Tuesday, March 31, 2015

អាចោលម្សៀត លក់ជាតិ!


The Phnom Penh Post of March 31, 2015


Pung Chhiv Kek out of NEC running
Tue, 31 March 2015 by Alice Cuddy

PUNG Chhiv Kek, president of local rights group Licadho, has officially turned down a position as the ninth member of the reformed National Election Committee.
In a statement released this morning, Chhiv Kek, who was offered the role in July, says that “although it was a great honor to have been chosen for this very important position, I deeply regret I have to decline the offer”.
“I apologize to my fellow compatriots who had faith in me and whom I may have disappointed,” she adds.
Chhiv Kek conditionally accepted the position last year on the basis that she would “enjoy immunity and full autonomy and independence in decision making and other activities.”
In today’s statement she says the role was described to her as “an independent member [who] will bring to this institution the neutrality it needs to organize elections in conformity with the Constitution and the national laws”.
“Today, I conclude that this task has become impossible,” she writes.
The Cambodian People’s Party and Cambodia National Rescue Party, who will each independently choose four members for the NEC, will now have to agree on a new neutral candidate to fill the ninth position.


Contact author: Alice Cuddy

Khmer Politics Alternatives Circle

~ Thinking outside the box about Cambodia





Phnom Penh Post of March 31, 2015


VOD News of March 30, 2015


Monday, March 30, 2015

Chau Xeng Ua


Une autre lecture de l’histoire

Le 18 Mars 1970, le prince Samdech Norodom Sihanouk était destitué de ses fonctions de Chef de l’Etat par une motion de l’Assemblée Nationale. Coup d’Etat ou décision démocratique de l’Assemblée Nationale ? Chau Xeng Ua propose une autre lecture , c' est un Cambodgien qui compte parmi les grandes figures de l’histoire contemporaine.

Sa biographie est riche et abondante. De façon non exhaustive, on peut retenir ces moments importants suivants:

- En 1962, CHAU Xéng Ua est élu député à l’Assemblée Nationale.

- En 1969, il est nommé Secrétaire d’Etat à l’Action Sociale, auTravail, à l’Emploi, à la Main d’oeuvre , à la Mise en valeur des terres, au Développement Communautaire et à l’Habitat, nommé par le prince Sihanouk .

- De 1970 à 1972, il est Ministre des Affaires Sociales, du Travail et de l’Emploi.

- En juin 1973, CHAU Xéng Ua quitte le Cambodge pour venir travailler à Genève en tant que fonctionnaire international au Bureau International de Travail (B.I.T).

- De 1977 à 1983, il est nommé professeur associé en sciences économiques à l’université de Dijon.

- A la fin de l’année universitaire 1983, il est envoyé par le gouvernement français en tant que coopérant français au Niger. Nommé professeur en Sciences Economiques à l’Université de NIAMEY (Niger-Afrique), il y restera jusqu’à son départ à la retraite en août 1992.

Aujourd’hui, Chau Xeng Ua coule une retraite beaucoup plus paisible mais néanmoins active, en France dans la banlieue parisienne.

Portant la contradiction aux thèses les plus courantes  qui évoquent un coup d’état du maréchal Lon Nol  contre le prince Norodom Sihanouk, CHAU Xéng Ua considère que cette destitution est en réalité une décision du Parlement  suite à un vote unanime (Assemblée Nationale et Conseil du Royaume), pour faire face à une situation où il semblerait qu’il y avait absence du chef de l’état.

La destitution aurait été la suite logique du départ inattendu du prince vers la France, pour des raisons officiellement médicales et pour une durée indéterminée.

CHAU Xéng Ua  écrit : « Son départ inattendu avait alors ressemblé à une fuite devant des responsabilités qu'il ne voulait pas assumer, le pays étant dans une conjoncture très difficile: situation économique franchement mauvaise et graves inquiétudes causées par l'accroissement important des infiltrations du Vietcong /NVN en territoire khmer. »

Ces infiltrations du Vietcong/NVM rencontrent de plus en plus d’hostilité dans l’opinion publique cambodgienne.

