Singer Orders Removal of Khmer Krom Logo

Cambodian singer Meng Keo­pechda is sparring with the Eu­ropean branch of the Khmer Kam­puchea Krom Federation over a Nov 1 concert in Paris at which the singer demanded that a banner with the federation’s logo be removed from the hall where she was performing.

“She discriminates against the Khmer Krom, though Khmer Krom people share the same blood,” Khmer Kampuchea Krom Coordinating Committee President Kim Vanchheng said Monday in Phnom Penh.

“We are very disappointed.”

The singer said she didn’t want to get involved in politics, and feared that appearing as a Khmer Krom spokesperson would make her a target for violence.

“I want to serve all kinds of audiences, and I want peace,” she said.

Another popular singer, Touch Srey Nich, who recently recorded a collection of songs about the suf­fering of the Khmer Krom community living in southern Vietnam, was shot three times in the face and neck by unknown assailants in October.

At the Paris concert, the banner eventually was removed and the concert proceeded, but the anger did not fade.

“Meng Keopechda is a Khmer citizen, but if she takes this kind of attitude, what’s her value to society?” said Thach Vean, president of the European branch of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation, in a letter to the media complaining about the singer’s conduct.

“She looks pretty and has a sweet voice, but so does a parrot,” he wrote.

“I want to have safety,” Meng Keopechda said Monday, “I’m a singer, just like a teacher or a doctor; I’m not a politician.”

In response to the acrimonious letter, the singer charged that the federation was taking advantage of her popularity to create the illusion of support for their cause.

“There were more than 2,000 people attending that concert,” she said, “If I wasn’t there, there would have been 150 people.”

She said the concert’s sponsor in France had not told her that it was to be a Khmer Krom event.

Thach Vean said displaying his organization’s logo was legitimate because, although the federation did not sponsor the show, it had arranged the venue.


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