SOUNDING on Southeast Asia, 4 February 2010

Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is about to make his first trip to ព្រះ​វិហារ (Preah Vihear) temple in the midst of the run-up to the dry-season offensive (military potential, but it’s going to be loud, at minimum), has also been preaching parables to people in his client-base.  This parable is all about a good Buddhist elder and a bad Buddhist elder, and how at some point, the good guy eventually gets tired of being good to the bad guy and the bad guy stops getting what he asks for, gets leprosy, and dies.  Just sayin’!

Meanwhile, just across the Thai border, the cold-hearted bastards at Reuters who analyze trends for investors have started warning about a possible coup.

Economic indicators in Cambodia: a brand-new, purportedly high-quality modern Rice Mill has opened in Battambang Province.  The president has a Khmer name; is the company owned by a Cambodian and do profits stay in country? Meanwhile, pawn shops are becoming legal.  That’ll help. Cause god knows, there aren’t enough opportunities to buy second-hand, stolen commodity goods in Cambodia right now.

Human Rights Watch has released a 93 page report which is very hard to read.  It details the horrendous abuse taking place in Cambodia’s Drug “Rehab” centers, largely of young children from the streets.  Beatings are not the worst of it.  HRW recommends that the centers be monitored by the UN. I think they should be destroyed and ripped down to the foundations.

Oh, and that cool image from the MMAP folks of what appears to be a burial urn?  It was.  And that’s the second one evah.  Awesomes.


Read This – "Let Us Not Praise Coups"

In addition to Andrew Walker’s inventory of some of the surprising accomplishments of the Thai state in achieving its Millenium Development Goals, this post by wonderful journalist Awzar Thi (a pseudonym), over at his blog, Rule of Lords is today’s must-read.

Responding to Paul Collier‘s half-baked, militarist suggestion that what countries in crisis (specifically, Zimbabwe) should hope for are military coups, Awzar Thi runs down the actual history of coups, and shows how awful they are for those over which they rule, no matter the high hopes of the populace (and international imperialists), nor the horrendous state of affairs prior to the coup. He concludes

Let us not praise coups, and let us certainly not wish them upon people who are already acutely suffering their iniquities. They are not a way out of trouble but a way into more of it. No better advertisement of this exists than Burma today.

Please, go read it.