Saturday, 22 November 2008

Look Good Great Tasty Foods at Siem Riap, Cambodia

Before I visited Cambodia, I have done some research on their food, accommodation and also the culture. Mostly of the information that I found in terms of culture and food are very similar from one to another. However the accommodation and spending vary. Some really spent thousands of USD while some only spent hundreds USD over the same trip and places of visits. For me I have only spent few hundreds USD. This is acceptable for most budget travelers.

After my previous post on tips and things to do in Cambodia, this round is about the great food in Cambodia.

Firstly is the welcome drink from The Golden Temple Villa. This drink is FREE for the guests who stay in the hotel on their first day of arrival. It is just an ordinary lime juice but the nice part is that the container used really looks traditional Khmer style.

Khmer’s banana, tasted a bit sour and biting tongue. It not as nice as our local bananas. Maybe because it belongs to the lower grade. Anyhow it’s free.
Khmer Coffee, there is some signature aroma that tells you it is Khmer Coffee, like what you get the signature smell from Coffee Bean or Starbucks. This Khmer coffee is something that will keep you awake while you still feel sleepy. By the way the coffee is FREE during our entire stay at the guest house.

We usually had American Breakfast at Golden Temple Villa for breakfast. Such as Omelettes and Scrambled Eggs with bread, nothing too special about it. However the great part is the price per set starts from only USD 1.75.

For alcohol lovers, this place is a heaven. No matter what type of beers in Siem Reap is cheap. Be it Angkor Beer or Anchor beer, Thai beer or Chang beer, they are all at the same price range from USD 0.70 to USD 0.75 per can.

If you are looking for great food while traveling, there is a nice food court located opposite Neak Pean Wat. You can stop by for some nice food to fill your stomach. The stall that I had my meal was Stall No 5.

One fresh coconut with juicy coconut water is sufficient for 2 people, with each cost USD1. I am a bit regret of ordering one for myself instead of sharing. I have wasted nearly 1/2 of the coconut water.

Dishes that I have ordered for lunch. It will be best for each of you to order a dish and share among each other. For 4 people who travel in a group you might consider 3 dishes which will be more than enough for 4 people. As for the rice is FOC even for refill. Average of each dish is around USD 3.

Pineapple fried pork/ Beef/ Chicken, is a Thai dish but very famous in Cambodia. I ordered pork which I find a bit stinky. Maybe the way they cook is different. If you don’t like the smell of pork, chicken or beef will be better alternatives for you.
Amok, is a must try in Cambodia. If you haven’t tasted this food you are considered as never been to Cambodia. Amok is actually the name of the great chef who cooked for Khmer’s King last time. This dish is one of the signatory of the chef and the taste is so great that Khmer used his name for this dish. This dish is cooked with coconut cream, spicy paste, long beans, onion, Green leaves and egg whites and they come with choices of Chicken, Pork or Beef. However I was told by our tour guide that Amok is best served with fish meat.

Chicken/ Pork/ Beef fried with lemon grass. Very nice dish with strong aroma of lemongrass. I have a very strong feeling that this dish originated from Thailand as I remember I did triy that dish before when I was in Phuket.

If you would like to go for more decent restaurants in Siem Reap, Khmer Kitchen Restaurant could be the one. It is located along the pub street /old market place of Siem Reap. This is a very famous place where any Tuk tuk driver will be able to bring you there. Again each of the dish here costs USD 3 per and the rice is FOC.

One of the great food that I tasted here is the Khmer Style Soup. It is cooked with lemon grass, lime leaves, garlic, ginger, chili, Galangal, lemon, herbs with the choice of Fish/ Chicken/ Pork/ Beef/ Tafu/ Mix Vege.

Khmer Curry, is cooked with coconut cream, spicy paste, chili, potato, yam, pumpkin and carrot and again with the option of Fish/ Chicken/ Pork/ Beef/ Tafu/ Mix Vege.

If you wanted to try out something different than hotel or restaurant food, there is a good place for you to hang out which is the street beside the old market place. If you know how to get to the only convenience stall here in old market place, it is just located opposite the shop.

This lady is very aggressive in inviting customers and promoting her stall. JWithin 10 minutes, she has managed to pull in 10 customers. I wonder how much she earns per night. Anyway the food here are cheap compared to the one we had in hotels or restaurants. Average cost per plate is USD 1.

