Cockroach Corner – December 2014

That’s handy. The Khmer Rouge tribunal announced the other week it will suspend trial sessions until January, bowing to pressure from lawyers of one of the two defendants charged with genocide.

A tribunal statement said hearings would resume Jan. 9, deferring to threats of a boycott by lawyers of Khieu Samphan, who said it was unfair to proceed while they are still working on appealing the verdict in his first trial.

So all those overpaid lawyers and judges can have a nice long holiday break. Not that the judges need it when some spend under half their time in country.
And so the useless gravy train rolls on.

I am drunken idiot. Having a quiet beer late at night you watch a drunken local stagger onto his moto on the pavement. Once stabilized its takeoff.

He clips the rear of your bike parked at the side of the road hurtles across the road and smashes into the back of a parked tuk tuk.

A crowd quickly gathers. On inspection it becomes apparent he has broken your rear indicator.

With the aid of the bars security guard the drunk is brought over to your bike and you point out the damage.

He smiles in that inane way only locals can says, “sorry I am drunk,” and proceeds to walk off.

Whoa there pal I have to fix this tomorrow so why does it cost me money because you are a drunken idiot.

It takes a few back and forth’s before the logic of the argument sinks in. Finally he agrees to pay under pressure from a girl who has arrived and is presumed to be a sister.

Over to the tuk tuk where haggling over compensation for a two dollar Chinese rear light starts at twenty dollars.

Ten minutes later he wobbles aboard his motorbike and weaves his way down the road!

Information from the local authorities! No not Phnom Penh. In a surprising development Sihanoukville has hit the fore with postings on two Facebook pages.
Expats and locals living in Sihanoukville has a police officer regularly posting info and photos of crime and captured thieves.

The Sihanoukville Immigration police page has the same as above plus lost passports recovered and even information on applying for a work permit!
Time Phnom Penh authorities caught up with the information age!

Cockroach Corner – November 2014

Lost for words. After a traffic accident which wasn’t his fault and the other driver did a runner a barang was invited to the local cop shop to file a report for his insurance purposes. A little intimidated by the surroundings he was asked what the other driver was doing at the time of the incident. After a minutes thought he replied. “He was driving in a Khmer fashion.”

The cops didn’t understand what he meant and pressed him for a further explanation. Not wanting to upset the cops he nervously used words such as “erratic,” and “unpredictable.” The cops still didn’t get it and pressed him further.

Finally he just let it all out.

“He was driving like a bloody loony. You know. A mad monkey in a Lexus just like all the other monkeys driving them in Phnom Penh.” The cops just giggled as the local police chief pulled up outside just behind him in his Lexus.

Near impossible. With Thailand clamping down on visas the Khmer authorities seem to have reacted by making “business visas” virtually impossible to get at land crossings.
On the Labour card/visa fracas here latest word is they are trying to sort out a new visa class for retirees/dependents etc.
And probably sorting out who gets what between the two ministries.

Watch out. By the time you read this you may be aware that thefts and robberies have been on the rise recently.
As is the custom here the two weeks before any major holiday is affectionately known as the “Robbery season.” With the Water Festival however it is also the pickpocket season in the crowds in town so hang onto your belongings closely.

Cockroach Corner – October 2014

So the wrangling begins. Kem Sokha first deputy presidency of parliament said that he would rally lawmakers to move votes of no confidence against corrupt and long-serving CPP ministers.

The PM then threatened to boot him out.

A reminder that that this can now work both ways seems to have calmed things down with the PM now supporting the summoning of government ministers for questioning by National Assembly commissions proposal.

However National Assembly President Heng Samrin stepped in and issued a circular essentially taking the commissions powers away. The opposition is of course crying foul that the circular had not been approved by the standing committee of parliament as per their political agreement.

This one will run and run until a certain person truly understands the meaning of power sharing!

Done deal. By the time you read this Australia will have signed a deal with Cambodia for the resettlement of refugees!
Can’t really think of anything more absurd.

So the three choices a refugee has are:
1. Stay on Nauru
2. Accept money and fly back to your home country.
3. Be resettled in Cambodia.

Taking into account Cambodia doesn’t have the policies or resources to protect them and a less than stellar record on human rights They are probably going to use the third as some kind of deterrent!

True to their word. A friend decided to try the new “Rouge” taxis on a primo job.

“Take me to the airport in 40min please.”

“Ok sir.”

He waited outside the house at the due time and saw two of them sail past. After a few minutes he rang the office to ask where his taxi was and was told they would ring back in five minutes.

They did. Only to tell him his booking was now cancelled!

Last time he uses the Khmer Rouge service. But as the advert says they want you to ring them again and again!

Just for the wrong reasons!

A bullshitting war criminal. On NPR’s Weekend Edition, Henry Kissinger told host Scott Simon that the ISIS problem could be fixed by thwarting the group’s goals with “superior air power.”

Sound familiar? That was the plan President Nixon undertook – in Southeast Asia more than 40 years ago – with the help of Kissinger, his then-national security adviser.

