Category Archives: Commentary

Cambodia graduates from Low Income Country status – how will that affect international aid?

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There is a concern that Cambodia’s graduation to LMIC status means it is likely to lose a large amount of much needed aid. A number of leading international NGOs have spoken out recently about the classification process in general, and how it is linked to aid. It is feared that by ‘graduating’ and losing access to still very much needed aid dollars, there is an increased risk to reverse growth trends and then ‘reverse graduate’ and fall back down the ladder. Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, Commentary, International relations, politics | Tagged , , ,

Dying to get to work

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The most lethal challenge to Cambodian workers comes not from poor ventilation or industrial machinery, but the challenge of getting to and from the sweatshops 6 days a week. It’s kinda a case of hard work never killed anyone, but the commute might just be deadly. Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, cambodia culture, Commentary, factories, Phnom Penh, provinces |

The pastor and the monster

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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…

Posted in Analysis, cambodia culture, Commentary, history, Interviews, Khmer Rouge | Tagged , , , ,

Charlie Chaplin’s Cambodia

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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. Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, cambodia culture, Commentary, history, Siem Reap, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , ,

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

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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. Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, cambodia culture, Commentary, Expat Life, News, Phnom Penh, Reviews, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , ,

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

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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. Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, Commentary, Expat Life, Reviews | Tagged , , , , ,

The Muslim Cham in Cambodia

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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. Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, cambodia culture, Commentary, religion | Tagged , , , , ,

The Executioners

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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…

Posted in Analysis, cambodia culture, Commentary, Khmer Rouge, khmer superstition, politics | Tagged , , , ,

Angkor Away on Cambo-Fiction

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Steven W. Palmer’s “Angkor Away” comes out just as the Kampot Readers and Writers Festival is about to put Cambodia on the literary map, so now is a good moment to review how Cambodia looks in English-language fiction. Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, Art, Book review, cambodia culture, Commentary | Tagged , , ,

Phnom Penh’s urban artistic renaissance

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Phnom Penh is enjoying an urban artistic renaissance, a revitalisation of Khmer contemporary music and art culture which is as fast and exciting as the development of the capital itself. The reasons for this revival are numerous and complicated, but it includes the influence of the increasing presence of international artists, a vibrant local art and music scene and numerous organisations who aim to encourage and rejuvenate Khmer artistic expression. Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, architecture, Art, cambodia culture, Cambodian music, Commentary, Events | Tagged , , , , , ,