Traditional Vietnamese Rice Noodle Soup with Beef (Pho). The soup base is sweet and cooked with beef, rice noodle, bean curd and vagetable. It is simple and nice.

Fried noodle (MA MA) with chicken, the typical fried “maggi” mee that we used to order at Indian mamak stalls. The noodle is thinner compared to our maggi mee here. The thickness and the size is very similar to Thai style instant noodle.

Overall, these food are very nice and presentable. If there are any Khmer food served in Penang, I feel that the business will be very good just like Miss Saigon’s Restaurant in Penang. Anyway, on my next post will be the street snack and the food that I will never try for the second time.
Stay tuned!

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Economic turmoil begins collecting toll

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

November 22, 2008 (Cambodia)

The global economic turmoil has started taking its toll worldwide and it is the smaller and under developed economies of the world who are the first to face the brunt of the development. Cambodia which has a very small garment sector but on which it is economically dependent has been badly hit by the crisis.

The recessionary trends prevailing mainly in its main markets of the US has brought with it a fear of closures and mass lay offs in the export oriented sector. The garment sector of Cambodia, which is the leading export earner and employment generator for the country, is presently collapsing under the pressure built up by falling US orders.

Slowdown of the US economy has immensely hurt the revenues flowing into Cambodia as well as the profit of the exporters. More so because unlike other competing countries like Thailand, the Cambodian garment manufacturers cum exporters failed to diversify its markets in to Europe, Russia and the thriving Middle East.

About 70 percent of the garment exports of Cambodia are directed to the US while only 24 percent go to the EU. Experts believe that slowdown in US will lead to further drop in the sales of clothing.

There is an expectation of nearly 35-40 garment exporting units closing in the next two months as new orders have trickled down or have totally stopped coming in. Already it seems nearly 20,000 employees have been laid off and if these other companies close down it will add nearly 25,000-30,000 to that number.

Most of the other garment export companies are working between 50-70 percent capacities due to lack of orders and according to some exporters they do not expect the situation to improve even in 2009.

But labour unions counter the observations made by these garment companies by saying that those companies which have closed down, have done so due to labour related issues and have shifted their operations elsewhere, but do accept the gravity of the situation created by the crisis.

Date for Cambodian infant's surgery is set

Soksamnang Vy

Press-Telegram Long Beach
By Greg Mellen, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/21/2008

LONG BEACH - Soksamnang Vy, an 11-month old boy from an impoverished village in Cambodia who was brought to the United States for life-altering heart surgery, has had a date set for the procedure.

The Children's Heart Center in Las Vegas, which is donating its staff and facilities for the surgery, has scheduled Vy for an appointment on Dec. 1, with surgery on Dec. 4 or 5.

Vy and his mother, Ratha Pang, arrived in Long Beach on Sunday, accompanied by Peter Chhun, the founder of nonprofit Hearts Without Boundaries, which is sponsoring the trip.

The boy suffers from a ventricular septal defect or hole in his heart.

Although the surgery to fix it is relatively routine in the United States, it requires use of a heart-lung machine and expertise not readily available in Cambodia.

"The baby has a congenital heart defect that without surgery will shorten his life," said Dr. Paul Grossfeld of San Diego, a cardiologist familiar with Vy's condition.

Vy is the second child Chhun has brought out of Cambodia for the open-heart procedure. The first, 9-year-old Davik Teng, had surgery at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in March and has since returned to her village outside of Battambang in northwest Cambodia.

After surgery, Vy will likely remain in the hospital for three or four days to recover and will stay in Las Vegas another week or two for checkups.

If all goes to plan, Chhun says Vy should be well enough to return home by the end of January., 562-499-1291

THE SIN: Who committed sin will receive sin

Piyachar (L), the wife of Janekit Kratsakhon, her son Sirachat (C) and her daughter Lipikar cry in front of the coffin of Janekit Kratsakhon who died after a grenade attack on protesters outside the metropolitan police headquarters in Bangkok November 20, 2008. The leader of a long-running anti-government street movement in Thailand called for a major rally on Sunday to oust the "murderous" administration after one of its supporters was killed in a grenade attack.REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom (THAILAND)

Soldiers near Government House in Bangkok. Eight Thai anti-government protesters were wounded, one critically, in a pre-dawn grenade attack in Bangkok Saturday, ramping up tensions a day ahead of a major rally, officials said(AFP/File/Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

