Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How to improve animal welfare in Siem Reap with market thinking

Fully aware that I "just" arrived in Cambodia in June 2016, I think it's still worth to share some thoughts and observe rations regarding pets and how to treat them in Cambodia –  mainly dogs since this is my field of passion.

I moved to Cambodia in 200, moved then to Vietnam and lived in Laos and Thailand for three years each. We always had  our two dogs with us, and in Laos the pack grew to four and in Thailand to five dogs. Living in Siem Reap means there is no registered local vet, there is a lot of parvovirus and rabies and other diseases. But there is also hope.

Buntha is quite busy these days since parvo virus is spreading.
I visit frequently Buntha, who studied veterinary medics for a while, but did not graduate. He runs a local vet clinic and serves hundreds of animals a month. The clinic is very basic, not lab, not surgery table (he is not allowed to use anesthesia medicine). People come when the dog is sick, and he does his best. But there is not much of a awareness for the need of prevention, like vaccinations.

So here are my initial conclusions how to improve the welfare of dogs in Siem Reap.

1. Time will heal. My experience in other neighboring countries was that when living conditions change, pet care will follow. People start moving into apartments and taking pets with them. That reduces the risk of infections, but also increases the quality of living conditions because it is a more clean environment. And since a lot of those pets are so called toy dogs which cost a lot, people start caring more about there "investment". So behavior changes, first in the upper middle class, but they are always the first to do.

2. Improve and support local initiatives. I donated some cages (and other did too) to Buntha's clinic, so the dogs do not have to share a metal bed where feces and urine is dropping on the concrete floor. There is still a need for a big cage, in case you want to support too. (Leave a comment if you are interested, its about 45 Dollar)

3. On a longer term, Siem Reap needs a local registered vet who runs a clinic as a business. That includes money making services like grooming and even boarding. My friend Analin did this at just without a resident vet in Vientiane. Right now, nobody wants to take the risk of an investment (Angkor Vets did on a small scale). My idea was to give a loan and/or becoming a shareholder if money is an issue, but it still needs the right person. Education in veterinary medicine is of low quality, most students never do a surgery during their studies, and the focus is largely on live stock rather than pet animals. And since Siem Reap is considered province for Phnom Penh students, they like to stay in the city and get a job in bank.

4. There is a need of awareness, but I think it needs to be marketed instead of education. People in general jump on everything that is marketed nicely. So instead of teaching pet owners about viruses, diseases and reproduction, a more business style approach would help more. Make a poster offering 5 percent discount for vaccinations during a certain period. Give discounts for vaccinations of more than two animals. Start issuing a member ship card and collect email addresses so you can send newsletters with new offers. Make brochures with incentives, offer a coupon while explaining why vaccination is important. Give people a card with the five most important signs that the dogs is sick and a emergency phone number. 
It took 6 days and a 12 Dollar "investment" to save this dog after a parvo infection.
The owners detected it early, called me and I took him to the vet every day.
In exchange, I got water melons and morning glory. 

5. Never give up. I spend some hours at Buntha's clinic with sick dogs from my neighbors I take care of. Since waiting time is about an hour, I could observe a lot. Local Khmer people care a lot about there dogs, that's why they go to the vet. It's only mostly too late. They also pay for treatment, so there is awareness that service isn't free. This  means there is a local market, it just needs better served.

What I will do is soon make a small leaflet in Khmer language to sell vaccinations. Next will be one about spay and neuter. Simple language, few pictures, straight to the point. Not sure about printing costs, maybe I can cover it myself. Als I try to reach out to vets in Phnom Penh figuring out if they would be interested to open a business in Siem Reap.

I do not think that visiting vets or nurses will make a change. It might help short term as the World Vets and the GeoVets did, but I strongly believe this is a local issue and shall and can be solved by Khmer people.

