I’m sweating the beginning of the new semester, as I am teaching three classes (two large intro classes and a seminar), and trying to finish up three articles, among other things. Still, the enormous labor action that took place over the last week in Cambodia needs to be noted, though at this moment I have little to add in the way of analysis or interpretation. Please discuss in the comments.
Anne Elizabeth Moore’s article, “Garment Strike in Phnom Penh reaches Critical Mass: Will Adidas, Gap, and Puma Pay Workers a Living Wage?“, is one of the best summaries of the situation out there currently. Her other work in and on Cambodia is also excellent.
The labor actions have involved, and frequently ended, in violence with police, as the latter attempt to restrain the former.
Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is about to make his first trip to ព្រះវិហារ (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.