[chinese blood, irish heart] - DEFUNCT: About Cambodia

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

About Cambodia

Here's a short essay i'm submitting to Concern as a part of my interview:


After years of political strife, 2004 saw the Kingdom of Cambodia transform into a constitutional monarchy ruled by King Norodom Sihamoni. Though ravaged by war and atrocities by the Khmer Rouge in the 70’s, the people of Cambodia are still one of the world’s most friendliest and peaceful people. With palms together, a warm traditional greeting ‘Sur sdey’ is way to bond good relations. Its Buddhist heritage and enchanting history of Angkorian period is a testament to the strength of Cambodians.

Yet beneath the shroud of welcoming faces and luscious Buddhist temples, many Cambodians suffer from abject poverty, high infant mortality rates and malnutrition, especially in rural areas. The social, educational and economic destruction left by the Khmer Rouge has put Cambodia in a struggling recovery. Therefore NGO’s like Concern are playing a vital role rebuilding a shattered country and improving the livelihoods of these people. Although the income per capita is steadily increasing, civil war and internal strife continues to weaken the already stagnating economy.

The nature of Cambodia’s development and inherent poverty leads to many social problems such as crime, rape, trafficking, exploitive child labour and violation of human rights. It is worth reporting on these issues not just for journalistic reasons, but also to provide information and statistics for other organisations on how to deal with these problems. In March this year, journalists and NGO staff witnessed government forces evicting over 200 families from Kbal Spean village resulting in 5 deaths and 40 injuries. These mass evictions are an unfortunate trend in poor rural areas and highlights the need to protect these communities and giving them a voice in the court of law.

Coverage of the continued development of women’s and children’s rights are also worthwhile for these two groups are vulnerable to exploitation, trafficking and domestic violence. By offering them education and empowerment, they can take leading roles in rebuilding Cambodian society.
In addition to writing reports from the field, I can also use my own audio/visual equipment for greater effectiveness.
Tourism is one of Cambodia’s biggest industries; with its magnificent Angkor Wat, lively Phnom Penh and beauty of Siem Reap, reporting on Cambodia’s attractions for external sources may help to boost its tourism economy.