Sunday, December 7, 2008

Me and the Husband of the Womens Affairs Minister

Vernissage at Art Cafe Phnom Penh

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Not every tourist destination is a Disneyland - some are real countries like Thailand

Even if the protests in Thailand are over now (thats what PAD announced), I am still surprised about some reaction.

In Germany the protests and even the occupation of the airport weren't in the news until some tourists were stuck in the airport.

Today CNN quotes an American: "We wish we hadn't come here at all," said Keri Gannam, a visitor from the United States, who was honeymooning in Thailand. "It's just stressful. It's taken away everything... I'm supposed to have job interviews. I missed them."@

This is just unbelievable. There are people in Thailand trying to fight for democracy (but of course is their understanding of), at least stand up against the corrupt government, and tourists are just complaining about missed flights. So we have to learn from this:


Dear North-Korean opposition (if there is any), if you are planning to make a revolution, please make sure that no tourists or cargo planes are affected.

Dear Islamic Indians, we don't hate you because you are terrorists. We just hate you for destroying our nice hotels and keeping us away from work and travel for 3 days.

Dear Chinese students, if you want to start demonstrations, please don't do it on the Great Wall (Tourists might be disturbed), not at the Tian'anmen (if so Tourisst are not able to make nice pictures) and not at any other popular places. (It worked during the Olympic Games, so what?)

Dear monks in Burma, you were so brave and good when you were walking through the streets. Thanks for not blocking anything - hmm, ok, the Swedagon Pagoda was closed by the government, so it's not your direct fault, but think about this next time.

Dear minors in Cambodia, when foreigners ask you for sex, please just shut your mouth, wait for a scholarship of a western NGO an be happy. Don't stand up for your rights (demonstrations in Angkor are a NoNo) and never, never, never tell anyone that the most people asking you for sex aren't from western countries.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Photoexhibition in Phnom Penh: Tensions in the performnce of music and dance

Just want to tell all the people I know in Cambodia that my photoexihibtion "Tensions in the performnce of music and dance" together with Jim Mizersky USA/Cambodia opens at Monday Dec 1st at Art Cafe Phnom Penh, 81 Street 108 at 7pm. The exhibition will last for December and January.

And yes, of course you can buy the pictures


Anton Isselhardt

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Oxfam kicked us out of our apartment

I totally forgot to blog about that: shortly before we decided to leave Cambodia we got a rental contract termination notice from our landlord. We figured out that he will rent the whole building to a NGO. Thats means, the NGO payed more then the expats living there. And it was the Oxfam-Mekong-Something.

Imagine: They spend more money for the building then expats with good salaries. So, if you want to donate to oxfam, think before.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Plans for Cambodian carrier put on hold

The Phnom Penh Post - Plan for new national air carrier put on hold: official
PLANS for a new Cambodian national airline, announced in May, have been put on hold as a result of difficulties with ongoing negotiations with an Indonesian investment group, government officials say.

Deputy Prime Minister Sok An was tapped to spearhead the deal in partnership with the Rajawali Group, but discussions with the Indonesian investors have not yet been finalised, he told the Post last week.


Some people say, the Indonesian company is not longer interested. We will see, maybe it's about how much money they have to pay to the government for getting the contract. But in total it's typical for Cambodia: The government isn't even able to set up a national carrier. That's so sad.

Firetruck ends up in pond - school burned down

Story from Phnom Penh Post
Two Kumrou Primary School buildings burnt down in a fire after a firetruck sent to put out the blaze plummeted into a pond in Mongkul Borey district, Banteay Meanchey province Saturday. The police said 12 wooden black boards, 12 teachers' chairs and 144 students' chairs were lost in the inferno. The neighbours criticised the fire department for arriving late and driving recklessly. They added that the fire could have spread to the neighbouring buildings and to the fire truck itself.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thai-Cambodian Soldiers clash at border

CNN reports a bout a clash at the Cambodian-Thai border.
Soldiers from both Cambodia and Thailand were wounded Friday in a brief clash along their volatile border, officials from the two countries said.

A Cambodian soldier is shown at the Preah Vihear temple in late July.

Cambodian (Des)-Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said a Cambodian soldier was slightly wounded when Thai troops fired a grenade from their territory. He said Cambodian troops returned fire, with the "military incident" lasting less than a minute.