These are my thoughts form observations I made. I may be totally wrong – in this case please tell me why in the comments field. Also, please comment if you just disagree with me, or if you have any suggestions and further information.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

A dogs death and a generous donation

There are days when you don't really know what the meaning of what you experienced was. Today I went to the vet care to get more injections for the neighbors puppy I take care of (he is getting better). When I picked the puppy up at neighbors house a guy approached me asking if I was a doctor. "No,  sorry", I said, "I just bring the dogs to the doctor." He seemed to be very distressed and told me his dog is very sick and the foreign vet is out of town and someone told him to look for me.

Busy day at Bunthas clinic. 
So I told him that I am on the way to the vet care anyway. When I arrived, his dog, a 6 month old Rottweiler, was already there on two drips. The dog had parvovirus and was in a very bad state. The guy said he got the dog from China and was told he was vaccinated - what he was obviously not.

At the same time a young lady came passing by with her bicycle. He stopped, looked at the vet care sign, looked at me and asked me if this was a a vet clinic. I explained her what Ok Hok Sy Veterinary clinic is, told her about the Rottweiler and the threat of parvovirus in Siem Reap and South-East-Asia in general. She was clearly impressed and offered a generous donation for some free vaccinations.

An hour later I came back to the vet just to see how the Rottweiler was doing, but as I feared, he passed away already. His owner was with him all the time, cleaning him, holding him, but the virus had progressed too far.

Another hour later I saw the lady again and she told me she donated 160  USD for vaccines and Bunthas work (yes, she said she wants to pay for his work as well, something I really support).

So, out of the bad news came something good. At least seven dogs will get vaccinated for free soon. But many more need to.

P.S.: I believe that donations help short term, and they are necessary. But long term only behavior change will help, and that means that local people need  to pay for vaccinations. It already starts – as it did in Thailand - with pedigree dogs, because they are expensive. Other dogs will follow, and it will turn into common knowledge. I am working on a small leaflet that explains in simple words why a rabies and parvovirus vaccinations is so important. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

I took Neighbors puppy to the vet again.

Will get treatment for a week for 2.50 USD a day. Let's hope he will recover. Suspected parvovirus infection. Just learned vaccination will be 12 USD, what is less then the 30USD I was told before. If he survives he will get vaccinated and castrated. #makeachange #blog #khmerdog #streetdog #animals #pets #cambodia #animalrescue #blog

via Instagram http://ift.tt/2hDrb1u

Monday, December 12, 2016

Good morning from Siem Reap.

We see those water buffalos passing by our house every morning. They are quite impressive animals. Out dogs ignore them, they don't even bark when we are next to them. #waterbuffalo #countryside #cambodia #blog
via Instagram http://ift.tt/2hnHxLR

Friday, December 9, 2016

Typical German Christmas cake: Christstollen.

This one is made by baker Alex Kütt in Siem Reap with cashew nuts from Cambodia. There different ways to make this cake, the most famous is the Dresdner Christstollen from Saxonia. #blog #germanfood #christmas #asian
via Instagram http://ift.tt/2h88uVQ

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Bicycle tour south and north of Siem Reap

Had a lovely ride with my podcast listener Michael from Germany. The tour includes countryside with rice fields, a bit city and the forest. Great half day tour.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

You can make a difference for dogs and cats in Siem Reap: Help now!

Today I went to @Ok Hok Sy Veterinary  and delivered three cages. Buntha is very dedicated to help dogs and cats but his resources are limited. After talking with him we figured out that one issue are the metal beds the dogs are laid down. This is better than on the concrete, but still not good. Cages would be a huge improvement. So I just bought three of them.


You can just buy one (Angkor Vets has them and can order more), or just call me (015879410) me or donate some money so we can buy more. A small cage is 27USD, middle size 34 USD a and big one 45 USD in a good quality. Buntha is located near Spoons restaurant in a small alley behind Wat Damnak.

100 Dollar in total would make it possible to get rid of the metal beds.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What is wrong with my Papaya tree?

