Tag - Arts

Youth of the week: Morm Doungseth

AS soon as I stopped in front of a flat in Sen Sok district, I could hear a song playing inside. In the song, a man described his struggle to become a star by leaving his family, relatives and friends in the provinces and coming to the city to pursue his dream.

When I opened the door to the flat, there was a young man sitting on a plastic chair playing an electric guitar and singing along to the song playing on a nearby CD player. It was Morm Doungseth, our youth of the week for this issue.

While turning off the CD player and putting his guitar next to a big electric keyboard, Morm Doungseth told me the song I had just heard was one he had written to reflect his life story. He said he had just finished recording the song using his CD player, and with no musical instruments other than  his guitar and his voice.

Morm Doungseth, 18, has been working as a singer for Mohahang, a Cambodian music production house, for almost six months. Six songs by him, produced by Mohahang, can be found in markets; others are waiting in the queue to be included on forthcoming albums.

Morm Doungseth left his home town in Kampot province for Phnom Penh in 2008 and got into the music industry a few months later. “I’ve loved music since I was young, and in my free time I listened to all kinds of music and sang along,” he says.

“After my friends and my older brother saw I had talent, they encourage me. Since then, I have focused my efforts on music .”

Since he arrived in Phnom Penh, Morm Doungseth has worked as a DJ and singer in various nightclubs. But he doesn’t want to spend his whole working life doing that, so he’s seeking an opportunity to become a professional singer.

He sent an application to Mohahang, and at the same time joined a singing competition at Bayon TV. He left the competition at Bayon TV after being selected to be a signer at Mohahang, even though he had almost reached the final round of the contest.

As well as singing, Morm Doungseth  can play guitar and keyboards, because he studied at the Royal University of Fine Arts in 2009 and 2010. Working while studying will lead to problems if a student fails to manage his or her time well. As well as being a singer who is gaining more recognition every day, Morm Doungseth will be a grade 12 student in the next year.

“I won’t let my career interfere with my studies,” he says, adding that he always gives priority to study. “I study in the morning, I go to the company in the afternoon, and I review my lessons at night,” he says of his time-management plan.

“I will pursue a bachelor’s degree in English literature, because I love that subject, and in the future I will choose a job based on the subject I have studied, while working part-time or occasionally singing because that’s my favourite thing and my natural talent, so I shouldn’t throw it away.”

By: Dara Saoyuth
This article was published on LIFT, Issue 86 published on August 31, 2011

10 Famous Films You Didn’t Know Were Allegories

Dear Student Blog visitors!

I’ve recently receive an e-mail from one of Student Blog fans, Emma Taylor, informing me of her new post: “10 Famous Films You Didn’t Know Were Allegories”.

Since she gave me permission to publish her post, I hope some of you might be interesting in  it. Cheers,

Just a short Note: For some of you that have written something either it was already published or not yet publish, please feel free to send them to me and I would be happy to post for you into Student Blog.

January 11th, 2011

Most avid film professionals,students and aficionados probably already know that many of the following selections are allegorical in nature. They probably already know that plenty more exist than just these as well. This article isn’t for them. It’s for people who enjoy the cinematic arts, but prefer to enjoy them as fun, escapist fantasies they don’t have to obsessively dissect. As with all fictitious narratives, no matter the medium, movies can shed light on cultural and universal truths through the use of allegory. Some of the finest — and, interestingly enough, most popular — works tell stories on multiple levels, enhancing the viewer’s pleasure and giving plenty of incentive to watch them over and over again with an increasingly sharper eye.