It actually so stupid what happens there. To dumb regimes are playing war - without any reason. These temples are nothing, not a tourist attraction for Cambodia, because Hun Sen will keep his money for his own purpose instead of any infrastructure, and the Thai government is just using these to bring the attraction from the protests to another place. Following the old rule, if you have a problem inside your country, start a war and people forget. It's working in USA since the Iraq war and its working at the Cambodian-Thai-Border.

My fellow Cambodians, please dont't follow your dictators policy. Don't send food to the soldiers, your government and the thousand advisers have enough money to feed them.

Oh, and like I suggested some weeks before, if the clashes are getting more serious, we should set up a bordercamp. I will bring my Nintendo Wii with me, and then we ask the two leading generals there to fight on the Wii. I suggest a Boxing competion. The Winner has to pay the following beercamp. And after, we all gonna go home in peace. Got it?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Barcamp Phnom Penh Review - Sexy girls in Cambodia and cheap PCs

I am still moved by the Barcamp Phnom Penh on Saturday. It was such an impressing event, I never thought it will come true when we talked about a Barcamppp back in 2007 for the first time. But thanks to Tharum, Ramana and Viirak, it became reality.

Some impressions:



Some thoughts:
We had some discussions about setting some speakers on the agenda, but then we decided to start blank - and it worked. That means at the end, that the participants accepted the concept of a un-conference - which is a huge step in a country like Cambodia. And it was a surprise that a high ranking government official were there the whole day and said thank you tothe organizers.

We also decided to offer two different places for talks, although we had concerns that most Cambodians are used to listen to one speaker instead of planning their own schedule. But it worked too and I am confident that for the next Barcamp much more Garden-locations and small rooms would be fine.

The range of topics was big, and that's what a Barcamp is about. From a Microsoft Commercial to How to date a Cambodian girl, there were a lot of different and even controversial topics.

That leads me to the last point: There was a discussion during the Cambodian girl dating session (which was kind of a hommage to Bangkok Barcamp), when one Cambodian girl asked, why we were talking about dating instead of serious problems the country is still suffering from.

Beside the fact, that Barcamp is also about fun, the point is cultural exchange. The dating topic is not a Cambodian topic, it pops up always on conferences. The cultural point is about the public relations between boys and girls. Cambodians are still shy and very cautions, especially girls. "It's our culture", they say. On the other hand, in every advertising, on live concerts or when they dress up, it's about looking sexy. So there is a gap between the cultural tradition, their own feelings and what maybe the (male) public is expecting.

There will be a change for Cambodian women, and I am confident, after they will be much stronger. They will dress sexy if they want, (and not if they don't want), but also kiss a boy in public. It's then a girls own decision and not a so called cultural thing anymore.

I know, that this topic is controversial, and I like to start a discussion about the role of Cambodian girls in the Khmer society. Thats why I choosed this headline, knowing that it will attract people as well as search enginge :-)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Barcamp Phnom Penh Press release

Tech enthusiasts to host innovative BarCamp gathering


PHNOM PENH – Bloggers and technology enthusiasts will hold the first annual BarCamp Phnom Penh on September 20, a conference many have termed in reverse an "unconference." Over 150 technology aficionados from the region will attend.

BarCamp, an innovative "impromptu" gathering that began in 2005 in Palo Alto, California, helps "open source" enthusiasts share information about technology in an informal setting. The idea quickly spread from California to the rest of the world, arriving in Bangkok in January 2008 and now in Phnom Penh.

"We hope to foster more innovative ways of thinking in Cambodia," said Tharum Bun, this year's BarCamp organizer. "It's all about breaking down the barriers we have in traditional conferences, where people show up and just listen to presentations. We want to think outside of the box."

Anyone can show up to BarCamp and present a topic, Bun said. Past topics in other countries have ranged from blogging techniques to "How to Date a Japanese Girl."

"After all the hardship our country has experienced, we're trying to bring Cambodia into a new age of innovation and technology," he said.

Representatives from Microsoft and Yahoo! are expected to attend, attracting an unprecedented level of attention into Cambodia for its growing technological revolution.

In August 2007, the Cloggers team (short for "Cambodian bloggers") hosted the Cloggers Summit, a gathering of over 200 individuals who listened and presented on issues of communication and technology in the once war-torn country.

