Happy New Year, everyone! The Chinese Year of the Dragon is here, and many of us in Southeast Asia will catch up in April!
Just a few days ago, Cambodian unionists held a small ceremony at Watt Langka in Phnom Penh near the Independence Monument, to remember Free Trade Union Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia president Chea Vichea, who was murdered just outside the temple’s walls on January 22, 2004. A wonderful film has been made about his murder and the aftermath, which drew some international attention to Cambodia’s apparently hopeless judiciary. FTUWKC seems to have eliminated their old website, and replaced it with a new, more frequently updated site, here. Twitter. Facebook.
We’re still experiencing mass faintings at factories in Cambodia. Noise has been made about fixing the situation, but it’s unclear to me what concrete steps are being taken.
One of my favorite Cambodia-related blog posts of the last year has to be Alison in Cambodia’s excellent post on the “Navel of the Village,” focused on Lovea. Lots of excellent photos, and a wonderful opening to the topic. Go look!
The Center for Khmer Studies has announced a new conference, June 9-10, 2012, on the topic “Religious studies in Cambodia: understanding the old and tracing the new.”
Northern Illinois University will be hosting the International Cambodia Studies Conference in September (14-16), 2012, in Rockford, Illinois, on the theme: “Imagining Cambodia.” Deadline for abstracts: March 15.
A new issue of the journal of Contemporary Aesthetics is devoted to “Art and Aesthetics in Southeast Asia.” All content is free, peer-reviewed, and online. Go check it out.
“Archaeologists excavate sculpture workshop in Angkor,” says the headline over at the Southeast Asian Archaeology newsblog. Maybe this will help keep the criticisms of contemporary art workshops in tourist centers in contemporary Cambodia down? Nah, probably not. Very cool find, however.
The International Federation for Human Rights has released its regular summary of the Human Rights situation in Cambodia (2010-2011). Here’s the summary:
In 2010-2011, the space for civil society continued to shrink, with increased limitations on the freedoms of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly, in particular through unfair and illegitimate judicial proceedings. Human rights defenders, operating in an increasingly restrictive legal environment, found it extremely difficult and risky to denounce human rights abusers and bad practices, while peaceful demonstrations were prevented or violently dispersed. Also, acts of intimidation continued. In addition to NGO members, many trade union leaders, land rights activists, community leaders and journalists faced fierce retaliation for documenting and denouncing abuses.
Some folks know me as someone with a rather obsessive interest in peasantry and farming. There’s an absolutely excellent, short essay from Henry Saragih, the secretary general of the Indonesian Peasant Union and the general coordinator of the International peasant’s movement Via Campesina, on CNN, about Indonesian Farmers. Most of the general trends apply directly to Cambodia, or indeed peasants everywhere. Since over 80% of contemporary Cambodians have primary work experience in peasant rice production to this day, it’s worth considering. Speaking of farming, is contract farming good for farmers? Could be: according to a new study, noted on the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog.