September, 2008

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Posted by: | Posted on: September 23, 2008

What P’Chum Ben means

Written by Sophan Seng
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Dear Editor,

Regarding your news item titled “P’chum Ben festivities kick off Sunday” (15 September). Among Cambodian annual festivities, P’Chum Ben is considered very significant.

Regarding Buddhist ethics, this festival offers a chance for all Cambodian Buddhists to pay gratitude to their deceased ancestors as well as to those living parents and elders. The principles of Buddhist practice are to get rid of all evils, to cultivate the good and to cleanse one’s mind.

P’chum Ben has bonded Cambodian society and it is the instrumental cultural thread to the nation.
In sum, P’chum Ben has been a timeline, a cultural thread, a notion of national unity and prosperity, and a bonanza of goodness of all Cambodian citizens.

Sophan Seng
political science
University of Hawaii at Manoa

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Posted by: | Posted on: September 20, 2008

Sampling Strategies

Key Points:

  • Probability sampling is a mechanism for reducing bias in the selection of samples.
  • Ensure you become familiar with key technical terms in the literature on sampling such as: representative sample; random sample; non-response; population; sampling error; etc.
  • Randomly selected samples are important because they permit generalizations to the population and because they have certain known qualities.
  • Sampling error decreases as sample size increases.
  • Quota samples can provide reasonable alternatives to random samples; but they suffer from some deficiencies.
  • Convenience samples may provide interesting data, but it is crucial to be aware of their limitations in terms of generalizability.
  • Sampling and sampling-related error are just two sources of error in social survey research.

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Posted by: | Posted on: September 17, 2008

Pride or shame ?

Tuol Sleng Museum applies for registration with Unesco intrigued the question that this initiative will bring shame or pride to Cambodian people? If we check in the listing numbers of world cultural heritages subscribed by Unesco, we seem not see any genocidal or brutal place being put as World Heritage. But if Cambodia can achieve her purpose to register Tuol Sleng Museum with Unesco, it would be possibly questionable to the intent of this orientation.

Conceivably, many foreign visitors have always laid their expectation when they visit Cambodia: to experience the well-known greatness of Angkor Wat and the horrible notorious legacy of Khmer Rouge. Weighting these two expectations rationally reflect the pride and shame of Cambodia. The reputation of Angkor Wat highly honors the Cambodian people in the past, present and future. But the legacy of Khmer Rouge and Tuol Sleng prisoners’ camp ambiguously construes Cambodian people.

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Posted by: | Posted on: September 16, 2008

P’chum Ben: Its Significance

Among Cambodian annual festivities, P’chum Ben and Kan Ben are considered very significant. Literally, P’chum Ben means the gathering of the pieces of cooked rice to offer to the deceased. It culminates in 15th of full moon day and ends in 15th of waning moon day in lunar calendar of the 9th month or September 14 to September 28. The values of this festival notably inscribed its universal similarity, traditional practice, Buddhist ethics, and social, economic, political driven-force.

Universally, the festivity occurs during the darkest night. During these 15 days, the night in Cambodia is so dark and humid allowed Cambodian people to accelerate their belief of ghosts who dare appear only in the very dark night. The belief coincides with some Western countries especially Canada and America that their Halloween Day also happens in the very dark night. The purpose of the festival is to refer to ghosts or spirit, but practice is in different formats. Cambodian Buddhists bring food to offer to the Sangha, but Canadians and Americans joyfully play “trick or treat” with each other by transforming themselves as the night ghosts. Thailand and Lao also celebrate this day for the gratefulness to their deceased called Kao Sarth.

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