Cambodian altruism in the face of poverty
July 14, 2008, 2:54 am
Filed under: Corruption


Cambodian altruism in the face of poverty

By Kurt A. MacLeod

The Cambodia Daily, July 10, 2008


n the streets of the capital of Phnom Penh, I recently passed a shiny new black Rolls Royce Phantom with a sparkling silver grill. The US$400,000 vehicle was absolutely beautiful as it coasted down the streets cluttered with small entrepreneurs eking out a living on a per capita GDP of just over US$550 per year.

The previous week I had seen a 2007 Bentley with leather interior, and which sells for a quarter of a million, plying the chaotic streets of the city. As the Rolls Royce rumbled by, I thought not only about the value of the car but also about the wealth of the family that bought the car as a show of opulence in face of poverty.

I was on my way to a meeting called by a Cambodian youth organization (YRDP) that had been collecting donations for the survivors of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. Soon after the cyclone hit the southern Delta of Myanmar and left more than 135,000 dead or missing, 15 members of the youth group wanted to show their solidarity with the people of Myanmar. When the devastating earthquake hit China, they added the plight of those families affected. Continue reading


Gods go hungry
July 14, 2008, 2:46 am
Filed under: Social Issues


Gods go hungry

The Phnom Penh Post, Friday, 27 June 2008


couple of nights ago, I had a nightmare that my house was on fire and everything was burned to ashes. I woke up in the middle of the night and told my wife my strange dream.

Deemed a bad omen for the family, my wife spontaneously warned me not to forget to light three incense sticks and throw away a handful of rice in the morning. As believed by many Cambodians, people think that this practice will get rid of bad luck after a nightmare.

With a lackadaisical belief in superstitions, I told my wife that I was not going to throw away more rice just because of a nightmare anymore. Continue reading