  1. Metropolis (1927) Directed by Fritz Lang: Considered one of legendary German Expressionist filmmaker Friz Lang’s finest works, Metropoliscontributed much, much more to the cinematic arts than one of the most famous gynoids of all time. Film scholars and aficionados both enjoy delving into the movie’s bleak take on class and class relations, and while not explicitly Communist (or even sympathetic to the cause) it still contains a few narrative elements easily interpreted as such. David Edelstein at Slate notes that the acclaimed director also channeled his fears of mob rule into the story. Fear of technological innovation and architecture’s ability to both bolster and squelch human potential factor heavily into the exceptionally influential, celebrated film as well, providing even more layers to an already thought-provoking work.
  2. The Wizard of Oz (1939) Directed by Victor Fleming: Anyone who didn’t know that the beloved musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s beloved children’s classic is a satirical allegory for the Gilded Age keeps pretty good company — neither he nor director Victor Fleming knew, either! Yetacademics frequently hold up both works as parables of populism in the Gilded Age all the same. The theory actually stems from the essay The Wizard of Oz: A Parable on Populism by educator Henry M. Littlefield, written in 1964. He undoubtedly finds plenty of convincing parallels, which easily explains its eventual memetic state, but almost no evidence exists to suggest that such a highly detailed allegory was either Baum’s or Fleming’s intent. Regardless, though, Littlefield’s musings offer up an intriguing lens through which people can view the film, one that doubles as a neat little lesson in American history.
  3. Gojira (1954) Directed by Ishiro Honda: The horrors that resulted from the nuclear bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 eventually inspired an entire science-fiction subgenre. Known as kaiju (“strange beast”), these films center around the now-iconic depictions of monolithic monsters raging through cities in an orgy of apocalyptic devastation. Ishiro Honda wrote and directed one of the first and undeniably the most influential of these films asa direct response to the atomic assaults almost a decade earlier, though his original intent has been lost thanks to the subsequent onslaught of parodies and imitators.
  4. The Seventh Seal (1957) Directed by Ingmar Bergman: Set in Sweden during the Black Plague, Ingmar Bergman’s magnum opus concerns a knight who renounces his faith in any sort of deity after becoming cynical from frequent exposure to war, pestilence and ignorance. As he sits and plays that famous game of chess with Death itself with his ultimate fate a dangling question, the heavily allegorical narrative unfolds. Bergman meant for the film to explore mankind’s relationship with religion, pondering whether or not any sort of god or gods exist to distribute rewards and punishment. It sounds like a simple premise, but such content automatically comes prepackaged with subjectivities and shades of gray. The director himself grew up in a fiery fundamentalist home, but his later artistic sensibilities often clashed with such an upbringing — adding yet another intriguing (and personal) layer to an already philosophical classic.
  5. Blade Runner (1982) Directed by Ridley Scott: Even though it took more than a few liberties with Philip K. Dick’s original 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the Ridley Scott interpretation of the narrative still sparks plenty of provocative questions regarding the relationship between technology and humanity. Androids known as Replicants appear no different from humans on the outside, in terms of either aesthetics of mannerisms, and laws want to shut them down completely. But their uncanny ability to feel and express emotion bring pause to one blade runner tasked with turning them in to the government, providing viewers with an interesting allegory on self-discovery and defining humanity once the lines between inorganic and organic become indistinguishable. Actor Rutger Hauer, who played Replicant leader Roy Batty, also makes a compelling case for a religious interpretationon his blog.
  6. The Wall (1982) Directed by Alan Parker: Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters penned the music and screenplay for the legendary prog-rock album and film after his frustration with fame and over-zealous fans resulted in a complete emotional retreat. “The Wall” in question serves to completely separate him from friends, family, collaborators and audiences and prevent further disillusionment. In the brutal, intense movie, central figure Pink realizes the blind fanaticism with which the world follows him grants fascist, dictatorial power — easily abused, manipulated and exploited — and illustrates the extreme dangers of unquestioning adoration. These days, Waters also thinks the struggles depicted in The Wall can easily represent other major isolating rifts, particularly between nations and religions.
  7. Fight Club (1999) Directed by David Fincher: Jim Emerson with Chicago Sun-Times sums up many popular reactions to the controversial 1999 movie better than anyone when he quips, “…to say ‘Fight Club’ is about fist-fighting is like saying ‘Taxi Driver’ is about cab driving.” Beyond the explicit violence and sex lay an immensely dark comedy laden with metaphors regarding everything from consumerism to contemporary perceptions of masculinity to the conformity of nonconformity. These days, Fight Club has finally received the recognition it deserves as an intelligent, ironic dissection of American society’s values, beliefs and actions. Project Mayhem, the domestic terrorist organization that rampages through the last half of the film, claims their anarchic actions are meant to shock the populace out of their closed-minded complacency. But the more they push their limits, the more they resemble those they ostensibly condemn.
  8. The Matrix Trilogy (1999-2003) Directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski:One of the most enjoyable elements of this blockbuster film trilogy is watching it with friends and debating what it all means. Everyone will probably come to different conclusions, most of them viable enough interpretations. Some may make comparisons to Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” while others see protagonist Neo as a Messianic figure. Considering the prevalence of both ancient narratives in “Western” literature, film and art, it makes perfect sense that the Wachowskis would merge them with cyberpunk aesthetics and philosophies for one of cinema’s most triumphant, influential science-fiction series.
  9. X-Men (2000) Directed by Bryan Singer: Iconic supervillain Magneto’s tragic adolescence as a Holocaust victim perfectly underscores the intent of the entire X-Men franchise. Comic book creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby launched the young team in 1963 as a rumination on marginalization and the anxieties of growing up. “Mutants” have, over the years, served as allegories for minorities, LGBTQIA, teenagers and anyone else feeling out of synch with the prevailing cultural hegemony. This sentiment carries over into the first movie, which involves Magneto’s misguided plot to turn baseline humans into mutants for the sake of equality. It argues that acceptance shouldn’t be forced through violent or extreme means, but fighting fairly and civilly.
  10. District 9 (2009) Directed by Neill Blomkamp: To be fair, much to-do has already been made over Neill Blomkamp’s effective, evocative use of allegory in the phenomenal District 9. However, many audiences unfamiliar with South African history may not have caught the Apartheid metaphor the first time around. Science-fiction lends itself nicely to commenting on soundly real issues, and this lauded film uses aliens as a stand-in for the minorities forced into ghettos during European rule. A bureaucrat tasked with moving the “prawns” to a new area slowly begins seeing the perspective of those marginalized for no logical reason, culminating in an intriguing, ambiguous end.

