SEA Games 2023: It’s time to party, Cambodia

It has taken 60 years and as multi-coloured fireworks filled the sky above the majestic Morodok Techo National Stadium on Friday, Cambodia finally got its moment.

The nation of around 17 million people held a grand, coming-out party with a colourful display of spectacular pyrotechnics, songs and cultural performances, as the SEA Games opening ceremony drew plenty of cheers at the stadium located on the northern outskirts of Phnom Penh.

The 2½-hour extravaganza was a significant moment in the history of a country which gained independence in 1953, and was initially supposed to host the Games in 1963 but withdrew due to financial problems and political instability at the time. Following a civil war, the Khmer Rouge’s brutal five-year rule from 1975 to 1979 resulted in the deaths of between 1.5 to two million people.

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