Hands-free Phoning

Many jurisdictions require hands-free arrangements if a driver wants to use a phone while behind the wheel.  That’s probably better than holding a phone and talking while driving although the distraction factor is still here.  In Cambodia not that many people have cars but they do have lots of motorcycles and they do want to talk while driving those.  This is one method, sticking the phone under the helmet next to your ear.

You think you’ve got it bad…

Headlines and news reports from United States media frequently make reference to the campaign to raise the minimum wage in the U.S. to $15 an hour.  The minimum wage is also a matter for discussion in Cambodia but here the goal of organized labor is a minimum wage of $182 PER MONTH.  The current wage norm here is $170 per month, raised before last July’s elections in order to get the garment industry workers to support the ruling party.

It’s no wonder why….

Tens of thousands of garment factory workers–usually young women–ride to work each day jammed, standing up, in the back of open trucks.  Many of them are killed in the frequent accidents when trucks overturn and collide from speeding and throw bodies everywhere.  The government’s response? “Training” drivers to obey the law and “urging” them to get driver’s licenses.  That’s a neat idea.

Heavy Drinking

In the old days a case full of soft drinks in bottles was heavy.  Then we got a case of soft drinks in aluminum cans.  In Cambodia, coconuts don’t come in cases–rather in wagon loads–but you can believe they are heavy.  A big coconut like some of these could easily weight five or six pounds.  The driver cruises around until someone hails him, and then he uses a chopper (meat cleaver to Americans) to cut off enough of the top to insert a straw.