In Cambodia there are a couple dozen Catholic pre-schools and kindergartens, many established for Vietnamese community children to help them integrate into Cambodian society and culture. There is no system of Catholic schools in the kingdom, though. The Jesuits have started creating a pre-school to university educational setting in rural Banteay Meanchey Province, and as usual, they do a super job with education. These are some of the primary school students at the beginning of the day when they have a period of silent meditation. There probably aren’t many settings in the United States where that could happen.

Temperature Extremes….

You’ve been reading about the hot spot in the Pacific near New Zealand and the very high temperatures in Australia and the flood waters in Venice. Well, things are pretty bad here, too. In the article above, the government weather bureau is “warning” people that the temperature is going down to 17º to 19ºC. That is 62.5º to 66.2ºF! So there! Things are difficult here, too!

Get it moving…

Large-scale storm sewer construction is going on around Phnom Penh and it’s actually starting to show results. Some areas of the city that used to flood two or three times a week during the rainy season now may flood only a couple times in a month. Phnom Penh is not so good at doing road work: the locals don’t know how to notify the community of the work, how to reroute traffic from streets that are dug up, how to finish a job in three or four days instead of three or four months, etc., but at least there is some progress.

Signs of Christmas

Being a Buddhist country and culture, there is very little Cambodian appreciation of Christmas in the religious sense, but as happens with so many Western holidays and celebrations, the commercial aspect comes into play. Few people could identify Christmas as the celebration of the birth of Jesus but those same people would buy red “Santa suits” to dress up their children. They become especially popular for “international” schools which have Christmas programs to prove they are international which is the label that attracts parents. Here are some photos of shops selling the Santa clothes.

Wearing the latest…

It’s interesting to see new styles and fashions and practices pop up in Cambodia and wonder if they are fads in other countries that are taking hold here, or if they are just homegrown trends becoming established.
It’s not unusual these days to see young children like the two above sporting these quirky caps with long ear pieces that are supposed to resemble animal paws