Friday, January 2, 2009
Buddhist Monks Force Ban on Cambodian Musical
Not to be outdone by right-wing Christian conservatives in United States, Buddhist monks in Cambodia have convinced authorities to ban the nation’s first rock opera, Where Elephants Weep, because it features actors dressed as clergy who sing and dance. In a letter sent to both the media and the ministry of religion and cults, the Supreme Sangha Council also demands an apology from the director, writer and actors. The show, a modern love story that merges pop with traditional Cambodian music, played in Phnom Penh for a few weeks starting in late November. The complaint and ban followed the airing of the musical on a local television station. The monks, who steer clear of earthly pleasures such as entertainment, said “some scenes in the story insult Buddhism”, including one in which an actor leaves the monkhood and sleeps with a woman, only to return to the robe soon after. The show, which had a US preview last year, is expected to tour South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan before returning to the United States.