…so long to wait!

[From Phnom Penh Post]

Cambodia has not had a new case of coronavirus in more than a month, and only one of the 122 positive infections is still receiving treatment. There have been no COVID-19 deaths in the kingdom. The government has closed schools (March 16th) and churches and casinos and spas, but otherwise life is almost like normal. People are on the streets. The markets and shops are open. Fewer people wear a mask.

Then today the Minister of Education announced that the plan is to reopen the schools the 1st of November, a decision that surprised many because the attempt at some sort of online education has not gone well.

PIME Reflection

Today I was at the PIME house in Phnom Penh for a simple reflection. PIME is the Italian equivalent of the Maryknoll mission group based in the United States. Here Fr. Gianluca welcomes me on my first visit to their new center.

Corona Burger

(Photo from Economic times)

The Economic Times reports on a “corona burger” being offered by an eatery in Hanoi in Vietnam. It’s marketed with an “Eat it, to beat it” slogan. Looks pretty tasty actually.

Offering respect

Monks are greatly respected in Khmer culture. This woman collects plastic bottles and containers and aluminum cans to recycle and earn a dollar or two a day. Passing a monk, though, she stops to offer respect and probably to make a small donation.

Soft Target

Last Easter three churches were bombed by terrorists in Sri Lanka and 290 people were killed. World Vision International became concerned about its facilities around the world and has them to increase their security practices. The English Catholic community rents the auditorium of World Vision in Phnom Penh for its Saturday evening mass and now we need to introduce new security measures. We had an extensive meeting with World Vision and heard their requests for really stringent measures that wouldn’t be suitable for a church service, e.g., signing in and signing out, bringing no bags, backpacks, etc.

In the end we arranged that all our members will be issued ID badges which they must wear each week. Because we get tourists and others coming to our services irregularly, people without badges will be asked to sign in and possibly have their backpacks checked. It’s a nuisance but a measure we can live with. About ten years ago I was talking to an official of the U.S. State Department and he cautioned me that our congregation would be a prime soft target for terrorists. It’s all foreigners, we have various ambassadors and UN officials coming, and it would generate a lot of publicity which would be attractive to the terrorists.