Selon CHAU Xéng Ua, le «Gouvernement de Sauvetage », demanda alors à Hanoi et au VC de retirer pour la date du 15 Mars toutes leurs forces infiltrées en territoire cambodgien. Mais le même jour, un télégramme par le Prince, adressé à la reine mère, blâmait très durement les manifestations anti- VC/NVN.

Le Conseil des ministres décide d’envoyer deux émissaires à Paris pour rencontrer le Prince et lui exposer la situation dans son pays. Les deux émissaires (le prince Norodom Kantol et M.Yem Sambaur, Ministre des Affaires Etrangères) ne seront pas reçus par le Prince. Quittant la France pour Pékin, le Prince n’aurait transmis aucune directive au gouvernement quant à la façon de résoudre la crise créée par la présence de plus en plus importante du VC/NVN.

Pour faire face à la crise importante devant laquelle le Cambodge était confronté, « les deux Chambres du Parlement khmer se réunirent en Congrès le 18 Mars à l'Assemblée Nationale et décidèrent de retirer leur confiance du Chef de l'Etat et par voie de conséquence, de le destituer de ses fonctions conformément à la Constitution ».

« Cette situation constitutionnelle n’avait évidemment aucun rapport avec un « Coup l'Etat» Elle apportait seulement un dénouement pacifique à Une crise politique »

CHAU Xéng Ua  conclut qu’   il n'y eut aucun « coup d'Etat » et Sihanouk aurait très bien pu éviter sa destitution en ne créant pas lui-même une situation bloquée sans issue. Il lui suffisait de revenir en temps opportun à Phnom-Penh, où son retour était attendu par le Gouvernement pour résoudre, si possible, les graves et dangereux problèmes résultant de l'installation inacceptable d'importantes forces VC/NVN en territoire khmer. »


Roger Barthas

Pour les lecteurs qui souhaiteraient approfondir cette polémique, les ressources regorgent sur Internet.

Nous avons surtout retenu le lien suivant concernant monsieur CHAU Xéng Ua http://cambodia5.blogspot.fr/p/blog-page_7.html (biographie et source photo)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

