Crossing Cambodia

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Next up!

The local government in all it's wisdom is conducting a vendetta against all traffic 'eyesores' apparently. After half-heartedly improving the 'mirror on motorbike market prospects' (last week's mirror count in front of Mobitel offices on Sihanouk: 19 without mirrors, 15 with and two with just a single mirror), banning all buses that have no long-term deals with the municipality and trying to rid from the most beautiful roads in Phnom Penh the existence of small-time fuel sellers (due to the terrorist threat they impose), high-wheeling tuk-tuk drivers are the next off. To finance their lifestyles the tuk-tuk drivers have turned to selling advertisements on the back of their tuk-tuk's. The hard earned cash (5-10 $US / month) is certainly needed to fuel their illegal habits (surviving with a wife and kids) so the Governor has decreed back in November that advertising on tuk-tuk's is no more!

According to a news article in today's (February 6, 2007) Cambodia Daily, that is. Kep Chuktema, the Municipal Governor is quoted:
'To guarantee public order and beauty, City Hall would like to advise three-wheel motorbike owners who are carrying all forms of commercial advertisements that they must remove them immediately'.

Beauty? Does the guv want advise on beauty? Barking up the wrong tree.
The article relates that:
'Tuk-tuk drivers may only carry adverts raising public awareness on issues such as bird flu, tuberculosis, AIDS and domestic violence the directive states'.

Could we not include 'poor decision making' (a crucial part of the domestic violence combatting strategy: 'If you hadn't gone drinking...' = poor decision!?) Are these advertisements hereby more beautiful (Crossing Cambodia thinks not)?
The Municipal Traffic Police Chief favours a licensing system and adds:
'Let them [tuk-tuk] have number plates first'.

Yes what about vehicles with no number plates: tendency to be big, well-maintained, fast, flashy, ...

The final question the article touches on is whether a private vehicle has the right to advertise either itself (company, ngo) or another's offerings? Most countries have solved this amicably and in favour of the owner, in Cambodia the politician decides, imposes and forgets after 2-3 months!
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