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Should authorities be blamed on Koh Pich Issue?

 Should authorities be blamed on Koh Pich Issue by saoyuth

My radio production course assigned me to do a commentary with my friend under a topic “Should authorities be blamed on Koh Pich Issue?”.  My friend is on an opposing site that he think that the authorities should be blamed while I am on a supporting side that I have to stat that authorities should not be blamed.

We’ve just finished it as a radio course assignment and we’d like to share this piece with all of you. Cheers,

Blessing for the deceased

Relatives blessing for the deceased / by: Dara Saoyuth

Cue/Introduction: Diamond bridge stampede claimed some 350 people’s lives and injured hundreds last month, on the last day of water festival. Critics and a number of people have been complaining about the tragic incident. They put blame on the authorities for the reason that they have not managed the event well. However, some people have the ideas that no one should be blamed for the incident.

Our program is going to have commentary on the topic “Should the government be blamed for the incident?” Our commentators Sun Narin and Dara Saoyuth will express their point of view on the issue.

Sun Narin (Opposing site): I could not imagine how such incident happen on that day? People got jammed on the bridge and could not get out. Cambodia’s prime minister Hun Sen said that “Nobody will be punished for the incident.”

However, Sam Rainsy opposition party Son Chhay pushed the ruling government to identify the people responsible for “organizing the festival and handling the crowd” and wanted them to be fired from the position. This includes Phnom Penh governor, head of the police and interior ministry.

In my opinion, the government at least should take actions with those officials because they are irresponsible for their duty.

Phnom Penh municipality, relevant ministry and police did not perform their work responsibly and carefully. Why didn’t police facilitate the people’s crossing the bridge? There is not a lot of police force deploying at the incident place at that time.

Moreover, the bridge is for the exit only, why people were allowed to get in and out?  This is the reason causing the mass deaths. Why didn’t police deal with that problem?

Police could not help the victims urgently when the incident happened, keeping people stuck in the crowdedness more than 2 hours. This caused more people dead because of the suffocation in the stampede.

Finally, the organizing people don’t plan the ceremony well. They are not well-prepared to be ready for the unplanned incident. Comparing to other countries, when there is the some special event like that the government must guarantee that the safety for people. They are very careless about this.

I think this is the mass unprecedented deaths, so all these officials should be taken off from the position as the example for the other people.

Dara Saoyuth (Supporting site): Even though most Cambodians can think only who should be blamed when talking about tragedy on Koh Pich, to me, it is an opportunity to learn rather than focus on blame finding.

During the water festival, truck or big cars were not allowed to enter the city and even tuktuk couldn’t drive along riverside to avoid traffic jam and accident. I dared to say that Phnom Penh authorities were well-planned for the festival.

This year, people moved into the city more than the authority expectation, that in the evening of 22 November 2010, the accident happened. There are many reasons causing stampede including the lack of people morality that they push each other back and forth? Why should only authorities be blamed?

As we can see, immediately after the accident, the authorities were trying to help the victims in many ways.

The government ordered the Ministry of Health to pay much attention to the victims and also some officers to send dead people to their provinces with free of charge. The Phnom Penh Capital Hall also started reporting on the tragedy instantly and kept updating with new announcement related to the incident.

No one wants this to happen and also nothing can be changed. Now we should better find the solution instead of blaming.

One facebooker, Samsokrith Chhaly, urges the public to think of those who died during the Water Festival as heroes because they gave us priceless lesson for next year’s preparation. When development sides establish in Cambodia next time, I’m sure that they will think first about an effective risk management system.

Conclusion by Dara Saoyuth:

After listening to both supporting and opposing sides, do you still think that government should be blamed for the tragedy? If yes, what can you get from that? I know that it is Cambodian habit to accuse each other when something bad happen, but I suggest you to be more positive by considering it as a lesson. Again, no one should be blamed. Critics should take the effective risk management system for considering rather than putting blame.

By: Dara Saoyuth & Sun Narin

The first time to Koh Pich after a tragedy

The Cambodian aunt and sister of a vicitim pray for their relative at the Diamond Gate bridge

The Cambodian aunt and sister of a vicitim pray for their relative at the Diamond Gate bridge / by: TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images

After having dinner outside with friends this evening, I decided to ride my motor with them to Koh Pich (Diamond Island). This is the first time I rode across the bridge after the tragedy happened on 22 November 2010.