The policy not only failed, it left tens of thousands of civilians dead. And that’s a conservative estimate. Nevertheless, he asserted: “I bet if one did an honest account, there were fewer civilian casualties in Cambodia than there have been from American drone attacks.”

Reliable estimates put deaths due to drone attacks at just over 1000..

The estimates of deaths in the US bombing of Cambodia put the number between 50,000 and 100,000.

Cockroach Corner – September 2014

Australian confusion. It is all rather confusing on the aussie front at the moment. First we have the multi million dollar refugee deal and rumours had it that the Australians were looking for an island site (well that’s no better than where they are now) which apparently will now be onshore. Then we get the announcement that they will be shipping ten thousand head of live cattle to the kingdom. A day later there is a debacle about an abattoir they need. I mean really for which deal?

The day after someone pops up and says they are building a modern abattoir that can handle 3000 cattle a day! That would make it one of the largest in the world. But judging from the photo it seems to be a small row of shop houses which couldn’t handle 100 a day. Smells of bullshit to me or maybe they want the refugees to work there!

Another labour. Tons of questions have been asked but no concrete answers have come forth in the labour card debacle. The ministries don’t really seem to know what they are doing/or won’t say at the moment and for good reason. In 1996 the law was introduced. If you got one it entitled you to get the one year visa for $150. I know I got one for that price. The employer is responsible for providing it not the employee (take note teachers).

The problem lies in the fact that a certain ministry could lose millions in tea money every year. $150 versus $285 multiplied by god knows how many thousands a year soon adds up. When the turf war ends some concrete rules may come forth.

Just announced as we were going to press: There will be no backdating of penalties as long as you get a card before the end of the year. Ministries are now looking at creating a new type of visa for non working people and retirees.
So pop down to the Ministry of Labour and see what they have to say. Should be amusing if not confusing!

Sold up the river again. Ding ding round three! FUNCINPEC seem to be at it again. After two cases allegedly involving selling the party headquarters for personal gain in the recent past. It’s now gone again along with two provincial offices. Everyone is blaming everyone else as usual and it seems some do not know where the new offices will be! It’s a secret! No wonder why they didn’t get a single seat at the election!

Holiday alert! Please remember the 23rd and 24th are national holidays and will probably screw up the whole week. If you have something important to do around that time best bet is try and move the date!

Cockroach Corner – August 2014

Do as we say not as we do. Nice to see the boys in blue out and about the other night. They may not be fining everyone at the moment but were out at 4am in a jeep on St 51. Only problem was they were going the wrong way with no lights on and had blacked out windows! Don’t know if they were drunk or not but at that hour it seems highly likely!

Duhhh. A guy sat at Golden Sorya mall on 51 and was approached by one of the local ice queens. No surprise there.

She became very affectionate and draped herself all over him. It was only after she suddenly left he realized he had been pickpocketed and his Galaxy phone had gone. No surprise there.

A quick search of the local area proved fruitless. On hearing the complaints another girl approached and said she knew the girl and would get the phone back for twenty dollars. He coughed up the loot and the girl was never seen again! No surprise there.

The next day he went back to the mall in a bad mood. Talking to some girls he told the story. One girl said she knew her and actually knew where she had sold the phone. After some back and forth discussion he gave her one hundred and fifty bucks to retrieve his phone. And the girl was never seen again. No surprise there then.

We are now all eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Tuk Tuk driver that, “I know her house!”

We stand corrected. Oscars bar on St 51 was sold recently and to everyone’s amazement the new owner named it “Muff Divers.” This isn’t Pattaya, so people wondered how long it would last. About a week before he was apparently told to change it. Pretty sure the cops had a laugh when it was explained to them what it meant!

Swapsies? Rainsy returns for yet another overseas trip (strange they always coincide with problems here) basically sells his party up the river (mainly due to the main members of his party being locked up). Then swaps a position with one of his MPs to take a parliamentary seat? He didn’t even stand in the election! Can I swap too? I want to be an unelected MP. Many in his party are disgusted with his deal and rightly so.

As for the beating of security (thugs) at freedom park, general consensus is they have been dishing it out in the past and they were well due for payback. No doubt the circus will continue for some time with them being squeezed into a corner in the not too distant future. By the time you read these things could have changed dramatically.

Batty. They spent a fortune on revamping a parrot in the past. Then BAT spent a ton on withdrawing Ara Blue lights from the market (which were popular with foreigners) and replacing them with Ara silver. Now the Silvers have been withdrawn. In the last few months though reports have many packets being stale and mouldy with speculation that they randomly insert flakes of old car tyres to help you cough up a lung. All from a company whose premium brand here used to be the cheapest supermarket smoke in the UK!

WTF. Golden Sorya mall managed to sink to a new low recently with two dead in a murder/suicide bringing the total this year near double figures. The night after the sad event there was a fight in a bar opposite supposedly involving a US embassy staffer. A while later SUV’s pull up and embassy goons got out with a K9 dog! Were they trying to track the other party or just intimidate the surrounding area? Whatever they succeeded as upon entering the mall half the customers left. Not sure who was at fault but judging by locals throwing stuff at the staffers SUV when he first drove off we have an inkling who may be responsible!

