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Monday, November 07, 2011

Cambodian Embassy in US Collecting for Flood Relief

“They face a lot of shortages, and, most importantly, infectious diseases are worrisome. In the immediate future, they will need food, shelter and healthcare.”


The Cambodian Embassy in Washington is helping to raise funds for floods victims in Cambodia, following weeks of inundation that has left thousands of families stranded.

At a gathering in Washington Sunday, the embassy collected around $6,500 from some 200 Cambodian-Americans, the ambassador, Hem Heng, told VOA Khmer.

At least 250 people have died in the floods, which began in August and continued through September. The floods hit 17 provinces, covering some 400,000 hectares of rice fields and causing many to be evacuated to higher ground.

“They face a lot of shortages, and, most importantly, infectious diseases are worrisome,” Hem Heng said. “In the immediate future, they will need food, shelter and healthcare.”

The embassy will continue to take donations, he said. “I would like to appeal to all Cambodian-Americans to contribute as much as you can to help the victims of these severe floods, which have never happened before in our history.”
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Lack of Morality Hurting Everyday Cambodians: Analyst

“Help each other, be sympathetic with each other, that’s first for society to be comfortable and stable. And if we talk about state governance, that can relieve much of the people’s suffering.”

Lao Monghay, an independent analyst stopped by VOA Khmer on October 24, 2011.


Cambodia’s history shows that a lack of freedoms and equal rights have led to unrest in the past, a pattern that could repeat itself, a leading political analyst said Thursday, adding that Cambodia today is lacking in morals, making it harder for the country to develop.

“There is a gap between rights, or equity, stipulated in the constitution and the implementation,” said Lao Monghay, an independent analyst and monthly contributor to “Hello VOA.” “Practical application is impossible, one can’t exercise one’s rights, and there is abuse of power.”

“What appears is resistance, and that causes everyone’s destruction,” he said.

A similar situation led to the rise of the Khmer Rouge, civil war and ultimately the presence of foreign troops, he said. “That’s the history.”

Lao Monghay encouraged Cambodians to exert their own efforts and influence to help their fellow citizens.

“If we have the power and the means, we should relieve other people’s suffering,” he said. “Help each other, be sympathetic with each other, that’s first for society to be comfortable and stable. And if we talk about state governance, that can relieve much of the people’s suffering.”

He pointed to both Buddha and Jayavarman VII, a former Angkorian king, as models who considered the suffering of others the same as their own. Currently, he said, such morality and virtue are lacking in Cambodia’s average citizens and officials. And he said that the “supreme moral law,” compassion, pity, joy with others’ happiness, and sincerity needed to be better applied by citizens.

Robberies, murders, abuse of others, drunkenness and even traffic violations are all examples that indicate low morality, he said. Higher morals would mean less need of laws, but would also lead to the better following of laws, he said.

“Morality is just like a policeman for our selves, maintaining the individual,” he said. “And the law is like the policeman that holds us externally. There is mutual involvement.”

Today, law enforcement is not effective, he said, because the police “are not clean themselves.”

“How can it be fair for law enforcement to enforce the law without the adequate means, salaries and other things?” he said.

Ou Virak, head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, told “Hello VOA” that Cambodia lacks a respect for the law; in something as simple as traffic, it leads to thousands of deaths a year, and the loss of time, money and property. Meanwhile, land grabs are still under way, he said.

“These two issues, multiple that by hundreds, by thousands of other cases in the country’s economy, products, goods and thousands of services, and we see why our country is poor,” he said. “And why others are rich.”
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Cambodia hands out mosquito nets to fight malaria

Robert Carmichael, Phnom Penh

The Cambodian government has begun handing out the first of nearly 3 million mosquito nets as part of its strategy to eliminate malaria by 2025.

Cambodia's health minister handed out the first bed nets to villagers in the remote north-east of the country on Monday.

Between now and January, the government will target more than 4,000 villages that experts say are at the highest risk of malaria.

The distribution of 2.7 million insecticide-treated bed nets is being paid for by the Global Fund, and is the largest in Cambodia's history.

Malaria killed 135 people in Cambodia last year, a significant improvement on 2009 when twice as many died.

Phnom Penh wants to eliminate the disease within 15 years.

The World Health Organization's Cambodia office expects the number of malaria cases will halve as a result of this campaign.
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