From Krabei : Silk Road 2.0

Dear friends:
Happy New Year to All.
If TPP is not enough to sweep the fragile Khmer nation and Lao off the map, China’s new game plan known in the diplomatic lexicon as “High-speed Railway Diplomacy” is bearing down on Cambodia from the opposite direction of the TPP.
Xi Jinping and the head of the Thai Junta, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, have just signed an MOU approving a massive railway from Nong Khai, Thai town on the south bank of the Mekong River across from Lao city of Viengtian southward to Thai industrial seaport of Rayong in the Gulf of Thailand southeast of Bangkok.
The layout is most likely an extension of China’s rail project out of Yunnan province into Vientian, Laos. An additional set of high-speed rail will be originated from Thai northeast provincial town of Ubon Ratchathani (Issan) not far from the tri-border area where Thai, Lao, and Khmer border meet at the east end of Phnom Dang Rek mountain chain, which is to be connected to the Nong Khai/Rayong tracks outside Bangkok.
 But what does that has to do with Cambodia?
Coming southeast from Ubon Ratchathani toward the tri-border mountain pass there is a Khmer outpost at the small foothill village of Trapeang Kol, settled by a regiment of Former KR troops working for Hun Sen for wage, guarding the Thai/Khmer border to the north, and Lao/Khmer border to the east of the village along Tonle Ropov River in the Khmer historic province of Mlu Prey, now Preah Vihear Province.
Continue eastward along Tonle Ropov River on the Lao/Khmer border trail, through the notorious Prey Lang, toward the river town of Thalabariwat across the Mekong from the market town of Steng Treng.
It is here where the Chinese has just completed an enormous modern bridge across the Mekong without making any noise or fanfare, a few years after they have completed a previous one across the Sesan River on Cambodia's National Route 7 going north to connect with Lao NR 13 at the border which cut across the Lao heartland and ends in Viengtian at the north end.
You can say it is a bridge to nowhere for now, because the road from Thalabariwat west to Thai/Khmer border at Trapeang Kol is a primitive dirt road, impassible in the monsoon season, and there’s no sizeable population center or municipality to speak of.  Just wait, you ain’t seen nothing yet, not until the Chinese come back with road building equipment and make a four-lane highway from the west end of the bridge all the way to Ubon Ratchathani tying this highway with the rail system there.
The Viet coming from Kon Tum in the Central Highlands will be able to access this highway corridor from the east across southeastern Laos at Champassak, and go south to Steng Treng on Lao NR 13. The Viet are just steps behind China like scavengers waiting to jump on scraps.
It is getting clearer by the day that China intends to make Burma, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia their backyard in the name of progress. I do not believe the Chinese are throwing their new fortune around to improve their belligerent image among the smaller nations in the region. Chinese businesses and the labors are trickling in where their government spends money, to position themselves for exploitation of the local economy. Fragile economy like Burma, Cambodia and Laos have no leverage whatsoever to wiggle from under the Chinese economic weight when they need to, and may be smothered to death.
As far as nationalism, we can expect to see that when the floodgate of the “Yuan” swings wide open, authoritarian regimes such as we see in almost all of the ASEAN club, will be almost certainly to be washed out like plastic thrash in a rainstorm.
 For us Khmer when it rains it pours. I see frightening horizon of misery clouds of dust generated by the new “Chinese Silk Road” that has the potential to wreak havoc on the lives of “little people” like us. There’s no one to help us maneuver out of the way, but us.
Where’s the US and its allies in all of this?
What allies?…One may ask.
The world is now driven by where and how profits are made, not by ideology as we saw five decades ago.
The moral of the story is we “les petit peuples” must be firmly united and brace our kinfolks against total annihilation by this merciless whirlwind of wealth and power contest between superpowers who are competing to get to the top of the new world order. It is definitely an existential challenge for Khmer, Lao, and all ethnic people who are facing the bulldozers to come together to beat it back.




អភិវឌ្ឍន៏ហ៊ុន-សែន!


From Krabei

Anonymous said in comment :
Very good Krabei! We need just a leader, a ringleader not Raingsi and Sokha who had betrayed Khmer people!



OPEN LETTER TO CNRP By KRABEI

To the Leadership, and Rank and File of the CNRP
Democracy has been defined as a government of the people, by the people, for the people. The greatest good of the greatest number is the fundamental principle of democracy.
People choose their representatives through elections which are the normal features of democracies all over the world. Elections imply existence of more than one political party. It, therefore, implies that there should be more than one party in a democratic country. The CNRP commanded the confidence of the Khmer people who gave it a voting majority in the 2013 national election, and was called upon to form the government. Unfortunately Hun Sen Cambodia has never tolerated a free nor fair election; our vote has been stolen from us.
The CNRP leadership, and rank and file, instead of standing firm and reject the ruling regime deceptive practice, accepted the squatter CPP's offer, and agree to join their illegitimate legislature as opposition party, defying the voters' wishes, causing profound disappointment and undermining trust among its supporters.
To add insult upon injury, the CNRP has decided to destroy what remains of its credibility by conspiring to negotiate behind closed door with the CPP in the effort to alter the NEC and election rules to favor the ruling party, through willful violation of numerous articles of the Constitution, all the while deliberately ignoring its roles and responsibilities to the voters. Far from being a vigilant opposition party that strives to become a sound guarantee against the authoritarian Hun Sen regime and the CPP, the CNRP appears to be eager to thrash the interest of the oppressed Khmer masse and assume the new role as a rubber stamp for the CPP's agenda to hold on to power.
We, the people, must remind the leadership, rank and file, that as THE opposition party, the CNRP must function as a watch-dog of the rights of the people, making a national debate possible on important issues facing the country, educating the people and formulating public opinion on all important national and international issues, by putting forward all the relevant facts, not negotiating behind closed door. It has been said that the chief function of the opposition is to propose, oppose, expose, and depose.
CNRP can avail itself of many opportunities to persuade the ruling CPP to reconsider its decision or to agree to its point of view by:
-        Questions for eliciting information,
-        Call-Attention notices for drawing the attention of government to cases of misuse of power, waste of public money, negligence, injustice, or malpractices,
-        Adjournment Motions for exposing certain lapses of the government and,
-        No-Confidence motions for expressing lack of confidence in the government.
These are well-known parliamentary weapons in the armory of the opposition, which can be used very effectively by a strong opposition. Shall it find that it's being squashed by the CPP and unable to make any move to bring about positive changes the party leadership, rank and file must stop crying in the wilderness and start waging a forceful public diplomacy campaign to tell the world that:
-        The PPA of October 1991, which has been mandated without any kind of enforcement leverage is useless against Hun Sen regime, and therefore all signatories (including the U.S.) must convene as soon as possible to address the issue.
-        The country is  being ruled by an entrenched group of thugs who sole purpose is to consolidate power and care nothing about the rule of law, not accountable to the interests and needs of the people; and therefore the current Phnom Penh government is illegitimate, making Cambodia a FAILED STATE.
-        If none of the above plea is resolved through peaceful and diplomatic means by the world powers who signed the PPA, Khmer people are entitled the right to organize a popular uprising to retake the country back, to re-establish the rule of law, and to restore Cambodia sovereignty by all means necessary.
Like a shepherd and his flock of sheep surrounded by wolves, throwing your lamb to appease the wolves is not the answer; he, the shepherd, must enlist the help of a robust German Shepherd to stop the wolves from preying on his flock endlessly.