BarCamp's organizers consider the conference to be follow-up to the Cloggers Summit.

EVENT INFORMATION

Where: Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center (CJCC)

Institute of Foreign Languages, Royal University of Phnom Penh
Russian Confederation Blvd., Khan Toul Kork, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

When: September 20, 2008, 9:00am - 5:00pm

For more information, visit http://www.barcampphnompenh.org/

Monday, September 8, 2008

Government in Cambodia lost sense for reality

I just read this:

Phnom Penh (dpa) - Cambodia would begin raids on shops suspected of selling pirated movie DVDs and music CDs, a senior official warned Monday.

The South-East Asian nation has become well-known among travellers for its thousands of shops offering dirt-cheap pirated copies of the latest international movies and music, which often hit the stalls before they are in general release overseas.

"The ministry will implement measures imminently to stop the sale of pirated CDs and DVDs to protect the intellectual property of their writers and producers," said Tauch Sarou, undersecretary of state for the Culture Ministry.

I am very sorry, but if they are serious with this issue, they must raid EVERY shop. There is NO place were you can buy original movies and music.
Again the government is trying to calm down international demand and the showing some action. Its like with prostitution: Every few months they arrest a foreigner and show how the a fighting against prosituition. And then the same polititians and police officers gome back to the karaoke bars.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tourist growth in Cambodia: a reason to invest now?

Tourist growth helps boost property market in Cambodia | Asia | News
The Ministry of Tourism said numbers were up more than 14% compared with last year. A spokesman said political stability and infrastructure improvements had increased the number of tourist arrivals to the country. Some $1.64 billion is expected to be generated in 2008 from tourism alone.


Actually there is a big mistake: Tourist numbers are not increasing because of political stability or infrastructure. The least is not even changed in the last years. The growth is just because Siem Reap attracts tourists as World Heritage Site. But infrastructure means in this place frequently powercuts and a concern about the future of water supply.
ON the other hand the tourist business is not affecting Phnom Penh, what is the capital and financial center. Its wealth is build on NGO money, chinese businessman and corruption. A growing number of farmer how sold their land is moving into the city with a lot of cash but no business perspective.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Blogger moved, blog follows

I moved to Saigon, so if you want to be updated, visit wanhoffs-vietnam.blogspot.com.
The Cambodia-Blog will not longer be updated... REgards to all my readers in Cambodia and all over the world. Hope to see you again in Vetnam!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Rotten neighbors and criminals

I just found a webpage called rottenneighbor.com, where you can blame your neighbors for beeing noisy, disturbing or whatever. They also included sexual offenders in this map. Image this map for Phnom Penh: Nearly every house would be marked as either rotten or offending. Ok, ironically speaking. But it would never educate people to stop doing things like being noisy or rape, instead, some would be proud to be on the map.
Sad.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Thomas Wanhoff in Vietnam

If you like to know whats going on with my move to vietnam, check this out:
wanhoffs-vietnam.blogspot.com

We already found an apartment today in Saigon Distr. 7!. Yeah.
Thats our new kitchen
New Home in Saigon Kitchen

Friday, May 16, 2008

Natalys Farewell and Birthday Party

Girl, 7, HIV positive, has to leave Footprints school in Phnom Penh

What a shame:
An Australian foster mother of a seven-year-old girl who is HIV positive went public this week over her outrage that the private Footprints school in Phnom Penh expelled her daughter within 24 hours of finding out her status.
Read more on Expat-advisoryPlease leve you comments there!

I found this Emailadress, if you like to contact the school (looks very professional, a yahoo account for business, wow): footprintsschool@yahoo.com

Dogs as food

Again and aganin we are listening to stories that Cambodians switched to dogs as a protein source and the tehy are stealing the dogs for having dinner.

DPA, a german press agency, had a story like this:
Phnom Penh - Dognappings are sharply up in some areas of Cambodia as
people seek alternative sources of protein and the prices of more
conventional meats continue to rise, dog owners and police said
Wednesday.

Military police officer Ra Dy, who lives on the outskirts of the
capital, said he personally had lost three dogs in quick succession and
had decided to stop keeping any more until things settled down.

