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.

Sihanoukville University signs MOU with American one

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Dr. Susan Brown and HE Heng Sarim during the MOU act in UME on Saturday. Photo Courtesy DAP News.

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

Official visit to journalists’ school in Sihanoukville

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HE Ao Saren with Fr. Ly Samnang and other representatives of the Sihanoukville Department of Information at the Don Bosco Social Communication and Journalism Section on July 2, 2014. Photo Courtesy CEN.

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

Show me your city, an intercultural experience

show me your city logoWhat is the common thing between Colombian and Cambodian young people? “Show me your city“, an intercultural experience. In 2013 I agreed with two teachers of the Pontifical Bolivariana University of Medellín, Maribel Rodríguez and Ariel Acevedo, to make an academic experience between their students of graphic design and my students of social communication of Don Bosco Sihanoukville and Kep. The idea was that the students meet through a Facebook page and agree over the production of a short video per groups (5 to 10 minutes). In the story they have to show their culture, traditions and environment. Communication is of course an issue, but we wanted to demonstrate the effects of a global youth culture.  Continue reading

Creating the next generation of corrupt leaders

The academic system of some Cambodian universities, especially in the provinces, is creating only lazy individuals that confuse success with corruption… just more ducks with Laxus for the next generation.

Probably we need to invest more in fight the administrative corruption of our country. Surely, we have to understand that corruption is not only an evil of certain officials and public servants, but it can be rooted deeply in the culture, in the traditions, in the society, in the most simple of the daily life like going to the market or driving through the roads. I have always defended the idea that the worst of the Cambodian corruption is not the corruption itself (in all countries, even your country, oh foreign reader) there is someone being not transparent and abusing public funds to their benefit. No. The most problematic is when the people don’t know what corruption is. If you live in Cambodia you have to face with corruption in any scale. Many times you are obliged to “pay for a service” to an official that seems not to understand his/her social duty. So, let us go to the one of the roots of corruption – besides a manipulated will of those interested in holding corruption to guarantee their status: Education.  Continue reading

Observations on motorbike accidents

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This is so far the correct and safer way to drive a motorbike. May Cambodians do it?

The Cambodian Motorbikes’ War still on, without any sign to decline. The victims keep the same profile: young men 15 to 25 years old, driving without helmet and many of them with alcohol in their blood at the moment of the incident. There are campaigns around the country on the media and boards along roads and streets, but nobody seems to care: people continue driving without helmet. During this weddings’ season, you can see young men drinking beer as water and after driving their motorbikes without any control. What can we do? Fines seem to work well, but it comes under a corruption network. At the end, people use a helmet only for fear to a police’s fine, but they don’t seem to connect the use of helmets to the protection of their own lives. In Colombia – where there are many traffic accidents too and also related with drunken drivers – the government established a new legislation that includes the removal of the drunken driver’s license and a fine of more than 500 US dollars… In consequence, traffic accidents caused by drunken guys reduced in 50% in the last three months! 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.

The motorbike’s war: two other victims

It is necessary to guarantee that our children and youth grow in a safe environment.  Traffic accidents happen everywhere, but we must work to stop them from happening through education and a transparent law enforcement.

It is necessary to guarantee that our children and youth grow in a safe environment. Traffic accidents happen everywhere, but we must work to stop them from happening through education and a transparent law enforcement.

If it were within my possibilities to create certain laws to protect people, certainly I will forbid Cambodian young males to drive motorbikes.  Of course, that is a big extreme, but I feel the number of traffic accidents in Cambodia involving motorbikes is high and it cost too many young male victims always.  Any gloomy reality takes more value when the victims are too near to you.  Last November 22 Pech Naron, 20, lost his life in a motorbike accident in Phnom Penh.  This weekend the next known victim was Chhook Dara, 18, who hit a public lamppost Saturday early morning while he was drunk.  Continue reading

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

Standing for Education to Life

Don Bosco Battambang on August 2013 aBattambang. In an open hall, which was once the entirety of Vithayalai Don Bosco Battambang, the first Official Graduation Ceremony took place on the 9th of August 2013, and was attended by the schools staff and students, as well as the students’ parents. Invited to attend and take part in the ceremony, having arrived from Phnom Penh the day before, were Fr. Cef Ledesma and Fr. Leo Ochoa. Fr. Leo Ochoa there to witness the First Opening of the School in 2000 and now the First Official Graduation Ceremony in 2013. Continue reading

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

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

Deaf Internet

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This month I got one of the most beautiful evidences of the importance of the internet in our time and how it is about inclusion. New technologies are changing the human history and it is not created for the power and enjoyment of minoritarian groups, but information and communication technologies are a human patrimony we must promote to reduce the global digital gapContinue reading