Thai Buddhist monks take part in a protest against Thai Beverage's plan to list on the Thai bourse outside the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) building Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008, in Bangkok, Thailand. Hundreds of Buddhist monks and civilians staged a noisy protest opposing the listing plan and claiming that it would encourage Thais to drink alcohol and was counter to the beliefs of the kingdom's Buddhist majority.(AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)

A Thai Buddhist monk holds banners 'Stop beer and whisky in the stock market' as he joins a protest against Thai Beverage's plan to list on the Thai bourse outside the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) building Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008, in Bangkok, Thailand. Hundreds of Buddhist monks and civilians staged a noisy protest opposing the listing plan and claiming that it would encourage Thais to drink alcohol and was counter to the beliefs of the kingdom's Buddhist majority.(AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)

An injured anti-government protester is wheeled to an ambulance after a bomb attack at their protesting ground of government house in Bangkok, Thailand Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008. A grenade attack on protesters occupying the Thai prime minister's office wounded eight people early Saturday, officials said.(AP Photo)

Sacravatoons : " The Open Door "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon

Sacravatoons : " The Bird Flu "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon

Cambodian PM predicts 7 pct GDP growth for 2009

PHNOM PENH, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen predicted that the economic growth of the country could be 7 percent next year, despite a recent IMF growth forecast of under 5percent, national media reported Saturday.

A heavy rainy season, which boosts rice crops, could help bolster GDP growth to 7 percent, Hun Sen said at the 14th Government-Private Sector Forum, according to the Cambodia Daily newspaper.

However, dropping demand and international financial turmoil have darkened the country's economic horizon, Hun Sen said.

Hun Sen also agreed to suggestions that farmers be offered contract farming to help assure reasonable prices for their products.

Meanwhile, Hun Sen said that he had ordered a 100 U.S. dollars reduction to the price of passports issued to Cambodian migrant workers, which will now cost only 24 U.S. dollars including the price of photographs.

Editor: Wang Hongjiang

Fallen leader mourned; Saukam Khoy

VICTOR. J. BLUE/The Record
Vanarith Saukam, son of former Cambodian President Saukam Khoy'light incense as family and friend mound during his father's funeral thursday at the buddhist temple in Stockton.
Saukam Khoy, who led Cambodia for 11 days in 1975, died at 93

By Jennifer Torres
Record Staff Writer

November 21, 2008

STOCKTON - Funeral services began Thursday for the last man to serve as Cambodia's president before Khmer Rouge forces took control of his country and launched a devastating campaign of persecution.

Saukam Khoy, who had been living in Stockton since 1984, died last Friday. He was 93.
The former lieutenant general served as acting president of the Khmer Republic from April 1 to April 12, 1975.

Those 11 days marked the end of five years of war between the U.S.-backed Cambodian republic and the Khmer Rouge insurgents who went on to embark on a genocide that killed nearly 2 million people and led thousands of others to flee.

Even during that upheaval and throughout the rest of his life, Saukam's children said, he remained deeply committed to his family and homeland.

"He loved his country. He sacrificed for his country," his daughter Bophasy Saukam said. "He taught us to be brave, to be courageous."

Saukam Khoy was born in 1915 to parents Kam Siv and Uy Sinn Loeung, and enlisted in the Royal Khmer army when he was 25. In 1972, he served as president of Cambodia's Senate. Then on April 1, 1975, he was appointed acting president, taking over for Lon Nol, who fled into exile.

Saukam said at the time that he maintained hopes to negotiate a cease-fire and establish a coalition government.

"I shall go to the soldiers and the people to find out the situation and inspire them with confidence," he told a correspondent for Time magazine in 1975.

But by then, Phnom Penh was under siege, most of Cambodia's other major cities had fallen and American aid had been withdrawn.

"I think it's fair to say that, by the end of March, the writing was on the wall," said John Ciociari, a researcher with Stanford University's Hoover Institution. He has assisted in the work of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. "One doubts that the senior leadership remaining could have done much to save the country."

U.S. officials sent letters to Cambodian leaders, offering to evacuate them. Saukam and his family were flown to Thailand and then to the United States.

Sara Kun, who was at the Wat Dharmararam Buddhist Temple on Carpenter Road this week to help monks repair a broken screen door, said he remembers the day Saukam departed: April 12, five days before Phnom Penh fell.

