If you would like to join to begin posting and become an active member, feel free to click on THIS LINK, to register. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the Forum Operations / Issues forum. If you register, but then are unable to log in, please feel free to post concerns in the Having Problems Logging In? forum. We will address any and all questions, comments, or concerns, as quickly as possible. Welcome to the Living In Cambodia Forums!
Newly minted US citizen Chhom Nimol will take to the stage in Phnom Penh this week with her band Dengue Fever. PHOTO SUPPLIED/MARC WALKER
A new outbreak of Dengue Fever
Sat, 13 February 2016
Off the back of a new album that finally sees Cambodian singer Chhom Nimol taking a lead on songwriting duties, Dengue Fever is set to return to Cambodia this week for the fifth time
This Friday, Cambodian-born and LA-based singer Chhom Nimol will take the stage in Phnom Penh, flanked by her five strikingly American bandmates and draped in shiny silk.
Sheâ€™ll perform primarily in Khmer, her warbling vocals recalling the best of the 1960s golden age. It is, after all, a family trait: her father once sang with Sinn Sisamouth on a movie soundtrack.
The band, Dengue Fever â€“ entering their 16th year together â€“ have always fused Vietnam-era American surf-rock with a handful of other influences: Latin sound, Afro percussion and, of course, Khmer pop. But bassist Senon Williams, a self-described punk-rock kid, insists that their music is primarily Western.
â€œWeâ€™re five guys from Los Angeles in the band. Weâ€™re not trying to be Cambodian or emanate anything Cambodian â€“ we leave that up to Nimol,â€ Williams said this week over a Skype call from Los Angeles.
As a result, Dengue Feverâ€™s music for a while had an unconventional kind of incubation period.
The band would write their melodies with full lyrics in English, pass them on to Nimol for translation and sing them in Khmer.
The rest of the band has barely a working knowledge of the language (â€œtik tikâ€, Williams joked) and would often be taken aback by just how many Khmer syllables Nimol could draw out of their English songs.
But on their most recent album, The Deepest Lake, released in January 2015, Dengue Fever shifted the formula.
â€œI think the newest thing about this album was really letting Nimolâ€™s voice shine â€“ not trying to conform her to our melodies, but us finding melodies that work best for her,â€ Williams said.
â€œIt only took us 13 years to learn how to write a song together,â€ he added with a laugh.
Tokay, the opening track, came from a melody Nimol was humming as she walked into the studio. The verses were left entirely up to her â€“ music and lyrics â€“ and backed by some palpable Afro-drum beats. Likewise, No Sudden Moves features a bit of Khmer rap â€“ something the band hadnâ€™t done before â€“ again improvised by the lead vocalist.
Dengue Fever will bring this altered sound to Cambodia next week when they play three shows on a hastily planned tour of the Kingdom â€“ only their fifth trip here together as a band.
Theyâ€™ll first stop by Siem Reap as part of the first-ever Dontrey Chub Met festival, where the band will perform alongside Cambodia-based acts like Miss Sarawan, the Kampot Playboys and Batbanger Band.
And at the weekend, theyâ€™ll do back-to-back shows on the grounds of the Mansion in Phnom Penh.
Dengue Fever anticipates a sweet â€“ if quick â€“ return to Cambodia. Nimol recently became a US citizen, and the American Embassy is serving as a partner during the tour.
â€œItâ€™s the birthplace of our singer, and that makes it really special,â€ Williams said.
Nimol moved to Long Beach, California, on a short-term visa in the early 2000s, joining a lively pocket of Cambodian immigrants.
Brothers Zak and Ethan Holtzman (guitarist and keyboardist, respectively), inspired by an encounter with 1960s Khmer pop on a trip to Cambodia, met her in a Cambodian nightclub called Dragon Room and swiftly made her their lead singer.
At first, they were unaware that she had grown up in a Thai refugee camp â€“ and had already performed on Cambodian television.
Over the years, Williams said that their fused sound â€“ and especially the old covers â€“ increasingly appealed to multiple generations of immigrant families in the States, and to a growing young Cambodian audience. He loves playing Lost in Lao and New Yearsâ€™ Eve.
