Saturday, December 15, 2007

Toys Toys Toys in Cambodia: Monument Toys

It seems to be that I am not longer mainly a IT-Consultant but going into the toys business. I just started working in the Monument Toys Store, helping to set it up after the extension to 250 square meters. And more work has to be done.
So if you are looking for high quality toys like wooden toys from Plan Toys, like Lego oder Bandai, like Corolle - Dolls - lets say: from world brands - then have a look in our store on #111 Norodom Bloulevard, open daily from 7.30 until 21.00.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Corruption in Cambodia

Cambodia is number 2 in the world - of corruption, following a report of Transparency International, who interviewed people here whether they have paid bribes or not to get some services. 72 Percent say yes, only in Cameroon the number is higher (79percent).

Sunday, December 2, 2007

No riverview anymore in Phnom Penh

The most crazy thing I saw in the recent weeks is the new fence on the riverfront. Sometimes I really wonder who are the people are responsible for a nonsense like this. For the next 3 years - as an article in the Cambodia Daily told me - people sitting on the riverfront ion one of the bars, restaurants and cafés will just have a look on a green fence, covering a drainage improving construction side. I hope one of the powerful people, how they are called here, will see this fence personally and will take action to remove it. Otherwise, the last remaining tourists will skip a visit to Phnom Penh. What will be understandable.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

We made it: Germany won the Volleyball Championship


We finally made it after a really breathtaking match: Germany succeeded Slovakia after five sets! Video from 2007 WOVD Phnom Penh Volleyball World Cup:

Friday, November 23, 2007

Cambodian Blogger Award

I dont really like awards like this, but maybe its helpful to get some attention in the media again: Open Forum is holding a Blogger Award, Vutha told me via his Blog Unfortunatly I cannot find any news on the Open Forums Website?

My new reading glasses as requested


Marion sent a comment below asking for a picture..Marion? I know you? May you mail me?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Great Grand Optics

After the last weeks I discovered that I really getting older: My eyes tell me that its time for new glasses. So I went to Grand Optics on Norodom (opposite of Exotissimo Travel) and asked for an eye testing. Wow, what a great and friendly service they have. I am really surprised about knowledge, english skills, how helpful they are. And: The price is quite reasonable, I bought new titanium frame and non-reflecting glasses for 65 US$. I can pick up my new glasses tomorrow, so they are fast too.

UPDATE: Yes, I like the glasses, Got a box for them also. Again: Great service. And better reading experience.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Except Koreans

The MoT stated that according to the law foreign nationals are not authorized to be tour guides. However, due to the increase of Korean tourists and the lack of Korean-speaking tour guides, the MoT has allowed Korean tour guides to operate in Cambodia for a temporary period. Students will speak Korean by the end of 2009.

Btw: There is a lack of a lot of foreign language speaking guides right now. And as far as I know, the Koreans have their won hotels, their own bus companies, even thei won restaurants. The guides were the only possibility to left some money in the country..

Garment the next big thing in Cambodia

When I was reading the Phnom Penh Post article about the business leader meeting in PP at the beginning of November, I was really surprised about what the Manager of the garment industry association (or so) said:"Do it now or you will be to late." Does anyone really believe that garment is the next biog thing in Cambodia. Despite the fact, that international companies more and more take care of the conditions of productions, Vietnam seems to be far ahead as well as China. I know people who had to close their factories because of the hard fights in the market.

The article also told that electricity is a major obstacle and that they will build up industrial zones near the Thai and Vietnam border, because then they can buy electricity from neighboring countries. If I am an investor, I would think about starting my business then directly in Thailand or Vietnam.

Lets come to "Cambodia Airlines". There would be just ONE possibility to make a story of success: If a Cambodian Airline runs by a private company, http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifjust paying a fixed fee to the government, and that it. If there is any official involvement in the operating business or in investment, forget it.

On Vuthasurf
I just found a link to the government-private sector forum.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

French women died in Phnom Penh after beeing robbed

UPDATE: Its still not clear if it was an accident or a robbery. Different police office are telling different stories. The problem seems to be the lack of witnesses. When I passed by, a foreigner (man in the 30s, red shirt) were standing there, apparently talking on the phone to somebody. Maybe he is a witness.. If someone got more information regarding Aurelia Lacroix accident, please send me an email or a comment.

There are stories in Cambodge soir as well as in Cambodia Daily right now.

I was passing by an accident scene, where a young french woman died after robbers tried to snap her handbag. She was sitting on a mototaxi and fell off, when a minivan was passing by. She was hit by the van and died. The Motodriver as well as the van driver and of course the robbers fled the scene. I had to pass just centimeters from her body. It was a shock.

I just got this message i copied from the campodiaparentsnetwork:
Yesterday afternoon my driver informed me that he witnessed a scene where a foreign woman was pulled off of her moto taxi by purse snatchers (he called them "gangs") and was then instantly (accidentally) hit by a vehicle and killed. This story haunted me for the rest of the evening, as I worried about this poor woman, wondering how they would identify her to inform her family if her purse was taken. Today the story made it to the newspaper and it seems that they did not succeed in taking her purse so she's been identified as a 28 year-old French woman named Aurelia Lacroix. The article ends by saying that evidence is inconclusive as to whether it was a purse snatching or regular traffic accident. Let me assure you that this was a purse-snatching that ended tragically and is now the 3rd (and worst) story I have heard of foreign women being injured after being dragged off moving vehicles by men on motorbikes who were after their bags. It seems that they are not deterred by broad daylight or crowds, nor the fact that their victims bags are secured to their arms or bodies. So far all the victims I've heard about have been foreign women. So please please beware! At this stage it would seem advisable to avoid riding motodops altogetherr and if you must, to not carry any kind of visible purse or bag. The same would apply to tuks tuks. Either keep bags completely hidden, or
on the contrary, put valuables in your pocket and leave bags on the floor of the tuk tuk, unattached to your body, so that if someone really wanted it, they could just take it. This is unofficial advice and what I would choose to do, but if anyone else has other safety tips, please share them. My condolences to anyone who knew Aurelia.


