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.

Poverty misconceptions

A village in Kos Sla, northern Kampot Province. Photo by Don Bosco Kep Children Fund, January 2014.

A village in Kos Sla, northern Kampot Province. Photo by Don Bosco Kep Children Fund, January 2014.

Visitors from developed countries can get impressed by the simplicity of the Cambodian rural families. Such impression can lead to confusions of what is poverty and it is often profit by certain individuals for the embezzlement of funds. Donors have the duty to guarantee that their funds will reach the real needs of vulnerable people and thus it is important to learn the meaning of concepts like poverty, as well as to improve the methods to fight it in an authentic effective way. To measure the social impact of any project is as much as important as planning.  Continue reading

Khmer vowels

Happy new year dear friends of I See Cambodia. I hope the best for all you and let us see Cambodia in 2014 as well. I want to dedicate this first post of the year to the Khmer alphabet. I want to promote that more expatriates learn Khmer language this year, because it is very important for all of you, as well as for Cambodia. Here this good and clear video about the Khmer alphabet:

Visit to Bokor Mountain before the end of the year

When you visit Bokor Mountain, you find always new things.  Anyway, the new development is under way, so it is important to appreciate what is good and to review what should be reviewed.  the road is a snaky way to the mountain and it was built actually over an old path.  In this, there was a lack of a better engineering perspective.  A cable railway could be a great solution for the future and it would have a less impact over the environment.  They are also developing some restaurants in points like the water fall and the Yeay Mao Monument, but their prices are too much high – as the mountain? – so it is not appropriate for  visitors.  With some many people looking for jobs in Kampot City, this would be a good idea to settle a popular market over the top with more popular prices, creating more employment and showing more the Khmer culture.

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14 years paying to Apsara Authority

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6_7zdeBcgY

During my 14th anniversary in Cambodia, I went to see once more the Angkorian temples with the Colombian television, Teleantioquia. Unfortunately, you have to face always the rude behavior of Apsara Authority and its funny policies over the administration of the temples, while many things are out of place. The journalists were surprised why after 14 years of work for Cambodian youth in technical education, I don’t have just a special pass to enter the temples. I have to pay as a foreign tourist. In order to answer the question, I asked the beautiful cashier you can see at the video why I have to pay to enter to the temples. Of course, the girl is not the responsible of it. The responsible must be living in a comfortable place getting thousands of bills per day. Continue reading

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

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

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

Just so simple… we need Cambodian coins

100 rielWe still waiting the decision to restore the Cambodian coins, another victim of the wars and political conflicts of the end of the 20th century. You just see the ripped poor 100 Riel notes going around the markets and you feel ashamed. Continue reading

A Dragon race in Kep Province

A passage in the adventure way offered by Max. You can notice the hungry crocodile waiting for somebody to fall from the pole. Photo courtesy actionmaxasie.webs.com/

Kep is a tropical paradise, but if you don’t have a program, you can end in a sort of tropical paradisaical island in the middle of the Pacific just contemplating the wonderful dawns and sets all the time and checking your emails. You need to contact definitively the locals and we can divide them in three groups: fishermen, farmers and, the third group: owners of hotels and restaurants, foreigners many of them with strong links to Cambodia. French people seem to be the predominant tribe in town. Well, one of this locals is Didier Rexach, but he is already known as just Max, though the nickname came from the name of his Action Max Asie company. He has already experience in organizing races and adventures for example in Luang Prabang (Laos.) 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

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