Everything is quite different from the last time I went there before the bad accident occurred. The north bridge where hundreds people died because of stampede is still being closed after the accident, so I was able to go to the island and back to the mainland only by another bridge.

There are not many people on the island though today is the weekend. It’s very easy for me to ride around the island unlike the earlier time I was there,  but I still think it’s better to have more people.

Most of the shops didn’t open especially entertainment places where now, there are only a few people there who mostly are the entertainment places owners themselves. It seem like no one dare to get on that entertainment instruments after something unpleasant happened.

I know that it’s not easy to forget about something happen on the last day of water festival in Cambodia this year. It take more time to calm people’s feeling that I myself have no idea when will this feeling goes away from Cambodians’ minds.

by: Dara Saoyuth


Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

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លី ទី​ណេត បាន​ឱ្យ​ដឹង​ថា​៖ «ខ្ញុំ​ធ្វើ​ការ​ផ្លាស់​ប្តូរ​រូប​ភាព​ក៏​ដូច​ជា​សរសេរ​អ្វី​ផ្សេង​ៗ​ទាំង​ នេះ​ គឺ​ចង់​ចូល​រួម​រំលែក​ទុក្ខ​ជា​មួយ​នឹង​ក្រុម​គ្រួសារ​ជន​រង​គ្រោះ ​នឹង​ដើម្បី​បង្ហាញ​ថា​ប្រជាជន​ខ្មែរ​តែង​តែ​ចេះ​ជួយ​គ្នា ​និង​យក​ចិត្ត​ទុក​ដាក់​ចំពោះ​គ្នា​នៅ​ពេល​ដែល​មាន​រឿង​ហេតុ​អាក្រក់​កើត​ ឡើង​ម្តង​ៗ»។

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ម៉ៅ ​ពិសិដ្ឋ​ ជា​ម្ចាស់​ប្លុក​ឈ្មោះ ​កំណត់​ហេតុ​ពិសិដ្ឋ​ ( ) ហើយ​លោក​បាន​សរសេរ​អត្ថបទ​ចំនួន​ពីរ​ផ្សេង​ៗ​គ្នា​ទាក់​ទង​នឹង​ ព្រឹត្តិ​ការណ៍​កើត​ឡើង​នៅ​កោះ​ពេជ្រ។ ​ម៉ៅ ​ពិសិដ្ឋ ​បាន​ឱ្យ​ដឹង​ថា​គាត់​ចូល​ចិត្ត​សរសេរ​ប្លុក​ដោយ​សារ​តែ ប្លុក​ចំពោះ​គាត់​គឺ​សម្រាប់​ជា​កំណត់​ហេតុ​ផ្ទាល់​ខ្លួន​ផង ​និង​អាច​មាន​ជា​ប្រយោជន៍​ដល់​អ្នក​ដទៃ​ដែល​បាន​អាន​ផង​ដែរ​។ នៅ​ក្នុង​អត្ថបទ​ទាំង​ពីរ​របស់​គាត់ ​ម៉ៅ ​ពិសិដ្ឋ ​បញ្ចេញ​នូវ​ទស្សន​ផ្ទាល់​ខ្លួន​ដើម្បី​បង្ហាញ​នូវ​ការ​បារម្ភ ​និង​ដើម្បី​ជួយ​ឱ្យ​អ្នក​ដែល​បាន​អាន​គិត​ឡើង​វិញ​នូវ​រាល់​ពាក្យ​ចចាម​ អារាម ​ផ្សេង​ៗ​ដែល​ទាក់​ទង​នឹង​សោកនា​ដកម្ម។

