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

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

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.

How I see Cambodia by Teleantioquia

On October 12, 1999 I arrived to the Phnom Penh International Airport at 9 AM. Between October 2001 and August 2005 I studied theology in Jerusalem, a time I used to improve my Khmer reading and writing, as well as the Cambodian history. Teleantioquia, the Colombian television channel from Medellín, dedicated this documentary about how I see Cambodia. I invite you to watch it this coming Monday at 10:30 AM, Cambodian time (3:30 AM UTC/GMT) with repetition on the following Saturday at 9:30 AM in http://www.teleantioquia.co/. Even if it is in Spanish, you will understand many images and meanings on this beautiful work dedicated to my children and youth of Cambodia.

Government toughens position on protests

h

Freedom Park after cleared from protesters by security officers, many of them in civil aspect and sticks.  Photo Arjay R. J. Stevens (January 4, 2014)

Phnom Penh. Cambodian security forces evicted protesters from the Freedom Park this weekend after the tragic events of Friday where at least 4 civilians died and many others were wounded during a workers’ protest to claim for higher salaries. The situation is tense in the capital after the government banned all public demonstrations and the Phnom Penh Municipal Court summoned the two main leaders of the opposition party, Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha on charges of “incitement to provoke criminal acts and provoke social unrest.”  The two political leaders, who went into hiding Saturday, should appear in Court by January 14, according to official sources.

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.

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

Google translate supports Khmer now

Google translate in KhmerThis is definitely a good news for the reduction of the digital gap in Cambodia: the Google Translate, has released the Khmer translation option that would make the Cambodian language accessible to  65 other global language. It is good to congratulate all persons and organizations working to make computers and Internet accessible to Cambodians in their own language, as well as Khmer language, the main modern branch of the Mon-Khmer linguistic family and a relative to Sanskrit and Pali accessible to the international community. It will be a benefit to students, teachers, journalists, economist, officials and everybody involved in the digital development of Cambodia.  Continue reading

Let’s preserve historical remnants in Kep and everywhere

An old edification in Bokorville, another former French village at the top of the Bokor Mountain, today a place of reconstruction with big development plants. Photo Al Rodas 04.16.2010.

An old edification in Bokorville, another former French village at the top of the Bokor Mountain, today a place of reconstruction with big development plants. Photo Al Rodas 04.16.2010.

The upcoming Kep Expo Project is speaking very good about preservation of historical remnants in Kep Province and Cambodia. In this short documentary by Radio Australia we can see that there are people who worry about the protection of the national historical heritage. For me it would not be exaggerated to request the inclusion of Kep Town and Bokorville, as well as many other French colonial places around the country, as Unesco World Heritage Sites and there are many reasons why.   But in order to do so, it is needed an urgent plan of protection before some other groups of people without any historical conscience and the hurry for dollars, will end with the demolition of most colonial old villas of Kep. One thing we have to understand is that the Cambodian past does not end in the Angkorean period. Contrary to it, there are several remnants before and after the Angkor period that fit the complete historical picture of Cambodia. Continue reading

Shocking accident in Phnom Penh kills children

The country is now following the development of a horrific accident in the streets of Phnom Penh that kills at least two children and let ten other persons with serious injures this weekend. It is not yet satisfactory the explanations of the family of Miss Bised Marita, 22, who was driving her Camery car number ‘Phnom Penh 2R:5008′  at about 2PM of Friday. Marita is a student of medicine and it seems that she was bringing two young brothers with her. The mother said this morning to the press that her daughter has mental problems. Nine motorbikes, 4 bicycles, 3 children killed and ten persons in the hospital is the result of what first published as a woman that lost control of her car in the busy streets of the capital. A Camery coming from the Independence Monument hit first two motorbikes in front to the Thai Embassy, along the Preah Norodom Boulevard in the Chamkamom District. Other four motorbikes followed by the uncontrolled car. When she seemed to realized what was happening at the corner of the 466′s street, in front to he Ministry of Interior, witnesses say she tried to escape, then she hit other six motorbikes and then 6 child students in bicycles, two of them dying at the spot.

