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30 June 2008
Seda Douglas: This is a reality competition run by Radio Australia.
Mark Hemetsberger: It's really important that we build a little bit of fun into it, make sure that people really understand that if they do want to learn English that we're that free resource that they can turn to.
Seda Douglas: Now I would like to present our contestants.
What does it mean to you to be Cambodian?
Contestant 1: I always respect for the people that... ..the people who has (sic) older than me.
Contestant 2: I think, first, the language I use. I use my language when I speak to my people.
Contestant 3 (Vong Socheata): And also, when they have a traditional occasion, they go to pagoda, not a church.
Contestant 2: They place their hand and their palm and say, "Chum reap suor."
Margaret Adamson: What Radio Australia and the Australia Network are doing - you are providing information but you're also providing opportunity for the local people to lift their English-language capability, and that obviously is the key to the successful interaction of Cambodian people with the rest of the world. And they're picking it up so enthusiastically and so rapidly - it's extraordinary to witness.
What does Cambodia's Water Festival mean to you?
Contestant 4: It must...to respect the ancestor.
Contestant 5: Another point - these remedies... ..can show the Khmer culture to the foreigners.
Seda Douglas: Cambodia has been left in isolation for decades and people were deprived of information, education. When Cambodia has democratic election and foreign investment coming in and people see, you know, the opportunity to get good job and to go back to school, so they see English as a tool to have a better life.
Why do you want to learn English?
Contestant 6: I want to become a person who have (sic) a good position in society and have (sic) a salary. And for my family - it is the honour for my family.
Seda Douglas: To people who can't afford to go to private classes, to have access to learning English, you know, on radio and online, you know, and at their own convenient time. And because this English ability will equip them with the skill they need to get work and that's how they improve their poverty condition. So it's very important.
Margaret Adamson: At the same time that they're learning about Western culture, we are very much fostering the promotion of their own culture.
What do you think about Australia?
Contestant 7: I think that Australia is an international country, and it is a developed country among the other developed countries.
Seda Douglas: With very little money, you could help the poor in Cambodia to acquire the skill to achieve whatever they dream, to realise their dream, because instead of throwing the money to them, you equip them with the skill that they need so they could go about and, you know, help themselves. And this is just... You know, I would call that... It will be sustainable for the population to learn English and have the ability to communicate and do whatever they wish to do.
And the winner is......
Vong Socheata: Khmer are also helpful, kind generous and sensitive. They always think about someone else - the mind of everyone around them.