Crossing Cambodia

Friday, September 28, 2007

Chasing Cars, 29 September, 2007

  • This week Burma is never far away. The played indignation of western nations, which have tolerated for too long an autocratic regime. But now the USA is coming down hard on the regime. Ms. Rice insists Burma give a visa to the UN special rapporteur! Hardly a threat, I would think. The Burma regime will have no rights to a visa for the US, as of now. 'Naughty boys all of you!' Anyway Cambodia's northern neighbour Laos has no such qualms, according to this link:
    'Than Shwe's family is on a visit to Laos, the source added'.
    They just flew there. One thing for sure, they're not there for the shopping!

  • Talking about shopping, China (the only 'true' friend of Burma) has saved Cambodia another shopping sortie. For motorbikes. An translated article reports that Cambodia is in line to receive 104 motorcycles. Yippee!
    'The Chinese ambassador stressed that, in the future, if Cambodia has other needs, China will provide them further'.
    Just in case Cambodia goes the Burma way, it's a great reassurance.

    The motorbikes will be called upon by the traffic police, to help them beat out the midday sun? Have you not noticed how traffic police in Phnom Penh have problems standing upright, they are always propping themselves up with assistance of a motorcycle.
    Anyway thanks China, how about doing something about the printing of receipts for traffic fines, they still have not surfaced?

  • Fellow blogger Cambodia maps has problems on his shopping sprees, the traffic on 174th-51st is apparently 'interesting'

  • Some shoppers are better off, though two Indonesians [?] are now less fortunate. They are the 'puncture car thieves': car goes to bank, draws from expenses account (> 10,000 $US), returns, tries to leave, bummer! Flat tyre! While inspecting, thieves access car and take off with cash, Robin Hood style. Unfortunately, only
    'only two of them were caught on Mao Tse Tung Blvd'.
    There were four. So next time you intend to draw a couple of grand from your local bank, beware!

  • More awareness required, but now for those unfortunate Lao. As if playing servant for their poor Burmese refugees (see above) is not enough, Lao authorities are drawing up a plan to ban tuk-tuks and jumbo's (a form of tuk-tuk, but with a larger motor, also known as a Skylab). Their offence?
    'Authorities see that these vehicles to some extent cause road accidents in the city, resulting in several deaths and injuries every month'.
    The Laoi authorities seek higher standards apparently:
    'We can all see that these vehicles are in poor condition. Some of them don't even have indicators, or front and back lights, ... '
    An expat quips the end is near, well sort of:
    'Tuk-tuks provide a form of service for which there is no substitute; it is one of the reasons I enjoy life in Laos, ...'
    How come in Cambodia the above practices are commonplace but authorities do not give a hoot?

  • From The Mirror a couple of older articles: Survival Priorities for Road Traffic. An editorial. On the (lack of?) of implemention of the new traffic law. It also provides the author with the opportunity to mention:
    'I use a motorcycle-taxi – a “moto” - every day on Street 51. The moto driver and I were almost killed, when a big dark Landcruiser without license plates, but with a driver in uniform, almost knocked us over, high speed, disregarding the STOP sign on a road crossing Street 51 from where he came'.
    A daily occurence. He then adds:
    'Road traffic in Phnom Penh is chaotic. And dangerous'.
    He (or is it a she?) then comes with the same suggestions placed elders on this site.
    Then from a couple days prior to this:
    'In Three Days, 9 People Died and 17 Were Injured in Traffic Accidents in Phnom Penh'
    Again it refers to the new traffic law. And the author's observations:
    ' ... and what I have observed myself:
    1. New luxury cars without license plates - if they create an accident and they speed away, nobody can identify them – pass regularly in front of the traffic police without being intercepted, while several police talk down on people – judging from their clothes probably people from the countryside or young women – who came on small motorbikes.
    2. Government vehicles are supposed to be used for official duty; will traffic police be able to stop and report a big Landcruiser with a military number plate on a weekend, in which half a dozen beautifully dressed young ladies are being transported somewhere?'
    Gone shopping probably.
    'Nowadays, police may be afraid to report a “powerful vehicle” belonging to a “powerful institution.” Without a change in this power game, it is difficult to see how the necessary improvement of road traffic in Cambodia can be achieved, and how it will work.'

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