ម៉ៅ ​ពិសិដ្ឋ​មាន​ប្រសាសន៍​ថា​៖ «ខ្ញុំ​គិត​ថា​អ្វី​ដែល​បាន​កើត​ឡើង​នៅ​កោះ​ពេជ្រ​មិន​មែន​ជា​រឿង​ធម្មតា​ នោះទេ ​ ព្រោះ​មនុស្ស​ម្នា​នៅ​តែ​បន្ត​កាន់​ទុក្ខ​ចំពោះ​អ្នក​ដែល​បាន​ស្លាប់​បាត់​ បង់​ជីវិត​»។ លោក​បន្ត​ថា​គាត់​មិន​ចង់​ឱ្យ​អ្នក​ដែល​នៅ​រស់​រាន​មាន​ជីវិត​កាន់​តែ​មាន​ ការ​ភ័យ​ខ្លាច​ជា​មួយ​នឹង​ពាក្យ​ចចាម​អារាម​ផ្សេង​ៗ​នោះ​ទេ​ ហេតុ​នេះ​ទើប​គាត់​សរសេរ​ទាក់​ទង​ពី​កត្តា​ទាំង​អស់​នេះ​ដាក់ ក្នុង​ប្លុក​របស់​គាត់។ អត្ថបទ​ភាគ​ច្រើន​របស់ ​ម៉ៅ ​ពិសិដ្ឋ ​ត្រូវ​បាន​សរសេរ​ជា​ភាសា​អង់គ្លេស ​ប៉ុន្តែ​សម្រាប់​រឿង​ទាំង​ពីរ​នេះ​ត្រូវ​បាន​សរសេ​រជា​ភាសារ​ខ្មែរ​ដោយ​មាន ​បក​ប្រែ​ជា​ភាសា​អង់គ្លេស​នៅ​ពី​ខាង​ក្រោម។

ម៉ៅ ​ពិសិដ្ឋ​បាន​ឱ្យ​ដឹង​ថា​៖ «ខ្ញុំ​ព្យាយាម​សរសេរ​រឿង​ទាំង​នេះ​ជា​ពីរ​ភាសា ​គឺ​ដើម្បី​ឱ្យ​អ្នក​ទស្សនា​ទាំង​ជន​បរទេស​ ទាំង​ជន​ជាតិ​ខ្មែរ​អាច​អាន​បាន។​ បុរស​អាយុ ​២៦​ឆ្នាំ​រូប​នេះ​បាន​បន្ត​ថា ​ចំពោះ​អ្នក​ដែល​មិន​មាន​ពុម្ព​អក្សរ​យូនី​កូដ ​ពួក​គាត់​ក៏​អាច​អាន​ជា​ភាសា​អង់​គ្លេស​បាន​ដែរ​។

ទាក់​ទងនឹ​ង​ការ​ដែល​ថា​តើ អត្ថ​បទ​ទាំង​អស់​នេះ​នឹង​ត្រូវ​បាន ផ្សព្វ​ផ្សាយ​ទៅ​ដល់​អ្នក​ទស្សនា បាន​ច្រើន​ប៉ុណ្ណា​នោះ ​ម៉ៅ ​ពិសិដ្ឋ​ បាន​ឱ្យ​ដឹង​ថា​គាត់​មិន​ធានា​ថា​វា​អាច​ទៅ​ដល់​មនុស្ស​ច្រើន​នោះ​ទេ​ តែ​បើ​តាម​ស្ថិតិ​ក្នុង​ប្លុក​របស់​គាត់​បញ្ជាក់​ថា​វា​បាន​ទៅ​ដល់​មនុស្ស ច្រើន​គួរ​សម​ដែរ​  ហើយ​បើ​យ៉ាង​ហោច​ណាស់​ក៏​ពាក់​កណ្តាល​នៃ ​មិត្ត​ភក្តិ​របស់​គាត់​ជាង​៧០០​នាក់​នៅ​ក្នុង​Facebook​ បាន​អាន​អំពី​វា​ដែរ​ ព្រោះ តែ​គាត់​បាន​ចែក​រំលែក​វា​នៅ​ក្នុង​ ​Facebook ផង​ដែរ។

បើ​ទោះ​បី​ជា​ព័ត៌​មាន​ដែល​ចេញ​មក​ពី​បណ្តាញ​សង្គម​ទាំង​អស់​នេះ​ត្រូវ​ បាន​ គេ​ចាត់​ទុក​ថា​ជា​ព័ត៌​មាន​ក្រៅ​ផ្លូវ​ការ​ដោយ​សារ​តែ​មិន​មាន​អ្នក​ត្រួត​ ពិនិត្យ​មុន​ពេល​បោះពុម្ព យ៉ាង​ហោច​ណាស់​ក៏​វា​បាន​ផ្តល់​នូវ​​ព័ត៌​មាន​និង​សាវតា​នៃ​រឿង​ទៅ​ដល់​ អ្នក​ដែល​មិន​ទាន់​បាន​ដឹង​សោះ​ពី​ព្រឹត្តិ​ការណ៍​ណា​មួយ​នោះ​ដែរ៕