"I remember, it was right before Cambodian New Year," Kun said. "We did not know how bad it would be."

After about nine years in Houston, Saukam and his wife, Vom Tep Saukam, moved to Stockton, where they lived relatively quiet lives among the thousands of other Cambodians who also were resettled here.

"We asked him about his background because we wanted more information," said Nim Ros, who helps coordinate social services at the Park Village Apartment community, where many Cambodian refugees settled. "He turned away. He didn't want to talk about it."

Vanna Prasit is assistant director of the Asian Pacific Self-development and Residential Association, which oversees Park Village. Her family escaped Cambodia before the forced labor, starvation and executions that killed an estimated 20 percent of the country's population. She said she grew up listening to her mother talk to other women who saw their babies die.

"They're still afraid," Prasit said. "Talking about politics, in Cambodia, is usually not done."

More important, Ros said, " is preserving the culture."

Vanrith Saukam, Saukam Khoy's son, said his parents agreed that Cambodian traditions should be maintained. "He was very faithful to his country, generous and devoted," Vanrith Saukam said.

He said his parents were active members of the Buddhist Temple. His mother formed dance troupes to teach children about their country's artistic heritage.

Bophasy Saukam said her family lent out her wedding dress to refugee families who wanted a traditional Cambodian ceremony.

She said her father, who was reading the work of French philosophers in the days before he died, hoped eventually to return to a peaceful Cambodia.

At the temple Thursday, his casket was draped with a Cambodian flag his wife had made for him about 15 years ago. Monks led prayers, and family members lit incense in front of Saukam's portrait.

He is survived by his children, Bopharin Saukam and Sophala Saukam of France; Vanan Saukam, Vanchan Saukam and Vanrith Saukam of Houston; and Bophasy Saukam of Stockton.

He also is survived by 21 grandchildren, three of whom live in Stockton: Sytana Dany Khloth, Bonaka Dean Khloth and Boramy Tina Khloth.

Funeral services continue today.

Contact reporter Jennifer Torres at (209) 546-8252 or

Cambodia: Langrabbing and hybrid rice

21 November 2008

Cambodia is a major target of the global landgrabbing surge that began in March this year when the world food crisis was at its peak. High-ranking foreign delegations have regularly been visiting Phnom Penh, looking to strike deals for access to land to produce food for export back to their countries. Overall, as much as $3 billion in agricultural investments are currently being negotiated with the Cambodian government in return for millions of hectares in land concessions. The largest deal so far is a bilateral deal with Kuwait involving a $546 million loan in exchange for a 70-90 year lease covering a "large area" of rice lands, where Kuwait will organise production for export back home. Meanwhile, over 100,000 Cambodian families lack food and many more are directly at risk from the escalating government-backed land evictions happening across the country.

As documented by GRAIN in an October 2008 briefing, Seized: The 2008 land grab for food and financial security, such land grab investments in Cambodia and elsewhere may be negotiated by governments, but it is the private sector that is explicitly expected to step in and deliver-- taking control of the production and distribution. This kind of agricultural investment is really all about agribusiness development-- from the seed to the market, and it is only natural then that the projects involving rice often involve hybrid rice seeds.

As Cambodian rice farmers are dispalced from their lands to make way for export production, so too their traditional rice seeds will be displaced by imported hybrids. This was confirmed this past week when national media in Cambodia reported that a Cambodia-based joint venture hybrid rice company was in negotiations with foreign investors from the Middle East and Singapore to grow its hybrid rice on 50,000 hectares in the central province of Kampong Thom.

The hybrid rice company, Kasekor Khmer Rongroeung Co Ltd, is a partnership between Singapore-based Sunland Agritech, a well-known player on the hybrid rice scene with tie-ups in Malaysia and the Philippines, and Malaynesia Resources, a Singapore-based company providing consultancy services to foreigners investing in Southeast Asia. The company currently only operates a 2-hectare test plot but it plans to increase its seed production area in the province to 200 hectares in the next growing season.

This past season the company distributed seeds and fertiliser to farmers free of charge in return for a share of the crop - a strategy it plans to expand upon. At present, the provincial governor estimates that Kasekor Khmer Rongroeung' s hybrid rice is grown on around 5,000 hectares in the province.

"We are ready for large-scale implementation," said Louis Kek, director of Malaynesia Resources.

