Preparations Begin for New Year’s Festivities

Preparations for the three-day Khmer New Year celebration, which begins April 14, are under way as the Permanent Organizing Commission for National and International Ceremonies convened Wednesday.

The commission’s secretary-general, Chea Kean, said he will is­sue a directive urging all min­is­tries to hold festivities. “Each ministry should decorate its building and gather its members to celebrate the Khmer New Year,” he said.

He also said that the ban on wa­ter guns and throwing water, originally issued by former municipal governor Chea Sophara two years ago, will remain in effect. “Throw­ing water on people can cause accidents, and people are not happy when they get wet,” he said.

Phnom Penh Traffic Police Chief Kim Yidet said that his officers will be out in force to keep hol­i­day traffic accidents to a minimum. “I will use all of my police of­fi­cers, deployed on all the streets, to facilitate the traffic,” he said.

After last Khmer New Year, authorities said that there were at least 11 fatalities and 30 injuries, a significant improvement from previous years’ celebrations.

Private and state television stations will also contribute to the festivities with special holiday programming.

TVK General Director Mau Ayut said his station will feature a lineup of popular performers who will showcase their traditional dancing and musical talents.

Sok Ey San, general director of Apsara Television, said his station also will broadcast traditional song-and-dance programs, special dramas and traditional games associated with the holiday.

“My television station will stop showing Chinese and American movies during the Khmer New Year and replace them with Khmer traditional dancing, dramas and games,” he said.

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