By: Dara Saoyuth
This article was published on Lift, Issue 47 published on December 02, 2010
You can also read the article on Phnom Penh Post website by CLICKING HERE
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Telling the story of a tragedy

Blessing for the deceased

Relatives blessing for the deceased / by: Dara Saoyuth

Having come to Phnom Penh to pursue higher education from my home in the province, it is rare that I have a few days off to visit my family. So, rather than joining the millions of people who came to Phnom Penh, I made the opposite trip and went home for the festival weekend.

I was sound asleep in my parents’ house, enjoying the comforts of familiar places, when my parents woke me up. I was rather annoyed, seeing that it was 2am, but once I understood what they were telling me, questions began to come to my mind, which was having an impossible time accepting that hundreds of people have actually died on the Koh Pich bridge.

Most of the questions involved the status of my friends still in the city and I frantically dialed numbers and sent out messages to find out if people were okay. Some of my friends had a similar reaction to mine upon being woken up – annoyed – but it was worth it to me to hear their voices.

I left the province at 7am, with few of my initial questions answered. As soon as I finished my lunch upon my return to the city, I hurriedly put my camera, recorder, notebook and a bottle of water into my backpack and rushed to the Phnom Penh Post office. I was asked by my editor to help another reporter, who was from America, to shoot a documentary about the event. After being so far away from the event earlier in the day, I was anxious to find out what really happened in my nation.

The Cambodian -Russian Friendship Hospital was teeming with crowds of victims’ relatives as we arrived. I immediately became overwhelmed by sadness, but this was the truth I wanted to see. For those involved in the stampede, desperation was the only emotion there was in the days after the stampede. We spent almost an hour walking around the hospital and nothing like tiredness even crossed my mind. I was too filled with sympathy and pity to consider anything else.

There were two big boards with victims’ photos stuck on either side. Some people burst into tears when they saw photos of their relatives lying dead. I couldn’t imagine. My friends and family were okay but I was still barely able to look at the rows of photos.

I talked with a girl who was among the many family members roaming the halls and tending to their kin. I talked to a girl who said her aunt was still alive in a nearby room, but was unable to move any part of her body. She said a few more words, but then stopped. As her eyes filled with tears, I couldn’t bear to ask any more questions or push her to talk more. My heart truly ached for her and all the others in her situation.

The fact that I was carrying a camera bag and a tripod, along with a fixed camera hanging around my neck, didn’t exactly make me inconspicuous; and as I walked by, I heard people whisper that another foreign journalist was there to cover their tragedy. I was proud that I looked like a professional to these people, but I also felt like I should put down all of this stuff and help calm people who were crying, carry coffins into the truck, or care for those still suffering.  This was the first time I had been assigned a story like this, and it made me realise how difficult it must be for journalists to balance their duty to tell the story of terrible events and help the desperate people around them.

I wanted to separate my job that day from my feelings, but I simply couldn’t. This is my country and these were fellow Cambodians suffering around me.  I kept imagining how terrible it would feel just to find out that someone I know was among the people who died that night on the bridge. If it was someone I truly loved I can’t imagine how bad it would hurt.

I arrived home with an overwhelming sense of sadness hanging on me. I called my friends who also helped report the story and they were also unable to shake the depression and fear that the day’s events had inspired. I thought about how the water festival has always been a happy time for Cambodian people, and whether that would ever be true again.

By: Dara Saoyuth
This article was published on Lift, Issue 47 published on December 02, 2010
You can also read the article on Phnom Penh Post website by CLICKING HERE

Water Festival Ends in Tragedy

People watching body lifting into coffin

People watching body lifting into coffin / by: Dara Saoyuth

Some of you might say it’s a bit late for Student Blog to run a story about an accident happened at Koh Pich (Diamond Island) on Monday night. As a Cambodian, I think this tragedy will never be outdated to write and it’s hard for me to let this event passed without having something on my blog.

