Crossing Cambodia

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Chasing Cars, 2009, nummero uno

Well for those of you who thought I'd become the first victim of the possible upcoming Cambodian law on internet, have no fear. I'd just been away for a holiday followed by a painful process of buying a new computer. Somehow the geeks know how to put a couple of their own songs on your computer, but fail to just put those documents there where you had asked them. Worse they even lost them altogether; it's just a couple of months work lost, could be worse. Lots of pain and no gain sort of sums it up. Such is life in Cambodia. [audible sigh]

So what's new? Well by now it should be quite obvious, nearly everyone is touting a helmet on their head. Mirrors are there too. This is so not Cambodia.

  • So helmets it is. In many cases the 'helmets' are flimsy covers (for only $2), which are hardly going to help but most seem sturdy. Andy B. reports on his helmet and Nigeria where they are in the same waters as here, but more inventive:
    'Police in Nigeria have arrested scores of motorcycle taxi riders with dried fruit shells, paint pots or pieces of rubber tire tied to their heads with string to avoid a new law requiring them to wear helmets'.
    At least now Cambo PM will id Andy as a "model" citizen. The same PPP report (23 December, 2008) also raises expectations:
    'Ung Chun Hour, director general of transport at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said three-quarters of all road accidents involved motorbikes, and half of all traffic deaths could be prevented by wearing a helmet'.
    The future will tell, but I have hunch.
  • And the first reports:
    'Phnom Penh's helment campaign opened strongly last week, with more than 120 violators nabbed on the first day alone as authorities try to reduce the number of head injuries, which they say are the leading cause of traffic deaths'.
    "On the first day that the traffic police started to fine, we saw 124 motorbike drivers who did not wear helmets, and we collected 378,000 riels (US$92.62) in fines," said El Narin, deputy director of the Phnom Penh Traffic Police.
    With fines being 3,000 riel and 120 violators, too much money has been collected. Oh no!
    Well here they go again. The guys policing the streets vaguely know what there job is, though extortion seems to close. So they muddle up the numbers, because they don't have a clue.
    Since, I've heard of the lads asking for $20 for a trivial offense such as failing to stop at the white line (50 cm over). After consultation all agreed on $2 with no receipt. Ghastly not? Anyway let's hope something good comes from it ..
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