And thats the story from AFP:
PHNOM PENH, Nov 14, 2007 (AFP) - A French woman was killed Wednesday when she was struck by a mini-bus after being pulled off a motorcycle taxi by purse-snatchers in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, police said.
Aurelia Lacroix, 28, died instantly following the noon-time robbery, which occurred when at least two young men on a motorcycle pulled up alongside her and grabbed her purse, said Ben Khun, deputy Phnom Penh traffic police chief.
"The victim fell off the motorcycle taxi and the mini-bus ran her over," he told AFP.
Officials said Lacroix was working as a legal intern in Cambodia.
The robbers escaped, he said, while both the bus and taxi drivers fled the scene, he added.
While robberies have decreased overall in Cambodia, purse and chain-snatching are on the rise and are particularly problematic around major holidays, affecting Cambodians and foreigners alike.
Cambodia next week is set to begin celebrating the Water Festival, which draws millions of people to the capital for four days of boat races and parties.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

No twitterers in Cambodia

Just talked to Viirak about twitter, and it seems that there are not really a lot of active twitterers in Cambodia? Why? Because users are not online the whole day like us sitting in an office?

Cambotube gets famous

Started quietly Cambotube now gets a push after a report on Cambodia Daily, I hope. Its interesting that they focus on Cambodian videos, or Cambodia related. Maybe its just in case of any concerns of the government. In the Dailys article an governmental official told that its ok to offer Cambotube, but its watched for violation of Cambodian laws (which is understandable) and if its to belittle Cambodian culture. "Sites like this must operate within the frameworks, traditions and customs of Cambodia". Thats the important fact, because thats where censorship is not far away. Like in a provincial museum, when the prime minister discovered a dummy with UNTAC-uniform standing near a Cambodian girl with t-shirt and hot pants and kind of ordered teh remove, because a museum should show the nice Cambodia and the rich culture and not this period - which is of course economically one of the most important periods, because the UN troops brought a lot of money into the country.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

ECCC runs out of money

via krtrial info:
The time for the tribunal in which trial of surviving former Khmer Rouge leaders will be held is getting very short, and its funds are also running out, Khmer Rouge Tribunal's International Co-Prosecutor said Wednesday during the break of the Fourth Colloquium of International Prosecutors on November 7, 2007.

"We have only one year left," Co-Prosecutor Robert Petit told Reuters during the break. "The budget of some $56 million for the trial of leaders most responsible for the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime is also running out."


Maybe that is kind of strategy of eccc's opponents?

Phnom Penh Night Market

I joined tonight the new Phnom Penh Night Market, what will be open unteil end of November as an experiment on the riverside (near the K-West REstaurant or Amanjaya Hotel). There are only local products, around 100 stalls or so.
The main focus as I understand are on tourists, but when I was there the majority were Cambodians looking for the new market.
Tomorrorw I will try to make a video. So stay tuned :-)

By the way: Vutha does have some pictures

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Back from Blogger Meeting aka Phnom Penh Tech Saturday

Right back from the Blogger Meeting aka Phnom Penh Tech Saturday on TC Coffee. Just for the record: Next meeting will be on Saturday December 1st at 6.pm.

So what is this meeting about?

Its first intended to bring people together who are interested in tech topics, like blogs and internet. So its a networking event.

We also discuss (or try to) special topics, like film making in Cambodia, or how to use a wiki or - my all time favorite - podcasting.

who can attend?
Everyone who is interested in these topics. You can come and listen, you can make a presentation, its up to you.

How to know about next meeting?
Just subscribe to the cloggersummit google group (the tech Saturday is kind of a spin off of the cloggersummit) and you will be informed via email.

We were also discussing about organizing Cambodia's first Barcamp. Barcamps are a un-conference, mainly about computer and internet topics. So if you interested in this, just come on Saturday December 1st. to TC Coffee (we are upstairs!) at 6.p.m.

Oh, by the way, this blogpost is dedicated to Nearirath! We missed you!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Economy in Cambodia in danger?

Just want to point on this article in Borins Blog about the economy in Cambodia and its facing problems. His theory is that its all based on land sale - and all means a possible crisis too!

* Land and property trading is among the only small group of people buying and selling from each other without money pumped from foreign investor.
* Foreign investor do not like rising in land price because before investing in any project investor consider on many factors such as return on investment, payback period. For example if you invest too much in land and property the amount of time which you can collect your investment back is extremely long.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Cambodia Daily on the impacts of tourism in Cambodia

I was quite upset when I was reading an article in todays Cambodia Daily about tourism impacts on Cambodia. In summary the article says (without real proof), that tourism delays Cambodias development. For example, because there is just foreign investment and that none of the investors are caring about education.
Let's say some words: without tourism, there would be a old airport in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap would be just a small village, there were less roads in Cambodia and a lot people more are unemployed. So, its nonsense to say tourism delays development.
The main problem Cambodia has is that there is no own development. It's always based on foreign investments and NGOs projects. The governments part seems to be collecting taxes and fees. But there is a strong need for better infrastructure in IT, roads, electricity and education. Its really hard sometimes to find real qualified people. Not only in the tourism business.