Kek told the Cambodia Daily that their hybrid seeds will triple rice yields in the province, from 2.5 tonnes per hectare to 7- 8 tonnes per hectare. But similar promises were also made by this company in Malaysia, where high yields have not materialised. In trials conducted by the Malaysian Agriculture and Research Development Institute (MARDI), the hybrid rice of SunLand's Malaysian joint venture, RB Biotech, was devastated by panicle blast and, even when not exposed to disease, its yield was still considerably below that of the check variety.

The main appeal of hybrid rice for private investors, however, is not its performance but the control it offers over farming. Farmers who plant hybrid rice have to return to the company every year to buy new seed, so it is ideal for locking them into contract production. Hybrid rice is also best suited to the kind of large-scale, high-tech, plantation-style agriculture that the foreign investors moving in on Cambodia's rice lands are likely interested in pursuing. Landgrabbing and hybrid rice are indeed a perfect match.

WB Chief warns financial crisis has blocked global trade

AFP, Frankfurt

The global financial crisis has hit international trade because banks have become wary of financing deals, World Bank president Robert Zoellick said yesterday.

"Trade is largely financed by credit" which has become tighter as banks retrenched following the collapse of the US market for high risk, or subprime mortgages, and the failure of US investment bank Lehman Brothers, Zoellick said at the 10th German World Bank Forum.

Dow Jones Newswires reported Zoellick as saying that the World Bank was in discussion with the United States and China as well as other partners to work out how to finance trade. "This will be critical" in fighting the global economic slowdown, Zoellick said. Lars Thunell, head of the World Bank's private sector lending arm the International Finance Corp., said the IFC was providing banks with guarantee facilities to back loans for trade.

The World Bank meanwhile, forecast a decline of about 0.1 percent in economic activity in the developed world next year while the developing world's growth rate will slow to about 4.5 percent, down from the previous estimate of 6.5 percent.

Global growth will therefore be only "modest," Zoellick said.

In Siem Reap, Cambodia, the world's poorest countries called on rich nations Thursday to continue giving aid despite the global financial crisis.

The appeal from trade ministers and representatives from nearly 50 Least Developed Countries ended two days of talks in Cambodia's tourist hub to discuss trade and the credit crunch.

Group plans celebration for Buddha-shaped wasp nest


By Matt Russell
Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

The Cambodian Buddhist community in Rochester has scheduled a two-day celebration to commemorate what members believe is an apparition of the Buddha on temple grounds.

The Dec. 6 and 7 events will celebrate a wasp nest shaped like a seated Buddha that is tucked into the eaves over the entrance to a temple building. Monks and others in the Cambodian Buddhist community have called the nest a miracle, leading to national media attention.

The Dec. 6 event will begin at 6 p.m.; festivities start at 8 a.m. Dec. 7 and continue into the afternoon.

"It's just a celebration for the Buddha," said community member Tracy Sam. "We want everybody to know they are invited to the temple to help us celebrate."

The wasp nest, which members of the community have been calling a beehive, was noticed early this month. Beehives appear to have a special significance in Cambodian Buddhism: Honey collecting is a common activity in Cambodia, where Buddhist temples feature honeycomb-shaped towers.

Monk Moeun Ngop, 76, pointed to a colorful painting on the temple grounds of a monkey giving a honeycomb. He says the painting is a sign that the Buddha-shaped nest isn't a coincidence.

Experts who have examined photos of the nest say that the temple's eaves are an ideal place for a wasp nest to be located. There is nothing extraordinary about the nest's shape, they said.

The Buddhist Support Society's temple is at 4462 29th St. S.E. in Rochester.