By Krabei


មានបេក្ខជនចូលសង្គ្រោះចោរ និង ឃាតករយួនទេ?


Friday, March 27, 2015

VOD News of March 27, 2015


RFI of March 27, 2015

មើលមុខពួករើសអាចមន៏ខ្លា!



រដ្ឋ​សភា ចាប់​ផ្តើម​ប្រកាស​ជ្រើស​រើស​បេក្ខជន សមាជិក​គជប​ថ្មី
ចុះផ្សាយ​នៅ​ថ្ងៃ 27/03/2015 កែប្រែ​ចុងក្រោយ​នៅថ្ងៃ 27/03/2015



គណៈ​កម្មា​ធិការ​អចិន្ត្រៃ​រដ្ឋសភា បាន​សម្រេច​ក្នុង​កិច្ច​ប្រជុំ នៅ​ព្រឹក​ថ្ងៃ​ទី​២៧​មីនា​នេះ អនុម័ត​យល់​ព្រម​លើ​បែបបទ និង​នីតិវិធី នៃ​ការ​ជ្រើស​រើស​បេក្ខជន នៃ​គណៈកម្មាធិការ​ជាតិ​រៀបចំ​ការ​បោះឆ្នោត គជប ថ្មី។ ក្នុងនោះ គណៈកម្មាធិការ​អចិន្ត្រៃយ៍​រដ្ឋសភា ក៏បាន​យល់​ព្រម​ចាត់​តាំង​អគ្គលេខា​ធិការដ្ឋាន​រដ្ឋ​សភា ធ្វើ​សេចក្តី​ប្រកាស​ជ្រើស​រើស​បេក្ខជន សមាជិក​គជប​ថ្មី។

ការ​ទទួល​ពាក្យ​ស្នើ​សុំ​ពី​បេក្ខជន​មាន​រយៈ​ពេល ១០ ថ្ងៃ គិត​ត្រឹម​ថ្ងៃ​ចុង​ក្រោយ ថ្ងៃ​ទី​៦​មេសា។ ចំណែក​ការ​បោះ​ឆ្នោត អនុម័ត​ជ្រើស​តាំង​សមាសភាព​គជប​ថ្មី ទាំង ៩ រូប នឹង​ធ្វើ​ឡើង នៅ​ថ្ងៃ​ទី​១៣​មេសា។