My landlords planted a Papaya tree in our garden, and it grew well over time, until it start's getting blossoms. I grew Papaya in Laos and Thailand, but I have never sees those kind of Papaya blossoms. They are way to many and the stalks are way to weak to support any fruit.
soil here isn't the best, mainly sand. I used fertilizer but I don't think it was boosting the tree that much. some flowers are following down already and I haven't seen any pollinated so far.

Is this a special species of Papaya? Any thoughts much appreciated.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Christmas is coming.

It's a Wanhoff family tradition to make Vanillekipferl, a traditional German and Austrian Christmas cookie. #baking #cookies #germanfood #blog

via Instagram http://ift.tt/2fvJiVL

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Kuy teav (គុយទាវ) from the shop owned by my neighbor Sombath.

 (http://ift.tt/2eLSIAg) Traditional Khmer breakfast, around 55 cent. #khmernoodle #asianfood #khmerfood #streetfood #cambodia #blog #noodles #khmerculture

via Instagram http://ift.tt/2fmm8kJ

At Angkor Archaeological park.

 It was good to be back after so many years. I was quite impressed to see one temple completely restored – when we visited the place for the first time around 12 years ago it was just a pile of stones. Entry fee will go up from 20 to 37 USD in February, so better go now. #blog #temples #cambodia #ancientbuildings #khmerculture #siemreap #blog

via Instagram http://ift.tt/2fjlu7B

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Biolab is a new coffeeshop in town on Wat Bo road.

good and affordable coffee. service needs more training and confidence. the chairs force you to sit straight otherwise the backrest will hurt you after a while (UPDATE: They improved the backrest) It's also a co-working space (5$/day) . #siemreap #coffeeshop #Cambodia #khmerlife #blog

via Instagram http://ift.tt/2eDKlGN

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Those kind of rice flakes I got from my Khmer neighbors.

The taste reminds me of a Lao snack called green rice, which is very young rice. Can someone tell me how these dry rice flakes are made? (And what the Khmer name is?) Thanks in advance #khmerfood #blog #rice #snack #streetfood #cambodia #siemreap

via Instagram http://ift.tt/2g1XA5k

my neighbor Mao, his dogs and his family going out on a tuktuk ride.

The Rottweiler mix Johnny and the little Pino both got castrated and I give them some antibiotics daily for aftercare. Pino has a small skin infection that needs to be cleaned daily. Johnny's operation wound is healed but he has some pus in his scrotum so it looks like he still has his balls. #blog #cambodia #people #simplelife #siemreap #khmer

via Instagram http://ift.tt/2g4MPOK

Friday, November 11, 2016

Nom gui chai seller at the riverside in Siem reap.

One costs 1000 Riel, its made from rice and beansprouts and gui chai (chinese chives). its a nice snack. #blog #khmerfood #streetfood #cambodia

via Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/BMq-FFng0v4/

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Gui tiau (Khmer noodles) from neighbors shop. 2

500 Riel (70 cent) is not bad for a breakfast. They serve them@dry here with soup on the side while in Phnom penh those are usually wet, means in the soup. You can get them with all kinds of meat and they are not spicy. #cambodia #streetfood #khmerfood #blog

via Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/BMkkV7eg3kS/

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Supporting a local business in Cambodia

Brown coffee has a impressive short history. They started small and scaled large within a few years. Although it is clearly a Starbucks copy, the quality is even better, they sell local products and hire quite a lot of people. You may say its easy because the owners are from wealthy families, but having money alone isn't enough. What impressed me was that they were able to expand and scale. I just hope they aren't doing it too fast. I am not sure about their vision. Becoming big or the biggest isn't enough. And foreign coffeshops are gaining market share already. #blog #cambodia #smallbusiness #sme #economy #supportlocalbusiness

via Instagram http://ift.tt/2eAB7JX

the old and the new: Phnom Penh's skyline is changing, skyscrapers are coming up with offices and apartments. Its not necessarily a bad thing, because it means Cambodia moves forward. The question is how many people are able to move forward as well, because the gap between poor and rich is getting wider. #blog #cambodia #asean #development

via Instagram http://ift.tt/2eAq5Ef

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Is the Riel in Cambodia on the rise?

