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

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

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.

Government toughens position on protests


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.

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

Take care of thieves in Sihanoukville

Hello Albeiro! I send you the photo of the street where I was robbed. It is the same street of the well known Elvis Club. It was about 18h.

Hello Albeiro! I send you the photo of the street where I was robbed. It is the same street of the well known Elvis Club. It was about 18h ~ Mayte

Sihanoukville still a great place to visit and enjoy by sure. But as it attracts national and international tourism, it attracts also unwanted people (including certain foreigners with unfortunate behavior.) For this reason the better is prevention… Warning!!! 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

Teaching English to Cambodians

I want to share some recommendations for those who are teaching English to Cambodians without speaking Khmer. Probably professional language teachers have gone already to the characteristics of Khmer language in order to understand the linguistic logics of the Cambodian people and to elaborate a proper English language master plan. But we can see several foreigners without an education title and even from non-English-speaking countries, teaching English in Cambodia as volunteers in organizations or looking for a job to do while they live here. Many of them became occasional English teachers to their Cambodian friends, who urged them to teach them English. 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

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

An agricultural technical center to fight child labor in Battambang

Don Bosco Battambang 2013Battambang. It is common to see several constructions sites in modern Cambodia. It is as the former war destruction is already over and everyone is building something to recover the lost time. Unfortunately, the building of schools, hospitals and community areas is much less than the fever for hotels, restaurants, casinos and resorts. Unemployed young people find easily jobs in construction this time, but in many occasions many of those workers are as young as 7 and 10 years old. In Battambang it can be also a norm to see children in construction sites and the brick factories. 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…

Acleda Point Break

The Cambodian hot news this week was the 30 hours Hostage crisis in an Acleda Bank branch in Kampong Cham, 124 kilometers east of Phnom Penh. The event attracted all the national attention and it showed once more that cell phone companies are living a golden age since news on the spot in Cambodia are reaching a national public by SMS and we could say SMS is the Khmer Twitter so far. The news that two bank robbers took the Acleda branch office at the Stung Treng district in Kampong Cham last Tuesday (22nd January) was followed with interest and attracted security forces that surrounded the bank at the best way of a Hollywood movie.  Continue reading

He abused a 17 years old girl

Another case of child sexual abuse and I want to talk about it, because the victim is just 17 years old. Making comparisons will not help if the victim is older or not. Probably a child of 10 or 15 has more probabilities to fight back, but it stills shocking the victim is so young. DAP News reported yesterday that a construction worker, Niegn Sol, 21, was arrested by the police for abusing a 17 months old girl, the daughter of two constructor workers also. They let their girl under the care of an aunt. As the aunt got absent to take water from a nearby well, the man attacked the child. A boy, who saw the crime ran to call some adults who chased Sol, who was arrested by the police hours after the incident. The man did not accept the charges against him.   Continue reading

We, Jarai, sleep together

Thit speaking about his Jarai people to his companions in Don Bosco Kep.

Thit speaking about his Jarai people to his companions in Don Bosco Kep.

Rochum Thit explained to his companions in Kep that Rochum is not his grandfather’s name, as Khmer people use in their personal names, but it was the name of his own clan. Then there are four clans of the Jarai people: Rochum, Seuv, Klieng and Sol. You cannot married a person of your own clan, because it will bring you misfortune. Thit said that some persons that have done it in the past, have suffered strain illness and the children they had, did not grow enough. Continue reading