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, 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

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 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.