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Cambodian Monks Given Permission to Watch World Cup...Quietly

The chief of Cambodia's 40,000 Buddhist monks says his charges can watch the World Cup - but they have to be quiet about it.

Supreme Patriarch Non Ngeth said that, ideally, monks shouldn't watch television, but modern technology and the popularity of the World Cup makes the games hard to avoid.

However, Non Ngeth has imposed some restrictions. Betting on matches is strictly forbidden. And monks shouldn't cheer out loud, because that would violate the serenity they try to cultivate. Non Ngeth told the Associated Press, "Cheering or screaming while watching TV are acts appropriate for children. Monks may not act like that."

This may be a case of life imitating art. In 1999, Tibetan monk Khyentse Norbu directed a comedy film about the attempts of some youthful monks to watch the World Cup in their mountain monastery. The film "Phorpa" became an international hit.