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ភាសា​ជា​មូលដ្ឋា​ន​សម្រាប់​អត្តសញ្ញាណ​ វប្បធម៌ ដូច្នេះ​ហើយ​វា​សំខាន់​ណាស់​សម្រាប់​មនុស្ស​ក្នុង​ការ​រក្សា​​នូវ​​ភាសារបស់ពួកគេឱ្យនៅរស់រាន្តមានជីវិត។

មុទ្ទវិទ្យា កំណត់​រូប​រាង​នៃ​ភាសា​និ​ង​ធ្វើ​ឱ្យ​ពាក្យ​ដែល​បាន​សរសេរ​ចេញ​មក​ត្រូវ​បាន​គេ​មើល​ឃើញ​។​

អក្សរ​ខ្មែរ​គឺជា​ប្រព័ន្ធសរសេរដំបូងគេបង្អស់ដែលត្រូវបានប្រើប្រាស់នៅក្នុងអាស៊ីអាគ្នេយ៍។ ខ្មែរ​ក្រហម​បាន​បំផ្លាញ​នូវ​ប្រពៃណីក៏ដូចជាការលេចឡើងនូវវប្បធម៌ទំនើប។ ជា​លទ្ធផល​គឺ​កម្ពុជា​មាន​ការ​ខ្វះ​ខាតនូវអ្នកជំនាញ សម្ភារៈ និងសៀវភៅសិក្សា។ ការ​កត់​ត្រា​ដ៏​ច្បាស់​លាស់​មួយ​ស្តី​អំពី​អនុ​សញ្ញានិង​ ក្បួន​ ច្បាប់មួយចំនួន អាចឱ្យយើងប្រើប្រាស់សម្រាប់ជាគោលការណ៍ណែនាំសម្រា ប់​អ្នក​រចនា​ក្រាហ្វិកសម័យបច្ចុប្បន្នក្នុងការធ្វើការជាមួយនឹងពុម្ពអក្សរខ្មែរដែលបានបាត់បង់។

