Slow going…

At the end of the year, many organizations, government offices, and NGOs reported their activities for 2019. CMAC (the Cambodian Mine Action Centre) reported that they had cleared more than 36,000 mines and UXOs in the year just ended. (UXO=Unexploded Ordnance). The front-page article above explained that 67 square kilometers of land had been de-mined. It then restated the government’s commitment to completely clear the remaining mine-contaminated 2,100 sq km by 2025! Having cleared only 67 sq km in 2019 and 72 sq km in 2018, that seems like an impossible goal! (As a footnote to this situation, remember that these mines were put down 35-45 years ago! Mines are insidious and rightfully banned by most of the world. The US is one of the few nations that has refused to sign on to the ban-landmine treaty.)

Integrity? No….

“I solemnly swear (or affirm) that in all things appertaining to the trial of _ , now pending, I will do impartial justice to the Constitution and laws, so help me God.”
— oath required of senators by Senate Rules in Impeachment Trials

“There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this…We’ll be working through this process… in total coordination with the White House counsel’s office and the people representing the president in the well of the Senate… There is no chance the president is going to be removed from office.”
— Sen. Mitch McConnell

~ from

Cambodia’s Economy

These are some economic indicators that were published recently. Note the 6.9% economic growth. Cambodia has averaged more than that for the past decade. Unfortunately the money does not flow freely through the economy but ends up in the pockets of the government officials and business tycoons. Notable also is the low median age and the low average income.

The Government needs help

This is a really good example of what’s wrong with Cambodia. I have no problem with respecting the culture and traditions of a nation–I encourage it–but….pointing your foot at a car? Who was offended? The government makes a big deal of things like this to convince the populace that the government is with them and protecting them. And such antics distract from the failures of the government to do all the things it should be doing: providing schools, insuring medical care, protecting the forests and rivers, preventing land grabs, etc.

Insulting the nation….

This is the kind of silliness the people of Cambodia must put up with. Their government regularly, frequently, arrests–and jails–people for innocuous Facebook posts. It is not unlikely that some of the offensive posts are actually true, but true or not, the government officials are so sensitive and thin-skinned that a bit of criticism or negative comment draws the thought police. It’s an insult to the people of Cambodia….

Official’s Respect….Not

Recently I went to a graduation for a school for children with disabilities. Near the end the graduating students presented small gifts to officials who had come, as a little thank-you. When these two students with disabilities approached this official, he stood and at the same time his phone rang. He pulled out the phone and talked for three to four minutes while the two students–and the whole assembly–waited for him to accept his gift.

Now maybe it was his wife and she was calling with a special ring that they only use for real emergencies–but I suspect that was not the case. I suspect it was another example of the lack of respect and courtesy many government officials show toward the people they are supposed to serve.

Several years ago, we had a similar incident on Deaf Day. The main speaker and honored guest was a high official in a ministry. Right in the middle of her main talk, her phone rang–and she answered it! She talked for three or four minutes and we could hear every word from the microphone on the podium. She said she was busy at the time and then proceeded to set up a lunch date on another day. This is the disrespect and patronizing attitude so many in the government exhibit here.