The Phnom Penh Post recently had an article based in a Bank of Cambodia survey about the usage of riel, and no surprise the outcome was that Khmer people like the riel a lot. The study was done and financed by JICA, a Japanese kind of USAID or GIZ.

So here is the problem with it: The study asked for wages and salaries, loans and business revenues. No surprise salaries all over the country are in riel, except Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. In general "Dollarisation remains high, at about 80 percent." 
The remaining 20 percent is used by locals for every day expenses. Most veggies fruit and grocery items are less than 5 dollar and can easily be paid in riel. everything that is more durable and expensive will be paid in dollar.
I cannot see any thing new in this fact and why it needed 200 households and 800 businesses to get a conclusion you can have by simply going to the market. Oh, maybe it is just to have a new piece of propaganda and a justification for the Japanese tax spending for JICA. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

My neighbor Sombath, his shop and his school project

You never know what people do until you get closer and talk with them. We already made some contacts here in the neighborhood, in particular with Sombath and his wife Sophol. They run a shop and restaurant just around the corner. Both speak English, but I try to improve my Khmer skills with them as well. In the past I bought some quite nice Num Pang (bread with grilled beef) and noodles with fish as well as Koh (Khmer stew) from them, and some beer.
A few days Sombath asked me if I can help him to set up a website, and I said yes of course. A few minutes later he got his own blogger account and his website.
And it turns out Sombath has some quite good understanding about content. Not only that we uploaded pictures and description about his shop, he went to his hometown yesterday to take some photos of his project there. They set up two classrooms under their home (about 35 km outside Siem Reap), and kids are coming for school every workday from 3-6pm. They learn how to read and write Khmer and English. The teacher gets 30 USD per month, and all school books, pen and other material is donated.

If you want to help Sombath and the school project, just go to his website and you will find all necessary information. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Why MSG is good for your food and not bad for you

Chicken dishes are so tasty with some MSG
Yesterday someone posted on Facebook a picture of a fish sauce and asked "Safe to eat? (No MSG?)". While I have no idea what was in the bottle, I am sure MSG might be the safest thing to consume when buying home made fish sauce.

There is still this myth that MSG is bad for you, that there are people allergic to MSG or that it will kill you. None of it is true. The MSG story is a hoax, and is based on a study that is retracted by the author since decades.

MSG is Monosodium glutamate. As Wikipedia says, the sodium salt of glutamic acid, one of the most abundant naturally occurring non-essential amino acids. Monosodium glutamate is found naturally in tomatoes, cheese and other foods.

Broccoli for example. So if think you are allergic to MSG but you can eat tomatoes or cheese, than your are NOT allergic to MSG.

Also, you can eat a lot before you die. The lethal dose is 5 and 18 g/kg body weight - in rats. No way your local chicken curry comes even close to it. (Actually, salt is way more dangerous and lethal in much small doses)

There is NOT study than ever proved a link between MSG and headaches. We humans actually use Glutamat and Salt for quite a while, about 5000 year or so. In the meantime we invented the internet, made it to the moon, but we didn't know that we all gonna die from MSG? Highly unlikely since population grows in particular in MSG-countries.

Actually, MSG has benefits. It makes food tastier, mainly chicken, but also other dishes. It is NOT something artificial that will give your unborn children 4 arms and a trunk. It will not alter your DNA, and it is not bad for your Karma. It is just something you use when you are cooking, like you use salt and pepper.

So, you say you always get headaches when you eat food with MSG? Ok, first, is that also the case with tomatoes, broccoli or cheese? Second, it doesn't actually matter what you feel. That's not how science works, because you could be just feeling bad because someone told you so ("Uaaah, Chinese food!!! Beware of the MSG!!!") 