ពុម្ព​អក្សរ​ខ្មែរ គឺជាពុម្ពអក្សរផ្លូវការនៅក្នុងប្រទេសកម្ពុជា។ ទោះបីជាយ៉ាងណាក៏ដោយ យើង​សង្កេត​ឃើញ​ថាមា​ន​ការសរសេររួម បញ្ចូលគ្នារវាងភាសារផ្សេងៗគ្នាដូចជាខ្មែរ ចិន កូរ៉េ ឡាទីន។ល។​

ភាគ​​ច្រើននៅក្នុងការបោះពុម្ពផ្សាយ ការស៊ីញ៉េ និងក្នុងការទំនាក់ទំនងប្រចាំថ្ងៃ ត្រូវបានសរសេរ ជា​ពុម្ព​អក្សរ​ចម្រុះគ្នា។ ការរួមបញ្ចូលគ្នាយ៉ាងចុះ សម្រុងរវាងអក្សរផ្សេងៗគ្នានេះមិនត្រឹមតែបង្កើត ឱ្យ​មានបញ្ហាផ្នែកបច្ចេកទេសតែប៉ុណ្ណោះទេ ថែម ទាំង​ជា​ឧប​សគ្គ​មួយ​សម្រាប់​អ្នក​រចនា​ក្រាហ្វិក​ផង​ដែរ​ ដែលពួកគេនៅតែមិនទាន់អាចស្វែងរកឫក៏ អាច​ទទួល​ស្គាល់​ទាំង​ស្រុង​អំពី​ការ​រួម​បញ្ចូល​គ្នា​នេះ។​

ចាប់​តាំង​ពីមានការដា ក់ឱ្យប្រើប្រាស់ប្រព័ន្ធខ្មែរUnicode យើង​មាន​លទ្ធភាព​ក្នុង​ការ​បោះពុម្ព​និង​ប្រើ​ប្រាស់​អក្សរខ្មែរនៅលើប្រព័ន្ធInternetបានកាន់តែងាយស្រួល។ សព្វ​ថ្ងៃ​នេះ​ប្រភេទ​តួអក្សរ​ខ្មែរ​ជា​ច្រើនដែលមានគុណភាពយ៉ាងល្អ ត្រូវបានគេបញ្ចេញឱ្យប្រើប្រាស់។ ទោះបីជាយ៉ាង នេះក្តី នៅ​ក្នុង​ការប្រៀបធៀបទៅនឹងការកើនឡើងយ៉ាងឆាប់រហ័សនៃការរចនាអក្សរឡាទីន យើង​សង្កេត​ឃើញ​ថា​ពុម្ព​អក្សរ​ខ្មែរ​ជា​លក្ខណៈ​ឌីជីថល​នៅ​តែ​មិន​ត្រូវ​បាន​រក​ឃើញ​ក្នុង​ន័យ​កែ​លម្អ​និង​ធ្វើ​ឱ្យ​មានច្រើនបែបខុសៗគ្នា។

