23 August 2008

Seda speaking in Australia...

Here are a couple of pictures of Seda speaking at a church in Australia about her work with Transform Cambodia... on the left is the pastor of the church, and on the right is one of the main Australian leaders...


16 August 2008

War with Thailand, National Elections and the Khmer Rouge Trial…

Cambodia, the center of world news? You may laugh, but there have been at least three things lately that have brought Cambodia to the center of world news.

First – Cambodia has been on the brink of war with Thailand for over a month since the United Nations declared the Preah Vihear temple site a world heritage site… the problem is that Thailand believes that the temple is in Thai territory and Cambodia asserts that it is not. The end result is that near the temple there are groups of Thai soldiers on one side and groups of Khmer soldiers on the other… neither side wants to fight each other, and it would be rather surprising if they actually did… nevertheless, neither side wants to back down either. The UN committee that recognized the site says that it lies within Cambodia, but Thailand says that the maps are wrong. As of yesterday, both countries agreed to back off from the 'border' to help alleviate the tension.

Second – Cambodia had their national elections last month… official campaigning is only two weeks! (Maybe the US could learn something from that)… unlike the US though, the final result of the election is determined before the campaigning begins… the three major opposition parties have lodged complaints against the ruling party (and when I say ruling, I mean with a fist of iron) that about 200,000 people were kept from voting in the election… apparently these people went to the polls only to find that their names had disappeared from the rolls of voters… since the Cambodia’s People Party (the ruling party) controls the national election committee, it is not hard to connect the dots here… the 200,000 that were kept from voting represented all of the different political parties, but it seemed obvious that tampering had been done… nonetheless, Hun Sen once again emerges as the leader (some would say dictator) of Cambodia, somehow with 70% of the vote… so for the next five years, his reign of keeping a woefully governed country locked into corrupt practices will continue…

Third – The trial of several of the highest ranking officers in the Khmer Rouge (the political leaders of the country from 1975-1979 that were responsible for the genocide of 1.7 million people), seems to have finally done something… the man that was in charge of Toul Sleng Prison where over 16,000 people were tortured and killed has finally reached the trial stage… it is hard to know what they have been doing for the last few years as he has been sitting in prison… I have not read the complete story, but Duch (his name), became a Christian and had founded a human rights organization before he was arrested… unfortunately, as is common in Cambodia, corruption has derailed much of this trial… the human rights watch group Open Society Justice Initiative made public several accusations that prompted the UN to stop funding of the trial…(essentially people who were appointed to the trial were being made to give kick backs to the government officials that gave them the position... I am sure it was more than $10)... so from an outsiders perspective, I guess that the Cambodians thought “the well of free money has just dried up, maybe if we actually do something, it may start of flowing again…” who knows? Welcome to Cambodian politics…

Here is the funny (?) thing… many Cambodians don’t even know that these things are happening…

11 August 2008

Riatry with an ice cream moustache...


Left of center

Now that traffic is getting more and more difficult to navigate because of the increase of people and vehicles in Phnom Penh, a new and terrifying aspect has come to light... if people don't like traffic on their side of the road, they proceed to go left of center into on coming traffic... I don't know about other Asian countries, but Cambodians do not do lines very well... actually, it is an anomaly when you see them in a line... clustering is more common... everyone must be first... I ave had a few experiences lately where motos and cars have (at high speeds) come left of center and driven straight towards me... keep me in your prayers...

07 August 2008

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Just finished reading this the other day... always a treat... actually I found a free podcast version of it that I could listen to at the same time that I read... that can bring out interesting things that you might not notice when merely reading... "What fools these mortals be!"

Seda is on the way to Australia!

Well, after numerous problems, Seda did finally get off of the ground in Phnom Penh on her way to Australia... to make a long story short, they would not allow her on her initial flight out of Phnom Penh, and after we visited the airline (not in the airport, but across the city in a hotel...???) and talking to a variety of people in Australia, she was able to get to Singapore, but that was only the beginning of the problems... I have only talked to her a little bit, but she was supposed to connect with a woman that she would stay with for the night, and then back to the airport... it was not to be. She had problems with immigration in Singapore, and they made her stay in the airport... the woman in Singapore got her a room at a hotel in the airport, and she should be getting close to getting there soon, but it sounded like a terrible encounter... especially for her first time flying... in addition to being the first person to ever graduate from university, there is now another Seda Leth first in that she is the FIRST person in her family to EVER leave Cambodia... amazing...

Some pics from Seda's center...




An old pic that I found...

thanks, John McC...

When it rains, it pours...

It is the rainy season in Cambodia right now, and so, even though it has not rained as much as in other years, when it does decide to rain, it doesn't mess around... here are some pics of some children playing with styrofoam outside of Seda's center...

04 August 2008

Why the Beatles are the greatest rock band ever: Reason #4 "Yesterday"

I have not made a Beatles posting in a long, long time... so here is my reason #4 that they are the greatest band ever... the song 'Yesterday'... Paul McCartney wrote this single handedly, and then had George Martin construct a string quartet to accompany it... the result? The Number #1 love song of all time... McCartney is still (40+ years later) singing it on every concert... the fans just love it...

Sometimes, there ae things that you just can not explain in Cambodia...

I saw this sign yesterday, and just about fell off my moto... what an odd sign to have flying in Cambodia... It occured to me that there must have been a foreign diplomat in the country... it is still strange...



Two of my buddies...

Riatry, Seda and I took a couple of pics after church...