Rare Otter Cub Found in Cambodia

IOSF - International Otter Survival Fund

November 21, 2008 - Press Dispensary - A biological research team has just returned from a coastal survey trip in Southwest Cambodia where it discovered Oshi, a four month old otter cub of the extremely rare hairy-nosed otter breed, living in a village house. Apparently, he had been enjoying the hospitality of a fisherman’s family for about two months. This discovery is welcome news to the International Otter Survival Fund ( IOSF ), which works to protect endangered otter species.
Hairy-nosed otters were considered extinct in 1998. Since then, however, small populations have been found in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Sumatra. Very little is known about the hairy nosed otter and its habits, and the breed was previously thought to be restricted to freshwater swamp areas. The arrival of Oshi proves that the hairy nosed otter is, indeed, living in coastal areas of Cambodia.
Despite this discovery, the news for hairy nosed otters isn't all happy: their greatest threat is from the fur trade, with the majority of furs going to Tibet and China. For every tiger skin found, at least 10 otter skins exist, while one haul in Lhasa revealed 778 otter skins. IOSF has launched a campaign called Furget-Me-Not, as otters are the forgotten victims of wildlife crime.
Besides Oshi, one other hairy-nosed otter exists in captivity – another male called Dara, who is in Phnom Tamao Zoo in Phnom Penh. Dara, which means “star” or “precious” in Cambodian, has become a real “star” to the local people. He is raising awareness of the plight of otters in Cambodia and their importance to the environment.
IOSF is working with Conservation International Cambodia, carrying out community education work around Tonle Sap Lake, and training a national team of biology students and villagers. This is having a positive effect and local rangers and fishermen are now reporting illegal nets.
Fisherman Soun Sareun sometimes swaps his fishing nets for a compass and GPS to take part in the otter project – he wants to be a role model in his community. Paul Yoxon said: “This is the real way forward to counter the fur trade - by getting the community involved and providing a way for people to make a living without killing otters. The Cambodian people are seeing Dara and now don’t want to kill otters."
Oshi will go to Phnom Tamau where he'll stay in the quarantine area for a while then, hopefully, he can join Dara and together they can act as ambassadors for other otters.

Some Children Labor, Far From Home

By Pich Samnang, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
21 November 2008

Pale-faced and thin, Chhim Mao sits outside a three-story building in Phnom Penh, guarding cars. Born in Takeo province, the 16-year-old boy has been living for four years with the building owner, a man he’d never known before.

“My grandmother brought me here to help with her housecleaning,” Chhim Mao says. “I help her clean the rooms, and I guard the parked vehicles, as she is getting old and has a lot of work to do.”

In fact, Chhim Mao’s grandmother no longer stays here. She has moved to another house, leaving all her tasks to Chhim Mao. The young boy waters the flowers and the plants. He cleans the stairs. He opens the gate for residents and workers. Often, he dares not sleep until late at night, waiting for the building owner to return.

“I wait for him until one o’clock, when he comes home,” the boy says. “If he has not come, I have to wait for him.”

Chhim Mao is one of more than 20,000 children who leave their hometowns to work in other people's houses in major urban centers like Phnom Penh, Battambang, Kampong Cham and Siem Reap, according to research compiled by World Vision Cambodia and Licadho.

“Some of them are also at high risk of being sexually harassed or even abused by male employers or house owners because of a lack of protection,” says Lor Monirith, World Vision’s manager for the a project to combat child labor.

Children working in private homes like this, often with long hours, lose an opportunity for education, he says.

According to a study by the International Labor Organization, child servants like these work between 12 hours to 18 hours a day, often with little or no pay. They wash dishes and clothes, iron, polish shoes, cook, look after children, care for the infirm. They are the first to rise, the last to sleep and serve at the bidding of their employer. Some are beaten, some scolded, and some are asked to take the wife’s place in the bed of the boss.

Poverty drives the children to the work, Lor Monith says.

“Some parents send their children to work here in the city to earn some money to support the family or pay back debts,” he says.

According to the International Labor Organization’s Convention on the Prevention and Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor, the government, as a signatory, must eliminate severe child labor, such as slavery, forced labor or any work affecting a child’s health, safety or morality.

Labor Ministry officials were unavailable or declined to comment.

Licadho spokesman Vann Sophat says his organization has received six cases of domestic child labor abuse this year, but not a single case has been heard by the courts.

“One of the cases was rape, but the perpetrator is walking free,” he says.

A specific law on child domestic workers is needed to protect these child servants, he says. But more than that, parents must understand that it is not a child’s duty to support the family.

“What a child needs to do,” he says, “is go to school and gain knowledge to become a well-educated citizen for the country in the future.”

Smart-Nosed Canines Sniff Out ‘Killers’

By Pich Samnang, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
21 November 2008

Maja, Mandy and Lyongambol at a dog kennel in Kampong Cham province. They are bomb-sniffing dogs for the CambodianMineActionCenter, able to find landmines and unexploded ordnance.

While the typical picture of a deminer is one of a human, crouched low, quietly prodding in search of mines, dogs like these are in fact responsible for the clearance of 30 percent of the some 1 million mines and ordnances found by CMAC.

