This is a conference on inclusive education for children with disabilities sponsored by the NGO Education Program. It brought together this past week a lot of civil society and non-government organizations to look at the situation in Cambodia.
It looks like a normal organization meeting in any hotel in any major city anywhere, but this one had its Cambodian characteristics. Cambodians thrive on noise–loud noise–and they always turn the PA systems up very high–and leave them at that setting. Their technicians do not adjust the volume for each speaker as he or she comes to the podium. The volume stays on high all the time. And then speakers come up and yell into the microphones. If we were in the United States, OSHA would require ear protection for everyone in the room. Here the locals just consider it normal—and it is in this culture. We foreigners consider it painful.