ចាប់​ពី​ថ្ងៃ​ទី​២៧​មីនា​នេះ រដ្ឋ​សភា ចាប់​ផ្តើម​ទទួល​ពាក្យ​ស្នើ​សុំ​របស់​បេក្ខជន ដែល​មាន​បំណង​ក្លាយ​ជា​សមាជិក​គជប​ថ្មី ទាំង ៩ រូប ស្រប​តាម​ច្បាប់​បាន​កំណត់។ ម៉ោង ៥ ល្ងាច ថ្ងៃ​ទី​៦​មេសា ជា​ថ្ងៃ​ចុង​ក្រោយ នៃ​ការ​ទទួល​ពាក្យ​របស់​បេក្ខជន។ គណៈកម្មាធិការ​អចិន្ត្រៃយ៍​រដ្ឋសភា នឹង​ជួប​ប្រជុំ​ជាថ្មី នៅ​ថ្ងៃ​ទី​៧​មេសា ដើម្បី​ពិនិត្យ​លើ​បញ្ជី​ឈ្មោះ​បេក្ខជន ដែល​ចង់​ក្លាយជា​សមាជិក គជប​ថ្មី ទាំង ៩ រូប ហើយ​បញ្ជូន​ទៅ​គណបក្ស​ប្រជាជន​កម្ពុជា និង​គណបក្ស​សង្គ្រោះ​ជាតិ ដើម្បី​ជ្រើស​រើស មុន​នឹង​រៀប​ចំ​បញ្ជី​ឈ្មោះ ប្រធាន អនុ​ប្រធាន និង​សមាជិក គជប ទាំង ៩ រូប ដាក់​ជូន​រដ្ឋ​សភា ប្រជុំ អនុម័ត​ដោយ​សំឡេង​ភាគ​ច្រើន​ដាច់​ខាត ឬ ៥០ % បូក ១ នៃ​ចំនួន​សមាជិក​រដ្ឋ​សភា សរុប ១២៣ រូប។

ការសម្រេច​ដូច្នេះ ត្រូវបាន​ធ្វើឡើង​ក្នុង​កិច្ចប្រជុំ​គណៈក​ម្មា​ធិ​ការ​អចិន្ត្រៃយ៍​រដ្ឋសភា ១៣ រូប ដឹកនាំ​ដោយ​លោក​ហេង​សំរិន កាលពី​ព្រឹក​ថ្ងៃ​សុក្រ ទី២៧មីនា​នេះ។ អង្គប្រជុំ បានអនុម័ត​យល់ព្រម​លើ​បែបបទ និង​នីតិវិធី នៃ​ការជ្រើសរើស​បេក្ខជន នៃ​គជប​ថ្មី។ បែបបទ និង​នីតិវិធី ត្រូវបាន​កំណត់​ក្នុង​ច្បាប់​គជប ដែល​ទើប​ប្រកាស​ឲ្យ​ប្រើ កាលពី​ថ្ងៃទី២៦មីនា។

នោះ​គឺ​សមាសភាព​គជប ត្រូវ​ជ្រើសរើស​ក្នុងចំណោម​ឥស្សរជន​ខ្មែរ​ទាំង​ពីរភេទ ដែលមាន​សញ្ជាតិ​ខ្មែរ​ពី​កំណើត និង​មាន​សញ្ជាតិ​ខ្មែរ​តែមួយគត់ មាន​អាយុ​យ៉ាងតិច ៣៥ ឆ្នាំ មាន​សញ្ញាបត្រ​ចាប់ពី​ថ្នាក់​ឧ​ត្ត​មសិ​ក្សា​ឡើងទៅ មាន​បទពិសោធ​ការងារ​យ៉ាងតិច ១០ ឆ្នាំ និង​មិន​ត្រូវជា​សាច់ញាតិ​របស់​ប្រធាន អនុប្រធាន​គណបក្សនយោបាយ ដែល​ចូលរួម​ប្រកួតប្រជែង ក្នុងការ​បោះឆ្នោត។

