The Rising Poem Contestants

On the 21st of September, the Khmer Literature Festival happened in Battambang, a province located in northwestern Cambodia, following the success of last year’s event in Siem Reap. The festival was created to encourage the new generation of Cambodians to value their language and to appreciate and support the authors who distribute the art of Khmer literature throughout the country. Many famous Cambodian authors such as Tim Many and Pol Pisey attended the event to meet the next generation and share their writing experience with others. However, some authors couldn’t come to the event and they can only send their voices by writing books.

Besides the amusing books and admirable authors, they also hosted a poetry writing competition in Domrey Sor Pagoda. The competition required the contestants to bring old bikes, creative traditional clothes, and their poems about the Battambang province. Fifteen contestants came with many ingenious elements including their fashion, bikes, poems, and beautiful voices. The 13 and 14-year-old juniors from Liger Leadership Academy also competed in this competition with bravery and confidence.

Vutha, one of the youngest poem contestants from Liger told our news team that he was informed only a few days before the competition was to start. Due to his busy schedule, he was struggling to complete the competition requirement, especially the outfits and poem. However, on the way to Battambang, he eventually got to stop at his house and get a traditional outfit for the competition.

The beautiful voices of Vutha, Angely, and Bopha ‒ Juniors at Liger Leadership Academy ‒ belted out their melodious proems as the bus bopped along the bumpy road to Battambang. A few hours later, the students arrived at the destination. They took around 30 minutes to unpack their stuff in the guest house and dressed themselves up before they headed to Domrey Sor Pagoda.

The crowd was silent and the contestants were showing their beautiful voices; the onlookers can’t help but give a big applause after every poem ends. The judges were also amazed by the competitors’ creativity which made the final decision of choosing a winner very difficult. With a very close result, Angely and Vutha won first place.

“I was not confident at first, I went up there because I just want to share my poem with everyone…[but] I feel amazed… Because I didn’t expect to win at all. ” Angely told our news with a bright smile on her face,

Angely wisely concludes, “If you want to do it, just do it because when you love it, when you put a lot of work [into] it, you will get a good result.”

By Vornsar Ses

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