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

Cambodia since 1999, a video documentary

I share this video documentary by Teleantioquia about Cambodia. It is in Spanish, but you can understand most of the story. We are doubling it in Khmer and English… coming soon. A good resume of what is Cambodia, its history, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Kampot, Kep and Sihanoukville and how I see Cambodia since 1999.

Albeiro Rodas in Cambodia – Part 1, Teleantioquia, 2014.

Albeiro Rodas in Cambodia – Part 2, Teleantioquia, 2014.

Albeiro Rodas in Cambodia – Part 3, Teleantioquia, 2014.

Albeiro Rodas in Cambodia – Part 4, Teleantioquia, 2014.

Distributing development

A bigger Kep

A bigger Kep Province would mean a lost of about 25% of the Kampot territory, especially all the east area bordering Vietnam. Kompong Trach, Tus Meas and Angkor Chey would become a part of Kep.

Development is a very complex process that depends from many factors: from the political will to the compromise of enterprises, the foreign investment and the human resources and how people get the opportunities to improve their standard of life. Planning plays a very important role on it and it does not come from a single brain, especially it should not come from a single social group willing to impose their own conceptions of society or protecting their group’s interests. Territory administration is one of those elements that can play a good role in the way development is promoted in a population. In many occasions, territorial distribution must be altered in order to promote such development process.  Continue reading

Poverty misconceptions

A village in Kos Sla, northern Kampot Province. Photo by Don Bosco Kep Children Fund, January 2014.

A village in Kos Sla, northern Kampot Province. Photo by Don Bosco Kep Children Fund, January 2014.

Visitors from developed countries can get impressed by the simplicity of the Cambodian rural families. Such impression can lead to confusions of what is poverty and it is often profit by certain individuals for the embezzlement of funds. Donors have the duty to guarantee that their funds will reach the real needs of vulnerable people and thus it is important to learn the meaning of concepts like poverty, as well as to improve the methods to fight it in an authentic effective way. To measure the social impact of any project is as much as important as planning.  Continue reading

Bill Gates breaking myths on poverty

The annual letter of the Bill & Mellinda Gates Foundation is an excellent start for this year in our commitment to reduce poverty in a country like Cambodia through the means of education. In “3 Myths that Block Progress for the Poor”, Gates explains how some preconceptions reduce the capacity of supporting poor communities to overcome poverty. The first myth is that poor countries remain poor, the second is that foreign aid is a big waste and the last one is that saving lives leads to overpopulation.

Read more in Don Bosco Kep.

Opposition leaders propose other approach with factories and workers talks

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Deputy Ken Sockha and president Sam Rainsy in a press conference in Phnom Penh on January 7, 2014. The leaders of the opposition party confirmed they will continue to ask for new elections and their support to the workers request on a higher salary. Photo Arjay Stevens. 

Phnom Penh. The leaders of the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) confirmed their purpose to ask for the resignation of P.M. Hun Sen and call on new elections, while supporting the campaign of garment factory unions for a 160 USD salary and a reform to the Cambodian rules for the freedom of association. “We are also trying to do is to brake the monopoly of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC)… (…) Normally there should be freedom of association between any factory with their workers. If a company is willing to pay more than 100 USD, why should it prevent them in doing so?” said CNRP’s president, Sam Rainsy in a press conference last Tuesday at the quarters of his party… Continue reading at Asia Correspondent…

Risks of rising the minimum wage?

Sihanoukville. 8 days after the crackdown on garment factory workers and opposition rallies in Phnom Penh, Cambodia seems normal this weekend. The national television continues its regular programs showing Thai and Korean soft operas, karaoke videos and news about curious things in the West like the polar freezing in US or “national news” like the January 7′s Liberation Day Anniversary to remember when Pol Pot and his cronies were defeated and Cambodia got a new birth. The crackdown is mentioned in the television programs of course, such as to announce that factories are  filling cases in court against trade unions for “incitement to strike, damage to property and assets”, according to Ken Loo, secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia… Continue reading at Asian Correspondent…

Visit to Bokor Mountain before the end of the year

When you visit Bokor Mountain, you find always new things.  Anyway, the new development is under way, so it is important to appreciate what is good and to review what should be reviewed.  the road is a snaky way to the mountain and it was built actually over an old path.  In this, there was a lack of a better engineering perspective.  A cable railway could be a great solution for the future and it would have a less impact over the environment.  They are also developing some restaurants in points like the water fall and the Yeay Mao Monument, but their prices are too much high – as the mountain? – so it is not appropriate for  visitors.  With some many people looking for jobs in Kampot City, this would be a good idea to settle a popular market over the top with more popular prices, creating more employment and showing more the Khmer culture.

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251 new technicians from Don Bosco Phnom Penh

Director General of the Technical Vocational Educational and Training Department, His Excellency Laov Him, precided the graduation day of Don Bosco Phnom Penh.

Director General of the Technical Vocational Educational and Training Department, His Excellency Laov Him, precided the graduation day of Don Bosco Phnom Penh.