Cockroach Corner – July 2014

Migrants scrabble. Rainsy says he will give money to retuning migrants from Thailand. Miscalculates number and cost, leaves country. Authorities then prevented Kem Sokha from giving money (far less than Rainsy’s amount) to migrant workers fleeing Thailand. Now it is claimed that CPP activists have been distributing leaflets chastising the opposition’s lack of assistance for returning workers. And so the farce continues. The Thai military tried to extort money out of migrants (as usual) but caused a panic which is affecting their economy. Now at least these workers can get a proper passport and paperwork.

Take this or rot. The Australian refugee debacle rumbles on. Australia has offered asylum seekers at immigration camps in up to AU$10,000 (US$9,400) if they drop their applications for refugee status and return home. Those returning to Lebanon from detention centers on Manus Island and the tiny Pacific state of Nauru were offered the highest amount of AU$10,000. Iranians and Sudanese were given AU$7,000 if they dropped bids for refugee status, Afghans $4,000 and those from Pakistan, Nepal and Myanmar AU$3,300.

So the choice is: Take the money and piss off. Go to Cambodia (with its stunning rights record). Or stay here and rot. As there is no way we are letting you in!

The Sweep Stakes. After the riverfront crackdown the sweep for beggars continues. In a statement released on Monday, City Hall said that it will use six intersections across the capital as model areas where beggars and street sellers will no longer be allowed. “The authorities always receive strong criticism from the public about homeless people begging there,” the statement says, adding that the ban will soon be expanded to include other areas of the city. Authorities are accused of carting kids and beggars off to the notorious Prey Speu detention centre.

But according to some caught up in the crackdown authorities are merely demanding a few hundred bucks from families for their return! However considering these are the city’s poorest members the amount is substantial. In the past this has been the authorities modus operandi as they don’t want to spend any money on them. It’s a vicious circle merely making the situation worse for the city’s most desperate.

Cretinous News Network. CNN International has apologised to the Ministry of Tourism after mistakenly posting on its Facebook page on Wednesday that the iconic temple of Angkor Wat was in neighbouring Thailand! Drawing ire from Cambodians around the world and outrage from the government. Not the first mistake for the geographically challenged morons in their studios. How they got news channel of the year is beyond me.

Cockroach Corner – June 2014

UNICEF. How much! We are all used to the outrageous amounts of money UN agencies lavish on themselves now Myanmar is experiencing the aid bubble. Last week The Irrawaddy reported that the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) is paying an exorbitant fee for its Rangoon office, which it rents from Nyunt Tin, a former general in Burma’s previous military junta. The next week, Unicef clarified the matter. It said it paid a “steep rental” of $87,000 per month. “However the rent is fixed for 7 years and it is a competitive commercial price in a tough market,” the agency said, adding, “Some international agencies have had to pay considerably more than our $2.9 per square foot for suitable space.” Nice to see your tax dollars at work!

The government in principal have agreed to take Australian boat people as refugees. The latest plan, which Australia has staunchly defended since news leaked out, has come under criticism by international rights groups who point to Cambodia’s weak infrastructure, insufficient social services and spotty human rights record. Of 68 asylum seekers or refugees already living in Cambodia most are desperate to be relocated to another country, welfare groups say. They have not being given work permits so they cannot work officially and they cannot open bank accounts or send money overseas, meaning laws and regulations will have to be changed to give greater rights to any refugees arriving under the Australian agreement However the Cambodian government is reviewing the terms of the proposal (meaning give us more dosh).

Cockroach Corner – May 2014

Freedom parked by the wayside. For the fifth time in a month (probably more by the time you read this) Mu Sochua was denied entry to Freedom park by security guards. During the ensuing scuffle seven people were injured. Why the hell isn’t the park renamed? Baton Park or Clubbing Park spring to mind. Blame ping pong Meanwhile talks between the CPP and CNRP broke down with each side blaming the other. The three main leaders of CNRP were unavailable for comment as Rainsy is in Europe, Sokha was in the US and Sochua was busy with security guards at Freedom Park. Surprised there was anyone left to negotiate with!

Only in Cambodia Yes they are considering the appeal from Australia to accept refugee boat people! I thought Australia had criticized Cambodia’s human rights record on numerous occasions. Obviously forgotten conveniently as happens in politics, and their only boat people after all! Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch deputy director for Asia, said. “If you scan the entire region and look at different governments, who would be most likely to take, basically, Australian blood money, it would be Cambodia.” Sister Denise Coghlan, director of the Jesuit Refugee Service, agreed. “Cambodia has enough poor of its own to care for without taking in Australia’s.” The deal will probably go through once “compensation” has been upped. So if you don’t want to pay 75k for Khmer citizenship get on an old boat to Australia now!

What! After a high profile court case Onha Khaou Phallaroth took out a full page advertisement in the post to explain his position. Apparently Lay Houng was not his second wife but his mistress. Basically it goes on the say what and evil conniving bitch she is and has made off with most of his properties! Talk about doing your laundry in public!

Another week trashed Remember it’s the kings birthday mid month and as it falls on Tues, Weds, Thurs you can write that week off for achieving anything apart from holidays.