Question for Cambodian friends everywhere

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To KHMER friends in The USA, Australia, New Zealand, France and anywhere!
(This question is also on the facebook page EducatingCambodia)
I went to a Rotary meeting today in Phnom Penh. A friend in AUSTRIA (Europe)  has a very interesting and difficult question: you have possibly thought about this yourself in your country:
There are only a few Khmer people in Austria. They have adopted a Cambodian baby girl. The girl is now four years old. They feel BAD that the girl knows nothing about Cambodia and can’t speak Khmer. They don’t know what to do. When the girl is 18 they want her to be able to make choices about where to live and her future. They have $250,000 and are thinking about building a school and a house in  the girls name in Cambodia that will be hers.
Personally I think that this is an impossible problem. I think they should at leasst pay for Khmer language and cultural lessons right through her childhood, otherwise why would a brown Austrian girl even WANT to think about Cambodia?
I know that MANY Cambodian families in their new countries eventually regret not teaching Khmer language to their children… SO: the Austrians have money to spend and have no real ideas about how to help a four year old Khmer girl adopted into an Austrian family. Please – any ideas??? John
ADDED February 2 2012
– suggestions have come from France, the USA, Canada and Australia. I will pass them on to Austria. The universal one is that she should learn Khmer starting NOW.  Building a school in her name covers two issues of course – it is hers and in later years it may be significant for her BUT even if this ‘bonding’ idea fails, Cambodia gets a much needed schoo anywayl.
What I think is a great idea came from Australia:-
Start a friendship with a family in Cambodia that has a daughter either the same age or even five or six years older. Pay for the Cambodian girl to visit Austria and stay for some months and in turn the Austrian/Khmer girl visits Cambodia and the two girls bond a friendship….It’s basically the exchange student idea but the Austrian family pays for both visits. John.

Khmer Rouge -Significant turning point in Judge appointment for trials

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A brief backgound is that so far there are currently cases 1 and 2 (2 is the three most senior KR leaders left alive.) The Cambodian government is absolutely insistent that cases 3 and 4 do no go ahead ( 3 and 4) probably include a man directly responsible for ordering the detention and subsequent Australian deaths in S21.

The… tribunal is missing one judge and the Cambodian government knows that the man the UN is trying to appoint wants cases 3 and 4 to go ahead…. so the government has said NO to that UN appointment… Beacause of Government opposition to the trials combined with the age of the defendents it is looking like these trials will be short lived. BUT if you read earlier blogs you will see that already the trials have done an incredible amount of good.  This link takes you to a US news link John http://www.theinvestigativefund.org/blog/1601/cambodia_rejects_un_genocide_judge

Where we are nationally with the Khmer Rouge Trials.

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On December 13 2011, I wrote a blog about the effects of the KR trials on our very rural isolated villages. (see that date!)

Someone wrote a nice comment and asked if I knew of any other blogs on this particular topic.. I replied and have copied and pasted my reply as a new blog for today. Its where we are with reporting the trials:

Thanks… good question… The trials are happening right now and although all of the Cambodia related news sites are reporting the trials they are not digging any deeper than that. There is very much a culture of caution and even fear surrounding the ones on trial and what they did ( accused of doing)… We have a situation where the entire population knows that the Government is frankly uneasy about the trials and certainly wants NO MORE… We have had 30 years of the people now on trial walking around free and even popular in their own regions…. SO its very difficult to find any ‘comment’ at all. At the moment the three main men are on trial and basically still either denying and/or justifying. I am not writing about it every day although I could. I’ll wait until there’s a pause or change in direction and then give a summary in the Blog. John

CAMBODIA – doing her very best with the little she’s got.

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CAMBODIA – doing her very best with the little she’s got.
I took this photo this morning. The road is a relatively new link to Vietnam through Kamchay Mear in Prey Veng Province. Tourists can’t use it. At the moment it’s for goods and everything has to be unloaded at the border and reloaded onto the purchasers vehicle.. A Cambodian man owns this 70cc motorbike. The photo is genuine..I took it at 7am this morning. This sort of sight is common. The purchaser will take his cabinets and mattresses that he bought at the Vietnam border and either sell on the way to Phnom Penh or in the Phnom Penh markets.
If you are trying to work out the weight.. each cabinet is about 2 metres wide and made of strong glass with one shelf in an alloy frame. Although the matresses are foam… have you ever tried lifting a pile of them? He has another 100 kilometres to take them to Phnom Penh.
To survive and succeed in Cambodia men, women and families go to these awe inspiring lengths to make a few dollars. John

2012 – Cambodia and Thailand

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HAPPY NEW YEAR

Much better Khmer/Thai news to start 2012. Relations are so very much better with Thaksin’s sister as PM of Thailand. The overall relationship between Thailand and Cambodia has gone from possible war to good with the defeat of the yellow shirt government in recent elections. The link will take you to a news item suggesting a lot of hope.  John.

http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne+News/Asia/Story/A1Story20111231-319258.html