Bun Choeun, would you please be kind enough to let us enjoy Roum Duol Steung Sang Kae, rendered by :

1. Mr Sin Sisamouth, and
2. Mr. Suos Song Vicha

We thank YOU very much !!!🇰🇭👏


Dear reader,

Hopefully, this is what you have in mind. These are beautiful songs indeed, and Mr Kong Bun Choeun was/is an incomparable poet of his generation. He has left us in person, but his work and priceless legacy as well as his spirit will live on forever in our hearts and souls; a living treasure that never seems to go out of date; that inspires and affirms in equal enchanting, mesmerising measure each and every moment one listens to his captivating verses, and carefully written words, that are at the same time so mundane, so simple and yet so poetic and soulful in their power to hypnotize the spell-bound listener...

Speaking of spell-bound listener, I once happened to walk past a young armed guard at a hotel in Battambang - not far from the lion statue above - who was listening to this very song on a cassette player. He was still standing in his living quarter in his guard-military uniform and had the look of a young combat soldier who does not take to a stranger asking questions or trying to start a friendly conversation. Whilst Mr Samouth was going over the familiar lines, I remarked: 'This song is so beautiful!'. He glanced at me expressionless and did not say a word. I repeated the same remark to make sure he heard it, and still he said nothing in return.
Seeing that the gun was rested beside him, I finally gave up my attempt to forge a bond with a stranger! My overwhelming impression at the time and since is that, the young soldier might have been traumatised by Cambodia's violence, and for a soldier he would have been more exposed to it than most, and so I overlooked the discourtesy shown. I reasoned to myself that at least, whilst he was still enjoying this Roumdoul Dorng Steung Sangke it had meant that he still retained his humanity and feelings somewhere in his being! But, as I type this, a strange, awkward thought occurs to me: What if he was just feeling he was being rudely intruded upon by a stranger whilst he was hoping for a quiet moment to himself floating along with Roumdoul Dorng Steung Sangke?! Come to think of it, I may have had quite a lucky escape that day. Soldiers have been known to have done worse to a nosy, or even noisy neighbours in Cambodia. In fact, there was a strong knock on my hotel room’s door that night, but I opted not to answer. So there it is: School of Vice lived to tell the tale by the skin of chance ... so to speak! 

Until the next anecdote, enjoy the songs and stay away from an armed soldier tuning in to a sentimental song...

School of Vice           


Anonymous said...

Dear School of Vice,

Yes, this is the beautiful song I had in mind.
Its superb and memorable renditions were done by the
two great Khmer singers of all times.

The legacy of our late legendary Kong Bun Choeun
has been engraved in our hearts and treasured in our souls.
Neither any of the five Romance languages nor Chinese Manderin,
that I know has or offers any lyrics and rhymes comparable to those
of Khmer; maybe Sanskrit (I do not know ).

Sadly to say, in my opinion the young generation of song writers and
composers do not measure up to Mr. Kong Bun Choeun, Mr. Voy Ho,
Mr. Ma Laopi, or Mr.Pov Sipho.

You are awsome, you even included your anecdote.
The young armed guard at the hotel may have thought you were trying
to hijack his preoccupied heart and soul from floating with
Roumdoul Dorng Steung Sangke !

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.


Your Long Time Fan

Anonymous said...

With American or French songs, we're lucky if there are three or four verses that rhyme
in one single song.