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.

Phnom Penh’s AEON Mall for a dreamer city

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Aeon Mall at the river side on July 9, 2014. Photo A. Rodas.

I visited AEON Mall today in Phnom Penh. Fortunately there was not too much rain in the city, so it was possible to move in my favorite urban transport: tuk-tuk (still I have to check the urban bus.) Entering the 205 million dollars mall, I remembered October 1999 when I arrived for the first time to Phnom Penh from Bangkok and then I could made a lot comparisons between two of the Southeast Asian capitals. Phnom Penh was a dusty town full of  thieves, beggars, electricity service was limited, Internet was dominated by a single poor service company, unpaved roads, odors from a nonexistent sewage system… Then, before this huge mall between Diamond Island (Koh Pich) and Sothearos Boulevard, one friend pointed to it and said “A big mall for a poor country.” In fact it is, but I don’t share the same intention of the announcement. It is similar to the comment of one visitor to my social communication section: “But these boys don’t see coming from poverty… they have laptops!” Sure, they have, because I have been promoting that they give value to education even in the middle of their poverty to be able to break their poverty circle.  Continue reading

When water can not pass

One of the best tests for Phnom Penh and its development comes during the raining season. It is then when we discover what is not too good like flooding in different streets, many times becoming authentic rivers more than 4 meters high. Here 147 Street. You can send your own report on floodings to Urban Voices Cambodia. Photo Courtesy.

Planning a travel to Cambodia

The boy and the ox in Siem ReapI am not a tourist agency and for this reason I have the duty to give some advices to those who want to plan a trip to Cambodia. Although this country seems small in the map, actually it’s not too small and it has more things than what you can imagine. Actually the official slogan “Kingdom of Wonder” is rather exact. Let us see some advices for your travel to our dear country. Continue reading

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

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.

Guard of the monks at the riverside

guy at the river side

There is a Western gentleman at the Phnom Penh riverside with a Buddhist monk aspect with whom I had a bitter discussion this Monday. I was a guest at the Colombian television channel, Teleantioquia, doing a documentary about my work in Cambodia since 1999. The journalists asked me to buy two birds and approach the river freeing them. As I walked with the two birds, I opened my hands and let the two little animals to escape to freedom over the high waters of the Basac River.

Suddenly this gentleman approached the journalists saying that they must ask permission from Buddhist monks to film them. Few meters from my place were two young monks that were, by the way, curious of my action. 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

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

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

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…

The huge NR3 hole at Prektong village was repaired

Kampot. The huge ‘canyon’ at the NR3, in Prektong Village, Tick Ta Commune, Prey Nub District (ភូមិព្រែកទង សង្កាតើទឺកថា) has been repaired, according to our observation at 5PM of today 3 August, less than 18 hours after we did this post. I wonder if it would be repaired at the same speed if it were in the Kampot territory.

 

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Spectacular canyon at the middle of National Headway 3

2 August 2012. The name National Headway 3 seems an ideal to reach than a fact. Evidently, it has improved along the last decade, but it is a very poor road. The contrast is the stunning hill headway built to reach the Bokor new casino. Continue reading

A Modern Historical Novel

Is a Cambodia a novel inspiration country? Evidently yes, with its troublesome past as a victim of the domino theory during the Cold War. Devastation, nightmares, terror and… Pol Pot. After the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodia did not see an end to an even more complicated conflict, once more touched by internal and external interests, elements that molded what is Cambodia now. This political novel of William MacDonalds mixes many elements of that legacy of conflicts in a modern context. An imaginary story that touches reality in several points.

‘Guilt swarms over Cambodia. It is in the billions of dollars of aid that flow into Cambodia’s struggling economy, in the thousands of foreign aid workers that labor in its tiny capital, in the countless charity offices in its provincial towns, in the endless efforts to improve its medieval politics. Emily has come as part of the guilt,’ – After Pol Pot, a Modern Historical Novel.

Italian Ice-cream in Phnom Penh

You can find ice-cream almost everywhere in the Kingdom of Wonders. However, there is only a place in Phnom Penh with an authentic homemade ice-cream. Definitely, the ice-cream experts are in Turin (Italy), but some of them have moved to Cambodia under the mission to support education for the poor with Don Bosco. Continue reading

Queen Beatrix gave medal to director of the Don Bosco schools

Amsterdam. The director of the Don Bosco schools and Children Fund in Cambodia, Dutch Fr. John Visser, 78, was honored by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands with the Medal as Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau. Fr. Visser received the honor from the hands of the Queen on August 31 for his commitment and work for education to unprivileged children and youth in Thailand and Cambodia. The founder of the Don Bosco Foundation of Cambodia with Italian Br. Roberto Panetto, came to Thailand in 1956 and was involved in the development of technical schools in poor provinces of that country. In 1992 he was about to go in pension, when the Order of the Salesians of Don Bosco asked him to move to Cambodia to answer the request of the government to help Cambodian youth with technical schools. Since then, Fr. John Visser has opened with the support of a network of benefactors, mostly from the Netherlands, Italy and US, technical schools in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Battambang and Poipet and several literacy centers in different provinces. The Don Bosco Children Fund, also his creation in Thailand, has attended more than 40 thousand Cambodian children since 1993, helping them to return to school. Currently, the DBFC is developing the Don Bosco Vocational Center of Kep and it accepted an invitation of the governor of Stung Treng to open a technical school in that northern province of the Kingdom.

Lost Loves movie of Chhay Bora

Phnom Penh. The Meta House invites to the premiere of the movie Lost Loves, Cambodian Genocide Drama of Cambodian film director Chhay Bora. Lost Loves is the best-looking Cambodian film in years, according to the movie house press release. They continue stating that it is ‘almost too beautiful to look at, given its subject matter.’ Continue reading