Today was Saturday and I though after this exhausting week I should have a lazy day. However, I have serious difficulties determining what activity would fit this intention. So I sleep long and go at about 10 am to the Java Café, which is one of my favorites at Hun Sen Park, close to the Monument of Independence. Great food, not even overpriced. One can sit on the veranda and look at the busy street. Or read the newspaper. I do both extensively.
Continue reading Hanging Out in Phnom Penh and Moto Cross
Again, the travel to Cambodia is sort of exhausting and affects the sleep (or the lack thereof) of three nights. Although it was more chaotic too, I was happy to have the chance to spend one day in the vibrant city state of Singapore.
Continue reading Back to Cambodia: Berlin, Frankfurt, Singapore, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh
As I mentioned I was drafting a final report. The text is not yet mature. Still, I thought it would be a good idea to make it available here. It is a word document, 35 pages/700kb.
Tomorrow I will travel to Cambodia again, so I assume I start posting articles again.
Continue reading First Draft Final Report: Indigenous Peoples and Decentralization
I should have mentioned here that I left Cambodia already about five weeks ago. Yet among other things I keep writing on various papers on indigenous peoples and decentralization in Cambodia. This is happening somewhat slowly, as I have other obligations, too. I decided to split my report into two parts: a research report and a final report. The research report summarizes the results of the empirical study, that is, interviews in the field. The final report is supposed to put those findings into the context of international law, political theory and development debate. I just finalized the first draft of the research report and thought I should make it available here. Any feedback is highly welcome. And I should mention that I intend to travel to Cambodia again in about three weeks from today.
This is the research report:
Continue reading Research Report: Indigenous Peoples and Decentralization in Cambodia
This is Ta Keo, built by Jayavarman V (968-1001) but not finished. It was the first Angkorian monument built entirely of sandstone, including pieces of many tons. The central tower is almost 50m high. No one is certain why construction work stopped.
Continue reading One Day Temples in Siem Reap – Part Two: Ta Keo, Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat
What follows is my report about just one day I spend in Siem Reap exploring the temples. I am sure there is plenty of information out there, since this is the tourist destination number one in Cambodia. So I do not try to give long explanations about history which would only expose my ignorance. What I think I can deliver is my personal and unscientific account and a number of pictures which reflect my personal encounter with the temples.
Continue reading One Day Temples in Siem Reap – Part One: Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon, Terrace of Elephants, Baphuon
This is the last weekend before I go back to Germany. I did not have much vacation so far and manage to get a day off on Monday. I always wanted to travel to Siem Reap and to see Angkor Wat but unfortunately I did not yet get the chance to go. So I thought better one day in Siem Reap than not at all.
I have planned to go to Siem Reap by moto for quite some time. And I have tried to find somebody to give me company. However, I did not find anybody who had both time and interest to go. After all, it is a distance of about 350 km one way.
So I decide to go on my own. The plan is to leave Saturday early in Phnom Penh in order to arrive in Siem Reap early enough to buy the ticket and see the sunset. The next day would be dedicated to visit the temples. And on Monday I would have to travel back early enough to go to work on Tuesday again.
Saturday I get of at about 8 am and go to riverside to have breakfast. This picture is taken from the restaurant at the Mekong River, which is in the background.
Continue reading From Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by motor bike: Skun, Kompong Thom
Today is Monday and the plan for today is to travel back to Phnom Penh. We bought the tickets the other day for about $15 for both of us. At about 7 am we get picked up at the hotel. However, a number of seats in the bus are still not occupied and we go to the bus station close to the market to wait for more customers.
Moreover, Reaksa forgot a pair of shoes at his friend’s house and we need to wait anyway for somebody to pick them up. So we keep waiting at the station. Children and women try to sell all sorts of snacks and soft drinks.
Continue reading From Kratie to Phnom Penh via Kompong Cham by Mini Bus
Today is Sunday and we decide to take a day off. That is to say we check the tourist guide and local sources to find out what sights we want to see today. Kratie is famous for the fresh water dolphins that can be observed in the Mekong. And there are a number of pagodas, of course.
We started with an extended breakfast. I was lucky yesterday to catch both the weekend edition of the Cambodia Daily and the Phnom Penh Post. They have decent café at this place close to where the boats approach, at riverside.
Continue reading One day holiday in Kratie Province – Sambor, Dophin Watching (Anlong Psaut), Phnom Sombok, Phnom Srey, Phnom Proh, Wat Roka Kandal
Today is Saturday. As usual we do not care much about the weekend and intend to visit another indigenous village. So after we had breakfast we take a taxi and travel about half an hour north to meet the Chairman of the associated Commune Council.
We meet this guy and than drive together another thirty minutes before we reach the place where we take a boat.
This is on the way.
Continue reading Forth Day of the Field Trip to Kratie Province
Again we kick of early in the morning and meet the government guy and the driver for breakfast in town. We learn that the government guy won’t have time to give us company today. This is not to bad, particularly for the credibility of the interviews. Moreover, he did not seem to find it very relevant what we are doing here.
However, Reaksa, my translator brings one of his friends who wants to visit the villages. I met this guy the other day and he turned out to be a converted Christian working for Seven Day Adventist. We had a long discussion about religion in which I tried to make the case for Buddhism while he is preaching the gospel trying to persuade me that there is only one god. Although this is entertaining I feel this guy is a believing crusader. And I have seen and heard about many Christian organizations particularly in Rattanakiri trying to make indigenous peoples change their culture and give up their superstitious beliefs. I do not think that this is the most urgent think they need at this point.
Given this situation and the fact that nobody bothers to tell me what exactly he wants to do there I cannot but make very clear that I am more than happy to give him a ride. However, what will not happen is that he participates in interview. And I tell him that the bible will remain in the car and that he won’t preach the gospel at any rate in the village where we conduct interviews. The bottom line is I do not want missionaries to interfere with my research. We have some argument and after I explain my reason I get some limited agreement.
Soon we are in the car and back on the road again.
Continue reading Third Day of the Field Trip to Kratie Province
This is the view from the balcony of the hotel at one of the pagodas in town in the morning.
Continue reading Second Day of the Field Trip to Kratie Province
The following is my account of the third field trip to Kratie province. This trip took place some weeks ago and at this point it is already getting difficult to remember the details. However, experience tells me that I won’t do it later if I do not write it now. This is going to be a general report. Although I would like to incorporate details of my work and the research findings I won’t have the time at this point. In case somebody reads that and is interesting in an in debt account of my field work I am still more than happy to provide detailed minutes of my interviews. However, this is a tremendous amount of paper and most likely not very exciting for the average reader.
We decided to go to Kratie by mini bus, which is the way I got there for previous field trips as well. The way it works is that I get picked up with a moto by somebody who is send by the company which operates the mini bus. This is about 6:30 in the morning at Hun Sen Park, where police is still maintaining increased presence.
Continue reading First Day of the Field Trip to Kratie Province – From Phnom Penh to Kratie
I took the following pictures a few weeks ago prior to my third field trip to Kratie. However, I did not find time yet to make them available here.
Those pictures are taken at the riverside when it is about to get dark. I promise that I did not add additional color. This really is how it looks like. Those pictures are taken without flash, long exposure times and a stand.
Continue reading Phnom Penh Impressions in the Evening
Today I finalized a short summary of my final report. I thought I should make it available here. Of course it is tempting to continue writing on this one but I thought I better make it available soon so that I have the chance to incorporate concerns and recommendations from anybody willing to provide feedback. Any considerations are greatly appreciated.
Continue reading Executive Summary: Commune Council in the Vernacular. Indigenous Peoples and Decentralization in Cambodia