MONKS CAN WATCH, TOO: The chief of Cambodia’s Buddhist monks is cutting his charges some slack for the duration of the World Cup: They may watch the matches on television, but no cheering or getting excited. And absolutely no betting.
The country’s holy men — more than 90 percent of Cambodia’s 13 million people are Buddhist — normally aren’t supposed to watch television, movies or artistic displays. According to the strictest tenets of Buddhism, they should abstain from pleasurable activity. Gambling is a major no-no.
But monks get as excited as anyone else at the chance to watch soccer’s top stars, and Supreme Patriarch Non Ngeth is willing to make allowances for such a special occasion.
"The monks can watch the games on TV but they may not bet on the games," Non Ngeth told The Associated Press. "So far, I have received some complaints that some monks are betting during this World Cup tournament."
He also says he urged the country’s monks, if they do watch the matches, not to scream or laugh.
"Cheering or screaming while watching TV are acts appropriate for children, monks may not act like that," he said.
Non Ngeth has reason to be concerned about the country’s monks. In recent years, several monks grabbed headlines for fighting with slingshots and petrol bombs at a temple, molesting a boy, beating a man and stealing motorcycles.