'If you check on them every hour, they might still be there, but if you
forget and leave them for two hours, they are gone,' he said.

Khieu Viriya, 22, a dog fancier from the western suburb of Toul Tom
Poung, said he has also lost three dogs recently to thieves.

'And the story is the same for the neighbours, too. It is terrible to
lose a dog, because they are like family, but even worse when you know
they are to be eaten,' he said.


Even if its true that some stupid people catching dogs, but luckily they also use them as pets.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Yamaha Fino for sale


Mein Motorbike
Originally uploaded by thomaswanhoff
I have to sell my beauty queen, a pink Yamaha Fino automatic, just 2000 Kiloeters, bought new in Augist 2007. anyone interested? Call me at 012 598 370 or mail thomas.wanhoff(at)gmail.com. I never had an accident!

Price: 1200 USD



Sorry, its sold!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Moving from Cambodia to Vietnam

Does anyone has some experience with moving from Cambodia to Vietnam? Especially in how to bring your items through customs?
We are talking with a moving company, they told us the best way is by ship (?). But the quote was quite expensive, so we are looking for alternatives.
And: As we have to dogs, how to bring them to Vietnam? (I already know there is no quarantine, but we need all the vaccinations).

Friday, May 9, 2008

Working in a Cambodian company

Since August 2007 I am working in a Cambodian company, called Monument Books and Toys. Since January 2008 I am the manager of the toys department, responsible for the shop development and the distribution development as well as advertising and staff training.
When I started, my biggest concern was that I never worked at a retail shop, I never had anything to do with orders from overseas, with minimum order quantity and 20 feet containers. But I was learning my whole life (and still go on), so that was a learnign process too - but I made it.
Another concern (I am german, we always have concerns), was about culture. We are just two foreigners, our GM is French, so how would it be working together in English, which isn't the mother tongue of any of us. Actually that led to the most problems - mainly simple misunderstanding. I was again surprised about differences between the french and the German culture (it seems Germany is much more focused on international business). so what about the Cambodian-German conflicts? In my daily experience there where only a few. I tried to understand as much as possible how people here are thinking. Its different: some, so called well educated collegues with some experience in other countries or at least foreigners) are able to work very professional. Others are missing basics in knowledge about the outside world.
Thats seems to be the biggest obstancles for Cambodian owned companies: to except the lack of knowledge and experience.
Regarding markets, it seems that people first try to control a market instead of facing competition. Also I learned that strategy doesn't see to be important as well as plans, concepts, even budgests. Many companies are still structured like a family business.
At least, the relationship between boss and employee seems often still like in the colonial time. But as there are not a lot qualified people in this country, companies have to understand about how important human ressources are.

Why I am writing this? Because I will leave Cambodia in June. My wife got a new job in Vietnam (not far, right?) and I will follow her of course.

I met wonderful people here, and I will miss them, but I also learned my lessons. The cultural difference seems to be a problem more in business than in daily life. Cambodia ist still undeveloped, and its sad to see, how some people selling this country for their own profits. I hope one day, the Cambodian people are able to get the power back in their own hands.

Friedrich Kleinknecht


Friedrich Kleinknecht
Originally uploaded by thomaswanhoff
at Art Cafe Phnom Penh

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hun Sens Prison?

I just heard a story that a prison in northern Phnom Penh is owned by Hun Sen/Government and that relatives have to pay for their people imprisoned. Does anyone knows more about that?
UPDATE: More information, it seems to be a correction center now operated by Military Police, mainly for drug user. But as I heard it a good place to keep people away.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Cambodian Circus

Its quite a while since my last blog, but as we all I am busy too these days. I am still working on my book (actually a translation project, topic is blogging), which takes time beneath my dayjob in the toyshop.
To get some new impressions beside blogs and toys we went to the Cambodian Circus today at the Chenla Theatre. It was so amazing, I didn't expect such a high level, especialy in expression and choreographic. They did everything right, wether the way the did acrobatics or the part II, when they combined historical stories with dance, acrobatic and contortion.
Here a short video I made.
The original production was created by Ms. Nay Nary, Deputy Director of the National School of Circus with support from the Asian Cutural Coucil/Rockefeller Mentorship Program and Amrita Performing Arts. Sponsor was ANZ BAnk.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Dog found - is it yours?


