Woman, 23, gives voice to gender equality in Cambodia

Pichayada Promchertchoo chronicles the improbable influence that Catherine Harry has had on other Cambodian women in her article below.  With two of its images, the piece is published here with the permission of Channel NewsAsia, a regional news organization based in Singapore.

Anger is not always a bad thing, at least not for 23-year-old Cambodian Catherine Harry. Such emotion has led her to be featured in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2018, the magazine’s annual selection of young visionaries who tackle issues that matter in countries around the world.

-pp--forbes-cambodian

 Harris

Born bred in Cambodia, Ms Harry often gets angry about certain aspects of her culture. She finds several customs, social values and ideas that have shaped millions of lives in her homeland, oppressive towards women. In her eyes, many of them are victims of a patriarchal society, where women can be confined by what she views as outmoded conventions and biases.

Yet, Ms Harry knows Continue reading

Advertisements

Rampant injustice can be almost too much to bear

xxx - 1

The unfortunate victim of extortion for a crime that he did not commit has been working at this pool.

The 18-year-old pool attendant at my gym is gawky, gangly and unusually skinny.  No taller than my chin, he has kind of a goofy smile that always accompanies his dependably friendly greeting when we run into each other at the facility.

His was only one of two recent incidents that are symptomatic of rampant injustice in Cambodia.

I got to know the young man — call him Chan — when his job was to clean the equipment on one of the gym’s floors I visit.  I since have seen him frequently when he stands outside the glass doors at the entrance of the pool, where he has been assigned for more than a year.

On March 13, Continue reading

The latest news in Cambodia is nothing but depressing

 

daily

After 24 years of excellent journalism, the Cambodia Daily writes -30- with today’s issue.

Happy Labor Day to readers in the U.S.  I wish there were happy news to report from here in Cambodia.  The latest news is anything but that. Continue reading

Facebook spurs youth involvement in political process

IMG_5554

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

Reason foreigners cannot own ground floor: Naïveté

IMG_4689

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 hardly is a hotbed of the visual arts, but. . .

img_4126

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

The news in Cambodia gets more dispiriting every day

thumb_img_1058_1024As 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