The pastor and the monster

Christopher LaPel’s father was a Brahman priest serving Cambodia’s king in his role as the earthly incarnation of the god Vishnu. Imagine the shock and horror, therefore, when one evening at dinner he saw a cross hanging around his son’s neck: “One day while our family had supper …  I…

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Cambodia’s national symbols

The flora and fauna of Cambodia has suffered a fair bit over the past few decades. After the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979, Pol Pot and his cronies fled to sanctuary in the vast swathes of forested mountains in the north and west and used the cover to…

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Charlie Chaplin’s Cambodia

Charlie and Paulette were big news, the reporters descended, and Charlie entertained them “with much courtesy and charm” in the hotel bar (presumably the Elephant Bar). Phnom Penh, he said, was charming, the palaces and pagodas delightful, the Cambodian houses picturesque. He felt he had to question whether French Colonial villas (the ones the Europeans lived in) were perhaps a little suburban and uncomfortable, but the wide boulevards, built over newly-reclaimed canals, were the equal of those in Paris. Asked if he might consider making a movie in Cambodia, he didn’t rule it out, but also didn’t see it happening in the immediate future. He would, however, undertake to publicise Indochina as a tourist destination on his return home.

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Plagiarism, phonyism and buffoonery at the Khmer Times: Part 2 – The fake letters to the editor

The Khmer Times fabricated these letters in an apparent campaign to manipulate public opinion, by deceiving its readers about what other members of the community were really saying about Cambodia’s most important political issues of the day. This scheme demonstrated a blatant disregard for journalistic ethics, which are based on telling readers the truth about what is happening around them, rather than trying to hoodwink them. The fact that Mr. Mohan actually thought his clumsy campaign of deceit would work is a profound insult to the intelligence of the Khmer Times’ readers.

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Plagiarism, Phonyism and Buffoonery at the Khmer Times: Part 1 – The Editorial Columns

Mr. Mohan took an easier but even more deceitful path. He repeatedly stole knock off content from Malaysian newspapers about things happening there, figuring that no one in Cambodia was looking. Then he wrapped this counterfeit content up for his Khmer Times readers by occasionally changing a few of the names, and sold it to them as genuine content and commentary concerning the CPP, CNRP, and political events in Cambodia.

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The Muslim Cham in Cambodia

Would the Cham become more assertive or even more extremist if their population were larger? It is perhaps a moot point when discussing a minority group representing just over 1% of the national population, a demographic reality not likely to change anytime soon. For the moment, Cambodia looks like a beacon of religious tolerance and freedom, the nation’s xenophobia and exophthalmic rage aimed more in the direction of the local Vietnamese community.

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The Executioners

Here is the big question: how and why did a Buddhist nation produce one of the 20th century’s worst genocides, and one which is marked by so many horrific instances of cruelty and savage violence? A whole chapter in my book Spirit Worlds is devoted to this and for my…

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To live and die in South East Asia

Death and taxes are the only things certain in life so they reckon. Well death anyway: some people never pay taxes. Where you choose to live invariably impacts on where you’re likely to die and, in some cases, how. Some expats choose to live in Southeast Asia and some die…

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Khmer don’t need no education

Last year almost 75% of grade 12 students across the country failed their final exams after an anti-corruption drive, which was deemed rather unsporting, as every other grade 12 student in previous years had lied, bribed and cheated in order to pass with flying colours. Somebody must take the blame, and as usual shit always rolls downhill, from the MoEYaS, to the provincial education offices, to the school directors, to the teachers and perhaps the students themselves.

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