From the expat advisory forum: Who owns that dog?

If you think you know who she may belong to, please email Geoof, who found the dog. His email address is geoff.roberts(at)gmail.com

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fire in Phnom Penh


Fire in Phnom Penh
Originally uploaded by thomaswanhoff
That fire was not very far from the place I live... I am just trying to get some news. We had a lot of fires in the last days in Phnom Penh.


UPDATE: Got some information from KI-media: A Phnom Penh fire destroyed as many as 40 homes Wednesday afternoon, in what officials attributed to faulty wiring.

Fire in Phnom Penh


Fire in Phnom Penh
Originally uploaded by thomaswanhoff
That fire was not very far from the place I live... I am just trying to get some news. We had a lot of fires in the last days in Phnom Penh.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Balinese Dance


Balinese Dance
Originally uploaded by thomaswanhoff
At Art Café Phnom Penh, during the opening of Karina Putri Hariyano Exhibition.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Have you seen this girl (or boy)?


The story:
For Maria Elfversson, news that her missing six-year old had been seen safe and well with her father just days before she arrived in Cambodia - and had then disappeared once more -was bittersweet. The distraught mother of Alicia Elfversson, allegedly abducted by her father, says only a mother can understand the relief she felt when she heard recent news of her daughter during a visit to Sihanoukville this week after nine months of waiting.

But there was more disturbing news, too - the witnesses knew little Alicia as a boy called Al, and said the man she was with who identified himself as her father, Norwegian Torgier Nordbo, had cut her hair short and was dressing her in boy's clothes, possibly in an attempt to disguise her.


This is the suspected father:


The whole story on Expat Advisory

If you see this girl and the father, please call police!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Power cuts and the economy

We have now nearly daily a power cut. It takes between one and two hours, on average we are loosing two hours a day on work time. Just count this for the whole economy, and then please tell me where the boom is?

I can not see any progress in Cambodian power plants, but I can see more and more buildings and companies coming up. Imagine a six hours work day instead of 8, and then think about return of investment in 8 instead of six years.

Just some thoughts.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sister Krama Gig


Max
Originally uploaded by thomaswanhoff
Sister Krama had their second gig yesterday at Talkin to a stranger, The picture shows Max, the awesome singer. Great music, kind of singer-songwriter-style, two guitars, bass, vocals, thats it. Check if they have more public performances!
More pictures: http://flickr.com/photos/wanhoff/sets/72157604210911144/

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Artcafé Phnom Penh


Artcafé Phnom Penh
Originally uploaded by thomaswanhoff

Bob Dylan Abend


Bob Dylan Abend
Originally uploaded by thomaswanhoff
Guitar Player

Art Café


Art Café
Originally uploaded by thomaswanhoff
Bob Dylan concert at Art Cafe Phnom Penh

Thursday, March 13, 2008

13 years for russian investor

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - A Cambodian court sentenced a prominent Russian investor to 13 years in jail on Friday for the sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl, the latest foreigner to be caught in the country's drive to stop child sex tourism.

In a different case a German man was sentenced to 13 years also because of sexual abuse of underage girls.

The russian case was followed by rumors if there was a trap for the successful investor just to get him out of the way of others.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

One laptop per child: how its benefits

If you don't really know why every child should have a laptop, or you are concerned about cultural issues if children in rural places using laptops instead of learning traditional dances (ironic tag off), then read this story of a small village in Peru and how the OLPC effects the school and daily life. Amazing story.
Excerpt:

Three changes
Mr. Navarro and Mrs. Cornejo spoke amongst themselves for a few minutes. Then Mr. Navarro said they agreed there were three key changes.
As there are few roads in and around Arahuay, the children don’t communicate much outside of school — with anyone. The teachers started independently pointing out to Mr. Navarro that this was changing once the laptops arrived: kids started talking to each other outside of school hours over the mesh, and working together more while in school. They started talking a lot more with each other in person, and conquered their previously paralyzing fear of strangers.