Movies under the stars on Raffles Le Royal

We tried to attend the movies night on Raffles Le Royal, but unfortunatly it started to rain a little bit and we were just the only viewers. It was a little bit surprising that no one really take care of us when we was standing arround, seeing staff running around with a new dvd-player. After this, we decided to leave and had a drink at q-bar (and by the way, discovered that nataly made it on the asialife's cover story about tourism in cambodia). The cover title is related to Nataly quote "If there is a brand for Cambodia, it's Angkor")

Monday, November 5, 2007

Open Forum Workshop: Internet Use in Cambodia

Today I had the great opportunity to be a participant of a Open Forums workshop about the use of internet in Cambodia. I learned a lot, could listen to the discussion and met some people I already knew from former meetings.
First I would like to say thank you to the organizers and sponsors. A very concentrated workshop, interesting topics and speakers. And by the way thanks for the translation service. Great job!

There are some typical issues in Cambodia regarding internet development. The price for using internet is high, the coverage area is small, mainly the cities, there is not knowledge of using the internet and there is the language barrier: The most internet sites are in english, just a few are in Khmer. Another obstacle is less electricity especially in the provinces and rural areas.

Starting with 6000 users in 2000 there were 44.000 internet users in 2007 - what is only 0.3 percent of the population. And: the statistics could be wrong, sometimes they count just official subscribers, not the people using this subscription.

How do people use the internet? Like in the whole world. As I learned from the speakers, male Cambodians are chatting and gaming, while females are mainly looking for educational documents.

Kith Changkrisna, who was speaking for NIDA, a governmental institution for developing IT in Cambodia, presented some numbers of internet and mobile phone users. Only 35.000 fixed phone line users are just a few compared with 1.5 million mobile phone users. 16.000 people seem to be internet subscribers, 6.500 are using ADSL, 1950 Broadband.

The internet connection in Cambodia is limited by the backbone: 150 mps comes from a satellite connection while 100 Mps are through optical fibre cable, connected to Vietnam and Thailand.

As Channda Sok, CEO of ISP Angkor.net explained, its not just the problem of international connection to the word wide web. The main reason for the relativly high prices are the fees and taxes. From a 49 US$ sales prices the government got 37 US$ for renting the line. Per law its not allwoed to use own land lines, she said. That makes it impossible to lower the prices, she said. For example, the governments renting costs of a line from Phnom Penh to Battambang is about 3000 US$ per month. You need a lot of costumers there to get a return of these costs.

Although NIDA is working on a IT policy and a masterplan of develop the IT in Cambodia, there are still many problems to be solved. John Denny, a consultant in education, explains, that also cultural obstacles, like that girls better stay at home than to study, low education levels and high costs for school , have to be fixed.
And even the teachers are not really prepared for the future, he said: Just 6 percent of all people working in the educational sector have a bachelor degree.
John solution: bring small, energy saving computers to school, install e-learning software and train the teachers.

So whats the conclusion? The government have to decrease the fees, have to invest in education and infrastructure. There should be more real competition in the ISP-market. Also students have to stay longer in school, because there is a lack of well educated employees. And: There should be a business starting wround the interet. Not only based by IPSs, but also based on e-commerce. Thats the next important step, I think.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Next Phnom Penh Tech Saturday

our next Tech Saturday meeting is scheduled for *Saturday, November 10th,* T&C Coffee, on Monivong Blvd across from Wat Kos at 6 PM. Please mark your calendar and spread the word. A Wikispace will be set up the next days...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Students welcome Kim Yong-Il from North Korea

Just got this from AFP:
Kim, the highest-ranking North Korean official to visit Cambodia in
six years, was greeted at the airport by Prime Minister Hun Sen and
hundreds of flag-waving students.

I can not believe that students really welcome a north-korean prime minister. What he and his government is doin to their own people is not much better then the burmese junta.
So either the students were forced to go to the airport (what would remind me on the communist countries and the former soviet union) or they did not learn in school anything about human rights.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

PETA and the concerns about KFC in Cambodia

There is a story about PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) in Cambodia Daily and their concerns regarding a KFC in Cambodia. The government recently has allowed KFC to set up restaurants here.
The concerns are: KFC will threaten peoples health, will lead to animal abuse and - threaten cambodias culture.

PETA is doing an incredible job, and, yes, sometimes you need some PR in the media. Thats why they fighting against the big companies. And yes, the KFCs may be lead to animal abuse.

But: KFC is not really threatening cambodias culture. Just walk arround, see the Lucky-Burger and the Family-Pizza-Chain, the Coffes Shops and the Boom-Boom-ipod-stores. Look on the menu at the most restaurants and you will find spaghetti, red thai curry and fish amok. Thats how tourism works: provide, what the clients want. and that sometimes is different to what PETA wants. A culture is not written in stone, it should be reflected by other cultures. And as there is some ïnternational culture coming in, cambodian culture still changed. otherwise, you have to re-open angkor wat as a temple, move the government to siem reap (which is the again just a monarchy) and bring the people back to the rice fields.

And: look how animals are still treated in cambodia? ever seen the chicken on the motorbike? or even the dogs in the basket? I am not sure wether KFC or local farmers treat the animals better?

By the way: I am really looking forward for the first starbucks in town!

