On 17th July a Cambodian court reduced the jail sentence of Karl Heinz Opitz, 66, to 10 years. The 2007 sentence gave him a 28 years in jail for getting girls as young as 10 into his apartment. The girls were provided by human traffickers. He used to tie the girls up, whip and rape them while filming and taking photos until 4 consecutive hours.
I invite you to read this profile of Lidia Linde Ginesta (Ma Lidia), portrayed by Unsung Heroes Compassion. Just in the middle of many denounces of fake orphanages in Cambodia that are only facades for hidden business using poor children, we need to look up real and transparent experiences and, who more than real and transparent than Lidia. If someone has any doubt of who is she, just walk into her Siem Reap office and check any possible book, contact any of her donors and know her story, far from fiction and full of heroicity. Continue reading
This month I got two emails from two friends that have made surprising trips abroad:
I made a quick trip down here in Kiev, Ukraine for a short business trip, but facing a little challenge here as i tried to make few withdrawals from the cash machines here but not going through, have been to the bank also to see if i can withdraw from there but was informed that i can’t withdraw from my account here in Ukraine due to network errors, so i was wondering if i could get a quick loan of $1,950 USD from you or you let me know how much you can raise now because i need it to clear some little things here and then get a cab to the airport. I promise to refund it back once i get back home. Let me know what you can do so i can instruct you on how to get the money sent to me.
Unfortunately Jeff Mudrick of The Diplomat closed down the interesting discussion on the Kos Tral issue (see “Cambodia’s Impossible Dream: Koh Tral“.) There are several comments with different arguments in different tones. My last comment was not published, so I do it here in my own home. I have to clarify that my observations are not along with any political party at all and I understand that any position can be used for political purposes, but sovereignty cannot be an object of political interests, although it is a historical fact in different countries and regions. Continue reading
Actually it is very sad the news of yesterday of bloody clashes at the Freedom Park when security forces were confronted by violent protesters. If it is a policy from the opposition to “free the Freedom Park” with violence, it is a wrong way in any case. Violence only brings violence in an unending cycle. For many it would be a great revenge to the violent crack down on unionist strikes of January. But revenge is not what a nation needs. Let alone the violent people and put in evidence who is the savage. For more impunity that could be, any violence against their own countrymen has to be paid by the same rule of destiny. It does not mean to keep silence. It is necessary to talk about, to show where there is an injustice, but to take part on a violent action is not the best way. Let us choose the Gandhi way. Why is so difficult to understand processes like Non-violence protest? A leader inviting their followers to take a place by force, reduce legitimacy for its own mission. If such leader would come to power through that way, it would mean he would be ready to exercise violence when it is confronted by others, right the same way the regime he wants to confront now.
Sihanoukville. The University of Management and Administration (UMA) – Sihanoukville’s branch – signed this Saturday a Memorandum of Understand with an American institution that bases its method of education in Vedic teachings: Maharishi University of Management (MUM). The agreement will allow that UMA’s students could pursue further upgrading in MUM in business administration, accounting, banking and financial, agricultural, and computer science, among other possibilities. The ceremony, assisted by students and teachers of the Cambodian institution, was presided by the UME president Moun Veasna and Samdech Heng Samrin, president of the UME Sihanoukville branch. The American University was represented by Dr. Susan Brown, official delegate. Continue reading
Aspect of the renovated Tao Pi Monument in Sihanoukville (Two Lions Square.) The public administration includes new lights around the roundabout, redesigned the gardens – well… practically removed the gardens and put tiles – and gave more visibility to this monument that represents Sihanoukville. They mean the Royal Family of King Norodom Sihanoukville, the founder of the city that was the first big urban project to open the doors of Cambodia for international trade after the French colony. The construction of the only international sea port of the Kingdom began in 1955 in a jungled area that today is the 4th Cambodian city after Phnom Penh, Battambang and Siem Reap. King Norodom Sihanouk passed away on October 15, 2012 in Beijing. This month Cambodia marks the second anniversary of the Father of the Nation that has his perpetual memory in this port city.
I visited AEON Mall today in Phnom Penh. Fortunately there was not too much rain in the city, so it was possible to move in my favorite urban transport: tuk-tuk (still I have to check the urban bus.) Entering the 205 million dollars mall, I remembered October 1999 when I arrived for the first time to Phnom Penh from Bangkok and then I could made a lot comparisons between two of the Southeast Asian capitals. Phnom Penh was a dusty town full of thieves, beggars, electricity service was limited, Internet was dominated by a single poor service company, unpaved roads, odors from a nonexistent sewage system… Then, before this huge mall between Diamond Island (Koh Pich) and Sothearos Boulevard, one friend pointed to it and said “A big mall for a poor country.” In fact it is, but I don’t share the same intention of the announcement. It is similar to the comment of one visitor to my social communication section: “But these boys don’t see coming from poverty… they have laptops!” Sure, they have, because I have been promoting that they give value to education even in the middle of their poverty to be able to break their poverty circle. Continue reading
One of the best tests for Phnom Penh and its development comes during the raining season. It is then when we discover what is not too good like flooding in different streets, many times becoming authentic rivers more than 4 meters high. Here 147 Street. You can send your own report on floodings to Urban Voices Cambodia. Photo Courtesy.