Science works this way: You get 500 people and you divide them randomly in two groups. One group gets a meal with MSG, the other group the same dis without MSG. Both groups don't know about the MSG-thing. Once they are finished, you asked them if the are more thirsty, if the have headaches etc. You may do that 12 hours later again. And then you compare the results. If the MSG groups reports a significantly higher number in headaches, than you have strong evidence that it causes headaches. But all studies came to the opposite result. 

You are NOT healthier if you eat MSG. It doesn't do any harm to you. There are thousand more health risks in Cambodia, like the tab water (yes, it contains most likely E.coli, but again, you also have them in your intestines and for a reason).

So, nothing to worry about and now you can go to all those lovely local restaurant, even if they do not have a NO-MSG sign on the door. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Just go back to your country, where dogs aren't chasing you

There are basically two fractions of expats: Those who compare the current country with their home country and those who are kind of "take it as it is" people. You may find people between those fractions, but start a controversial Facebook post about the garbage problem, and you will see how easily people get divided.

Like the guy who complaint in a Facebook group about dogs chasing him while he was running. That's a common issue in Asia (and Africa and South-America, I assume), and I do understand it might be annoying to runners. If he just would have asked if there are places with less dogs for running, he would have gotten suggestions in seconds. But he took a broader approach, talking about kicking dogs and killing them with his bare hands – the usual troll thing.

Not a dog, and will not bite you. 

I am exploring Siem Reaps outskirts in my bicycle a lot and so far never had issues with dogs. When I see them, I slow down, say hello and that's usually it. I adapt to the environment I am in, and that is the key. If you like running, you most probably developed this hobby back home, in an environment that is safe for runners. Where people keep dogs inside, or on a leash.

50 years ago, before urbanisation and jogging, dogs were roaming the streets in the west as well, or at least they protected the house and the yard and sometimes sneaked out. Jogging and the fitness thing came with the office work and apartments, where people did less physical work. A farmer didn't need to go running after a work day.

And then there is is the natural behavior of dogs chasing everything that is running away from them. Because they can. That's why it is always a good idea to slow down and/or stop and tell them with your body language that you are not a threat but that you are gonna pass by no matter how much they bark.

So, if you start complaining about the fact of roaming dogs (or that many of them carry rabies, what they do), then present a suitable solution. You may find a charity for free rabies vaccination, but you will not change the fact that dogs are allowed to roam the streets. This will change over time, as you can see in Phnom Penh already, when population gets more dense and people start living in condos rather than single houses. (Although Bangkok shows that street dogs still survive, mainly because people feed them well).
This is a dog, but will also not bite you :-)

When you live in another country/continent and maybe soon on another planet, you have to adapt to a certain extend. It doesn't mean you have to throw your garbage around, or burn it. But you have to accept that your neighbors are doing it. You can talk with them, and you may make a change. But other people will still burn it and there is nothing you can do about. Complaining about it is the least helpful approach, and the we westerns vs. those locals thing isn't helpful either.

There are just things you can't do in Cambodia, as there are things you can't do in England or Germany. I miss the snow sometimes, but there is just no snow here. Khmer may want to go fishing at a German river, but they need permission, if they like it or not. We all have to adapt to the environment to a certain extent, whenever we change it. It's like the sweating issue: Most foreigners -  me included – are going crazy when they move to Asia because they are sweating a lot, and it's kind of embarrassing. Until you recognize that locals sweat too, and that it is not a big deal.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Why "Off The Beaten Track" is not a good idea

Countless of ads and brochures in South-East-Asia have it written in it: We take you off the beaten track. And it sounds so great, finally Me as a tourist can avoid all the other tourists, because I want to have all of this just for me.

Off The Beaten Track appeals to the selfish part in us. Me, Me Me. I am a better tourist, I am the real backpacker. But it's just marketing, and sometimes it isn't a good idea to be off the beaten track.

Let me give you a very practical example. I like bicycling a lot, and I like to discover new routes. Here in Siem Reap it means, new dirt roads and path ways. When it's raining, they are slippery and muddy, when it's dry, they are like quick sand. The only thing that keeps you going IS the beaten track. That is the whole purpose: To give you a safe passage, to clear the way for others. To be not selfish. And while going the beaten track, you actually beat it more, making sure those coming after you can use it as well.

