Today was a travel day, getting everyone arriving in Bangkok to the southern Thai city of Hua Hin. Click here for some photos from the day.
Today was the occasion of the annual gathering of church pastoral workers at the pastoral center in Phnom Penh Thmey. Click here to see the activities of the program.
WordPress has been threatening to change the editor used by people like me to prepare the posts that we publish on our websites. I was happy–mostly–with what I was using before but finally we are all forced now to use the new Gutenberg editor. There were some things difficult or impossible to do with the old “classic” editor but from my point of view, if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. Gutenberg allows formatting like the colored background to this article—and large “drop letters” like the W above, but it also removes the capability to group posts into categories. I’ve seen there is a plug-in that allows one to use either or both the classic and Gutenberg editors so I guess I’ll have to explore that when I find some time.
This is a Phnom Penh city bus on a regular route. It’s rush hour and notice that the bus is basically empty, just one or two passengers (not visible). Japan and China have both given over 100 buses in the last two years and the number of routes was increased from three to thirteen, but mostly the buses run almost empty. When the first route was started about three years ago, people were interested in the idea–and attracted by the free rides for the first couple months, but since then nothing successful has been done to increase ridership. Donors have given the vehicles; now they need to teach the government how to market and run an effective bus system.
Faintings by factory workers are a regular occurrence here. They do all kinds of tests, improve ventilation, advise the workers to eat better, get more sleep, whatever, but I don’t think that’s going to change a thing. For whatever reason, it’s a cultural phenomenon with its own expectations. One young woman faints for some reason–or maybe just suggests that she feels funny or something–and that is the trigger, giving permission for everyone else to “faint” too. There’s probably no problem. It’s just what you’re supposed to do. I suspect the best response is to have a section of clean factory floor and just lay them side by side until they decide they’ve been on the floor long enough and them let them go back to work. Taking them to clinics, etc., probably doesn’t help and just perpetuates the problem.
This is a photo from our last coffee and doughnuts Sunday (the third Sunday of each month) and it shows the lively conversations and exchanges that go on each month. For too many Catholics, we “go to mass on Sunday” as an obligation, a requirement, overlooking Jesus’ command to be brothers and sisters to each other. To be family like that means to actually talk to each other and to get to know each other, not just sit beside someone in mutual isolation for an hour during mass. Other Christians are so much better at that than we are and we could learn a lot from them about what Jesus had in mind.
This is just the latest example of a government some would call craven and venal selling off public lands, property, or buildings, usually to their developer friends. It will be interesting to see what replaces the fire headquarters which was near our Maryknoll office. I’m sure the new building will make a lot of money for someone–and probably that someone will be a friend or colleague of a government official, or maybe the official himself.
As for the people who will suffer…20 kilometers is 12 miles. In the Phnom Penh traffic now it takes 40 to 50 minutes to go 4 miles to the airport. The new fire headquarters is 12 miles away! How long will it take a fire truck to get to a fire in the city? Of course, on the positive side it will give the owners of the burning building more time to collect money because the fire department has a reputation for demanding money, once they arrive on the scene, before they start to fight the fire.
Last week we celebrated graduations for our Year 2 students in Phnom Penh and Kampong Cham and Kampot Provinces. Click here to see the graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh.
Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ has come uninvited. But because he cannot be at home in it, because he is out of place in it, his place is with those others for whom there is no room. His place is with those who do not belong, who are rejected by power because they are regarded as weak, those who are discredited, who are denied the status of person, who are tortured, bombed and exterminated. With those for whom there is no room Christ is present in the world.