១. ការស្រាវជ្រាវ

ជំហ៊ាន​ដ៏​សំខាន់មួយដើម្បីសរសេរ ធ្វើគំនូរព្រាង និងរចនាអក្សរ ខ្មែរ គឺធ្វើការរក ឱ្យ​ឃើញ​នូវ​ប្រវត្ត​របស់​អក្សរ និងការប្រើប្រាស់របស់វាពីំមួយជំនាន់ ទៅមួយជំនាន់។ ការឱ្យតម្លៃទៅលើអតីតកាល ជួយ​យើង​ឱ្យ​អាច​យល់​ដឹង​ពីចម្លើយនិងប្រតិកម្មទៅនឹងការសម្រេចចិត្តក្នុងពេលបច្ចុប្បន្ន។ អ្នក​ជំនាញ​ខាង​ប្រវត្តតួអក្សរនិងអ្នកជំនាញខាងសរសេរ អក្សរដៃ គឺ​ជា​ប្រភព​ដ៏​សំខាន់​ក្នុង​ការ​ធ្វើ​ការ​ពាក់ព័ន្ធ​ជា​មួយនឹងអក្សរ ក្នុងគោលបំណងដើម្បីរក្សានូវគតិបណ្ឌិត ការ​បញ្ហាញ​ពី​អត្​តសញ្ញា​ណ​តាម​រយៈ​អ្វីដែលអាចមើលឃើញ។

២. ការប្រមូលផ្តុំ

ការ​ប្រមូល​ផ្តុំ​ឧទាហរណ៍​ជា​ច្រើន​ទាក់​ទង​នឹង​ប្រភេទ​អក្សរ​ដែល​ត្រូវ​បាន​ប្រើ​ប្រាស់​ក្នុង​ពេល​បច្ចុប្បន្ន​ ជួយយើងឱ្យយល់ដឹងកាន់តែច្បាស់ពីពុម្ពអក្សរខ្មែរ និង​លើក​ទឹក​ចិត្ត​ក្នុង​កិច្ច​ពិភាក្សា​តាម​ន័យ​រចនា​ក្រាហ្វិក។ជាឧទាហរណ៍ ការសរសេរអក្សរដៃចាប់ផ្តើម បាត់បង់​បន្តិច​ម្តងៗ​ពី​លើ​ដង​ផ្លូវ​ដូច្នេះ​ការ​ថត រូបពីស្លាកយីហោផ្សេងៗដែលសរសេរដោយដៃ គឺ​ជា​ឱកាស​ចុង​ក្រោយ​ក្នុង​ការ​ថែរក្សា​នូវ​ប្រភេទពុម្ពអក្សរផ្សេងៗគ្នា ក៏ដូចជាទុកសម្រាប់ ជាឯកសារផងដែរ។

៣. ការធ្វើពិសោធន៍

គំរោង​នេះ​មានគោលបំណងលើកទឹកចិត្ត ដល់អ្នករចនាក្រាហ្វិក ដើម្បីធ្វើការស្រាវជ្រាវ ប្រមូល​ផ្តុំ​ក្បួន​ច្បាប់​ផ្នែកអក្សរដ៏សម្បូរបែប និងធ្វើការដកពិសោធន៍ជាមួយតួអក្សរនិងពុម្ពអក្សរផ្សេងៗ ដើម្បី​សម្រេច​បាននូវការរចនាថ្មីដែលមានប្រសិទ្ធភាព។ ឧបសគ្គ​ចម្បង​នោះ​គឺ​ការ​ស្វែង​រក​តុល្យ​ភាព​រវាង​កំណែប្រែថ្មី និងការថែរក្សានូវការរួមបញ្ចូលគ្នារវាងអក្សរនីមួយៗ។

Read English Version by CLICKING HERE


Graphic Design Perspective

Initiated by: Dara Saoyuth, Christine Schmutzler……..
Phnom Penh 2010
LANGUAGE is fundamental to CULTURAL IDENTITY. Therefore it is important that people keep their own language alive.

TYPOGRAPHY shapes language and makes the written word visible.

KHMER SCRIPT is one of the earliest writing systems used in Southeast Asia. The Khmer Rouge destroyed the traditional as well as an emerging modern culture. The result is a lack of human expertise, materials and books.A comprehensive DOCUMENTATION of conventions and rules as a guideline for contemporary graphic designers working with Khmer Type is missing.