Or take it to the extreme: You don't want to go to Mount Everest "off the beaten track". Also, you don't want to walk around in Laos and parts of Cambodia off the beaten track, because you may step on a landmine or a UXO and get blown up.

It is like the new backpackers: They all follow the Lonely Planet trail. But they still think they explore the world for the first time.

These days, only few places are hidden. We know most parts of our planet. Yes, you can still discover a new path through a forrest, or a cave, but believe me, you better be a specialist, cave diver, mountain climber, ranger than a tourist who left his office desk for two weeks.

So next time someone offers you a trip off the beaten track, ask them what kind of insurance they have.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Saving the face, lies and a narrative

It is been a while since we moved to Asia, and we still learn new things every day – what is actually good, it keeps our mind healthy and active. Something we had to learn right from the beginning was that saving face is the most important cultural difference in Asia. And sure it is. As a German, who was raised to come straight to the point, arguing for the sake of the issue and never taking it personal, the cultural gap couldn't have been wider. 
While saving face can be experienced all over Asia, we found that it was most obvious used in Thailand. 
We can actually learn a lot from dogs behavior, like walking away from a confrontation.

So what does saving face actually mean? According to Wikipedia, it comes from China where face means "prestige; honor; reputation" It also defined by it's opposite: Losing face means to lose honor or the good name. It is rooted deep in the culture of south-east Asia and China, and it is the main parameter for any conversation and negotiation. In particular between people of a different social status. The worst thing that can happen to a higher ranking person is that he or she is losing face, and those who force this person to do that sometimes end up with a shorter lifespan. Yes, it's that serious.

Bert Brown sums is it up pretty good:

Among the most troublesome kinds of problems that arise in negotiation are the intangible issues related to loss of face. In some instances, protecting against loss of face becomes so central an issue that it swamps the importance of the tangible issues at stake and generates intense conflicts that can impede progress toward agreement and increase substantially the costs of conflict resolution.  (Negotiations: Social-Psychological Perspectives. Sage. pp. 275–300)

For us westerners, this concept is an alien expression, and quote often we see it as a lie. And actually, it is. When someone in Asia wants to save face, a lie is just a tool to do so. See it the same way we may not tell a business partner everything about a deal (like that there might be a risk of production delay). It is not that a lie is sanctioned in Asia. But it is of less importance. There is a nice book about it, dealing mainly with Chinese culture, written by Susan D. Blum: "Lies That Bind: Chinese Truth, Other Truths". 

Blum points to a propensity for deception in Chinese public interactions in situations where people in the United States would expect truthfulness, yet argues that lying is evaluated within Chinese society by moral standards different from those of Americans. Chinese, for example, might emphasize the consequences of speech, Americans the absolute truthfulness. 

You will experience saving face and lies everyday. From "We do not have" in a shop, what also means "I have no idea what you were asking for" to "I cannot come to work I am sick" what means "I went out with friends last night" (sounds familiar) to "We  know who the bomber is" what means, when said by Thai police means, "we have absolutely no clue."

Lies and saving face are big obstacles for Asian societies in a global context. In Thailand for example, it frequently leads to scapegoats presented as criminals, to save the face of the - in fact often very incompetent and amateurish - Thai police. In Cambodia, the prime minister has no problem to reverse decisions he made a day or even hours before, just to avoid more public (or internal pressure). In Vietnam, Facebook was kind of blocked, mainly because the communist government was scared about the truth and the ability to connect people and their stories.

On a political level, lies and saving face are always a tool to keep a certain narrative. It is very often used to shield incompetence of officials. Ministers and governors are rarely put in this position because of their skills, they got the job as a favor. So when it comes to any problem, they may try to show leadership by just saying something that comes into their mind. They often actually think its a brilliant idea, like the tracking devices for tourist in Thailand, suggested by the Tourism Minister. 

