Thursday, August 16, 2012
Under the terms of Agreement between the United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia, the Extraordinary Chambers will bring to trial senior leaders of the Democratic Kampuchea and those who were most responsible for the crimes and serious violations of Cambodian penal law, international humanitarian law and custom, and international conventions recognized by Cambodia, that were committed during the period from 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
I am sitting in a rather up market cafe. The Coffee House is attractively set out with modern comfortable furniture, a mixture of low sofas and cushioned stools around low glass topped wooden cofee tables. Of course there is free wi-fi, as is the case with every coffee cafe I visit which aims at expats. Some of the more local estabishments als ohave the service as well.
At one table a loud voiced expat woman is holding a conversation with someone about running charity type training schools and the problem of actually finding a niche area to train in which wasn't already being over taught by other groups. Seems that there are so many hair dressing and sewing training establishments that getting a job in these areas when training is finished is hard. To me that would indicate a chance of women going backing into the life styles that the training was supposed to take them from. Perhaps micro financing them into their own businesses might help – I think that this could be a really esential extension to the whole training scheme.
It is only 9am and already the presence of an air con is proving helpful. I was awake before 6am thanks to the local dogs and their regular early morning chorus. They have a late night sing a long as well. By 7:30 am the family were out the door and heading back to school for the first day of the new year. The long summer (mid year) break was over and there was a sense of excitiment at going back to catch up with friends and others. The roads were congested with over loaded tuk tuks and motor scooters. There were several traffic police and a military individual controlling the mixing flow from two roads which converge to cross the short narrow bridge leading up onto an even businer main road.
We are dropped off on the opposite side of the four or more lane road which runs beside the high school campus of Hope International School. I say four or more lanes because with the flow of tuk tuks cars trucks hand carts and scooters everyone makes their own line of progress. Some scooters even ride against the flow. Crossing the road looks threatening, but in reality is fairly straight forward. See a space in the coming traffic with less scooters and start walking out slowly but steadily. Everyone just aims to go around you as you walk. Crossing the centre line and a Nope School security guard or traffic warden will rush out into the road to flag down approaching vehicles. And so you cross safely, if not a little amazed.
The students gather in the shade of the raised buildings. It is a Christian school so the principal opens with a short appropriate Bible verse and will end assemble with an equally short relevant prayer. This assemble is devoted to introducing the new staff members and short term volunteers. More staff will arrive over the coming days, having been delayed by various travel or training concerns. In 15 minutes or so, the assemble is over and the new classes are heading off with their teachers. It is only 8:20 am. With an 8am start, the school day will end at 2:30pm. With the way the heat builds up during the day, this early start seems a good idea.
I leave the school and head off down busy side streets for the coffee bar 20 minutes walk away. The residential streets are a mixture of small businesses congested housing and construction in progress. Down an ajoining side street last week I looked in at several local mechanical factories and workshops. There I watched lathes at work, welding, heavy metal work as equipment such as concret mixers were either manufactured or repaired. I saw a factory making large industrial generators down another street. Generally the workshops were not much bigger that two or three New Zealand double garages (car ports). Industrial safety measures didn't seem obvious. Welding without eye or foot protection was a common practice.
I always enjoy walking along the streets here as there is always so much to see. And today I only had to decline three tuktuk offers and one moto ride. Perhaps I don't look so touristy? Ah well, dream on.
While the temperatures are in the thirties, it was still early morning and easier to walk than later in the day would be.
Just a block away from the Coffee House is the Russian Market. This is the one I have visited the most during my times in Phnom Penh. It is not the largest market but still full of many narrow alleyways and passages through the various stalls. Mostly the width is around a metre but it varies a bit depending on how much of the stall's goods spills out from their official space. Imagine a typical stall being around 3-4 metres wide and about the same or perhaps a little less, deep.
Stals seemed to be grouped into areas selling the same type of product. There is a small group of stationery and book sellers. Some of these have so much stock crammed in that the seller sits out in front and clambers onto her displays to reach items at the back. One woman did this to get my a copy of the Malaysa Lonely Planet. It was just $5 and a fake. The cover looked correct but the small print had the correct edition but then said published June 2011. Now I knew that the current edition was 2010 with the next due out in 2013. I checked careflly inside and finally found evidence that the copied pages came from a 2005 edition. It pays to check.
In one corner there are a number of DVD and CD stalls. One inside corner stall is double size. Most every film you can think of is likely to be there. But not The Story of Film – An Odessy which was shown on UK tv. Every stall has the complete films of Bergman – and they have each year I have visited. The packing changes so they must sell. I bought Brave to show to my grandchildren only to get home and find it had most likely been filmed off a cinema screen. And they had copied the 3D version so that it was fuzzy really not worth watching. It would pay to check. I suspect that this is the way the very latest films are obtained. Only $US1.50 a disc.
In the middle of the market are food stalls, both vegetables and meats, but also prepared meals. I called in with my family members for lunch at the noodle and spring roll stall. Here for under $US1 each we enjoyed fresh cooked noodles in a very tasty light sauce with chopped up sections of deep fried and crisp spring rolls. Crushed roasted peanuts were sprinkled on top. Across the alley was a cold drink stall. A good combination.
What amused me, as the family sat at the long ledge at the stall eating their noodles, were the European tourists pausing to take a photo of us all eating.
An early morning visit around the food stalls and you will find fresh fish swimming in bowls with others chopped up int round slices. No nicely filleted slices here. I wached various 'butcher' chopping up chicken and beef and letting it lie on the counter or hang. Some had flies around it other pieced did n't. I am told that if buying meat sellect the slices which attract flies. It seems meet without flies has most likely had some insecticide sprayed over it. But no one know exactly which chemical is used. Perhaps frozen supermarket meat is the safest choice.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
On the way up below the cloud layer was a great new roadside statue of Ya Mao a respected Buddist figure. Lots of locals were stopping off to pose in front of the statue, some to burn inscence and others to photograph some hanging boulders.