Rapt audience approaches 100 individuals at Saturday’s event aimed at younger Cambodians.
At the start of an event at a local university last Saturday, the audience was warned against publishing comments by the speakers without their permission.
“We want people to feel comfortable to share their ideas,” the moderator explained.
Such is a measure of the fear that grips Cambodia’s populace in the wake of occasional arrests on trumped-up charges for online criticism of the government. Also of concern is the violent restraint of street protests in the last few years, though not of late.
While maintaining that young people — that is, the small minority of college and university students in the country — “are aware of their security risk” for speaking out, one presenter allowed that Continue reading
Visitors evinced keen interest in new developments at the Cambodia Real Estate Show.
Foreigners in Cambodia are barred from owning the ground floor of any building in the Kingdom of Wonder.
I finally found out the origins of the prohibition early this month when I attended one of 16 presentations at the Cambodia Real Estate Show, a well organized two-day event that attracted numerous potential developers along with buyers of luxury apartments and buildings. (Hey, you can take the broker out of real estate, but you can’t take real estate. . .)
It was not until 1989 and then in 2001 that government decrees defined the possession and subsequently, in 2001, full ownership rights of residential property.
Like most other countries in the region, Cambodia does not want foreigners to own a piece of the nation, no matter how small, as codified in Article 8 of the Land Law.
According to presenter Matthew Rendall — a lawyer who holds a Cambodian passport and is managing partner at SokSiphana & Associates in Phnom Penh — the stricture resulted from Continue reading
Cambodia’s minister of culture and fine arts, Phoeurng Sackona, spoke warmly about the artist Sopheap Pich, standing at her left, in front of the sculpture called Big Being.
No one would describe Cambodia as a vital center of the visual arts in Southeast Asia.
While there are art schools and art exhibitions, the output does not tend to be memorable. (When it comes the visual arts, I find photography to be the most accomplished.)
One reason must be Continue reading
As a former traditional print journalist, I cannot leave behind the urge to keep up with the news. Consequently, I read online or on actual paper the three slim dailies published in English, presumably for expats.
The Khmer Times, which I confess has shown modest improvement since its plagiarism scandal several months ago, is the one in which I have the least faith in having achieved an acceptable journalistic standard. Rather, I tend to rely on the Cambodian Daily and the Phnom Penh Post, which do a pretty good job of reporting the news.
What I see virtually every day is stories about political corruption, traffic deaths, human rights abuses, sexual abuse, governmental misconduct and an extraordinarily high level of judicial malfeasance that boggles my mind. Continue reading
I never have darkened these doors. In fact, the only one of the restaurants in this post that I have tried is bbq, below, because of a two-for-one promotion. That eatery is part of a Korean chain, and the food certainly is memorable. Memorable, yes, but I have to say it is not so in a good way.
When Burger King opened its doors two blocks from my apartment in January 2014, I tweeted half seriously, “There goes the neighborhood.”
Little did I know. And how much do I regret that I unwittingly had foreseen what would ensue. Burger King cranked open the floodgates that caused an inundation of fast-food restaurants — which enjoy throngs of young Khmers starting late in the afternoon — along a four-block stretch of a street that parallels mine.
Our mid-rise apartment building is, I hear, only about five years old. The lot it occupies apparently was a banana plantation prior to construction, and the greenery it provided exemplified my neighborhood. In no small part because of our building boom (soon to be bust, I think) and the growing profusion of restaurants, gorgeous tropical trees are vanishing apace.
When we moved to the Boeung Keng Kang I area at the end of 2013, one of the chief attractions Continue reading
A few activists protest the detention of four human rights workers and an election official on Monday morning near Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison. Source: Phnom Penh Post
It is a debate that has persisted since long before I started making Cambodia my home: What should expats do or say when they object to the actions of a foreign government that permits them to live in its country?
The question surfaced again here in Cambodia when a Facebook “friend” posted a story that has dominated the three English-language dailies for days.
A subsequent report in the Phnom Penh Post on Wednesday centered on a speech in which the prime minister said he might seek to have five jailed Cambodians forgiven for their entanglement in what has been dubbed a sex scandal concerning the acting president of a political party opposed to his ruling one. Hun Sen’s remarks followed Monday’s arrest of civil rights activists essentially for wearing black shirts as they headed to a demonstration in Phnom Penh to call attention to their plight.
If civil society groups hold back during legal proceedings, suggested the price minister, the arrested individuals could be released from custody on one condition. He said: Continue reading
‘. . . most of the time, the patient has already passed away.’
The bacterium that causes Melioidosis. Source: Eye of Science
There may be some folks who call a disease that still kills the “Vietnam Time-Bomb.” More than 300 U.S. servicemen who fought in Vietnam were infected with it.
Melioidosis, as it is known medically, caused their deaths. It may be Southeast Asia’s most quiet killer, a stealthy predator.
The deadly disease occurs throughout the world’s warm climes; in Southeast Asia, it is especially present in northeastern Thailand and perhaps less so in Cambodia as far as can be known. Because it lurks with so little public awareness, physicians here don’t tend to look for it in ailing individuals, and those patients just perish, often within days.
“In Cambodia, we think 70 per cent Continue reading