The pot of milk scam in Siem Reap

A girl about 12 sits down near the entrance of a supermarket near the Pub Street. She holds in her arms a sleeping baby, observing with attention the foreign customers coming inside the supermarket. It is around 8PM in Siem Reap and the girl gives special gazes to women with children. A woman with two boys leaves the supermarket. Her children hold big packages of chips and cold sodas. Suddenly, the way of the three is cut by the girl, who looks to the eyes of the foreign lady with tenderness. The baby of her arms does not seem disturbed but in a deep sleep. “Ma’am, give me food for my brother, give me a pot of milk, ma’am,” she says in a very fluent English.  Continue reading

A Malaysian plane during the technological revolution

Gulf of ThailandIt is already one week looking for a plane during the technological revolution, in a time where we can detect planets around stars located thousands of years light far from us or lead electronic wars whatever, including professional spies in US and Britain that can read emails of anybody on Planet Earth! This search is a shame for everybody, starting by the Malaysian government with an incompetent army unable to trace a plane that chanced its rout on the sky. Continue reading

Urban Voice Cambodia’s workshop

Urban Voice Cambodia invited me to give a speech on its workshop this Saturday at Eden Park in Phnom Penh. The workshop was to present the website to different people and to explain the role of urban voices on the development of a city like Phnom Penh. The name of the activity was “The city speaks!” Continue reading

Observations on motorbike accidents

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This is so far the correct and safer way to drive a motorbike. May Cambodians do it?

The Cambodian Motorbikes’ War still on, without any sign to decline. The victims keep the same profile: young men 15 to 25 years old, driving without helmet and many of them with alcohol in their blood at the moment of the incident. There are campaigns around the country on the media and boards along roads and streets, but nobody seems to care: people continue driving without helmet. During this weddings’ season, you can see young men drinking beer as water and after driving their motorbikes without any control. What can we do? Fines seem to work well, but it comes under a corruption network. At the end, people use a helmet only for fear to a police’s fine, but they don’t seem to connect the use of helmets to the protection of their own lives. In Colombia – where there are many traffic accidents too and also related with drunken drivers – the government established a new legislation that includes the removal of the drunken driver’s license and a fine of more than 500 US dollars… In consequence, traffic accidents caused by drunken guys reduced in 50% in the last three months! Continue reading

Gloomy Cambodian hospital

The incident of last Sunday March 2 where we lost a teacher​ in “another” motorcycle event, showed me how gloomy, hard, inhuman and barbaric are the public hospitals in Cambodia. There is not the possibility of any good review on it and we need to call the attention over this reality that affects the common Cambodian citizen and shows a high level of corruption, lack of solidarity for the poor and weakness of the national institutions. Where have gone near 30 years of humanitarian aid to Cambodia since UNTAC made its “democratic transition”? Why so much funds poured into the Cambodian health system produced this kind of gloomy hospitals where nurses, doctors, ambulance’s drivers and even the cleaning personnel concentrate with a very systematic way to get as much as money as possible from patients, especially in emergency cases? They profit the worry of relatives and friends who at the heat of the moment try to save the life of their dear ones and would not discuss any payment.  Continue reading

Don Bosco’s teacher died in traffic accident

Cheang Ren

Cheang Ren

Dear friends, I am saddened to report that Teacher Ren, 24, Manager of the Hotel Sections at the Don Bosco Technical School Kep, passed away this morning at 02:00 AM of March 2, 2014 at Kep Commune. Teacher Soon of the front office section survived the tragic accident. They were returning with other teachers to Don Bosco, four of them in two motorbikes. Teacher Henglay and Teacher Sela were at the other motorbike. It seems they were going on a high speed. Teacher Soon was driving when his motorbike left the road in a bend meeting a tree. Teacher Soon was ejected several meters while Teacher Ren suffered the biggest impact and was found near the motorbike. Continue reading

A farmer boy, a monk and an audiovisual editor

Chamroeun and his parents and little brother

Chamroeun, formelly Tech, with his parents Mok Phun and Pich Pan and their nephew at the Baytea Village in Kompung Trach. Photo courtesy, February 2014.

Supporting a young man to get success in his life is just a key for a sustainable development of any country. It is very important to fight for the reduction of the gender gap and to give girls and women same opportunities. But it is also important not to forget that boys and young men need also support. To forget men just starting from the idea that they are “strong” and they can manage for themselves, prove to be a wrong position and a misunderstand of the gender reduction efforts. Men without education and opportunities can generate violence in many senses. The story of Chamroeun, a farmer boy who became Buddhist monk and then could reach a technical formation in a Don Bosco school, is a good example of how boys and young men can have those spaces to jump into a future of opportunities for the good of their country. The original articles was published in Kampuchea Thmey Daily with the title “Poverty is not a barrier for a person with high values,” but I edited this new English version with some other perspectives as he is my own pupil:  Continue reading