Free press and the powerful people

Just want to point to this story I read in the mirror:
A few hours after the publication by local newspapers that the authorities had arrested a navy general’s son without mentioning the names clearly yesterday morning, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, the Minister of Information and the government’s spokesperson, asked all media agencies to publish the names of the parents of culprits clearly so that it is easy for higher level authorities to take action. This wide permission was announced by the Ministry of Information after many newspapers had not dared to publish the names of culprits who are children of high ranking officials or bodyguards of high ranking officials, by just saying that they are the children of Ta Ta [grandfathers – this refers to high ranking officials]] or the bodyguards of powerful people.... read more

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dog-owners meeting

Its really hard to let your dogs run in Phnom Penh, because there are no parks, and if there are some squaremeters of green dogs are not allowed. So its really helfpul that the owner of the GASOLINA, located oin the 57th street, allows dogowners to bring their pets in every Saturday from 10.30 a.m. on. The dogs can run and play arround while we have breakfast and chatting a lot. Perfectly.

Trekking in Cambodia



This video was produced for Exotissimo Travel , who arrange your holidays perfectly.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Anti-Child-abuse-campaign

Just found these thoughts on Sharkys website. I think he is absolutely right. Last reports about of the demand of virgin girls told that the major requests are from Asians. That does not mean that westerns are innocent. But if you fight against anything you need to know who your enemies are - and where they are from.

We all know the billboards and adverts stating: "Abuse a child in this country. Go to jail in yours." I totally agree even if they do need them translated into Chinese, Japanese and Khmer. The campaign is sponsored by World vision (USAID). Meanwhile 500 charges against pedophile Catholic priests in L.A are dropped when the church hands over $660 million! Now if that isn't double standards I don't know what is! Oops forgot. It's the church isn't it. Rules don't apply to them!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Biking in Cambodia

Cambodias Countryside

I just came back from a trip to Siem Reap, where I shot a promotional video for exotissmo. I joined a trekking group, following them for one day - and it was beautiful. Beside some know obstacles in this country, the moment you leave Phnom Penh and go to the countryside, everything is forgotten.
Of course its the best time right know, the ricefields a beautiful green, the palms gives you some shadow on the way, and luckily we had no rain there. And: I really love to talk to the local people, even if we have no common language. Its a forever experience to see how the boys fishing rice crabs or how the mother is prparing food for their family. Its brings you down from the internet-age to that, what real life is for the most people in the world.
Maybe we will come back on time to basics like this, when we used the last drops of oil, when economy collapsed and pollution in s the city were on a peak that nobody can breath anymore.. watch CNN Planet in Peril, and you will see, that its not just a nightmare anymore. in parts of China, maybe Bangkok, its still reality.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Investments form North Korea

Hmm, how to handle a regime like North Korea? Ignore it? Todey in the Cambodia daily there was e arport saying that Cambodia will sign an investment deal in November with Kim Jong Ill. Cambodias Commerce Minister said, there should be a realationship to "give the north korean government air to breathe" and show them an exit. He compared the diplomacy status to the Cambodian history, when everyone wasn't talking with the Khmer Rouge regime. The article also points to stronger relationships between US and North Korea.

I think, trade relations with North Korea are because of money, not of politics, ethices or moral. If Cambodia make sthis deal, that would be a signal to others: Look, we are dealing with North Korea, but we do not want to have a Mc Donalds here. I mean, if Cambodia liks to attract all the "investors" from NK, Lybia, Syria a.s.o. they will shortly get in danger because of international reputation. Its still not that easy to invest in cambodia..

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Things I don't understand on Cambodia

Ok, I am just a few weeks here in Cambodia, but all the following questions I also asked my wife (she is here since March), but don't get really an answer.

Am I right or is the main part of the social and health care system based on NGOs in Cambodia? If so, could this be an obstacle to develop a own cambodian healthcare system? The government just saving money for new cars and important issues like more navy soldiers.

Everyone in the business scene is talking about booming Cambodia, but isn't it a bit risky right now? Where should the boom come from? There is just a small middle class, earning enough money spend it as consumers - unfortunatly in Bangkok and Singapore. There a rare possibilities to go shopping for luxury or premium goods in Phnom Penh. Every dollar spent in Thaiand is lost in Cambodia.

Its seems to me that there are less laws and law enforcment as I expected. Without a working legal system, economy will not grow sustainable. How should a "boom" work if there is this kind of anarchy in the legal system (just look at the traffic law).

I am working in the tourism business, and when I was in Sihanoukville, it was typical for the situation right now: People just want to make quick money. There is a lot of money out there, but if the government doesn't invest in infrastructure, nobody will take his dollars to build up hotels on a small strip of beach next to a russian or korean casino. There must be a masterplan of development for the touristic regions - as well as for Phnom Penh I think (yes, there was one in the 60s).

I am getting a little bit confused about an argument I hear everyday: "The people are not well educated, thats why nothing happens". Hmm, I think they are - especially the big guys from RCAF and political parties - but maybe there is no vision of future, and thats why people live from day to day. A skytrain isn't a vision, by the way, as well as a stock exchange is not.

Just my 20cents

Friday, October 5, 2007

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Silent murder in Burma

As the German magazine "Der Spiegel" reports, there is a silent killing in the hours of darkness in Burma. A Burmese told the reporter that in the night the army soldiers come and catch the people to kill them later.
The killing was mostly in Okalapa a suburban of Yangon. Police officers are reported to hit monks in the pagoda there. Thats still rumors, but the problem is to get serious and proved information out of the country right now. There are also reports about camps where dissidents are hold.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Germany beats Brazil: Lets celebrate on Oktoberfest

The German women soccer teams wins again the world championship after beating brazil 2:0. Wow! In the whole tournament the German team got not one single goal against them. Keeper Nadine Angerer is best keeper ever!

Next weekend is Oktoberfest in the sunway hotel. Me and Nataly will be there, so lets celebrate the German victory there ...