ច្បាប់​គជប ក៏បាន​កំណត់ថា សមាសភាព​គជប​ថ្មី មាន ៩ រូប ដោយ ៤ រូប ជ្រើសរើស​ដោយ​គណបក្ស​ប្រជាជន​កម្ពុជា ៤ រូប ជ្រើសរើស​ដោយ​គណបក្ស​សង្គ្រោះ​ជាតិ និង ១ រូប​ទៀត ជ្រើសរើស​ដោយមាន​ការ​ព្រមព្រៀងគ្នា​រវាង​គណ​បក្ស​ទាំងពីរ។

រហូត​មក​ដល់​ពេល​នេះ សមាសភាព​គជប​ថ្មី មិន​ត្រូវ​បាន​បញ្ជាក់​នៅ​ឡើយ​ទេ។ លោក យ៉ែម បុញ្ញឫទ្ធិ អ្នក​នាំ​ពាក្យ​គណបក្ស​សង្គ្រោះ​ជាតិ បាន​ឲ្យ​ដឹងថា គណបក្ស​ទាំងពីរ មិនទាន់​សម្រេច​នៅឡើយ​ទេ ដោយ​រង់ចាំ​ពិនិត្យ​លើ​បញ្ជី​បេក្ខជន ដែល​ដាក់ពាក្យ​ទៅ​រដ្ឋសភា។

យ៉ាងណា​ក៏ដោយ បេក្ខភាព​លោក គួយ ប៊ុន​រឿន មកពី​គណបក្ស​សង្គ្រោះ​ជាតិ តែ​ម្នាក់​គត់ ត្រូវបាន​គេ​ផ្សព្វ​ផ្សាយ។ ចំណែក​លោក​ស្រី ពុង ឈីវ​ហ្កេក ជា​សមាសភាព​គជប​ទី៩ ដែល​គណបក្ស​ទាំងពីរ បាន​ព្រម​ព្រៀង។ ក៏​ប៉ុន្តែ​ចុង​ក្រោយ​នេះ លោក​ស្រី ពុង ឈីវ​ហ្កេក មិន​ទាន់​បញ្ជាក់​ជា​ថ្មី​នៅ​ឡើយ​ទេ ពាក់​ព័ន្ធ​នឹង​ច្បាប់​កំណត់​ឲ្យ​សមាសភាព​គជប ត្រូវ​មាន​សញ្ជាតិ​ខ្មែរ​តែ​មួយ​៕


The Cambodia Daily of March 27, 2015

យើងឈ្នះហើយបងប្អូន!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Thinking outside the box about Cambodia

Easy Life, Isn’t It?!



Deum Tnot News of March 24, 2015


RFA of March 24, 2015


រង្ស៊ីអើយចុះចេញទៅ!



សាធារណរដ្ឋខ្មែរ!









ប័ក្សសង្គ្រោះចោរ!

និងសង្គ្រោះជាតិយួន!
បានន័យថា៖ ក្បថជាតិខ្មែរ!


ទាំងតាមផ្លូវគោក ទាំងតាមផ្លូវទឹក
ពួកអាយួនលួចកាប់និងបញ្ជូនឈើខ្មែរទៅស្រុកយួន!






អភិវឌ្ឍន៏ហ៊ុន-សែន!

ទាល់តែកូនខ្មែរឥតមានផ្ទះនៅ!





