Here are some interesting links I’ve come across that I wanted to share.
- Via Details are Sketchy: This is one of the most succinct articles I have ever read detailing all that is wrong with Cambodia today written by Barbara Crossette. I really encourage everyone to read it. True, there is much to fall in love with here, and indeed I did after my first trip in 2005. However as a friend told me after a few more months that Honeymoon feeling starts to fade. The country has improved and continues to expand economically but as Crossette says “the nightmare is not over.” I still wonder if anything will happen to change, realistically I fear that if these problems are not addressed things will only get worse.
- A website I just found out about from a friend that publishes info on Cambodia
- A great blog on transportation issues in Cambodia
- By the same author, a blog comparing prices of groceries at different markets in Phnom Penh.
- A series of videos on a recent History Channel episode of Digging for the Truth on Angkor Wat. Damian Evans who I blogged about below is featured.
Barbara Crossette clearly and masterfully explains why cambodians’ wounds are not healing even after so much effort and funding that has gone into the United Nations initiatives. When we compare the Cambodian experience with South Africa’s “Truth and Reconciliation” initiative, we realize what has gone wrong is not lack of goodwill and people’s capacity for forgiveness, but back door political deals that kept enough elements of Khmer Rouge in power to move the country in the wrong direction, perhaps because there was no established political opposition to assume power. And with that, outbreak of corruption was inevitable.
It is not easy to forget and forgive the horrors of Khmer Rouge genocide, China’s Cultural Revolution, South African Apartheid, Rwanda’s Massacre, Dar-four’s Genocide, etc. However, people in each of these trouble spots have shown incredible capacity for going after their normal lives and slowly establish social trust with each other.
We also know that corruption is not new and not limited to Cambodia. It is a dark side of human civilization, Achilles heel of democracy, and a necessary element of any dictatorship. It was corruption that brought the fall of Roman empire and facilitated the demise of Persian kingdom after invasion of Arabs, and there are many more examples.
Is there any country in the world that is not infested with corruption? I doubt we can find any. However, it is important to realize that developed countries such as United States and EU have been setting examples for the rest of the world. A very bad example we have recently set for the rest of the world is the financial fiasco of “sub-prime” mortgage. Is it not corruption at the highest level of institutions that were supposed to be the bastion of trust and confidence?
So, may be it is time for us to realize that what we do affects people everywhere in the world. We need to put our house in order first, then expect others to do the same.