CMAC Director Khim Sophoan says these dogs work just as much as the 2,000 other deminers on staff, their colleagues.

“These dogs are even more effective in locating landmines than mine detectors because they sniff for TNT only,” he says.

TNT is a substance used in landmines and other explosives, a deadly remnant of Cambodia’s civil wars, killing hundreds of people each year. CMAC estimates these “hidden killers” have killed or injured more than 60,000 Cambodians since the collapse of the Khmer Rouge in 1979.

An estimated 4 million to 6 million mines and explosives are still scattered across the country.

These bomb-sniffing dogs, mostly German Shepherds brought in from Germany, Swedenand Bosnia, are helping reduce the numbers.

Each dog takes eight to 10 months to train. Handler Heang Sombo, who has worked with such dogs for more than a decade, says this is not easy.

“It is like we are training our kids to say ‘mom’ or ‘dad,’” he says. “We train them to sit, to listen, and to obey us. Then we train them to smell TNT.”

Making the task harder is the dogs’ language: they don’t speak Khmer.

“When we tell them to sniff, we say in Swedish, ‘lear ta,’” he says. “In Bosnian, we say ‘search,’ the same as in English.”

A dog’s sense of smell is about 40 times better than a human. When these dogs smell TNT, they sit down, two meters away from the source.

An untrained bomb-sniffing dog can cost $4,000, and costs can reach $30,000 for a fully trained canine. Cambodiaspends about $1 million a year on the care and training of its 84 dogs.

So far, 10 dogs have aged beyond usefulness in the mine fields.

Sao Chandara, another dog trainer, says when these dogs get old, their ability to sniff mines is reduced.

“So they have to be retired, like humans,” he says. Some will be euthanized.

“We don’t allow these dogs to be taken outside, because before they retire they work like us,” he says. “So we would rather put them to sleep.”

In March, Cambodiabred 10 puppies to replace their parents, Bosnian German Shephards. However, seven of them died of disease.

Proper Diet Fights Diabetes: Doctor

By Nuch Sarita, VOA Khmer
21 November 2008

Khmer audio aired 20 November 2008 (5.01 MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 20 November 2008 (5.01 MB) - Listen (MP3)

Before diabetes sets in, early intervention with diet and exercise might delay the onset of the disease, a doctor said Thursday.

People with diabetes should be aware of three important points, said Dr. Taing Tek Hong, on “Hello VOA”: Hemoglobin A1C, which measures average blood glucose level over the previous 2to3 months, should be less than 7; blood pressure should be less than 130/80; and LDL cholesterol level should be less than 100mg/dl.

Patients should avoid sweets such as sugar, candy, pies and cakes. Watch the intake of starches, like bread, and carbohydrates, like pasta and rice. These turn into sugar in the blood.

“Drink plenty of water or diet soda instead of soft drinks with sugar, and avoid fatty foods, like anything breaded, fried or creamy,” the doctor said. “Choose lean meats or fish with fresh vegetables.”

Read food labels, look for sugars, such as corn syrup, glucose, sucrose and fructose, and avoid them, he said.

Diabetics should understand food groups, servings, carbohydrate counting, and a food group or exchange system, he said.

“Daily food intake should include a variety of foods selected from each food groups, and different food should be chosen every day,” he said.

Overweight men and women should keep their calories restricted, as well, he said.

Taing Tek Hong also suggested eating in proper proportions: six to 11 servings of grains, beans or starchy vegetables; three to five servings of vegetables; two to four servings of fruit; two to three servings of milk and yogurt; two to three servings of meat, poultry, fish, eggs and nuts; and only “very small portions” of fat, oils and sweets.

Before people develop type two diabetes, they almost always havepre-diabetes. Type two diabetes can cause serious healthcomplications. Pre-diabetes means blood glucose levels that are higherthan normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.Taing Tek Hong said that recent research has shown that some long-termpre-diabetes damage to the body, especially the heart and circulatorysystem, may already be occurring during pre-diabetes.Type two diabetes due to high blood sugar may include increasedthirst, increased hunger, especially after eating, frequent urination,fatigue, blurred vision, decreased vision, numbness and tingling ofthe feet.

