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.

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…

Why Cambodians migrate to Thailand

Phnom Penh. CARAM Cambodia, USAID and WINROCK International celebrated a forum directed to the private sector at the Cambodiana Hotel on Friday with about 50 participants from government, private sector, NGOs, migrant workers’ representatives and stakeholders. Sam Somuny, the CARAM’s project officer said that the forum was promoted by the official National Employment Agency of the Ministry of Labor and his NGO. The event was also attended by ten workers that were deported from Thailand for illegal employment in that country.  Continue reading

Storm hit central Kampot injuring six

Kampot Province –  A pregnant woman and six villagers were injured during a big rainstorm in Dang Tong District on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said on Wednesday. Pa Bunna, Districts’ Administration Director said the storm happened between 2 and 2:30 PM. Authorities tried to reach the victims of the natural disaster. Two communes of the district, Kcheay Khang Choeung and Tong, got the worse of the rain impact, destroying 20 houses and damaging 47, added Bunna.  Continue reading

The son of the snake, an erotic Cambodian symbol

Puah Kong Kaep

Cambodian beauty Ampor Tevi as Noun with Thai star Winai Kraibutr as Mek, the snake’s son in 2001 Keng Kang Snake film by director Phai Somang.

There is currently an authentic explosion of the Cambodian cinema and it can open the doors to a new golden time for national filmmakers, as it was before the wars of the 1970′s. Cambodians have the talent, creativity and willing to produce their own movies and, with a best investment and support from national and international sponsorship, it is possible to guarantee a successful film industry in the Kingdom of Wonder. However, all these national productions go unreported either inside or outside Cambodia. There is a lack of film criticism, an element that is very important to discuss about what we watch and create.  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

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

My Asian conical hat

Wearing my Asian conical hat in a Bangkok street.

Wearing my Asian conical hat in a Bangkok street.

Walking a tropical country under a sun can be tiresome for any kind of persons, even those coming from other tropical countries. It can make you to reduce attention to a very interesting tour in a great site as the Angkorian temples in Siem Reap. Prepare, thus yourself to protect from the sun. I bought an inexpensive Asian conical hat in Bangkok last week – it is called in Cambodia ដួន do’un. As I came back to the hotel, the lady laughed very much as soon as she noticed my hat. She said I was resembling a Vietnamese farmer. ‘Actually I don’t mind to resemblance a Vietnamese farmer,’ I replied, ‘I find it very practical to walk under the sun and even if it is raining is like having a small umbrella attached to your head.’ 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

Cham Kep community blesses new Vocational Center

Cham leader blessing Don Bosco Kep school

The Kep Imman and other members of the Cham Village mosque of Kep, lead an act of blessing to the new Don Bosco technical school where some Cham young people will learn a skill for a best future.

Kep City. Although Don Bosco was an Italian Catholic priest of the 19th century, it is also true that several of his schools around the planet are located in the cultural environment of other faiths and thus many of the Don Bosco students. In Cambodian, a Buddhist country that follows Theravada doctrines, Shunni Muslims made the main minority in a proportion of 1.25 percent of the national population. The Islam is followed in Cambodia by the Cham ethnic group, the descendants of the ancient Malay kingdom of Champa, located at the center of modern Vietnam. During the Khhmer Rouge regime there was a particular persecution against the Cham minority. Today there are Cham communities in most of Cambodian provinces. Along the sea, from Sihanoukville to Kep, Cham towns can be distinguished by their traditional mosques. Yesterday the Cham religious authorities of Kep Province visited the new Don Bosco Vocational Center to lead a blessing according to their traditions. The reason is that some students of the Center belong to the Cham communities of Kep.

Please wait more updates for this article…

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

Cambodia, emergent market for investment, says Le Figaro

Cambodia is among the emergent world economics with positive perspectives for investment, says French newspaper Le Figaro today in its article ‘New emerging countries offer great opportunities.’ The paper follows the recommendations of US Mark Mobius, the chairman of Franklin Templeton Investments and guru of financial markets. Continue reading

Buddhism and Ecology

Phnom Sosir Kep Province 26 December 2012 (32)

Image of Buddha at the main on top of the Sosir Hill shrine in Kep Province. Photo Al Rodas 2012.

The report of an European Union Delegation to Cambodia, says that ‘environmental and natural resources in Cambodia are threatened by short-sighted over-exploitation on an increasing and threatening scale. This reduces the Country’s overall natural capital, yet whilst great benefits flow to the few; equally great burdens fall on the many.’

Actually, there are thousands of pages on issues like this about Cambodia, mostly produced in English and French with some Khmer translations that few read or analyses. Most of those reports are true, of course, but they remain in archives and, in many occasions, are overlooked or despised by Cambodian leaders as arrogant meddling of Westerns. Continue reading