The second thing, Mrs. Cornejo jumped in, is that the kids used to be pretty selfish, an unsurprising consequence of the abject poverty in much of Peru. It’s not that the kids are starving, it’s just that they don’t have very much; what they do have, they’re reluctant to share. With the laptops, the kids had to turn to each other to learn how to use them. Then they realized it was easy to send each other pictures and things they’ve written — and it became commonplace. The sharing, asserts Mrs. Cornejo, extended into the physical world, where once jealously-guarded personal items increasingly started being passed around between the kids, if somewhat nervously.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Barcamp Phnom Penh

after weeks of discussions and delays just a few people decided yesterday to try to set up the first barcamp on Phnom Penh.

BarCampPhnomPenh is Cambodia's first BarCamp to provide people with interest in technologies and Internet to come together for a two-day gathering to learn and share skills and knowledge.

The pace of changes in technology is amazing. Too many people may find not only that this is the Age of Information, but also have to live with the so called 'information overloaded'. And too many people may tell you that they have been left behind. This event hopes to give an open space for everyone to learn.

The BarCampPhnomPenh is free of charge to everyone. Participants will have presentations, talks, and meet-ups on a number of topics of interest to both people running businesses and non-profit organizations.

Barcamps are so called un-conferences, because normally the schedule will be fixed on the first day. More important is, that all the participants are also volunteers for the barcamp. So if you have anything you can contribute, please help.

On http://barcamp.org/BarCampPhnomPenh you will find all the information as well as the wiki. everyone can edit this, so feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with the community.

For now, we are looking for the best location. We need one big conference room and some smaller rooms. And of course we need sponsors for t-shirts and free coffee (and some other things too).

We will set up a googlegroup soon.

Please help us spreading the word about the barcamp and support us!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Tech Saturday Phnom Penh aka Bloggermeeting


Since weeks of silence the geeks and freaks gathered again at T N Coffee at Monivong. Of course we had a topic (Viirak and me decided to talk about Twitter), and of course it ended in a total different way. Preetam Rai from Global Voices was announced to come, but even in the century of wirless communication sometimes its hard to get connected. He finally showed up at 4 when I had to leave.


But tomorrow on Sunday will be another meeting, 2 p.m. at T N Coffee, should be a talk about the first barcamp in Phnom Penh.

Concerts at the Art Cafe in Phnom Penh

It was the second time today when I went to Art Cafe in Street 108 for a concert. Today it was classic music, two violins and one flute, and songs from Mozart and Händel.

To be honest, I was totally surprised how good the artists performed - although the neighboring bar had a birthday party with a lot of noise.

Personally, I think the Art cafe is the Number One spot for cultural events, because they are not only focussed on what is chic and trendy but they bring it back to the ground.

I will try to join all of the upcoming events in March, so you can meet me there!

Schedule:
FRIDAY, 14 March, 7pm
Berlin & “La Belle Epoche”
Melodies of amusement,
fun and lightness
a piano recital with
Juergen Assmann/Germany

SATURDAY, 15 March, 7pm
“Wine and Music are one”
German Baroque Music/ Fine Wine & Dining

Andrew Brouwers Blog

I just got the message that Andrew Brouwers Blog was actually stolen. He had a blogspot account and was victim of what was apparently a phishing attack. At the end he could not get into admin level and recieved an email from the kidnappers, as John Wekks told us today on the Tech Satirday meeting.

Fortunatly a lot of content is saved, so you can stll read Andrews Blog, but please change your booksmarks. Its now:
www.andybrouwer.co.uk/blog

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Beach Party Hotel Cambodiana


Beach Party Hotel Cambodiana


Wrong way in economy

One of the biggest problems if you have a business is the fact, that neither products are produced in this country nor you get them in for a reasanoble price. Today I got the news that import tax on toys will increase about 35 percent. No, not everything is better, as some people say. High Import taxes are a lot of steps back.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Found a Senior Seller

Its really hard to find good staff in Cambodia, especially people with good skills in selling. But luckily after a lot of interviews we found one: Please welcome Mr. Sophanna. He will be the senior seller at the Monument toys shop on Norodom Boulevard. If you have any questions, feel free to ask him.

(Note: I am now well equipped - got my name cards yesterday).

Friday, February 8, 2008

Public Relations in Cambodia

Is there any public relations company in Cambodia? Do Companies know how to deal with the media? Do companies in Cambodia have a PR-strategy? What are communications targets?

