Crossing Cambodia

Friday, August 29, 2008

Chasing Cars, end of August 2008

So what's new? Well, I could include a long list of articles referring to accidents happened, but basically they would all lead to the same Phnom Penh Post source, so if that's your interest just check their site.

Anything else?

Certainly. Police are still trying to enforce the law at least concerning the absurd notion that having mirrors might result in a drastic drop of fatalities. If anything, more accidents will occur, as the mirrors stick out and are more likely to snag other riders' mirrors. But still, you have to start somewhere.

  • Yesterday's (28-08-2008) Cambodiamirror(!) Khmer language translated press review (from Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #231) focuses on enforcing the law and the PM's nephews: there seem to be some contradictions between enforcing the law and having good connections:
    '“A lawyer, an official of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, reported to The Cambodia Daily that drivers involved in accidents that result in the death of a persons cannot legally escape from a conviction of a crime by paying a compensation to the family of the dead victim.
    “However, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, the Minister of Information and the government spokesperson, seemed to protect the perpetrator, Mr. Hun Sen’s nephew, in a press conference on Sunday.
    “It is reported that Mr. Hun Chea, Mr. Hun Sen’s nephew, had paid a compensation of US$4,000 to the family of the victim who rode on his small motorcycle and died through the accident, but there is no legal action taken. Mr. Khieu Kanharith said that doing so [paying a compensation to the victim’s family] is legal in Cambodia'.

  • Law enforcement in neighbouring Lao takes place as such:
    '“On this model road, we want to fully enforce traffic regulations and ensure proper traffic management will be put along the road so road users will have to strictly obey the traffic rules,” he said.
    He explained the road would be fully equipped with traffic signs, speed inspection areas, cameras, designated vehicle lanes and directional markings. ...
    “As we have seen on highways overseas, we need to have standards and proper facilities on our roads to ensure the safety of road users and prevent accidents,” he said.
    Police Captain Sengthong said the concept would be extended to another road if the first road proved to be successful in forcing road users to obey traffic regulations'.
    So, let me get this right, they are seriously thinking about enforcing the law as a great way to reduce accidents, but instead of starting with mirrors, they'll start with 1 (important) road. Smart? What's more, they point to other countries as prime examples. Now why are the Khmer not so smart?
  • Talking itself up, Cambodia believes it has the worst traffic record in the whole of ASEAN. DaS mentions this, referring to the Bangkok Post:
    'Cambodia is now officially home to the most dangerous roads in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, officials said Thursday'.
    But how official?
    'The ministry did not provide updated comparisons to other ASEAN countries, but said Cambodia's fatality rate puts it ahead of much larger nations such as the Philippines, also known for road chaos'.
    Your claim to fame? More propaganda:
    'The government spent millions on driver education, taking out television and newspaper advertisements and setting up driver education centres, after the Asian Development Bank estimated accidents cost the country 3 per cent of its GDP in 2003 alone'.
    The government spent millions? Ha! The whole article is a hoax. VoA mentions:
    'In the first five months of 2008, 10,555 people were injured in traffic accidents, while 645 were killed, said Meas Chandy, road safety coordinator for Handicap Cambodia.
    Whereas Bangkok Post mentions
    '956 in the first half of 2008'.
    So in June alone 300 deaths? Then again the cited article seems to be incorrect as well, as the PPP (August 28, 2008) mentions 716 in the first 5 months (their site is down (sic!)) which corresponds with the most recent data of Road Traffic Accident and Information System. So if, what is right in the Bangkok Post, June would have resulted in about 240+ deaths, roughly 30% above the deadliest month yet (Feb. '08) or 50% above this year's monthly average. Now that would be news, rather than citing some official and naming it 'official'.
    Or what I would be more concerned about is how all know the reasons for the deaths are:
    'The increase of deaths was the result of "over-speed and drunken driving'.
    So what are mirrors going to do to alleviate this?
  • More Lao news:
    'Govt closes low tax loophole for cars.
    The government has closed a tax concession loophole that was being exploited by investors to allow them to import luxury cars into the country without paying normal rates of tax'.
    Again a good way of ensuring law and order CC thinks, just let everybody know you're there and make clear that what is illegal/unjust will not prevail. Now in Cambodia are there loopholes? Or just the one, big one?
  • The future of cyclo's:
    'Some people say the cyclo, though pollution free, may be on its last leg, as demand for them decreases'.
    Pollution free and not subject to petrol prices.
    'Unlike other cyclo drivers, who are typically of an older generation, Chdou Kosey said he merely wished to explore the life of cyclo peddlers. Besides, he said, there are stories of many successful people who started off as cyclo drivers.

    "In fact, I heard from my teacher that some excellencies also peddled the cyclo," he said. "The cyclo is just my temporary job." ... '
    Now there are about 10 cyclo shops left in Phnom Penh because there is no space for parking and no peddlers. I think it will disappear in the next four or five years."
    Alas? Or a good idea for PM's nephews?
Did I mention that last weeks posting was the lucky 333rd?
  • On a different note: Asialife (August 2008) focuses on "Leisure and wellness": the Easy Riders:
    'A small group of regular cyclists, the Easy Riders, have over the course of a few years, mapped out a variety of interesting routes to the outskirts of the city'.
    Get a copy if you're interested.
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