Koh Tral on the table

The Kiriroom - Kos Tral Range.

The Kiriroom – Kos Tral Range.

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

Not with blows

Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man. Mahatma Gandhi

“Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.”
Mahatma Gandhi

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.

The Sihanokville symbol

Tao Pi Sihanoukville July 2014 by Leito Rango

The Tao Pi Monument in July 2014. Photo by Chan Bora.

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.

Countries with the Harshest Drug Laws in the World

g

In Cambodia, you can be sentenced to many years in prison or even life in prison for possessing drugs. Unlike many other South Asian countries, Cambodia does not mandate the death penalty for drug trafficking.

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.

It’s not crack down on migrant workers, said Thai Junta

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.

Matt Tilley and Joe Hildebrand, enemies of Colombia

f

Matt Tilley and Joe Hidebrand used their program in the Australian Triple M Radio to insult Colombians with racism, hatred and discriminating comments.

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”

Continue reading

Australian contribution to Cambodia: more poors!

What if you are an Iranian man with a family that thinks that migration is the only way to open opportunities to your children and chooses a country like Australia. After so many hardships on the way, mostly by sea since 91% of illegal migrants to that country enter by boats, you are detained and scheduled to be relocated in… Cambodia. Probably you will think all efforts to change your social situation has been in vain. It would not be difficult to guess that Australia is sending you to one of the poorest countries of Asia. Just this month the Thai Military Junta deported 200 thousand illegal Cambodian workers, a very expensive and arguably decision. But the fact is that near half million Cambodians are working in Thailand because they don’t think they can improve their standard of life in their own country. How is it possible that a country like Australia “donates” more poors to a poor country?

It must come from a very wrong mentality. Probably a certain xenophobia, racism and lack of humanism. How is it possible that a country made by migrants reaches so extreme policies such as dump poor people to a poor country? The evil is both sided: uncertainty for the migrants and more social problems for a society like Cambodia that is struggling to defeat poverty.

CNN International, Angkor Wat is in Cambodia… Oups!

CNN International

The joke of this weekend: CNN International wrote in its Facebook pageThailand’s Angkor Wat is only no. 6 – so what’s the world’s top landmark?” – Oups! The statement attracted the Royal Ministry of Tourism that learned them that Angkor Wat is in Cambodia:

Professional Media must pay attention. Sometime your word could kill thousands of people or the peace. CNN must know about this. In this case CNN should train staffs or recruit professional staffs to handle this work. We strongly hope CNN won create this mistake again (Cambodia Tourism Mag Ctm)

Koh Tral in Cambodian sea platform

It is true the historical Cambodian ambivalence over territorial claims on Koh Tral / Phu Quok as well as the use of such claims on political and nationalistic grounds that rest authority to those claims. However, Cambodia has the right to request a technical review of its claim over the rights on its encroached sea platform.

According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea “every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles” (UNCLS, art. 3) Continue reading

Somaly Mam, a lesson for the media, NGOs and donors

The Cambodia Daily reported this Thursday that “After Somaly Mam Resigns, Trafficking NGOs Anxious.” I think that such anxiety should not correspond to transparent and professional organizations, because a honest NGO does not relay in fantastic stories like the ones of Somaly Mam Foundation, but in processes. Donors relaying their funds in processes should not be affected also, because they are already trained to receive objective results from the transparent organizations they use to reach the victims of social evils and poverty for years. Those donors that have been attracted by Hollywood-and-even-Bolliwood-stories-like will be by sure stop to give funds to organizations that relay in scripts rather than in processes.  Continue reading

Somaly Mam, a big pot of milk scam

The last reports on the two stories of Somaly Mam – the fake and the real – is only a tip of the iceberg and it is a big tip. She attracted international attention for the organization that has her own name as an activist against sex and human trafficking, specialized in the rescue and support of girls and young women, who are victims of sexual slavery. In this article by Simon Marks of Newsweekly, the journalist that uncovered her fraud, it is said that she got a long list of prominent international admirers that include former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, actresses like Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon and Shay Mitchell, New York Times Pulitzer-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof, Queen Sofia of Spain, former Facebook adviser Brandee Barker and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. Such public attention gave so much financial capacity that her “refugee center” known in French as Agir Pour Les Femmes en Situation Précaire, AFESIP (in English would be “Acting for Women in Precarious Situation”) became international, opening offices in Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, France and Switzerland.  Continue reading

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

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.

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