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Thursday 09 April 2009

Bon voyage Andy Boreham!

Posted in: True Stories
By Matt Akersten - 19th March 2009

Adventure-bound: Andy Boreham
Goodbye and good luck! Gay broadcaster and Wellington Proud festival co-organiser Andy Boreham jets off today for a three-month adventure in Cambodia, where he'll volunteer with the local radio station, and Phnom Penh Pride.

"I visited Cambodia for the first time last year and fell in love with the place," he explains. "I'm especially fascinated with its recent history... It's a beautiful place with awesome people that has been through a hell of a lot, yet people are always smiling."

Andy's looking forward to returning to South-East Asia, to learn more about Cambodia and its people. "I'm going to try and interview some GLBT people who were around while the country was being run by the Khmer Rouge. I've heard this might be quite tough, but I reckon it will be very interesting."

He'll be staying in a hotel near the city's Victory Monument, a place which is "decent-ish" and priced at less than NZ$500 a month, is "pretty amazing".

Drag dancers at last year's Phnom Pehn Pride...
While in Cambodia, Andy plans to work volunteering for a radio show in Phnom Penh called Voice of Democracy, which is run by an organisation called the Cambodian Center for Independent Media. "It's the only independent radio show in the country and broadcasts information and news on human rights and politics in a country whose government is very corrupt, to say the least. It should be exciting."

He also hopes he can bring his experience with planning Wellington's Proud Week to help out voluntarily with Phnom Penh Pride in May, which includes parties, film screenings, workshops, and art exhibitions. "I'm meeting with the organisers as soon as I arrive, where I'll hopefully help out with sponsorship, events, and a little graphic design.

...and the guys!
"The GLBT scene in Phnom Penh is no Bangkok, that's for sure, but it's still quite healthy. There are GLBT guest houses, bars and clubs - however they tend to call themselves "gay friendly" - saunas, and so on. Cambodia is quite conservative when it comes to sexuality, so apparently quite a few people marry but have same-sex encounters in secret."

So how does it feel to be going? "I think it will kick in once I arrive, but I love the place and am pretty sure I'm going to have an amazing time and learn a lot. The country has very basic infrastructure and can get pretty grimy and rough, but that's exactly what I'm looking for."

Andy plans to keep blogging via while he's away, and his weekly Aaron & Andy radio show will continue thanks to his long-term co-conspirator Aaron and his guests. "And I'll be on the air every week via the telephone with updates," Andy promises, "and to make sure everything's running smoothly!"

Whether you've enjoyed an exotic island, or a gay capital of the globe, would love to hear back from your adventures overseas. Contact us on to share your stories.

Matt Akersten - 19th March 2009