Socialist Worker

A brutal tale of profit and dispossession in Cambodia

Issue No. 2603

Watching the bulldozers roll in

Watching the bulldozers roll in


This film focuses on life in Cambodia over a six-year period from 2009 to 2015, documenting the forcible evictions of poor families at the Boeung Kak Lake in Phnom Penh.

A company with government connections starts filling in the lake for property development.

The livelihoods and homes of the community are threatened.

The film follows the lives of two mothers leading the struggle against the development—Tep Vanny and Srey Pov.

Buddist monk Luon Sovath features too. He is a film maker and activist.

The filming is done on a day to day basis so we see events unfolding over years of the fight with security forces.

Powerful scenes include young daughters marching towards riot police demanding their mothers be released from prison.

Footage of the struggle is interspersed with atmospheric shots of the lake in the past and in the present day—as the bulldozers fill it in.

In the second half we see some of the personal differences and divisions that arise within the group. But there is little political analysis and the wider political climate is depicted as a backdrop to the struggle of the families and the monk.

Despite this we do see something of the tight link between Theravada Buddism, the authoritarian government and its security forces.

We also see how the Boeung Kak struggle influenced the Cambodian Spring prior to 2013.

Then the government was severely threatened by a strike of 100,000 garment workers.

For a time there seemed to be an opening for real social change.

See this film for honest and detailed observations of struggle in Cambodia in recent years.

A Cambodian Spring
Directed by Chris Kelly
Screenings in May and June bit.ly/CambodianSpring

The History of Asian Youth Culture

Asian Youth Culture explores the heritage and history of the lives and contributions of young Asian people in Britain.

It focuses on three periods—the 1950s and 1960s, the 1970s to the 1990s, and the 2000s to the present day.

The exhibition tells the story of how Asian people came to Britain as a consequence of Britain’s need for labour in the 1950s and 1960s. It is a story deeply intertwined with the history of the British Empire.

What began as a temporary solution to a labour shortage became a turning point in history as people refused to be treated as second class citizens and fought back.

This exhibition tells parts of that story.

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
Until 29 July. Free.
birminghammuseums.org.uk

Frankie Vah the punk poet

This play tells the story of a vicar’s son turned radical punk poet.

Born into the stultifying life of the Essex countryside, Simon Mortimer jacks it all in to travel to London.

Debates rage about left politics and the soul of the Labour Party.

Written and performed by Luke Wright.
On tour throughout May and June.
Go to bit.ly/FrankVah for dates and tickets

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