Khmer is the official script in Cambodia. However, there is a COEXISTENCE of very different writing systems such as Khmer, Chinese, Korean, Latin…A lot of publications, signs and daily communication is MULTI-SCRIPTUAL. The harmonious combination of these different scripts is not only a technical problem but also a challenge for the Graphic Designer—still un-explored or even not acknowledged as an issue at all.

Since the implementation of Khmer Unicode Standard it is possible to publish and access Khmer script online. Now an increasing number of KHMER UNICODE FONTS of high quality have been released. However, in comparison to the exponential growth of Latin type designs, Khmer digital typography and lettering is still unexplored in terms of visual refinement and variety.


In order to write, layout and design Khmer letters one important approach is to explore the history of the script and it’s application over the time—an APPRECIATION OF THE PAST helps to understand responses and reactions to decisions made in the present.

Experts of script history and hand-writing craftsmen are an essential source for working with Type. The aim is to preserve this wisdom, identify visual attributes such as anatomy and measurements, investigate legibility and stylistic diversity and document the rules and conventions for a conciously use in Graphic Design.


Gathering everyday-type examples explores the rich repertoire of letter forms, raises awareness of the detail and serves as a stimulation for discussion and inspiration for Graphic Design ideas.For instance the hand-lettered signs are disappearing from the street. To take photos of this examples is the last chance to preserve this diversity of Type treatment, and keep it as a source to take hold.


The project aims at encouraging Graphic Designers to explore the rich typographic tradition and repertoire of letterforms and experiment with type and lettering in order to create contemporary, effective design. The challenge is to find a balance between innovation and retaining the integrity of the script.


A cooperation of different disciplines–history, language, hand-lettering, Type Design and Graphic Design and a cross-cultural collaboration between experts with different script backgrounds aims at raising awareness of “Good, bad and ugly Type treatment”An intercultural dialogue asking questions such as“What makes a font legible and what makes it beautiful?” creates sensitivity for detail and a mutual understanding and respect for the nature of the different scripts.

Read Khmer Version by CLICKING HERE

NOKIA Concert

This Sunday 19th, I was invited and given two tickets to join the Nokia Concert performed by Cambodian Top Singers including Khemarak Sereymon and Meas Sok Sophea.

The concert started from 6pm at Olympic stadium and it is the culmination of a campaign ran from August 08 to September 07, 2010. During this period, consumers purchasing Nokia 2220, 2690, 2700, 5130, 5230, 5233, X2, X3, X6 8GB, C6 or E72 receive a free entry ticket coupon for the event and a prize draw ticket giving them a chance to win one of the fabulous prizes – 4 Yamaha Fino 2010 motorbikes, 15 Nokia X3 mobile phones and 20 Nokia headsets.

“ By organizing this Nokia Concert, we are committed to enriching Cambodian consumers’ entertainment experiences. At Nokia, we invest deeply and for the long term in the markets in which we operate.”, said Mesbah Uddin, Business Development Manager for Nokia Cambodia and Laos.

Below are some photos I’ve shot during the concert.


by: Dara Saoyuth

Hi Saoyuth,

You are invited to join the Nokia Concert this Sunday 19th, performed by Cambodian Top Singers including Khemarak Sereymon and Meas Sok Sophea, at 6pm at Olympic stadium.

We have two tickets for you (pls contact SeangHeng Lim).

The concert is the culmination of a campaign ran from 08 August to 07 September 2010. During this period, consumers purchasing Nokia 2220, 2690, 2700, 5130, 5230, 5233, X2, X3, X6 8GB, C6 or E72 receive a free entry ticket coupon for the event and a prize draw ticket giving them a chance to win one of the fabulous prizes – 4 Yamaha Fino 2010 motorbikes, 15 Nokia X3 mobile phones and 20 Nokia headsets.

“ By organizing this Nokia Concert, we are committed to enriching Cambodian consumers’ entertainment experiences. At Nokia, we invest deeply and for the long term in the markets in which we operate.”, said Mesbah Uddin, Business Development Manager for Nokia Cambodia and Laos.

Hope to seeing you there.