Singer Angers US Khmer Krom Group

The Khmer Kampuchea Krom Community-North America has called for a boycott of Cambodian singer Meng Keo­pechda and has de­manded an apology for her re­fusal to perform in front of a Khmer Krom banner during a Nov 1 concert in France.

Condemning the singer for demanding that a Khmer Krom ban­ner be removed from the stage in Paris where she was to per­form, the US-based organization accused Meng Keopechda of “unpatriotic” and “discriminatory” behavior.

“The Khmer Kampuchea Krom around the world are advised to take immediate action and cease listening to her songs,” the North American wing of the organization wrote in a letter dated Dec 31.

“The Khmer Kampuchea Krom Community demands a pub­lic apology from Meng Keo­pechda [and] condemns the singer’s irresponsible act,” the letter added.

Calls to turn a deaf ear to Meng Keopechda follow an interview she gave to Voice of America ra­dio Dec 30 in which she ex­pressed her love for the Khmer Krom com­­munity. Meng Keopechda has defended her refusal to perform in front of the banner, saying she simply wanted to keep her performance free of politics. She could not be reached for comment Thurs­day.

Her controversial decision followed shortly after the shooting in Phnom Penh of popular singer Touch Srey Nich and her mother.

Speculation was rife that Touch Srey Nich’s performances for either the Funcinpec party or the Khmer Krom community may have motivated the attack.

Kim Vanchheng, executive di­rector of the Phnom Penh-based Khmer Kampuchea Krom Coor­dination Committee, said the sing­er’s decision was not a big deal for his organization. “We un­derstand her. She is afraid because of the political problems. I think there are a lot of singers who will sing for the Khmer Kam­puchea Krom,” he said. King No­ro­dom Sihanouk cal­led in Dec­ember for the Khmer Krom community to be more understanding of Meng Keopech­da, saying Cam­bo­dian singers were targets for killers.


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