Crossing Cambodia

Friday, March 07, 2008

Chasing cars, cambodian style, 7 March, 2008

  • Do you sometimes wonder why there are all these sirens blaring? So does Hun Sen:
    '... following the siren sounding of cars traveling in this area which interrupted Hun Sen’s speech during the distribution of diplomas for students at the Royal University of Phnom Penh on 05 March'.
    The solution, no sirens please, but only on the Russian boulevard:
    'Prime minister Hun Sen ordered the Phnom Penh city governor to install signs prohibiting the sounding of car siren along the Russian Federation Blvd, between the Tuol Kok stop light and the hospital for monks'.
  • As tomorrow is International Women's day, Crossing Cambodia has included some relevant (?) info:
    'A Cambodian man convicted of smacking a female motorist's bottom was handed a one-year suspended jail sentence and his friend was sentenced to the same term in absentia, a court official said on Wednesday'.
    His friend was luckier:
    '... Theara's friend, Khun Pheakdey, 18, had been ordered to pay compensation of $350 and released after already serving five months in jail for his moment of indiscretion'.
    Justice served?
  • Yet another primer on Phnom Penh traffic? Khmer440's Surviving and Thriving on Phnom Penh's Roads complete with forum comments. Excerpts from the article:
    ' ... Sometimes it can seem like every erratic numbskull in the land is swarming around you on the roads, trying to deal with their inner demons. And those are just the cars. ... the default technique for crossing a busy junction consists of a) increasing the acceleration b) hoping for the best and c) flying across the junction with a lingering blast of the horn, ...'
    Their contribution to International Women's Day:
    'Most Khmer women drive their cars with all the agility and awareness of a partially sighted witless amputee. Remember this.'
    And it continues:
    'Drive slowly. Don’t go native and copy the locals by driving down the wrong side of Monivong at 100 kph whilst making a phone call'.
    And the forum response? Bar one:
    'The adherence to road rules, such as keeping to your side of the road is atrocious; drivers in newer cars and 4x4’s seem to think they have a right to stop on the wrong side of the road at traffic light to allow them to jump ahead of other vehicles, mostly motto’s. Strangely people accept it and I have yet to see an accident as a result of this behavior'.
    'Hi Admin,
    This article is RIDICULOUS and INACCURATE.
    It's WAY too flattering in it's assessment of Khmer drivers'.
    Cheers to you too mate. Playboy:
    'I am with the ugly old white chick on this, the average driver on the roads of Cambodia has the motoring abilities of a blind chimpanzee smoking crack at the wheel'.
    'This was a very enjoyable article. Thanks'.
    And finally MarkLatham adds (from Tico heaven!):
    'Driving a car here is a breeze really, ...'.
    Basically getting the picture?
  • More blah, blah. Today's (March 7, 2008) Cambodia Daily mentions how Sihanoukville airport has raked in some cash (35 million $ US) so as to be able to finance an expansion of it's runway to service aircraft which are not coming. Cambodia's tourism minister said that the expansion
    'will help expand Sihanoukville [where to?] and boost its position as a destination and travel hub'.
  • Meanwhile Cambodia Daily's bi-weekly competitor the Phnom Penh Post in it's latest issue mentions the problems authorities are having expanding another runway, that of highway no.1 out of the city. This pathetic highway has received some Japanese funding, as the number of buses on this route (to Saigon) are forcing all the Camry's onto the hardshoulder!
    Anyway Cambodia's contribution in this is to resettle citizens who believe living on a road to be a better existence than living a safer distance away. Why can't they just send out a decree saying that everyone living 10-15m from the meridian of a national highway should clear off and anything in this area will be cleared within x time?
    So the resettlers are of course short changed and the government has got lots of claims to settle from 'resettlers' who of course live somewhere else. What do they call this?
    NGO's are crying foul:
    'previous experience has shown road projects are having a devastating impacts on the livelihoods of local communities due to inadequate compensation and resettlement practices'.
    The worst is they are probably correct!
  • Do you get tired of reading this blog? Imagine jotting everything down! The end is near!

    Yesterday's (March 6, 2008) Cambodia Daily has a lead article on the car sales business in Phnom Penh. Basically there are just two major dealers, Toyota and Ford with Ssangyong a new entrant. And then there are a lot of independents which cater to a diverse melee of tastes.
    It also mentions the number of registered vehicles (which is different from the actual owners, but how, is not explained) has risen from just over 9,500 in 2003 to more than 173,000 thousand now! That's a 1500% rise in just five years.
That's it for this week! Have fun celebrating Women's Day!
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