Aung San Suu Kyi got a visitor

Just got this on Mizzima News:
In a surprise development the UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari today met detained Burmese pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon.

The visiting envoy met the Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate for ninety minutes at the State guest house in Rangoon.

The UN envoy, who led a three-member delegation, met the Burmese opposition leader on his return from Nay Pyi Taw after a meeting with Burma's military officials on Sunday.



He met her in the state house? From where the junta brought her to this place? Its still unclear if she is at home arrest or in jail.
Maybe that was the concession to talk to her, hopefully not the only one.

I think, the pressure should be hold on the Junta as well as on own government.

Dont forget the Burmese!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Burma: Boycott or pressure?

Shall we boycott all companys who are working in or with Burma? I mean, not only the Chevrons and the Ivonhoes, but also small travel companies?
I think no: We better use pressure to ask companies how the are using their connections and opportunities to make pressure on the regime. A junta without money is nothing, so it in the hand of China and India, but also the companies, to make a clear statement.
What we can forget is the UN: They are useless, having dinner with dictators and counting death tolls, to get after theit visit in the first class flight and make a report.

Tomorrow we have our Bloger Tech Meetup and some suggested to wear red shirts. A great idea, and I think we should send out an adress to the people of Burma, show our solidarity with them.

If many many people do many little things, they can even move a junta out of government. yes, I believe in this. The people in eastern Germany proved it years ago.

Bloggers risk their lives in Burma

Its bloggers who are experienced enough to get pictures and videos out of Burma, where the brutal junta is still acting against the people and the human rights.

Armed with a laptop, a blogger named Ko Htike has thrust himself into the middle of the violent crackdown against monks and other peaceful demonstrators in his homeland of Myanmar.

Read this story on CNN.com

There are some pictures on flickr, today ist red for burma day:

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Burma update: War or no war?

While the monks are arrested and the people getting shot, I was thinking about a military option against Burma (btw: or Birma, but not Myanmar, thats the juntas name).
Why there is not UN resolution like in Afghanistan or Kosovo? Because China wont give up there business? Because there is not enough oil for the US? Because there are no economic interests for Germany, UK or France?

What options does the opposition in Birma have? I think, the only one is to fill the streets with masses of people, which include the risk to get shot (and yes, its easy to say that from a safe place like I have). Waiting for outside help is waste of time, just look at the international reaction. All the leaders are conferencing together in New York right now, and the main topic is climate change and maybe Iraq. The don't really care about Burma.

So, would a military solution solve the problems? What, if Russia or US use their Mother of all Bombs to just destroy the new capital or the juntas headquarter? Yes, this seems to be pretty naive, but I think, War against Burma should be discussed as long as there is no other suggestion.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Situation in Birma

Our concerns are rising here because of the situation in Birma. It should be safe for foreigners by now there (most of them stay at home, in the office or in the hotel, as I got information), but our prayers are with the monks and the proud people of Burma, who stand up peacefully for freedom.

As a German I remember well the time when the east-germans demonstrate peacefully over weeks and then broke the wall, my thoughts are with the Birmese people.

Lets hope for a good end there!

More about the situation on Global Voices Online

Look also on Monkols Blog: He wrotes:
As a peace lover, I really appreciate this courageous move. I pray this remarkable display of desire for peace and freedom will not lead to any bloodsheds, as it used to. Sincerely, my heart goes to everyone out there! I salute the Burmese people’s power and let’s be the change!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Video: Trip to Battambang

Mc Donalds in Phnom Penh?

When I came back from Sihanoukville, we passed the new special economic zone far outside the city. Until now, they finished just the gate, but I was wondering about an advertising there: It shows the brave new world of shopping centers there, but surprisingly with a Mc Donalds. As far as I now, KFC will come to PP, but McDonalds? I think it just what the believe should be reality (for better selling the appartments), not whats contracted..

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

iPhone in Cambodia

I met a woman yesterday who showed me her new iPhone. It seems to be a import from Thailand. What I was wondering about was that is seems to work here. She has a cellcard account, and just inserted the simcard. Means, is should be delivered pre-hacked. Normally, Apple tries to get a contract with providers like AT&T in US, O2 in Uk and T-Mobile in Germany, which are exclusivly sell the iPhone.

While Apple and the telecommunication partners sell it for 399 Dollar, you have to pay around 800 Dollar here in Phnom Penh. For me, thats to much, I will have a look for the iPod Touch. Maybe in the Sorja Shopping Center.

Top Khmer Rouge Leader arrested

reports AP and CNN today:
Police detained the top surviving leader of the Khmer Rouge on Wednesday over his role in the notorious former Cambodian regime that caused the deaths of 1.7 million people in the late 1970s.


Police surrounded Nuon Chea's home in Pailin in northwestern Cambodia near the Thai border and served him with an arrest warrant on charges of crimes against humanity, police Capt. Sem Sophal said.


Thats besides requests to shut down the ECCC.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Cambodian Bloggers

this is just a reminder for the cambodian blogger directory..
Cambodia Blogger - Khmer Bloggers Directory

Friday, September 14, 2007

Luxury Cars

What I don't really understand is how people can spend so much money for a luxury car. I mean, there is - by law - a 400 percent luxury tax. I have seen here some very expensive cars, like maserati, mercedes benz, vw beatle. You must be crazy to pay four times more than in us or europe.

