Monday, November 26, 2007

loss of Singapore sportsmen in Cambodia

Tonle Sap is one of my geography interest since i traveled over it towards Siam Reap (Angkor Wat) at least 4 years ago. Northwards of Cambodia, Tonle Sap forms the largest freshwater lake in SEA, and do note being named a lake is an understatement, or rather our local lakes are overstated. I was very amazed at certain areas in the lake, no boundaries could be seen!

Credits from wiki

excerpt from STI:

The fast-flowing Tonle Sap river springs from the sacred Tonle Sap lake, the largest inland freshwater lake in the region.

The lake and its river systems provide much of the fish that is the staple source of protein for Cambodians, as well as fertilising vast hectares of rice paddies with its flood-waters.

When the monsoon rains arrive, the Tonle Sap river flows north into its parent lake, breaking its banks in some places and providing fertile flood plains.

But at the monsoon's peak, just before the rice-planting season, the river reverses its flow as the engorged lake expels flood waters rich in alluvial soils, and the freshly fertile flood plains are revealed, ready for planting.

The Tonle Sap is said to be the only river in the world to flow in two directions.

From its beginnings, it meanders through the heart of the country and forms the main promenade in the capital Phnom Penh, bustling with shops and restaurants.

Tourists going by river to the ancient Angkor Wat temple complex 400km north must navigate the Tonle Sap, but thousands more cruise its deceptively calm-looking brown waters - waters which hide fierce currents - every year for pleasure.

At the end of the stretch of river that flows past the capital, the Tonle Sap meets the Mekong and Tonle Bassac in a three-way confluence of waterways in a churning mass of currents prone to whirlpools and downward rips.

It was in this area that the bodies of the five Singaporeans were finally found by fishermen who know these treacherous waters best.

- Stephen Loh, 31, PE teacher at NJC
- Poh Boon San, 27, engineer at DSTA
- Jeremy Goh, 24, student at UniSIM
- Reuben Kee, 23, musician part-time model, graduate from NYP SIDM
- Chee Wei Cheng, 20, full-time NSF

imo, the accident should be considered a freak one. The Water Festival has been going on for a long time, and the tradition is to compete without life jackets as a primary consideration.

despite questions from the bereaved families, we must also note that Cambodians have responded very timely and appropriately to the mishap. PM Hun Sen and King Norodom Sihamoni have appeared to speak and amass help. DPM Sar Kheng was supervising search efforts. We may not find such high-level diplomatic assistance everywhere else in the world.

nevertheless, we have lost 5 very competent men. Hope the families can take the loss well, at least after some time...

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