NENS / EVEN Khmer New April
Situation in Bangkok 

The National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), or ‘red shirts’, have pledged to hold a rally in Bangkok starting Friday 12 March and planned to last until Sunday 14 March. The rally is calling for the dissolution of parliament and is a show of support for ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. It is expected that in excess of 100,000 people, mainly coming from the north and north east of the country, will gather in the Rachadamnoen area of the City close to Government House and near the ancient part of the city. The protest sites have been clearly announced and we have no reason to expect any disruptions beyond this area.

There will be a large police presence in Bangkok over the weekend and the Thai Prime Minister has announced that the state authorities responsible for maintaining law and order in the capital and the vicinity will not carry any weapons and will not use force against the protesters. The UDD leaders have said the rally will be a peaceful non-violent protest.

We will of course be monitoring the protests closely and hope that they will prove to be peaceful. We will be advising all clients to stay away from the protest area over the weekend and expect disruption to traffic in the old part of the city. We will reroute any tours that are scheduled to enter the areas around the Grand Palace or Rachadamnoen area and will ensure no clients are booked in hotels close to the area. Otherwise we expect to be able to operate as normal.

At the moment the situation on the streets of Bangkok, Chiang Mai and elsewhere in Thailand is calm and very much business as usual. The atmosphere is not at all tense, however we are taking the situation seriously and will keep you informed as the protests develop over the weekend.

We expect the world media to cover this story closely and will ensure that you receive fair and balanced reports direct from your DMC in Bangkok. 


Getting ready for the Khmer New Year


Cambodia people play traditional Khmer New Year games Wednesday in advance of the annual three-day celebration, which begins on April 14. 
Khmer New Year is the greatest traditional festival and national holiday. Khmer New Year begins on April 13th or 14th, depending on the ancient horoscope, “MohaSangkran”. The majority of the Khmer populations are farmers. Farmers reap and harvest their crops from the rice fields all year long, except during April. In April, there is no rain and it is very hot. Therefore, the farmers rest from working in the rice fields and celebrate the New Year.
The first day of New Year is called “Moha Sangkran,” meaning “welcoming their new angels.” This year is the year of the Rooster (Mon), and Moha Sangkran of the New Year will begin on April 13th. The leader of Angels is named KimiteaTevi. Khmer people clean and decorate their homes and prepare fruits and drinks to welcome their New Angels. Elderly people like to meditate or pray the Dharma because they believe that any angel who comes to their homes will stay with them and take care of their family for that whole year. In the morning, Khmer people go to the temple to offer food to the monks and to receive blessing.
The second day of New Year is called “Wanabot,” meaning “to offer gifts to the parents, grandparents and elders.” In the evening, people go to the temple to build a mountain of sand to remember those ancestors who have passed and have the monks give them a blessing of happiness and peace. The third day is called “Leung Sakk;” that means “the year starts to be counted up from this day.” In the morning, Khmer people go to the temple to perform the ceremony of the mountain of sand to get blessed. The last ceremony is called "Pithi Srang Preah", meaning to give a special cleansing to Buddha statues, the monks, elders, parents or grandparents to apologize for any mistake they have done and to gratify them. Khmer New Year is not just a great traditional festival. It is also a generation passing on traditions.