Why do many posts here seem to center on one topic?

battambang_small

National Bank of Cambodia in Battambang

The most charitable reaction I can attribute to someone’s recent comment to me is that I was taken aback.  Somehow, it seemed like a criticism, and whose skin is thinner than mine?

What that acquaintance said is my blog seems to center on money.  “It does,” I thought?  How can that be?”  Then I thought again.

Perhaps Continue reading

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Same veiled request can be more than daily occurrence

Blind Nang Sokearath, 25, is typical of disabled Cambodians trying to scrape up a living. The powers that be have vowed to remove such folks from the Phnom Penh's streets.

Blind Nang Sokearath, 25, is typical of disabled Cambodians trying to scrape up a living. The powers that be have vowed to remove such folks from Phnom Penh’s streets.  The city periodically sweeps up ordinary street beggars too, then essentially jails them.  Source: Phnom Penh Post

The kind of remark I hear all the time was addressed to me an unprecedented three times in one day, on Tuesday, a record that surprised me.

This being Southeast Asia, indirection often is the way questions are answered, criticisms are provided and requests are made.  My experience on Tuesday was all about requests, though no one actually asked this barang (foreigner) outright for help.

The English dailies these days seem to be accelerating their coverage and analysis of corruption, the wicked stepmother of deprivation in a nation with great potential that is far from realized.  As I have written previously in this regard, I keep thinking about thriving Singapore, the tiny city-state that was approximately at the same stage of development as Cambodia half a century ago and that has far fewer natural resources.

The veiled requests concerned Continue reading

Being a foreigner in local markets can be daunting

This is not my local market, but it is typical of markets found everywhere in Cambodia.

This is not my local market, but, other than its spaciousness, it’s typical of indoor markets found everywhere in Cambodia.  I recall that I took this photo on an important Buddhist holiday.

Closing in on two years in this country, I relish more than ever my daily encounters with Cambodians and the chance to practice my atrocious grasp of the language.

It is one thing to try to speak and understand Khmer with waiters and gym trainers who are bilingual to greater or lesser degrees. They seem to enjoy my struggles with pronunciation — you try to articulate as one sound the diphthong “ng” and the triphthong “pdt.”

It is quite another thing to climb the Mount Everest of fathoming a normal rush of words that I know yet fail miserably to hear when they are strung together in speech.

I long ago gave up trying to read or, horrors, write the language.  But words and some grammar are beginning to sink in and I now can engage in the most rudimentary of short conversations such as ordering food in a restaurant.

The big problem with learning Khmer where I usually range is that almost everyone seems to speak enough English that I am not called upon to use the local language.  Moreover, they usually don’t expect me to speak Khmer and I don’t always expect them to speak English, inevitably causing confusion.  Still, I persist stubbornly.

In the last several weeks, I finally have become emboldened to Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Renters reject commissions, pending sales up over year, rates set record, list IDs ugliest mansions, recovery talk ignites debate

Although able to buy multimillion-dollar residences, some very rich folks choose to rent at sky-high prices instead

Fire Department takes dim view of dangling air conditioners and undertakes strong action

Landlord’s empire of apartment buildings collects thousands of code violations

City comptroller expects large residential properties to maintain value

40 percent of renters say they won’t pay broker’s fee purely on principle

Some Brooklyn renters moving back to Manhattan, where they find cheaper digs

With luxury home sales hitting record, surging Hamptons activity nearly matches 2007

City Council overwhelmingly approves NYU expansion plan

Sales, prices of new condos in Brooklyn boom in Q2 vs. prior year

Westchester communities experience parent drain after commencements

Broadway couple trades hit musical for the Hit Factory

She kisses good-bye to Tribeca condo at a small loss

Filmmaker decides it’s time to sell California estate at an asking price of $9.5 million

Index of contracts signed in June Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Rising condo taxes, foreclosure woes, price declines, ‘typical’ buyer, much more

Next week, I’ll have just one or two posts and hope that my readers have a very happy Thanksgiving.

Library is great resource for the history of your building

For $1,000 a month, an UWS apartment — uh, room or closet — can be yours!

Yesterday’s buyers in tax-abated buildings come to grips with tomorrow’s escalating costs

More folks moved to the city last year than left it for the first time in decades

A Times columnist tries out Airbnb in the city

City’s wealthy suburbs among nation’s hardest hit by foreclosures

Condos in unbuilt UES development boom as in times gone by

Pre-foreclosure filings in October down 20% from September and 39% from one year earlier

Brooklyn is friendliest borough to (wo)man’s best friend

What is the definition of ‘market value’

Nemo and Mickey join Department of Housing Preservation and Development

WestSideRag posts funny, cutting rant about broker babble

Unemployment rate ticks up, concerning at least one economist

He sees rich people for this Sun Valley listing

Fashion designer Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: The Big Apple and beyond. Rates hit record low, lower Manhattan surges

Change is good: Weekly Roundup, which I will continue to post on Fridays, will now be combined with a shorter (and admittedly less work-intensive) version of  The Big AppleI hope you like the results.

Developers are beginning to build smaller

And condo conversions are coming back

By the sea, by the beautiful sea sees rising. . . interest

Lower Manhattan becomes one of city’s fastest-growing residential sections

Fed’s Beige Book finds continued ‘sluggish’ residential construction and sales in tri-state region

NYU launches subsidized housing information project with information on 235,000 rental units

Appraiser assesses impact on housing market of two memorable events

Region’s foreclosure rates continue to rise, exceeding the nation’s

Donna does it again. . . in Continue reading