â€œWhenever weâ€™re playing in a town where Cambodians live, they come,â€ he said. â€œNimol is a sense of pride for them.â€
Williams expects that kind of reception next week â€“ even if it comes from a foreign audience.
â€œWeâ€™ll be doing a lot of covers, just because everyone gets really excited,â€ Williams said. â€œEveryone knows them in Phnom Penh.â€
Dengue Fever will play at the FCC's The Mansion, #3 Sothearos Boulevard, on Friday, February 19, and Saturday, February 20. Doors open at 7pm. Tickets ($12 or $25) are available for purchase at the FCC.
Kingdom keeps eye on dengue vaccine
Sat, 12 December 2015
A Cambodian health official says itâ€™s too early to know when the worldâ€™s first dengue vaccine approved for sale may be available in the Kingdom.
Developed by French drug maker Sanofi, Dengvaxia was given the green light by Mexican health authorities on Wednesday.
The approval â€“ based on two large 25-month efficacy trials in Asia and Latin America, which showed the drug protected two-thirds of participants against all four of the virusâ€™s serotypes â€“ paves the way for immunisation programs against the mosquito-born virus, endemic in more than 100 countries.
Significantly, the trials showed Dengvaxia prevented nine of 10 cases of severe dengue and eight out of 10 hospitalisations, according to a statement by the company.
Sanofi plans to lodge applications to approve the drug in 20 countries where the virus is widespread, Olivier Charmeil, head of the companyâ€™s vaccines business, told the Wall Street Journal.
Yesterday, manager of the National Dengue Control Program Dr Leang Rithea said no official discussions about introducing the drug had been held by Cambodiaâ€™s health authorities. â€œFor Cambodia, no clear decision has been made yet because we need to get high-level political support, not only from the program,â€ Rithea said.
â€œIts introduction here would be a big leap, but before we introduce this vaccination into Cambodia, we would need a study, a small pilot to assess its effectiveness, its consequences and feasibility at a larger scale.
â€œHowever, the program is very aware that in the next few years, there will be available vaccinations for dengue.â€
Cambodia has this year seen dengue cases rocket some 300 per cent, with 11,282 cases between January and September, according to the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control (CNM).
Dengue numbers swelling, says ministry
Tue, 30 June 2015
Sen David and Sarah Taguiam
With cases in the past six months more than doubled compared to last year, the Ministry of Health is urging Cambodians to exercise caution as the Kingdom builds toward an expected periodic dengue outbreak.
Since January, 1,346 people have been infected by the virus â€“ a 69 per cent increase from the same period in 2014, National Dengue Control Program manager Dr Leang Rithea said yesterday at a National Dengue Day event in Phnom Penh.
About 71 per cent of those infected were primary school children between the ages of five and 14. Three children have died from the disease.
â€œWe are asking people to protect themselves by wearing long-sleeved shirts, covering water jugs they use and turning unused jugs upside down so mosquitoes donâ€™t breed,â€ Rithea said.
Based on CNMâ€™s data since 1980, Cambodia, like most countries in the region, usually experiences an epidemic every three to six years.
â€œThe peak of the next predicted epidemic is in 2016 and whatâ€™s happening now is a build-up,â€ said Rithea, adding that he could not confirm the reason behind the cyclical upticks.
CNM has increased its stock of dengue prevention chemicals and will distribute more than 35,000 bottles of IV fluid, about 9,000 litres of insect repellent and 345 tonnes of larvicide across the country.
â€œChildren especially have to be careful, so teachers, parents and local authorities should be on alert,â€ said WHOâ€™s Dr Luciano Tuseo.
Battling dengue on a shoestring
Thu, 12 September 2013
and Mom Kunthear
The man leading Cambodiaâ€™s seemingly Sisyphean attempt to combat dengue fever can be found most days in a weakly lit office inside the Communicable Disease Control Department, which is stacked wall to wall with drooping folders and medical texts.
For more than 10 years, the soft-spoken Dr Chantha Ngan â€“ director of the Ministry of Healthâ€™s anti-dengue program â€“ has been fighting a thankless battle for funding and attention over a virus colloquially known as â€œbreak-bone feverâ€.
â€œOur job is difficult, but I donâ€™t want to complain about our small resources,â€ Ngan said, diplomatically. â€œAll we can do is do the best we can with what we are given.â€