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C21May iPad

Bert and Ernie make Cambodia debut

A new version of Sesame Street is to be broadcast on Phnom Penh station Apsara TV-11, marking the first time in the programme’s nearly 40-year history that it will be seen in Cambodia.

Airing twice weekly from December 13, Sabai Sabai Sesame (Happy Happy Sesame) will teach its young audience basic literacy, numeracy and social skills with the help of the Muppets.

According to Sesame Workshop representative Lauren Ostrow: “Unlike other international versions of Sesame Street, which are coproductions, this version is culled from past seasons of Sesame Street’s domestic US programmes, with culturally appropriate scenes and characters selected and then dubbed in Khmer, Cambodia’s native language.”

The series includes animation, mini documentaries and most of the Muppet characters – although noticeably absent from the cast is Big Bird, who is not seen as appropriate for Cambodia’s young viewers. However, Ostrow said that they’re wild about Bert and Ernie.

Produced by Educational Television Cambodia (ETC), a project of World Education, Sabai Sabai Sesame has been made possible by funding from the United States Embassy in Phnom Penh.

Peter Wilson, president and CEO of ETC, said: “Our partners at Babel Studios and Seven Colours have done superb work dubbing Sesame Workshop’s programme into Khmer. When Cambodian children see Muppets speaking their language, their mouths drop open in utter amazement.”

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