New construction alters prime area’s ambiance, views

The character of my Boeung Keng Kang I neighborhood has undergone a remarkable transformation in the three years ago this month that I moved to Phnom Penh.

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In this photo from my roof, every high building looking east was built in the last two or three years, probably less. The grey one in the foreground was just completed. The crane in the background (right) atop an unseen tall building with a dramatic elliptical shape is some months from completion.

As I have written in the past, one reason is the explosion of fast-food restaurants in my neighborhood, which is popular with expats.  The other reason is the breakneck speed of new construction, which is obliterating pleasant mid-century villas and the shade of trees that are recklessly cut down on every block.

Perhaps I could argue against the change, though that would be folly.  Instead, what I can rant about is Continue reading

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A critically acclaimed book treats an unlikely topic

Who wouldda thought that a book titled The Big Necessity would attract rave reviews?  Reveled the New York Times:

“You will be hard-pressed to put this extraordinary book down.”

And this from Newsweek:

“One smart book. . . delving deep into the history and implications of a daily act that dare not speak its name.”

If you’re still in the dark, here’s the subtitle: “The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters.”  Continue reading