Phnom Penh – On Friday 30th August 2013, each of the six departments of Don Bosco Technical School was represented by the two hundred and fifty-one students graduating: Mechanical-Welding – 48, Automotive – 46, Electricity – 60, Electronic – 53, Computer -26 and Printing – 18. Dedicated to teaching and guiding the most disadvantaged youth of Cambodia, the Salesian Priests and Brothers, along with the DBTS teachers and volunteers, were there to congratulate and celebrate the students’ achievements; this day marking the completion of their two-year vocational course. Continue reading

For those who think governments should be run like a business

This video of MBA is a good illustration of why governments should not be run as a business and it is of course a great temptation, especially in our time of globalization. Common good is the purpose of any government – it is the ideal – while business is made in order to get profits. A government thinking its citizens such as customers or shareholders is then far from the real purpose of it.

Kep Province Governor presided Don Bosco Kep Graduation Day

Kep Governor Khen Satha gives the certificate to Lyheng, Front Office senior graduating. At the center Fr. Albeiro Rodas, Don Bosco Technical School Kep's Rector.

Kep Governor Khen Satha gives the certificate to Lyheng, Front Office senior graduating. At the center Fr. Albeiro Rodas, Don Bosco Technical School Kep’s Rector.

Kep Province — CAMBODIA – Friday, September 06, 2013. The governor of Kep Province, Mr. Ken Satha, presided the first graduation day of the new Don Bosco Technical School in this Cambodian region, 164 kilometers south of Phnom Penh over the Gulf of Thailand and near the Vietnamese border. The technical school opened in October 2011 to attend young people from Kep, Kampot and Takeo provinces and began with a group of 40 in the sections of social communication and hotel skills to lost only 4. The group that left at the end of June for training, has been engaged in different jobs especially in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville in hotels, radio stations, television channels and web development companies. Continue reading

Cambodia’s Education System

Cambodian schoolProfessor Kenneth Wilson of the Royal University of Phnom Penh brings us a deep reflection on the Cambodia’s Education System in an article at The Cambodia Daily, A System Utterly in Need. The time is greatly appropriate when we are few weeks away from the next national elections and parties are discussing on the meaning of development. Continue reading

Digital media and social change in Cambodia

Cambodia is a good model to analyse the development of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for many factors: one is because it’s not only a developing society, but a society in reconstruction and second it’s because the economical model it is trying right now. The reconstruction of a nation after decades of violence and war is not easy as to pour a lot of funds on the territory, but it includes a very complicated network of factors going from mentality, culture, history, conflicts with neighboring countries, geopolitics, fighting ideologies trying to govern the destiny of the peoples, foreign intervention and foreign assistance, among others. Continue reading

Colonialism, war and aid dependence in Cambodia

Cambodia is a great case for study topics such as technologies appropriation and social change. We have a country that was few decades ago the scenery of violent tensions and now is struggling to recover its lost time by joining globalization. Even we have several objections, it is true that its economy is growing and much has been done in the last ten years in Cambodia. Therefore, we need a constant flow of analysis that any policy maker shouldn’t refuse, not inscribing in any monolithic conception of development. When we talk about growth and social change, we must know the distinction behind these two terms, used as synonyms by certain sources. M. Gillis, D.H. Perkins, M. Roemer and D.R. Snodgrass (1983) give us a good definition of it:  Continue reading

Long holidays, slow development

Living in a country with too many holidays like Cambodia can make us reflect in the culture of work we dream. I don’t believe Cambodians are the most lazy people on earth (Mark, 2010). I believe there are some elements in the culture we should challenge, for example, too many Cambodians like to have money, live in comfort and get it with the less effort as possible – let us blame in part the Cambodian aid dependency created by the international community throughout the last decades (see Sophal Ear, AID Dependency in Cambodia. How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy.) There is an authentic happiness when many of them notice holidays ahead in the calendar. A great activity to prepare themselves for feasts, carnivals and tours (ដើលើង Dae Lean), but boring to get back to work or to classes, a slow reaction to responsibilities and commitment in many. If we want a sustainable development, we need to change such holidays’ culture for an authentic culture of work. Continue reading

Two overpopulation examples

To illustrate what I call the overpopulation informal fallacy, we can make a short comparison of two countries: Japan as one industrialized and Colombia as one in development. We have enough information about the Japanese profile as a global economic power. The Colombian profile is more confusing, leading very often to misconceptions and several speculations due to its fame of violence, drug cartels and guerrilla fighting for decades. I think these two very interesting countries are a good sample to demonstrate that overpopulation is a concept intended to manipulate the planet from an egocentric perspective from a privileged minority.  Continue reading

The overpopulation distraction

2009 Shanghai International Auto Show

2009 Shanghai International Auto Show. Photo by  Ridking in Commons Wikimedia.

The overpopulation concern is an informal fallacy to manipulate. By sure, several organizations and scholars could be genuinely concern about disastrous consequences for the survival of humanity in the case we overpopulate our planet. According to UN, it is likely possible to reach 9.3 billion of persons in 2050 and 10.1 billion in 2100, while some experts argue that the planet can hold 1 thousand billion persons, of course, with much objections. The certain is that the 7 billion humans we have this 2013 in Planet Earth, all could stand together in the Phnom Penh territory if we should gather all humanity for any type of global meeting.   Continue reading