Phnom Penh Post March 25, 2015



DAP News March 24, 2015



Tuesday, March 24, 2015




PHNOM PENH, Cambodia—My first brush with the medical system in Cambodia was in late November when a close friend had to suddenly leave a luncheon she was hosting at her house to interpret for someone at a hospital. Her husband took over supervising the festivities so we continued to sit in a circle, cross-legged, on a plastic mat on their airy balcony, eating and drinking beer poured over ice. It didn’t occur to me that the situation at the hospital might involve another friend of mine, who was about to go through one of the worst experiences of her life.
Emily didn’t share the particulars of the situation because she is a professional sign language interpreter, one of 15 or so in Cambodia, bound to a code of ethics which mandates privacy and confidentiality for the deaf client. It wasn’t until the next day or so that I discovered through the deaf network that my friend had lost her baby at almost eight months of pregnancy, giving birth to a tiny, perfectly formed but dead baby.
When I visited May at her home after she had been released from the hospital, my sweet, beautiful friend was curled up alone on the bed in the room she shared with her mother, wearing a knitted hat, a scarf, sweats, and thick woolly socks, despite it being 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In Cambodia, it is common practice for the mother to “heat” by wearing warm clothing– and sometimes in rural areas, to “roast” by sleeping over a fire to restore warmth to her body. Giving birth causes the mother to lose her “hot” state and heating restores her to her natural state. May had given birth, so she had to undergo this treatment, despite the lack of a baby.
When I walked in with Emily, May’s eyes were closed but she sensed us entering the room and opened her eyes. When she saw us, a single tear slid down her cheek. I awkwardly stood over her, not quite knowing what to say, except, “I’m sorry.”
Her mother brought a stool for me and I sat there, holding her hand, as she tried to get through her birth story. May signed to me, “They told me the baby was a boy. I wanted to see him but my mother was afraid it would upset me. She tried to stop him but my brother brought him to me. I held him for a minute then they took him away.”
As I watched May retell her story, I was at a loss for words. Emily was listening to May’s mother telling her version of the story and then signing to both of us, filling in some gaps of information for May, as she didn’t have an interpreter for much of her ordeal, especially the birth itself. What little medical information May had was conveyed through the limited gestures of her mother and brother.
Here’s what happened:
May’s family is very poor, so after experiencing some pain, May was initially taken to a local clinic near her house because it was the cheapest option. After seeing her, the clinic sent her home, saying that she was fine. But that night, May’s pain become more intense. Her brothers then took her to a different clinic, paying another fee. The medical professional on duty refused to examine her because he was a man and felt uncomfortable. They went to a third clinic. That clinic sent them to a hospital, where May gave birth to a boy.
The doctors and nurses at the hospital, as is typical, demanded payment upfront before treating May. The family had to come up with cash for the first three clinics, then the hospital. May’s brothers desperately wanted what was best for May, going from clinic to clinic. They spent what little savings they had to save May and her baby, but in the end it was futile. They then had to pay for the cremation of the little body.
May’s story is only one of many of other deaf people lost in the medical system in Cambodia. In this past month alone, three deaf people have died, including Kiry Danh, who I wrote about last week. His family spent $3,000 to try to save him after his accident in an also futile effort.
Another recent loss was the death of Keo Kolthida Ekkasakh (Kol), a deaf Khmer Rouge survivor I became close to. Her doctors pronounced her dead from an on-going battle with cancer on January 13. Her family brought her to Wat Langka pagoda to pray over her. For hours, monks chanted and burned incense as her family sat with her body, praying. To the shock of the gathered people, Kol woke up.

She would have been cremated alive if a monk hadn’t noticed the tears rolling down her face. When I went to the pagoda for her funeral, her brother explained that at one point during the ceremony, a monk, Sao Chanthol, noticed tears on her right cheek and some movement of her arms and realized she was alive. The family immediately took her home, where Kol lived for another week, awake, walking, drawing, and communicating with her family. Unfortunately, she suddenly passed away a week later from a heart attack. Kol’s family has money and connections. It wasn’t enough.

The medical system in Cambodia, as in many other places, is a form of structural violence for the poor, which Paul Farmer, the founder of Partners in Health, a medical anthropologist and doctor, has written about extensively. Expatriates in Cambodia often fly to Thailand or Singapore for childbirth and other medical treatment. (I am aware of the recent article regarding expatriate vs. immigrant. In this case, I use expatriate because of its connotations of temporality, wealth and privilege). I am struggling with this, as do many anthropologists working within systems of inequality and structural violence. Should something happen to me, I will receive the best possible medical care but it pains me that my loved ones in Cambodia don’t have the same access.
For more on how the medical system in Cambodia fails the poor, here is a link to an op-ed by Kol’s brother, Youk Chhang, in the Phnom Penh Post.

Note: Some of the names in this post, except for those already published in the media, have been changed to protect the privacy of the people involved.
For a more personal and visual perspective of my experiences in Cambodia, follow me on Instagram @ErinMHarrelson and on Twitter @ErinMoriartyH