Crossing Cambodia

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chasing Cars, Khmer New Year style, April 152008

  • The city of Phnom Penh frees itself from the never ending stream of moto's and cars:
    'Thousands of people crammed onto buses and cars, some clinging to roofs and spilling out of doors, as they headed out of Phnom Penh yesterday for the Buddhist New Year holiday'.
  • The road toll? Today's (April 15, 2008) Cambodia Daily mentions five traffic deaths, elsewhere the country seems to be relatively free of traffic accidents.
  • However, there are some peculiarities when investigating accidents:
    'Policeman Meas Samuth, one of the injured, said his colleague was conducting a traffic investigation following a collision between a motorcycle and child, when a “two gangs” began blowing whistles.
    “My friend asked them to stop,” he said, adding that they told the group the police were working.
    “They did not stop,” Meas Samuth said. “And then my friend asked them to give him the whistle, but they didn’t want to.”
    A fracas ensued, and the youths began beating the police, knocking one of them out, Meas Samuth said'.
  • A clear case of disrepecting the law. Vuthasurf has a blog entry on Respecting the traffic law to reduce corruption. He mentions:
    'The main cause of corruption is in the traffic system after the judiciary system in the current Cambodian society'.
    Furthermore he links on to the new anti-corruption site Saatsaam, though the specific link to the guide on traffic law and traffic fines is only available in Khmer which, in itself, is a very good initiative.
    'If you have committed a fault whilst driving on the road, you should remember: A fine issued without a receipt is corruption. Drivers must always remember to ask for a receipt from traffic police officers whenever they are fined. Drivers should wait to obtain receipt for a fine when they have committed faults and fined by traffic police officers. Asking for a receipt for fines can contribute to reducing corruption in the implementation of traffic law'.
  • More on shady deals or is it not shady? The ongoing saga of creating a national flag carrier. Will it take off? Just read this:
    'With a national flag carrier, we envisage our economy and tourism industry will grow rapidly," Cambodia's Deputy Prime Minister, Sok An, said in the statement released by Rajawali.

    Cambodia launched its own national flag carrier, Royal Air Cambodge (RAC), in the mid-1990s but it went bankrupt, resulting in heavy losses for the government'.
    So history tells us that creation of a national flag carrier not necessarily means a good move. The same goes for most countries around Cambodia, where the national carriers are good examples of lacking management (Thai) and excessive chances to influence the airline to take non-commercial decisions such as flying politicians (and their extended families) for free (all the other countries). In this respect one must view how Vietnam is opening up it's airline sector and who knows the recently renamed carrier Jetstar Pacific will be jetting into Phnom Penh by the end of the year; at affordable prices. Cambodia Daily (April 11, 2008) adds that:
    'The Cambodia Association of Travel Agents are frustrated by the lack of information officials have provided about the new carrier'.
    They should not hold the breath, as the new carrier is still considering which new model to use: a 737, 757 or 767? Clearly, by now one would have established which routes to fly and then considered the aircraft. The capacities of the aircraft mentioned are quite diverse, anyway that's their problem.
    p.s.: did you notice that Bangkok Airways mentions a possible link from Bangkok to Sihanoukville on their latest route map?
  • More traffic news revisited ('Biting the dust'). The dump trucks are still obstructed from going to and from the quarry (Cambodia daily, 11 April, 2008).
    'The quarry's manager whose trucks have been halted by the protesting villagers, said his company is not at fault and should not be responsible for paving a public road'.
    To be continued ....
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