Somebody's Not Reading Google News – Cambodia and Corruption

I have google news subscribe me to anything that has the word Cambodia in the story. I usually get a few nice stories that way, and keep up, roughly, on what’s shaking in the land I love.

Sometimes, that leads to a few strange coincidences. Coincidences which make me wonder who’s drinking the koolaid.

For instance. In the News Observer, I read a news/opinion piece from Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Joel Brinkley. The title of the piece?

The World Leader in Corruption is – Cambodia

Sure, we all know that Cambodia ranks as the second most corrupt country in the world, according to Transparency International. Or that it is ‘number one’ in Asia. (this, according to the 2007 report in which Cambodia was included for the first time. link.) But what excellent journalists do is to put a human face on the picture. What human faces did Joel Brinkley choose?

Hun Chea, a nephew of Cambodia’s prime minster, was speeding along a busy downtown street a few days ago when he ran down a man on a motorbike….

Hun was tearing down the street at high speed when he hit the biker, witnesses reported, and his car ripped off an arm and a leg. The biker, Sam Sabo, was killed. Hun began to drive off, but running over the motorbike had shredded a tire. He had to pull over, so there he sat in his big black Cadillac Escalade SUV.

Now, listen to how the Phnom Penh Post newspaper described the events that followed.

“Numerous traffic police were seen avoiding the accident scene, but armed military police arrived. They removed the SUV’s license plates and comforted Hun Chea” while Sam Sabo lay bleeding to death in the street. A military policeman was overheard telling Hun: “‘Don’t worry. It wasn’t your mistake. It was the motorbike driver’s mistake.'” A few days later, Hun gave the dead man’s family $4,000 in hush money, the paper reported. Case closed.

The outrage builds from there, and Brinkley concludes, correctly, that Cambodia deserves better. Good for him.

So what confuses the hell out of me is this ‘news piece’ from VoA which claims, at the same time that Brinkley’s piece stares at me from my Google Newspage, that Cambodia is experiencing “increased transparency.” Yes, yes, the piece comes with a faded notice at the top indicating that it is not, in fact, news, but rather an “editorial reflecting the news of the US government,” but I’m unimpressed. The entire news service should come with that warning.


My Goodness – Dumbass Holywood Buddhists and Inflatable Children

Quick links:

Sharon Stone, who is understandably pissed off about China’s repression of Tibet, has decided that the Sichuan earthquake, which has taken the lives of horrific numbers of lives, was the result of Karma. I learned about if from this post, properly titled “Not everyone who says something stupid about a natural disaster is a Christian.”

Dumbass father in Cambodia decided to inflate his child rather than feed him, apparently. The take on this, here, is priceless:

A father, while “playing” with his 5 year old son decided it would be a hoot to play “inflate my kid.” I don’t know if any of you are familiar with this game but it is the one where the retarded Cambodian father sticks an air hose designed to fill car tires in his 5 year old’s anus. Unfortunately the game was cut short when Daddy learned that kids don’t inflate. Don’t worry, the kid (Sok Sambo is his name) suffered a distended stomach but received medical attention and will be just fine for about 15,000 miles before he may need to be re-inflated and possibly rotated.

My favorite part of the story is that the police have decided not to arrest the man because his only offense was “pure stupidity, against which there is currently no law.” The article was silent on whether the legislature was trying to change that…and how many pounds of pressure a properly inflated 5 year old Cambodian boy’s stomach should achieve.