Crossing Cambodia

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Stan Kahn's monthly blog on the Khmer 440 site delves into the levels of noise he appreciates. What's that got to do with traffic in Cambodia, Crossing Cambodia hears you say? Well, look at this section:
' ... The use of horns on the streets of Vietnam’s big cities is constant and deafening. ... Noise discomfort there [Vietnam] is compounded by the fact that walking is even considerably more difficult than here [Phnom Penh]; on top of sidewalks that are consistently blocked to pedestrians, traffic is much more dense and drivers more aggressive. '
So in Vietnam the traffic is 'more dense' and 'drivers are more aggressive' or in other words the situation is worse! And what about Cambodia's western neighbour Thailand:
'Thailand, on the other side, which should know better (and should’ve known better 15 years ago when I first arrived there) is filthy with 2-stroke engines, motorbikes and tuk-tuks that go bang-bang, pop-pop, sputter-sputter.
... The one thing in Thailand’s favor is their reluctance to use their horns, still, overall the country is far worse in the noise department than Cambodia.'
So Thailand is 'filthy' but less noisier. Then Stan gets into the Khmer psyche:
'From what I’ve gleaned, Cambodians disinterest in complaining seems to be a combination of tolerance and reluctance to start potential altercations. Live and let live even when it drives you crazy. Though, in fact, complaints do have an effect: not long ago City Hall ordered beer gardens to shut down at midnight: a great relief to those living nearby. One facet of the noise problem I will never understand is the need for karaoke singers to have the volume turned way up. It’s kind of nice that they aren’t shy about belting out a song in spite of their atrocious singing, but it’s positively painful for me, a musician, to have to bear it.'
So, would Cambodia streets become safer (better?) if the Cambodians whined more?
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