Event under development, wait for updates…

Phnom Sorsir’s children willing to learn

Th

The children of Phnom Sorsir with Mr. Chin Sokkea of the Children Care organization from Phnom Penh (center). Don Bosco young volunteer Bin Pich up.

Kep City - The children of Phnom Sorsir had a special Sunday. The small program conducted by Cambodian volunteers of Don Bosco Vocational Center Kep in the region, got today a great motivation from Mr. Chin Sokkea and his organization Komphea Koma (Care for Children.)

The literacy program of Don Bosco Kep consisted in sending volunteer students to different villages of the Kep Province area during weekends to meet children. Mr. Bin Pich of the hotel management school, Seng Narong and Em Phorn of the social communication department chose Phnom Sorsir, a beautiful hill with a pagoda at its top, inside the Kep Province territory, not far from the sea. Continue reading

This is the kind of journalism politicians dream

This is the kind of journalism we all needThis is the kind of journalism certain politicians dream. In fact, some of them intend to give lessons to journalists of what to say and what to silence, making puppets to amuse the public, more as a kind of television show presenter than what we understand certainly as journalism: that representative of democracy with the duty to inform what is happening, putting it into historical, social and cultural context and analyzing it toward a future development of the events in order to light our decisions. As British play-writer Tom Stoppard said: I still believe that if your aim is to change the world, journalism is a more immediate short-term weapon. And US fiction science writer Ray Bradbury: Journalism keeps you planted in the earth.

 

 

Cambodian young man looks for his Algerian father

Kol Said Dona holds the only two photos he has from his Algerian father, Chaffai  Said, a former UNTAC policeman. Now he is looking for him after 18 years without news.

Kol Said Dona holds the only two photos he has from his Algerian father, Chaffai Said, a former UNTAC policeman. Now he is looking for him after 18 years without news.

Kol Said Dona, 18, is a Cambodian student of journalism at Don Bosco Kep. His mother, Kol Syvong,  36, works as a farmer in Kompong Trach District, Kampot Province. He was born on 18 February 1994, one year after the United Nations Transition Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) finished its mandate. It was the first time that UN established a direct administration on an independent State. It came from the Paris Peace Accords of October 1991 where UNTAC became the government from 1992  to 1993 with the mission to prepare democratic elections. It included 15,900 military, 3,600 civilian policemen, 2,000 civilians and 450 UN volunteers from 33 nations. Continue reading

Remembering Vann Nath

Vann Nath and Albeiro Rodas 8th March 2009

On 8th March 2009 I got the privilege to visit Mr. Vann Nath, the famous S-21′s painter survivor in his house of Phnom Penh. He would pass away two years after, on 5th September 2011. I got this opportunity thanks to a team of television journalists that were doing a kind of show and requested me to be their journalist guide throughout the Khmer Rouge regime history. To be frank, it was a very superficial approach and it is not even worthy to mention who they were, so the only thing I appreciate is the opportunity to meet persons like Vann Nath, Bou Men, the chief of the S-21′s prison and many other activities.  Continue reading

Cambodia on its way

In 2012 Cambodia reached 14 million 952 thousand 665 persons, following the statistics of Index Mundo, which prevents that this estimate takes into account ‘the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS.’  Most Cambodians are by now 22 years old, being males younger the women. 32.2 percent of Cambodians are under 15 years old and 3.8 percent are older than 65. Cambodia continues to be a country with a very young population that is growing, though the unemployment rate is low with 0,2 percent as January 2012. In 2012 there was an estimate of 20% of Cambodians living in cities, but it is probably that such percent grew very much during the last year if we see how Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang and Sihanoukville are growing so fast. Continue reading

I’m sorry I didn’t inform you about my traveling…

Talking about more Scam emails, here we have one that I think is becoming common in Cambodia targeting officials, expatriates and humanitarian workers. It involves the hack of your email account. The hacker sends an email in your name saying you are in an expected travel to somewhere in the world, then you lost your money, passport and everything by any circumstance. Now you are trapped in a foreign soil where you know nobody. May you send me some… to say, 2,900 Euros? I will give you back as soon as arrive home. As I have nothing more, please use the Western UnionContinue reading