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As we are all facing tremendous challenges these days, we also need to remember that Khmer New Year is a new beginning. And while it won’t yet bring us the dawn at the end of a dark year, we can absorb its energy and the prospect of brighter days ahead that it promises to help us focus our minds on what we can do to help ourselves, to help each other, and ensure that we collectively survive the challenges that we face today.

Despite the government’s and community’s strong, and to date successful, efforts to prevent outbreaks of Coronavirus in Cambodia, at the end of March we started to see figures that brought to mind those seen in other parts of the world at the onset of their first waves of the epidemic one year ago. It’s fair to say that the relatively safe “bubble” in which we lived has burst, and according to the WHO, we are already at a critical point in the trajectory of the virus, a point at which we all need to take care of ourselves and one another in order to ensure that it does not take off as it has elsewhere.

And so, as Khmer New Year approaches, schools, cinemas, theatres and more have closed their doors for the time being, travel between provinces is restricted, the galleries of Angkor still echo the footfall of a tiny handful of visitors, and we all face tremendous challenges ahead.

For those surviving businesses already suffering from the last year, where tourism has all but evaporated and textile orders have slowed down, the next few months are going to be even more difficult than any we have seen so far. And so it is now, more than ever, that we need to pull together to support one another in all the ways that we can. By staying safe and supporting each other, we improve everybody’s chances of survival, not only our own.

We also need to remember, in this time of transformation and renewal, that everything we are seeing now will pass. Khmer New Year is a new beginning. And while it won’t yet bring us the dawn at the end of a dark year, we can absorb its energy and the prospect of brighter days ahead that it promises to help us focus our minds on what we can do to help ourselves, to help each other, and ensure that we collectively survive the challenges that we face today.

With that thought, I wish everyone, especially our customers, our suppliers, our employees and the members of the government and health service who are working hard to bring protection to every Cambodian, the very Happiest of New Years, and I look forward to sharing many happier New Years with you all in the years ahead.