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Cambodia II

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So how was Cambodia? What’s the national psyche? And where is it going?

Portrait of an ex Khmer Rouge official - S21

Portrait of an ex Khmer Rouge official - S21 prison

If I had to use one word to describe Cambodia – I know this is unfair to begin with – I would just say “dark”. But dark can be beautiful for some people. I like the black color in general myself. The look into the country’s recent, very recent  past influenced me here. It is not only this though. The present is a state were the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, nothing we have not seen before elsewhere but especially in this country I do not think there is much more margin. The ATMs dispense dollars, the NGOs are doing their best but leaving their mark and the people well… what can they do. It is definitely not worse than before so there you have it. Is this enough though? Hun Sen – an ex-member of the Khmer Rouge – is the Prime Minister of the country not seeming to be moving from his position. The political opposition likes the king. So little space there for democrats. Buddhism is back and spreading in a quick pace something that thinking of the context I consider a good thing. How do the people feel in terms of options? I reckon they do not think about it too much. The tourists in their majority are particularly careless and irresponsible giving out money to the street kids (that carry their street brothers and sisters) because they pity them. On more than one occasions I had North Americans declaring to me: “What could I do, it breaks my heart seeing them like this”. Maybe they should have thought this earlier. For now, you most definitely know that this money is not going to who you are giving it to…

I know I am not answering my own questions but I also think that is the point I am trying to make. I do not know. In the beginning I wanted to go to the East, the provinces of Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri but that has not been possible due to the weather conditions. Going in the Northwest was also difficult (and expensive because of lack of public transportation). So I was stranded in the places the main roads were passing from and I have to say that my exploration was far from profound this time. It’s a pity because Cambodia is changing rapidly and I do not know when I’ll be here again. Alas this brings me to the question of where is Cambodia going.

Just a week ago or so, Hun Sen accepted Thailand’s ex Prime Minister Shinawatra Thaksin as a political refugee and a personal friend. If Cambodians never really liked the Vietnamese, they really dislike the Thais and Thaksin is far from an angel. I will not refer on his persona here (a kind of a Thai Berlusconi) but with this act Hun Sen showed a little concern for his people. Economically-wise the tourists are more and more every year. This is a good thing for the Khmers but with it being the only real source of income, Cambodia is very dependent and elsewhere… naked and vulnerable. This means that the prices go up without the services getting any better. Where will it end? Probably at the point of tourists being sick of it, their number dropping and once again Cambodia having to come up with something. I just hope it’s not prostitution and child begging again. In any case I might be all wrong (I sure hope so) but being here in Hong Kong now, I find the contrast to be so bright that I find it difficult not to be pessimistic…


Written by csm2mk

October 27, 2009 at 4:12 PM

Posted in Cambodia

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4 Responses

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  1. […] blogger at THE THREE ALPHA TRAVEL wrote an interesting post about Cambodia, its tragedy history and the current political affairs, in […]

  2. Would that be an automatic-created blog? A blog-bot maybe? 😉


    October 28, 2009 at 2:39 PM

  3. Hi man!

    I’m an automatic-created person…Your last posts are awesome!


    October 29, 2009 at 12:18 AM

  4. Diego! I thought you had a mom… what a liar ;P
    Thanks for your comment. Where you gonna be in November???


    October 29, 2009 at 9:46 AM

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