Going Viral in Cambodian Cyberspace

Going Viral in Cambodian CyberspaceSocial media is on the rise in Cambodia, and it may just mark the beginning of the end of the systemic culture of judicial impunity, as well as the long-dysfunctional democratic system. To shine some context on the matter, social media vigilantes have been busy linking brutal attacks on two lawmakers outside the National Assembly…

Cambodia Holiday Policy Hampers Competiveness

Cambodia Holiday Policy Hampers CompetivenessThe Cambodian government just released its official list of public holidays for 2016, beating past years’ record by increasing the number of public holidays for 2016 to be 28 days notwithstanding when holidays fall on a weekend (Saturday-Sunday) the following Monday is off as compensation. Add to that mandatory annual leave of 18 days, people…

Cambodia’s Quest for Effective Leadership

Cambodia’s Quest for Effective LeadershipTwo solid years after Prime Minister Hun Sen vowed in an hours-long speech at the inaugural first Cabinet Meeting to lead a “Reform Mandate” (2013-2018), the momentum has subsided and the balloon has deflated. The New Normal has ceded place to the Old Normal. Reflecting back to leadership quality and challenges described in books published…

Cambodia’s NGO Law: Legislation with Chinese characteristics

Cambodia’s NGO Law: Legislation with Chinese characteristicsAs the Cambodian government prepares to finalize its draft Law on Associations and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), which has faced severe criticisms from international rights groups, Cambodia’s civil society – one of Asia’s most vibrant – risks taking a giant leap backwards. The draft NGO law, if passed, might also signal that Cambodia is falling further…

UN Credibility on Trial in Cambodia

UN Credibility on Trial in CambodiaThe United Nations faces a credibility test. For more than a decade, it has supported the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, or ECCC, a hybrid tribunal with national and international sides created to try “senior leaders” and others “most responsible” for atrocities of the Pol Pot regime, which enjoyed Chinese support. The ECCC…

Former Official Recalls Cambodian Collapse

Former Official Recalls Cambodian CollapseOn April 10, John Gunther Dean, the US ambassador to Cambodia at the fall of Phnom Penh, gave a startling interview to Denis D. Gray of the Associated Press, in which Dean accused the US of abandoning the country and “handing it over to the butcher.” Dean left on one of the last helicopters out.…

Reform in Cambodia May Signal Change

Reform in Cambodia May Signal ChangeCambodia had a year of political reform in 2014, and observers are skeptical about how much change it will bring. But it might be premature to dismiss Prime Minister Hun Sen’s reform efforts as cosmetic. The year began with a series of mass protests organized by the Cambodian National Rescue Party over alleged massive fraud…

Book Review: Hun Sen’s Cambodia

Book Review: Hun Sen’s CambodiaIn the western mind, as Sebastian Strangio so eloquently writes, Cambodia remains “nearly synonymous with the terror and mass murder that engulfed the country in the mid-1970s, when the Khmer Rouge seized power and embarked on a radical experiment in communism.” The country has struggled on from that period, modernizing and tearing down its forests,…

Cambodia’s Preah Vihear: Development Still on Hold

Cambodia’s Preah Vihear: Development Still on HoldPictures of ancient Preah Vihear Temple are heavenly. When talking about the temple, many Cambodians become just as mystical. Though not too many have made the trek yet, they do have opinions.  “I hear it is so beautiful,” said a tourism worker in Siem Reap. Of course he had been to his city’s famous temples…

Cambodia in Peril from Mekong Dams

Cambodia in Peril from Mekong DamsThe planned construction of 88 hydroelectric dams in the lower Mekong basin by 2030 means Cambodia will pay the region’s highest price for dam development, analysts say. The proliferating dams could affectg the food security of its 80 percent rural population, said Eric Baran, a specialist with the WorldFish Center, an international research NGO based…