King Urges Khmer Krom to Forgive Singer

King Norodom Sihanouk asked the Khmer Kampuchea Krom not to be angry with popular singer Meng Keopechda, who ordered the removal of a banner bearing the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation’s logo at a Nov 1 concert in Paris.

“I request all the [children of] Khmer Kampuchea Krom to un­derstand and be indulgent with Miss Meng Keopechda,” the King wrote in a letter posted on his Web site late last week.

The letter was addressed to Sakal Kim, a federation representative in the US state of Massa­chusetts, and was an apparent re­sponse to a letter in which the federation complained that the singer had discriminated against them.

Earlier this month, Meng Keopechda said she had asked that the federation’s logo be re­moved from the hall where she was singing because she did not want to be involved with politics. She said she feared she would be a target for violence if she was linked to the federation.

The banner was removed, but the dispute be­tween the singer and the federation remained.

Explaining Meng Keopechda’s position, the King wrote: “In Cambodia, there are a lot of killers who even killed for a bad reason. All the Khmers remain loyal to Kampuchea Krom, but our beautiful ‘Stars’ are the target of killers…”

Popular singer Touch Srey Nich, 24, was shot three times by unknown attackers on Oct 21. She is in a Bangkok hospital.

The King’s letter, however, appears to have done little to temper the federation’s anger with Meng Keopechda.

Tang Sarah, a federation representative in Phnom Penh, said Mon­­­day the singer has no reason to fear an attack. But, “Meng Keo­pechda has shamed the Khmer Kampuchea Krom,” he said.

“Khmer Kampuchea Krom parents have banned their children from listening to Meng Keopechda’s songs and [ordered them] to destroy the CDs or cassettes that they bought,” he said. “I myself also stopped listening to her songs since the event.”

Meng Keopechda could not be reached for comment.


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