But I am also wondering about cars like many other people are driving, like the toyotas. I payed nearly 1300 Dollar for a motorbike, a 12 year old small korean car is about 1800 dollar. So how the hell are cambodians able to pay for a lexus or a camry? the earn normally 300 Dollar a month..Any suggestions?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Not really recommended: Pacharan on Sisowath Quay

Originally we wanted to try the new Living Room in Street 306, but they didnt have an aircondition and it was quite hot, so we decided to go spanish to the Pacharan.
Its located on the riverside in the first floor, beautiful view on the street and the tonle sap. Nice interieur too, modern, chic. They have three tables outside on the balcony and a lot more inside with a/c. Thats the good news.

The bad news is: Too expensive. Maybe they think they can rip off the tourists because they never come back. maybe they think spanish tapas must be on a higher price level.

but sorry: we spent 25 dollar for a bottle of pellegrino (6$), 3 cheese croquettes (7$!), stuffed eggplants (maybe two handfuls, a handful of chorizo and the same ammount of olives. my wife as a vegetarian even eat one slice of the sausage, because she said its to expensive to leave it on the dish...

the service ist functional, but thats it.



btw: try the new lebanese restaurant near norodom (one of the 300 somethings), its cheap and delicious!

T-sman does it: Videoblogging

Got this link from the cloggersummit-group: T-sman ist videoblogging from Sihanoukville. As Ray said in the Phnom Penh Post article said: Blogs, Vlogs and podcasts give Cambodian people a great opportunity to express themselfs - not only in a private way but also in cultural or even political topics. I am so surprised of the rising number of Cambodian bloggers...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

New traffic law

I just picked this up from the Khmer440-Forum, a english translation of the new traffic law here (via Jungle Blog). Some topics:

The drivers of all motorcycles and tricycles must drive in the maximum speed of 30 km per hour

The drivers and passengers who sit at the front seats of the vehicles must wear the safety seat belts.

12. Telephones are banned from being operated during driving. The telephones can be operated when they are connected to the communication equipment, or the drivers must stop the vehicles to operate the telephones.

The drivers must not drive side by side on the roads or the same path of the roads.

When overtaking, the drivers must strictly implement as the following:
1. The drivers of all kinds of vehicles must overtake each other on the left-hand side. But the drivers can overtake on the right hand side, if the other drivers are giving a diverting sign to turn left and stop, or prepare to turn left.


Ok, reality seems to be a bit different..

Recommend: Haircut and Cafe

Just two loctions I used frequently or the first time. Yesterday I went to the Paragon Centre for a new haircut: There is coiffeur in the second floor, and, wow, that was amazing. Separate cabin, verything clean, very friendly staff, good haircut and an outstanding shampoo-headmassage-comination. And I paid just 10 Dollars. Recommended!

One of the foreingers most loved places is the Java Cafe on Sihanouk Boulevard. Its terrace is nice, the bagels too, also the pumpkin soup. We even tried the delivery servcie, wich was fast and good. They have Wifi (via online) there and great art exhibitions.

What I do not understand, is the not-so-good service. They are slow, you have to wait a long time to place your order, they never ask you if you like to have something more. Yesterday, some people complaint about the internet shutdown. It is always the router which needs to be restartet. Bt it tooks more than an hour before a staff member did anything. Thats really sad, because the internet wifi is a major reason to come to Java Café. I hope, they will train there waiters a little bit..

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Exotissimo goes voluntourism

Because it's the company my wife is working for, here some news about voluntourism. the projects name isn't published yet, but I think will be soon.

Volunteer tourism has kicked off in recent months and the importance of adding the concept of helping others has increased among the conscience travelers. Many people while traveling are left with the question: “What can we do out of the ordinary to help others?” Volunteer tourism is not just about donating money and visiting a project. It’s about donating your time and devotion and sharing it with the local hosts and improving their livelihoods.

Exotissimo Cambodia has now worked out a couple of great programs in which people visit the country and its marvelous treasures as well as an additional work a couple of days on construction projects for the poor and handicapped. An extensive network of dedicated NGO’s and impressive cooperation between them and Exotissimo Cambodia has led to our first major project to be started in November 2007.

Cloggersummit Video: Citizen Journalism

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Video Cloggersummit

Most livable cities: Phnom Penh at the bottom

That tells us The Economist, who publish the Top Liveable Cities List every year. Phnom Penh is Number 125. Kathmandu - the most dirtiest city I've ever been - is just 128...

Of the 132 cities surveyed, only nine cities present the worst-case scenario in which most aspects of living quality are severely restricted, reflecting general improvements on a global scale in areas such as education, health care and infrastructure. Four of these are in Asia, mainly South Asia.


Although the authorities here reject the Economists article, some things could be better. Like the waste in the street and the culture. And - that seems to be very important for an Economist raking - PARKS!!!!

Summary of Cloggersummit2007 in Phnom Penh

Wow, was that amazing. Just two weeks after my arrive here in Phnom Penh I was participant and speaker of a blogger conference. Surprisingly Preetam Rai and the clogger team asked me to hold a short presentation about podcasting - what I did. My first presentation in english ever!

Ok, this blog entry is called summary, so what did i learn?

First, it's not a question of where to held a perfect conference. I visited a lot of them in Germany, but Phnom Penh was one of the most exiting. It was a kind of experience like barcamps - friendly people, willed to learn from each other.

"Learn and Understand" should be the subtitle of the summit - I learned, that a lot of people are still deep into web 2.0 as well as there is a important discussion whether to blog in khmer language or not.

I met so many great People, like Preetam Rai, Virak, Chivorn and many more..

Thanks to the clogger team and the sponsors!

