Crossing Cambodia

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Chasing Cars, Cambodian Style, Tuesday 18 March 2008

So what's up in traffic related Cambodia?
  • We had confirmation that trains are still running via
    'Battambang Province: A 28-year-old mouse hunter died immediately on a rail way on 15 March 2008 in Mong Russey district’s Mong commune. The train ran over his head while he was sleeping on the rail way, police said. The victim, Sok Kiet, always hunted mice at night. Mong Russey district police Chief Kit Heang concluded that the victim fell asleep on the rail way'.
    Comprehensible? Can you call someone who catches mice a 'hunter'?
  • The key to winning the upcoming elections?
    'He [Keo Chuktema, governor of Phnom Penh] said that for the CPP [Cambodia's evergreen ruling elitist party] to win in Phnom Penh, he will start repairing as many of the new and old roads as possible, starting from now on'.
    Why would he need to repair new roads?
  • More electioneering: the prime minister all of sudden notices that all and sundry are asking for hand outs:
    'Hun Sen said that, near Chhlong district [Kratie province], there is a control station, and in Kampong Cham, near the digging by the paved road, there is one place where bribes are being asked also. .... He said that roads were built for orderly traffic, but these cops turn them into a bribe-request location instead. He said that TVK broadcast about this issue every day, but, they don’t watch it, and even the newspapers are reporting about these control stations, but the government officials do not read about them. ... Hun Sen added: “When the high-ranking officials go down to inspect, their cars are blaring the siren sound, so that when those who set up the control stations hear about it, they just took off because they are mobile control stations.”'
    And the PM himself, he has no blaring siren?
  • The dead are rising? At least that's this article's caption:
    'Traffic Deaths Rising Steeply: Group'
    They of course mean increasing, but what is the 'group'? It's Handicap International:
    'At least 125 people died and 576 were seriously injured in traffic accidents nationwide in December 2007, Handicap International reported this week. This is a 32 percent increase compared to the same period in 2006, the group said. ... Handicap International spokesman Sem Panhavuth said about 83 percent of the victims died because of head injuries. Of those who died, only four were wearing a helmet, he said'.
    The government then construes the figures:
    'Tem Proseur, director of the Phnom Penh traffic police, said that in in the capital only about 80 percent of motorcycle drivers wear helmets'.
    If you look around Phnom Penh roads, it's 80% that are not wearing helmets! So what are 'we' going to do about it?
    'In order to decrease the traffic fatalities, the government has formed a traffic safety committee, which includes members from 20 ministries, said Chum Iek, secretary of state for the Ministry of Public Works. ...The committee is working to advocate traffic safety to students, as well as strengthening law enforcement. The committee hopes to work with non-government agencies to educate people on traffic laws, he said'.
    Isn't it time that someone educates the government?
  • Cambodia's most 'aggressive' (they phoned Crossing Cambodia a couple of weeks ago from Thailand asking me to attend a 'meeting') insurance company, Infinity, has had to retract a statement made in an advertisement on motorcycle insurance: apparently they can't substantiate that daily 40 motorcycles are stolen in Phnom Penh. This according to today's (March 8, 2008) Cambodia Daily. The governor of Phnom Penh is quoted:
    ' "Have you seen the ad? ... Losing [stolen he means] 40 motorbikes per day is too much" '.
    The official figures for February were just 3. But probably they mean those that were reported stolen, not those they are stolen unreported. According to on February 3 this happened:
    'Witnesses said that as the suffered man had his motorbike filled, two men riding an old C100 Korea motorcycle came nearby and pointed handgun at the victim and took his motor. The robbers left their old motorbike at the scene'.
    On the 26th:
    'Two thieves with handgun rode 2007 serried Smash motorcycle to run over a man and pointed the gun to take his motorbike safely'.
    Was this just it for February? Crossing Cambodia thinks not. On Khmer 440 there is a forum entry on the same article. Was MarkLathams motorcycle included in the Feb. 08 tally?
  • A fracas occurred at the airport taxi stand / parking on Monday. Both taxi drivers as well as tuk-tuk drivers want to earn an extra buck at the expense of the other. The airports solution is to get passengers out of the airport by bus!
  • The vintage cars have made it. The good news:
    ' "The road (from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh) is good," so that the vehicles entered the capital city around half an hour earlier than the scheduled noon time'.
    The bad news:
    'costing each participant some 46,000 U.S. dollars'.
    !!!! Have they figured in the rise in petrol prices yet?
  • A blogger finds Phnom Penh traffic confusing:
    'Basically, you can do as you please. Traffic rules can be bent or twisted in any way or direction, just like what contortionists to their bodies'.
    Now that being the case, why is one of the photo's from a couple of years back?

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