By PHATARAWADEE PHATARANAWIK
More than 50 dancers and musicians from Cambodia’s Royal University of Fine Arts and Thailand’s Bunditpatanasilpa Institute shared the same stage at Chaktomuk Hall in Phnom Penh on Monday night.
Vira Rojpojchanarat, Thailand’s culture minister, discusses with Cambodia's Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An. Photo courtesy of Culture Ministry of Thailand.
Vira Rojpojchanarat, Thailand’s culture minister, said: “The cultural exchange aims to expand cooperation between Asean countries. Besides these performances, Thailand has also called for cooperation on religion, especially Buddhism. Following Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, we persuaded Buddhist monks in Cambodia to join our religious campaign by praying on New Year’s Eve to welcome the New Year with a peaceful spirit and mind.”
Vira visits Samdech Preah Sanghareach Bour Kry, the current Supreme Patriarch of the Thammayut order. Photo courtesy of Culture Ministry of Thailand.
During his two-day visit recently, Vira met Men Sam An, Deputy Prime Minister, Him Chhem, Minister of Culture and Religion, Samdech Preah Sanghareach Bour Kry, the current Supreme Patriarch of the Thammayut order and venerable monk Sumedhadhipati Non Nget.
“Thank you for the cultural cooperation. Culture is the spirit of all countries. If culture is rich, the country will be successful,” Men Sam An said she would pass on the successful co-operation effort to the prime minister.
She added that Cambodia also thanks Thailand on the recent return of Khmer artifacts which were found in Thailand, and hopes to strengthen bilateral relationships on business and culture.
“Cambodia and Thailand are brothers. This performance is also evidence of cultural cooperation and the promotion of people-to-people connectivity between the two countries,” said Phoeurng Sackona, Cambodia’s minister of culture and fine arts.
The performance featured 11 pieces on stage, accompanied by live piphat, or traditional orchestras, from both countries.
Both countries presented their own classical dances alongside collaborated shows based on the similar cultures and the way of life involving rice farming and fishing.
Thai and Cambodian dancers stages the "Farmers' Dance". Photo courtesy of Culture Ministry of Thailand.
Among the highlights was the Farmers’ Dance. Thailand has been performing this work since 1979 when the first cultural exchange took place in China. The cheerful song was composed by the late Thai national artist Montri Tramod.
Cambodian performers also shared the cheerful Khmer Scarf Krama Dance inspired by the multi-functional cloth called Krama. With less than a week of rehearsal, Thais and Cambodians performed on stage together.
Darm Boontham, minister and the Royal Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh, said: “As we share similar cultures, the soft power will help facilitate everything and strengthen our relationship.”