Last night, I was at my hometown in Kampot province and while I was sleeping, my parents woke me up to watch a live broadcast program on TV. It’s around 2am at that time. Having a look on TV screen, I immediately felt shock because of what I saw and heard was about the tragedy that hundreds people died and other hundreds people injured.

A short time after I saw what was happening, I took my phones to call to some of my friends and relatives asking whether they are all right while lots of SMS came to my phone one after another asking whether I am ok.

Ki Media mentioned that the accident happened around 10:00pm on 22nd of November 2010. You can read many articles about this accident written in both English and Khmer and to assist you, I will recommend you some addresses below.

Website in English:

1. Hundreds die in tragic end to water festival
2 Phnom Penh struggles to cope with tragic stampede_The Phnom Penh Post
Hundreds dead as popular water festival ends in tragedy_International News

Blog in Khmer:

1. ២២​ វិច្ឆិកា ២០១០ មេរៀនមួយសម្រាប់ខ្មែរ
2. សាក្សី និង ជាជនរងគ្រោះថា សោកនាដកម្មបណ្តាលមកពីឆក់ចរន្តអគ្គិសនី
3. មហាសោកនាដកម្មកោះពេជ្រ
Dara Saoyuth

5 Cool things by Dara Saoyuth

Audio books

website for download audio books

website for download audio books

To the more literary among us, it’s a problem that arises constantly during our waking hours. It’s time for you to go to school or finish your chores around the house, but you are in the middle of an amazing book and you just can’t stand to put it down. Now you can relax, letter-loving friends. It’s possible to stay stuck in a book while fulfilling your duties away from the page. Audio books might take a little getting used to, but, after a few listens you will be locked in. You will still have to deal with situations not conducive to continuing your bookish journey, but it will happen less often. My favourite sites for downloading audio books are and




How many of you have your own blog? Chances are there will be a lot more of you once the word spreads through 5 cool things. That’s a good thing, since blogs are an awesome way to develop your writing and thinking skills, while making friends and expanding your exposure to people, news and events around the world. You don’t have to be a computer whiz to start a blog. In fact, once you set it up the only thing you really need to know how to do is type. Even my 95-year-old grandmother has a blog. That’s not true, however, it would illustrate how simple blogging can be. From now on, put your ideas online and let other people help you make them better.

Daily planner

Daily planner

Daily planner

What time do to you wake up and go to school? What do you do when you get home? What time do you go to bed? There are an infinite number of questions that you must answer throughout the day and you probably make most of them without much thought or consideration of how to best organise your time. Living a reactionary life might seem like the best path, but when you plan your day before it begins you can be sure not to forget things that tend to slip your mind. The only part of my day that I don’t plan in advance is grabbing my scheduler in the morning to map out the day ahead.

Voice recorder

Voice recorder

Voice recorder

If you are anything like me, you and your computer have a pretty special relationship. Take it to a new level by making use of your computer’s ability to talk with you or, more specifically, to talk like you. Any fairly new computer has a built-in sound recorder and accompanying software that allows you to record your voice, play it back and possibly edit it as well. If your computer doesn’t have a built-in mic you can buy an external microphone or, better yet, a pair of headphones with a microphone attached. Once everything is set up you can use the simple but versatile technology for a bunch of different things. I usually use it to listen to my pronunciation and improve my spoken English. So ditch your outdated tape recorder and make the most of your computer’s capabilities.




I have long been a fan of trips to the sea for a weekend of frolicking by the ocean, swimming, however, has recently been climbing up my list of favourite pastimes in the city. Aquatic exercising has countless benefits for your health and body, but it is also enjoyable, a rare combination as far as workouts go. You can ramp up the fun and hang out poolside with your friends. But I have observed that each person you add to a swimming outing  inevitably leads to a drop in the likelihood you will actually work out. With some exercises you feel sore and strained the next day, but after a couple of weeks swimming you will feel refreshed. The more time you spend in the water the better you will feel. So next time you are hot and bothered, sort yourself out with a swim.

by: Dara Saoyuth
This article was published on Lift, Issue 44 published on November 10, 2010

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