Al Jazeera Story about recent Garment Factory Raise and the Inflation that swallowed it whole….

as usual, the award for Best International Reporting on Cambodia in English goes to….Al Jazeera English.

Chea Mony of the much-discussed-on-this-blog Free Trade Union of the Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, shows up around the 1’55 mark, and the closure has some statistics, and a short interview with a sex worker, that really brings the numbers home.

I like the way this story was done, as well, including the part with the sex worker at the end; maybe even especially because of that part.  Normally, I hate the tendency of foreign reporters to focus so easily and quickly on the sex trade in Cambodia as a catch-all symptom of corruption and desperation; not that the sex trade doesn’t usually represent precisely those things, but because the focus on it remains, for the most part, purely at the level of representation.  That’s to say, when most reporters focus on the trade in Cambodia, they rarely make an explicit connection between the factors that drove the sex worker to the trade, why s/he remains there, including the reasoning used, etc.  And they almost never treat the sex worker with respect, but usually focus on the titillating shots that will get the story attention from editors back in New York, London, or Dubai.  This one felt different to me, perhaps especially because the sex-worker interviewed at the end was translated, rather than merely paraphrased, and because the camera-work was not as predatory.


Cambodia Daily Pulled From The Streets For "Burma Daily" Edition

More undoubtedly coming soon. Briefly,

The Cambodia Daily published an 8-page supplement called “The Burma Daily.” Critical of the Burmese government, the title and some of the content was a snarky slam on the Phnom Penh Post‘s recent switch to a daily news format, and especially the new owners’ involvement in Burmese business concerns. [the ‘official web site’ for the supplement is content-less, as is almost true of the Cambodia Daily site.]

That’s not particularly news. What is blogworthy about this is that as of this morning, the Ministry of Information seized the supplements, which are not to be distributed.


David Brooks Knows Nothing About Buddhism

So says this person over at Tower of Dabble, responding to an atrocious little piece of crepulence from Mr. Brooks, published over at the New York Times. The piece is called “The Neural Buddhists,” but appears to be a very poorly considered rant against the ongoing materialism of scientists. I’m not exactly certain what Mr. Brooks proposes scientists replace their commitments to materialism, empiricism, and confirmation with, but I am certain he has some similarly obnoxious theory about it.

He mentions Buddhism twice but I have no idea why. My guess is that he knows as little about Buddhism as he does about evolution or neuroscience. I think maybe he read a page of the Dancing Wu Li Masters while investigating California latte sippers in 1987 and he thinks he now understands Buddhism.

I have again wasted a lot of words saying what could be said in very few:

I’ll let you go see what the short version is for yourself. Tower of Dabble‘s summary caught my eye for two reasons: first, she or he does an excellent job of showing how Brooks’ use of Dawkins’ scientific work, The Selfish Gene, completely misses the point and project of that work, and that he appears to be using Buddhism as some sort of slam at scientific atheists. Are all Buddhists scientific materialists? I have misunderstood everything, apparently.