Category Archives: Commentary

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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The palm wine story – nature’s gift to boozers

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Out past the dusty roadside town of Chbar Morn, the provincial capital with a market and not much else going for it save Phnom Penh to the west and Sihanoukville port to the south-east, between the hills, sprouting rice crops and mango orchards overloaded with green fruit lives Mr Sambath, an aficionado of all things palm tree and member of the guild of neak leung tnout. He makes his living as a tapper. Continue reading

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News: Aerocambodia CEO Brian Naswall arrested abusing 12 year old girl

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Police arrested an American man Friday night in Phnom Penh after they allegedly caught him sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl in the presence of two other underage girls, an official and an NGO said Sunday. Continue reading

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Under the ink: Tola, The Village Tattooist

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Nowadays it seems as if every man, woman and his/her dog in the western world is ‘inked up’. The last couple of decades have seen an explosion of ‘body art’. Gone are the days when tattoo parlours were the domain of Maoris, pissed up sailors and those used to taking regular holidays in Her Majesty’s finest institutions. From sports stars to Hollywood A-Z listers and right down to sink hole estate trash, everyone has gone under the needle. Continue reading

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