I just got an email from my former mentor Juergen Togotzes, who is now leading a new company with offices in Germany and China. It's called http://iprac.cn/

Any experience with public relations in Cambodia? If so, please send me an email or leave a comment. I would really like to get in touch with people here coming from that business (no, this is NOT a job offer).

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy Chinese New Year

Recommended: Corner 33

I was curious when I saw the ads on the tuk tuks, but from outside Corner33 was looking quite small and - hmm, reminds me a bit of the Cafe Sentinel on Monivong. But hey, today we went in and what a surprise: Very stylish and comfortable, even quiet in the morning, great selection on food and drinks, friendly and attentive staff. The cafe latte is as good as the wifi connection (free), and although its near FCC and Riverside it was not that crowded. So, as Natalys said, its on our list.
Corner33 Cafe and Lounge

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Plastic bag country

I just read this on KI media, a report from a woman traveling through Cambodia.
Thats a quote from her report:
Watching the landscape from my window seat, the thing that immediately caught my eye was the massive piles of plastic and plastic bags flying around the fields and roads.
Cambodia seems to be buried in heaps of plastic and whilst this particular road was tarmac, it was not the most pleasant journey I have experienced.
The second thing I noted was that there are endless numbers of children around; playing along the street, walking, hitchhiking and waving at the tourist buses.


Whenever me and my wife goes shopping, we use our cotton bags we brought from Germany. And whenever we say "No bag, thank you", then people are surprised (mainly they understand why we reject this free bag).

What we call dirty is common here. Wether its the city or the countryside: People don't care about the waste, as long its not covering some space they need to use. Then they burn it.

Later on she is talking about the kids in Phnom Penh:
if you want to do something for these kids you should gather them together and take them to dinner or lunch at any of the local food stalls.

You can feed ten kids for as little as US$3-4. There is also a lot of organised begging and book selling going on in the capital and I was not sure if the kids were actually able to keep the money or had to hand it to a superior.

Buying a book from either a landmine victim or a child is another option for putting some money back into the community - money better spent than paying the US$6 admission fee at the grand palace.


I don't agree. What people (children and adult) learn, is that there is always a foreigner helping them. Tourists are buying copied books, NGOs are running a big part of the health sector, education and social development. If there is no change in this, people wil beg for food forever. Note: 70 percent are under the poverty line of 2 US$ a day.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Turn 10 $ into 50000

Beth Kanther asked me to blog this, and I really want to help her with it.
We have a chance to win $50,000 - if we get the most number of unique
donors. Right now we're in second place with 7 more days to go. I'm
reaching out to my network to ask if they will blog or twitter about
the campaign, ask their networks to contribute the minimum donation of
$10. The contest ends on January 31st


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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Darfur and human rights

I am a little bit concerned about the Phnom Penhs administrations decision to not allow the Darfur demonstration. Its not the first time, that the administration is talking about what their opinion is and not what the law is. Thats the long way Cambodia still hast to go: that the government has to follow the law, only the law, and not if they like a topic or if they find it useful or not.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunset in Sihanoukville

I am just back from Sihanoukville, where I spend some days of relaxation with my wife Nataly and my mother, who is visiting us these days.
We stayed in the Independence Hotel, and I really recommend to go there: Even the call it still a soft opening, the bar at the beach is a beatuful spot to chill, the beach itself is quiet and clean, the hotel has a awesome view in the 7th floor, service is good, wifi in the room.
Sunset 1

Sunday, January 6, 2008

New Year

Ok I was a bit quiet here the last weeks, but it was Christmas, the busyiest time in the toy year. So I am sorry for some delay.
I was talking to someone I met in a cafe, discussing the need of online shops in Cambodia. Do people online shopping here? Not yet I think , but as soon as ANZ will provide credit cards, people can set up Amazon Accounts or PAypal Accounts. Even now its possible to shop. The better the internet connection is (and for shopping, its still fast enaough), the more people will try that. Think of them in the provinces ike Battambang. They will love online shopping. Apsara TV is doin a - strange - TV-shopping, but I heard its not so bad in success.
So, its not the next big thing for Cambodia, but if technical and financial obstacles are gone, there will be a big online market here!

My dog pixie

My dog Pixie at Tonle Bati
We had a trip to Tonle Bati Lake... with the staff from both Exotissimo Travel and Monument Books