Hope to see some of them soon!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cloggersummit Award

Thats cool: We (ok, just the winners) can get some gadgets just for an answer.. wann point here to the cloggersummit-award

To apply for an award, please leave a comment in this blog post saying in 2-3 sentences what prize and how you​​ use it.


Thats my favorite:
I would like the audio recorder. I can use it to record my teacher’s voice while he is teaching beacasue his voice is too soft and his pronanciation is not clear esp the subject is difficult. Most importantly, whenever there is an interesting speech, discussion, or workshop like the workshop about Cambodian Bloggers Summit.

Problem ? There is no problem... Day 2 Cloggersummit2007

Got it: sometimes I just have to wait for blogger.com to get my posts published. Ok...

Day 2 of Cloggersummit2007: Again some presentations in khmer, but I can follow thanks to some english language slides and my "personal" translater Men Chivorn (reading this whle I am typing :-))

Summeray of yesterday: I was really impressed how concentrate they work here. We had a group session in afternoon, just 20 minutes to answer the question "what is team-blogging". We got it in time.
Team Blogging is when a team, which is two people or more, is using one blog, and they have a same interest. It's more easy to blog as a team, if one blogger doesn't have time, the other bloggers can still provide content. another reason for teamblogging is diversity.
An if you want to know how to team blog, please follow Beths five steps of web 2.0

Cloggersummit2007 second try

I am not quite sure whats going on here on blogspot.com, but I still got the posts in the feed, but not on the website (the posts are in the archive too..). Does anyone out there has a solution for this? (of course this is adressed to the feedreaders :-))

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cloggersummit2007

I am sitting in the conference hall of pannasastra university at norodom and listen to the speech of deedee in cloggersummit2007. It quite interesting, what impact blogging has to young people. Its about getting connected and learning english. Especially for a guy who was defending bogs in germany as useful, its interesting to see that bloggig is fully accepted here as a communcation tool and alternative media. Right now there is a videoconference with Kolja - she is currently in the US - wow, thats what I tried to teach people in Germany so many times: You don't need to spend a lot of money to get speakers from oversea - just an internet connection. Well done, Cloggers!!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My dogs are looking for friends

It's not that easy to fiend some friends for my two dogs here. Most other dogs around my home in BKK 1 are kind of watchdogs, mainly aggressive. Is there anybody out there in Phnom Penh who has the same problem? We are looking for somtehing like a sunday dog-owners-meeting...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Cambodian Wine

On our trip to Battambang and Siem Reap we visited a vinery (its on the way to the Banan Temple). As a German coming from one of the most popular vine regions Rheinhessen I was really curious about Cambodian Vine. Unfortunatly they did't have some red wine but the rosé one. We tried one - uncooled - and, hmm, it was different to our taste. It wasn't that bad as expected but the color was more brown then rosé. Much better was the whiskey - cause we were there at noon, we just tried some drops.
If you are around Battambang, you should make a stop there anyway. More bout the Wine from cambodia you can read in an article called " Amid emerald rice fields, Cambodia's first winery startles but pleases"

For everyone who comes to Cambodia: Behavior Code

Got it from the Cambodias UK-Embassy-Website (also a note for me as a rookie here in the Kingdom):

Personal Behavior

*

Polite behavior is welcome everywhere. What is considered polite in other countries is probably considered polite in Cambodia too. However, there are few customs, social and religious taboos.
*

Cambodians admire a calm and considered approach to all aspects of life. Open show of temper and anger should be avoided.
*

It is considered a grave insult to touch another person's head, even if is meant as a friendly gesture.
*

Use the right hand to accept things or shake hands.
*

It is considered rude to point your foot at a person or object.
*

Keep an open mind and do not demand much from your host. Loud voices and boisterous behavior are considered impolite. Smiling and nodding establishes good intent.
*

public displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon.
If you like someone to come over to you, motion with your whole hand, palm down. Do not signal with your finger.
*

When picking your teeth with a toothpick after a meal, it is considered polite to hold the toothpick with one hand and to cover your open mouth with the other.
*

In private homes, it is polite to remove your shoes when entering the house.
*

Be appreciative of people who appreciate

Bookselling for School?

I was a little bit wondered about my travelbook: The author says thats its helpful to buy some copied books frm the chidren on the streets, because they need the money for their school fees. I was confused because I thought there is not really a fee (which is), but also if the booksellers even go to school (what they do not).

On the streetfriends-website I just found this paragraph:

The cost of a public education (registration fees, uniforms, supplies, mandatory private lessons) prevents many families from sending their children to school. These children then spend extraordinary amounts of time unsupervised, either loitering or earning an income. An accurate census of the homeless or street population has yet to be carried out. Depending on the definition and according to the figures accepted by UNICEF, there are between 600 to 1,000 street children who have completely cut ties with their families and have made the streets their home and 10,000 street children who have kept ties with their family and return home either regularly or irregularly.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Voluntourism

Today was my first day in "the office". That means, I was assisting Nataly doing quotations at Exotissimo. Really interesting, how it works, how many details you have to keep in mind.

As we were talking about tourism, she told me about the next big thing in Cambodia, called voluntourism. That means, you spend some days in a NGO-Project, building up houses in the countryside or teaching children. And of course you can combine it with some nice days in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

Sounds really interesting, I will write an article about it in the next days. Tomorrow starts our trip to Battambang and Siem Reap. I have my video-equipment with me - so stay tuned for some great movies :-)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Java Cafe in the bookstore


Had a not so short stop in the new Java café as a part of the Monuments Books Store on Norodom Boulevard - as the name says, right by the Independence Monument.



Nice and quiet location. If you like to have a look on the books (we did it with a lot of literature about cooking - just sit down, take a sandwich (with baguette or bagel, made in the Java bakery) and a cup of coffee and relax.