Lao Mong Hay Says Hok Lundy Was Involved in Many Cases of Killing People, and His Death Has Brought Relief to Many - Friday, 21.11.2008

Posted on 22 November 2008.
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 587

“A senior researcher at the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong, Dr. Lao Mong Hay, said that the death of Mr. Hok Lundy, the Director General of the National Police, in a helicopter crash on 9 November 2008, has brought relief to many people, and he added that Mr. Hok Lundy was involved in many cases of killing people.

“Khmer Machas Srok translated a two pages English statement of Mr. Lao Mong Hay on 19 November 2008 as follow:


Dr. Lao Mong Hay’s original article under the title “Cambodia Needs a Neutral Police Force” was brought to its Khmer language readers by Khmer Machas Srok. In order to “mirror” this article, we did not translate the Khmer translation again back into English, but we rather link to the original UPI Asia publication: click here and you will see the original article.This is then followed by the final paragraph from the Khmer Machas Srok publication, as usual.

“Nevertheless, Dr. Lao Mong Hay’s statement focused on the feeling of Khmer citizens about the death of Mr. Hok Lundy and it talked about the involvement of Mr. Hok Lundy in many cases of killing people, when he was still alive.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #287, 21.11.2008

Final Note:

The following four paragraphs of the original article were not included in the Khmer language report by Khmer Machas Srok:

“Commenting on Hok Lundy’s death, Cheam Yeap, a senior party official and parliamentarian, said, ‘The CPP and all Cambodians have suffered a huge loss.’.“By law, the Cambodian police should treat all persons equally. Citizens are entitled to protection without discrimination, as called for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Cambodia has explicitly agreed. The police need to be impartial and respect the rights of all individuals, regardless of their origin, social status or political, religious or philosophical convictions.

“This will require the Cambodian police to be politically independent and neutral, without affiliation to any political party. The national police commissioner should be placed directly under the authority of the minister of the interior, as he is supposed to be, and not under the prime minister. The police should be answerable to Parliament, through the minister of the interior and the prime minister.

“Good conduct, political independence and neutrality of the police, as well as accountability to the Ministry of the Interior, should be explicitly incorporated into the police law that is currently being drafted. The same law should have penalties for any misconduct or breach of political independence and neutrality, and also create an independent institution to deal with complaints from the public against the police.”

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 21 November 2008

PM promises not to 'wage war' on Thais

Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong speaks to reporters after a meeting Thursday with Thailand's ambassador at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Phnom Penh Post

Written by Cheang Sokha and Vong Sokheng
Friday, 21 November 2008

Hun Sen calls for calm on the border as Foreign Minister Hor Namhong accuses the Thais of submitting groundless complaints

PRIME Minister Hun Sen announced Thursday that Cambodia will not wage war with neighbouring Thailand over its ongoing border dispute, but said the country will be ready to defend itself if necessary.

"We do not want to have fighting. We just want peace and do not want other countries to invade us," Hun Sen said during a ceremony at the National Institute of Education.

"We want to avoid war, and we are now avoiding conflict all along the border. We have opened the door for discussion and a reduction in the military presence."

Tensions have eased since October 15, when gunfights along the border left three Cambodians and one Thai dead, but Hun Sen said Cambodia would act in "self-defence" if required.

The border dispute has been simmering since July, when Unesco approved the listing of Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site, triggering a troop buildup on both sides.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong also said Thursday the Thais had submitted a series of complaints to the Cambodian government in November, but that all of them had lacked legal grounds.

The complaints relate to the construction of buildings near the Poipet border crossing, the posting of Unesco flags and signs at the hotly-disputed Preah Vihear temple, and a Buddhist Kathen ceremony that marched into Wat Keo Sekha Kiri Svara, over which Bangkok claims sovereignty.

"Thais always send complaints that lack legal grounds. They are just protesting without reference to the law or to [border] maps," he told reporters after a meeting with the Thai ambassador Thursday.

"Thais should check their legal case before submitting complaints because it is a waste of time for us."

All these [disputed] areas are located within Cambodian territory, so we do not have to ask permission from any country," Hor Namhong added.

"We hope that all countries will respect the flags and signs at Preah Vihear temple since it belongs not just to Cambodia but is also a World Heritage Site."

Cambodia and Thailand have never fully demarcated their shared 805-kilometre border, but a meeting between Hor Namhong and his Thai counterpart in Siem Reap on November 12 yielded an agreement to scale down troop numbers near Preah Vihear temple and begin joint border marking and demining operations from mid-December.