In countries like Dubai, just bringing in certain prescription medication can result in you being put in prison. In many countries, drug laws are still taken incredibly seriously and many will still sentence you to death for trafficking or dealing in them. In fact, Cambodia is one of the only South Asian countries which doesn’t execute for drug offences.
If you want to read more about the drug laws in Asian, South American and Middle Eastern countries, this guide describes which ones still use the death penalty and which ones will hand out a lengthy prison sentence.
By Claire Harding.
Kroche. On 2nd of June seven persons died in Siem Reap, among them 4 children, trying to take out a bill note from a well (see Phnom Penh Post.) Something similar happened this weekend in Kroche, though the casualties were less. A man fell inside a well trying to rescue his dog in Lo Iek Village, Chroy Banteay Commune, Praek Prosoph District, Kroche Province, northern Cambodia. As soon as the man fall, his neighbour ran to his rescued and also fall inside. The mother of the first man, seeing that they did not come out, went also inside, making three deaths this Saturday. There are not further reports on this incident that demonstrate a lack of culture on security among the rural populations. In Cambodia wells are very important for the provision of water, however, they remain in very poor conditions, open to the free access of children and with lack of hygienic practices.
Battambang. A miner, Chea Somieng, 29, died when the land he was digging with other 3, sank, falling several meters inside of what could be an old well in Chumka Srav Village, Barang Chalak Commune, Phnom Prik District, Battambang Province, near the border with Thailand. Somieng went to look for gold with other three miners at the yard of the house of Mr. Phiek Ieth last Saturday afternoon. According to the report of Sok Sothoat, chief of the Distrital police, the incident happened at 4:30 PM. His companions tried to take him out, but the humidity of the land made the process slow and they could recover only the body of Somieng at 11 PM. Mining is normally an unregulated activity in Cambodia performed without security measures.
Read more in Dap News.
Sihanoukville. HE Ao Saren, Director of the Sihanouk Province Department of Information, paid a visit to the Social Communication and Journalism Section of the Don Bosco Technical School yesterday (07.02.2014) with all his team, including official media representatives for press, radio and television. The official was welcomed by Fr. Samnang (Albeiro Rodas), Fr. Eugene Xalxo, Don Bosco Sihanoukville Headmaster Mr. Ouch Sambo, Social Communication Manager King Mao, teachers, volunteers and students. Continue reading
It seems that the Thai Junta is sensitive to the Media. Instead to lead a systematic persecution and censorship as any classical military dictatorship we use to know, they call on to “instruct” journalists what to say and how and to promote an image of a deep pacification of the Thai society. This attitude has broken already the borders this Friday during a press conference in Sa Keo Province, when they invited more than 100 Cambodian journalists for an “enhancing social understanding.” In the conference the Sa Keo’s governor Phakarathorn Tianchai explained that it was not a crack down on Cambodian migrants, but an administrative reform to live in peace and to work on the improve of migrant’s working conditions. Probably true and we hope. However, it is necessary to remember that the Junta began to change its attitude toward the deportation operative when several human rights organizations and the same Cambodian government denounced such operation as “inhumane and degrading treatment” of workers. Another fact that cannot be ignored is that the deport operation was done without any warning to Cambodia that had to attend the arrival of more than 250 thousand persons especially at the Poipet border. Human rights organizations, media and Cambodian government should remain vigilant in this situation. The answer is not of a lobby but of practical good actions to ensure the protection of human rights to Cambodian workers.
CNN’s reporter Linda Goldberg enlists what she thinks the 7 best Cambodian islands. “They’re still massively undeveloped compared to their Thai neighbors, but Cambodia’s islands are starting to get the attention they deserve,” she writes. The seven islands are Koh Rong, Koh Rong Sanloem, Song Saa, Koh Ta Kiev, Koh Tang and Kog Totang. Each island is described with a recommendation such as an island for partying (Koh Rong) or for luxury (Son Sa). The Cambodian coast from Thailand to Vietnam is of 400 kilometers and the Cambodian sea is formed by a prolific archipelago of islands and islets that remain in a very natural condition. The growing Cambodian tourist industry is already looking to them as a next setting to attract more visitors, something that could be good for the national economy, but endangers a fragile ecosystem and the life of islander families, rarely included in development plans. I normally complain of the lack of faculties in Cambodia such as archeology or marine biology. A growing city such as Sihanoukville should have a public university specializing young people in subjects like the protection of the marine ecosystem. You find the coast full of smart developers measuring islands, beaches and towns to build resorts and casinos, but there is nothing about big projects for the ecosystem protection and promotion.
Here once more another post about Australia and this time it has to see with Colombia, my proud country. After years knowing people from around the world, I only have appreciation for all humanity, all countries and all cultures. Personally I have many Aussie friends and I find them simple, kind and with vision… less two guys: Matt Tilley and Joe Hildebrand from Triple M Radio. Well, these two persons made very hateful comments against Colombia and let us see the transcription if this is coming from which kind of persons:
“I think what we have got to remember is that they have a sort of ragged history, remember the guy that kicked an own goal for Colombia once and then was killed”