The offer nearly the same selection as in Java, but no lunch, just the sandwiches. and I discovered no hotspot there, but will ask tomorrow, if there will one in the future.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

No pigs from China and Vietnam

http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifThe Kingdom of Cambodia stooped imports of living pigs from China and Vietnam, a German newswire reports. I have learned that the Cambodian government is scared about pig illness coming from outside in the country. In Hanoi some people died of a pigmeat caused bacterial infection.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Oil and corruption in Cambodia

Al Jazeera had this report on oil in Cambodia.


Listen to the man from the oil authority: "There is no need for an anti-corruption law, just the spirit of the people"."

Skype: The grid in darkness

The major outage of Skype shows, how addicted we are. So many peaople and companies do have a real problem now. No conference calls overseas, no "Hi Dad hi Mum, I just arrived, everything is ok". I was trying to call my wife in Phnom Penh, but I had to use a mobile connection (which is reall expensive from Germany to Cambodia). Skype seems to be a world-wide AT&T right now, and with the technical problems the lights had gone off in the world of voice over IP. Temporarly, of course. The guys are working hard, as you can read on heartbeat.skype.com.

Bets in Battambang

The Agence France Press submitted two days ago a story about betting on rain in Battambang. I will be on a short visit in Battambang next week - maybe we can bet there :-)


Thats part of the AFP-Story
Storm clouds gathering over this northwestern Cambodian city could make or break the fortunes of dozens of men gathering on rooftops or crowding into nearby guesthouses.

The sky-gazers above and the bookies and gamblers below frantically
swap information and wagers; the tension builds as hopes rise of
striking it rich with a little rain.

Normally quiet on cloudless days, Battambang city's Beung Chhouk
market is humming with excitement as the monsoon descends and the
ancient game of "Phnal Tuek Phleang", or rain betting, gets underway.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Angkor a much bigger community

In the news:
The famed Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia turns out to be the center of a much bigger community than had been known.

A new study led by Damian Evans of the University of Sydney, Australia, reports that the Angkor urban area extended to nearly 390 square miles.

Why to blog in the developing world

While western bloggers doing their stuff mostly because of fun (and some egocentric reasons :-), its seems to be totally different, why peaople oin the developing world are blogging (as lonng as they can do it). Just found this in an article about the cambodian bloggers aka cloggers.

Lux, 28, became interested in blogging soon after it took
off in Korea, Japan, and China and is a pioneer of "clogging" - as
Cambodian blogging is known. In fact, he coined the term.
"I wanted to explore the technology and see how it could be
used for the development of young people and the country," he said.
"It is very interesting how blogging can change the political
landscape. This technology gives some power to the people."

Friday, August 10, 2007

Books on Cambodia: Monument Books

Where to buy books in Phnom Penh? On the street, of course, the copied books the children are offering. But thats always about Angkor and the killing fields. If you like to get the new Harry Potter (the real one, not the "Harry Potter and the dragon" chinese version), or something about K.hmer Culture, then you need to go to Monument Books.

Monument Books offers a wide selection of books on Cambodia, Angkor and Khmer culture on the web with over 300 available references.

Beyond books on Cambodia, Monument Books offers a selection of over 10,000 titles in 6 languages and has accounts with 200 publishers in 20 different countries. The company is both a retailer, with 5 shops, and a wholesaler for Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, France and UK markets.

You can find Monument-Books at #111, Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia as well as at the the airport. Later this year they will open a store in the new National museum in Siem Reap.

Major floods caused by Mekong river?

Uppps, just got this from KI-Media
The rapid rise of the Mekong River level could create major flooding in the next few days because intense rains are currently falling in the upper Mekong River basin.

What plastic bags are for

1. Re-use a plastic bag as a - plastic bag

2. Use a plastic bag as a hat

3. Do what the people on Craftzine.com do and use plastic bags as a material for weaving (ok, kind of..)

More about recycling clothes on craftzine.com

Hello World: Thomas Wanhoffs goes Cambodia (aehm, yes, again)

Well, its just about a week when its all coming back to me, the plane will be ready for take off again to take me to Cambodia.
I decided to open a blogger-account for my cambodia-blog, although I have my Wanhoff.de-Subdomains, because I just need to get incoming links from different domains :-) No, in fact, its just convenient for me. All the content from the tumblr-blog (its sucks, really bad performance there) will move to this account in the next days.

I will live in BKK#1, and I will also attend the Clogger Summit on August 30th
in Phnom Penh. Maybe I will see you there.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Clogger summit in Phnom Penh

There are different meanings of Clogger: One is "Corporate Blogger", another is "California Bloggers". But the most important is "Cambodian Blogger". And the cambodian bloggers will held summit on august 31 and I am very proud to take part.

If you like to get more information about the Blogger (upps: Clogger) summit, check out the wikispaces page on http://cloggers.wikispaces.com/.

We will talk about media and internet, podcasting (that my min interest), vlogging and all issues around the web 2.0.

For me, its great to attend: I will arrive on August 18th in Phnm Penh and its a perfect start to get in touch with the cambodian blogosphere.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Fair Trade Clothes

Found this about Fair Trade Clothes (via Andy)
Marie Furuta manages 5 different communities in Cambodia around Siem Reap to produce the accessories from scratch: anything from planting the trees for wild silk worms to grow, to gathering the cocoons for the precious Cambodian silk used for her bags and scarfs, creating the fabrics, designing and finally manufacturing the accessories. There are currently about 150 Cambodians making a fair living by working for Sait.