The problem is that – with Hun-Sen and his quick decisions maybe an exception sometimes – most cannot admit a mistake or failure. This would mean losing face, so they have to stick to it, even knowing it was wrong. 

As a Westerner, we would usually just jump onto this vulnerability, taking advantage of our weak opponent. But that won't work in Asia. It will actually cause the opponent to not move a nanometer from his or her position. The only thing to do is walk away from the confrontation or even the conversation, let it rest for a while and then come back, maybe on a lower level, to start the communication again. And the best way would be to pretend nothing ever has happened before. 

In Thailand, you can experience this in politics on a daily basis. And even it Cambodia it happens. Like the recent decision to make all markets public until 2020. That's a loooong time. Nobody will announce the decision was reversed. We will just not hear about it anymore. 

I am a dog lover, and we can learn a lot from the behavior of animals (what we basically still are). If you see two dogs in a stand off, you will rarely see that they will actually start a real fight. Most of it is just showing teeth and strength, and trying to outperform the other dog. And after a while, both get less tense and walk away. It is not about a winner, nobody gets the food or the female. They will still be dogs in the same alley, and will play with each other later. (I am aware that it could be offending to compare dogs to humans in some cultures, but this blog is my cultural space)

So what I learned is sometimes it's good to walk away, not being defended, just taking a break and giving the other person space and rest. Time is not money in Asia, it is a dimension in which we flow around. It may have not been the right day for this deal, but there will be one. Just be patient and see the goal as important, not your way to go there. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Video: A walk around my house and why I like the countryside

I thought it might be a good idea to have some video content as well, so I just recorded a bit about why I like it here even without paved roads and having real animals around.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Got interviewed by Tharum

My good old friend Tharum, who I met nearly 10 years ago for the first time, did an interview with me when I was in Phnom Penh recently. Please read it as his place. 

I first met Thomas Wanhoff, a German science podcaster, nearly 10 years ago when he first moved to Cambodia from Germany. After a couple of years, Thomas started to roam around East Asia. It’s until mid this year, he’s back in Siem Reap. As always, I enjoy listening to stories from people like Thomas. So last week, I met Thomas for a coffee chat at one of his most favorite places, Brown Coffee on the Sisowath Quay. In this interview, I asked him about his early involvement with the BarCamp communities and about his past decade trotting Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vientiane, and Bangkok.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Emerald HUB in Phnom Penh: New wave of co-working spaces in Cambodia

When I visited Phnom Penh over the last weekend, I needed a place to do some writing. Hotel rooms are not my preference, and since my friend Chantra invited me to his new venture, I gave the Emerald Hub a try. It is located at the Phnom Penh University building at the 11th floor. First of all, its specious. Lots of tables and chairs (the latter could be a bit more comfortable), air-con, separate rooms and a big meeting room.

Costs are different depending on your use: Residents pay 100 USD a month and have access 7 days a week between 8am and 8.30pm. The full time package offers for 75 USD a 5 days working week, and for 30 USD you can come 2 days a week. Day passes are available for 7 USD.
They are planning to expand, first in Phnom Penh in BKK3 and another location, but other cities are on the list as well. A big advantage is that they open on weekends as well. The Wifi is fast, and when I was there on a Sunday it was all quiet and a good working environment.
You can just walk in for one of the regular tables. Meeting rooms and small rooms have to be booked in advance.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


I took the pictures at the Royal Gardens. There is an empty wooden building falling apart, but has nice patterns on its walls.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The world in 360: Panoramas from Siem Reap

I am playing around with 360 degrees pictures taken here in Siem Reap. The first ist my favorite coffee place, Temple Bakery. Second is basically just behind my house and third is a bridge over the river in Siem Reap, along street 25 in downtown. Expect more to come.

The most recent panorama ist from the lotus farm about 10 km south of Siem Reap.

Temple Bakery Siem Reap

Around my house in Siem Reap

Street 25 bridge Siem Reap

In front of Royal Palace in Phnom Penh