My heart went out to a cat with her litter of three

Begging for food outside the café, Brownie,before she was able to gain weight.

Begging me for food outside Brown , “my” cat before she gained weight.

If I didn’t travel so much, perhaps I would have invited home the stray and her two tiny surviving offspring.

I spotted the mom perhaps two months ago at the Brown café I frequent.  A calico, she was painfully thin and suffered from diarrhea.

From the employees and parking attendants who have come to know me because I am at the coffee place so often, I learned that she had given birth.  But the kitties were nowhere to be seen in the cluttered staff room in which she had taken up residence.  Nor was she always around.

I named her — what else? — Brownie, began purchasing food for her and enlisted the Brown staff to look after her during my absences.  But I was worried that the waif, who was nursing until a couple of weeks ago, would soon become pregnant again.

Thus began a saga that pretty much ended before dawn Sunday morning Continue reading

Bundle up for month-long cold spell, health officials say

ThermometerCambodians joke that the country has but two seasons, rainy and hot.

It turns out that there is a third one, according to the health authorities.  They have issued warnings about a cold spell that is expected to last until early next month.

By “cold,” they mean as low as 13 degrees Celsius (55.4 Fahrenheit) in mountains that are hours on the road from Phnom Penh and 22 degree Celsius (71.6 Fahrenheit) in the capital city. Continue reading

This is big week in Phnom Penh, too big by magnitudes

Boat races and fireworks are highlights of the three-day Water Festival.  (Photo: The Cambodia Daily)

Boat races and fireworks are highlights of the three-day Water Festival. (Photo: The Cambodia Daily)

The peak of the rainy season is supposedly long past, but it seems that nobody told the monsoon master.

When there is a downpour here, the rain roars so loud that it wakes many of us, including me, from a deep sleep.  Time to close the windows to just a crack.

Although the season normally ends around now, my first such experience of it seems significantly out of sync with the usual situation.  Hours-long deluges and days of off-and-on rain over the last couple of weeks have proved to be the exception to what I understand to be the rule.

It pours down even as a three-day holiday approaches this week.  The aptly named water festival takes places during the first week of November, when the river called Tonle Sap reverses direction, a phenomenon new to me.

Sometimes the rain is so heavy that Continue reading

Journalists, NGOs wrestle with their conflicting needs

ruom 2

Both staff and freelance journalists and individuals who work at nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) jammed a discussion last week about working together. (Photos: Ruom Collective)

An intriguing organization that specializes in social reportage throughout Southeast Asia sponsored a thought-provoking conversation between NGOs and journalists last week.

The idea, promoted by the impressive Ruom Collective enterprise, was to create an understanding of how each “side” could work together better than they perceive occurs now.

At Meta House, the German Cambodian Cultural Center in Phnom Penh, the event appealed to me because I worked for substantial periods of time on both sides of the desk.  It was a worthy event, though I’d heard many of the same issues explored previously and repeatedly over many years.

On the one hand, the journalists understandably wish for unfettered and unfiltered access to the NGOs’ operations, their clients and their finances.  “Transparency” is a word that surfaced frequently during the earnest discussion, which lasted until a deluge forced an end to the Wednesday evening session after approximately 75 minutes.

On the other hand, the NGOs seek Continue reading

Whither Cambodia after political deadlock is fractured?

Prime Minister Hun Sen (left) and CNRP leader Sam Rainsy perform for the cameras.  (Source: Khmer Times)

Prime Minister Hun Sen (left) and CNRP leader Sam Rainsy perform for the cameras, but their agreement is wanting. (Source: Khmer Times)

It is hard to consider as anything but a sellout the opposition party’s agreement last week to take its seats in the National Assembly after a year-long deadlock.

The Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) had boycotted the parliament following the July 2013 election, which the opposition had justifiably branded as rigged.

The government of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s continuing strong-arm tactics over the past year (and many years before) persuaded CNRP President Sam Rainsy to declare victory and cave in, perhaps pointlessly.

Implicitly acknowledging that he had capitulated to a far greater power than the opposition ever could muster by taking to the streets, Rainsy publicly conceded that the deal he made with the devil was his only choice for ending the impasse.  At the same time, however, the globally gallivanting Rainsy turned his back on the large minority faction in his party.

Kem Sokha (left) and Sam Rainsy at Sunday's event.

Kem Sokha (left) and Sam Rainsy at Sunday’s event in a Phnom Penh park.  (Source: Cambodge Info)

That the leader of the CNRP faction, Kem Sokha, had been long silent about the pact is proof of the party’s vulnerability and thus its weakening as a collective force against the Cambodian People’s Party of Hun Sen, who has had an iron grip on the nation for nearly three decades.

Behind the scenes, Sokha did consent to be appointed a top parliamentary official, First Vice President of the National Assembly, so there obviously has been an effort to keep the CNRP from splintering.  Whether that initiative will work in the end is an open question: The evidence is mounting that Sokha’s supporters have been quietly demanding appeasement even as attempts to do so could result in the collapse of the agreement between the CPP and CNRP.

It was, after all, Sokha’s objection to an earlier informal agreement that Continue reading

These have not been good times for many journalists

That's me holding the last "F" and Rick Valenzuela of the Phnom Penh Post and Overseas Press Club holding the "R," third from right.

That’s me holding the last “F” and Rick Valenzuela of the Phnom Penh Post and Overseas Press Club holding the “R,” third from right. He organized the event.

While there has been plenty of news to cover globally, the bad news is that many journalists are having a bad time of it. Injustices and abuses abound.

All over the world, there have been incidents of journalists being muzzled, harassed, imprisoned, wounded and killed.  And all they try to do is a good job, reporting what happens in conditions that can be overwhelmingly challenging.

Of course, there are elements across the globe Continue reading

Next Queens auction to be held September 10

This Forest Hills semi-attached residence, which is subject to tenancy, has a minimum bid of $488,000 in the public administrator’s upcoming estate auction.

Queens Public Administrator Lois M. Rosenblatt will auction off four co-ops along with 14 single-family houses and other properties on Sept. 10 at 11 Sutphin Blvd. in Jamaica.

Properties range in price from $19,500 for 1.2 acres of vacant land in Greene County to $1.688 million for a one-story, 4,960-sf commercial warehouse in Long Island City.

You can find all the details here.

To take your own bite out of the Big Apple, you have the option here to search all available properties privately.

Subscribe by Email


Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201