Crossing Cambodia

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chasing Cars, Cambo stylo, 26 April 2010

Absolutely nothing seems to be going on, traffic wise in Cambodia. One would have expected a lament of the many deaths and injured during the past Khmer new year celebration but nada. Well not technically, I believe the Phnom Penh Post ran a smallish article on the drop of deaths in Phnom Penh, though if you were here during the holidays it's surprising that an accident took place at all, technically the town had turned into Ghost Town as the city had emptied.

The holidays have come and gone and everybody still needs to get into the groove somehow.
  • A study so says the Phnom Penh Post. A calculation of the cost of accidents. No less than an annual cost of $248 million for 2009, a doubling since 2003. That seems a conservative estimate and considering the number of new traffickers (can I say this?) has risen three / four fold in the same time, it means that the costs are proportionally dropping, good news eh? Funny this estimating the cost. The administrative part cost $43 million, while deaths and injuries $73 million. Life is cheap? the police finally add that it's because the public are ignorant and fail to comply. What about the role of the police in this?
  • Though we had been hoping for boats to be leaving from Kep for Phu Quoc asap. apparently someone has decided to throw a spanner in the works. The Japanese company has objected to the intended harbor being placed 5 km from the agreed on place (a year before!), according to the Phnom Penh Post:
    'Authorities instead proposed a port location in the forest area of Poun Mountain, 5 kilometres from the centre of the town in Damnak Chang Er district, a site the company official said was shallow and choked with seaweed'.
    The local government are (literally?) standing firm ...
  • This morning I picked up the newest scam on the road Siem Reap to Bangkok involving bus breaking downs and extending waits so as to get other buses full. Good advertisement. Anyway, who wants to go to BKK?
  • Bamboo trains are disappearing laments none other than the LA Times. Never understood why this would anyone would be passionate for this, it's about the same as wishing you could only get to Siem Reap by moto ...
  • Last week a downpour providing relief by distress to road users as the streets went under. KI Media reports. Despite multi-million drainage system which was clogged up and blamed on the local rubbish collectors ...
  • Sokha to open a second hotel in Sihanoukville. Newsworthy? Funny they have enough space to develop on at their first site, but to keep land in cambodia you have to build something to really claim it, preferably a wall. Anyways in the Phnom Penh Post article they mention that Cambodia Angkor Airways might start to fly from Siem Reap:
    'News of the hotel build follows reports, published in Cambodian press Thursday, that Cambodia Angkor Air (CAA) is to offer domestic charter flights to Sihanouk International Airport this year.
    The Post met with blank responses when it contacted officials to verify the claims Thursday.
    Mai Xuan Long, deputy director of CAA, said that he didn’t know exactly what was happening with the company’s flights to Sihanoukville International Airport.
    Kao Sivorn, Operation Director Department of Secretariat of State of Civil Aviation, said that so far he has not received proposals from CAA to start operations to the new airport.
    He added that the company does not have enough ability to begin regular flights to Sihanouk International Airport yet.
    He added: “If [CAA] begin operation there, it will boost the tourism sector for Sihanouk province, as the airport can link it to Siem Reap International Airport.”
    Tith Chantha, director of Sihanouk International Airport, said that he has not yet heard when CAA would begin flights to the airport.
    “I have not received any official letter from CAA,” he said'.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Chasing Cars, pre-Khmer New Year '10

Yesterdays Phnom Penh Post (April 5) has put up an article based on calculations by Handicap International Belgium about what the costs are to the the nation of poor driving (and consequent accidents).
VOA Khmer had already reported on this earlier. Both though delved in the press release by Road Safety Cambodia.
The press release mentions amongst others the relative numbers (deaths per 10,000 registered vehicles) are dropping which is partially blamed by more congestion which means lower speeds = less deaths. However they are still way above regional standards. Though no doubt putting a price tag on this is all part of the pressure the government package but the reality is that putting a price on tragedy doesn't mean that it will compile the government to take action. Tragedies happen. The odd part is that the cost to humans matches the cost to properties, surely that can't be correct.
Why did they they choose blood Friday for the presentation?
  • Talking about safety, the Khmer 440 forum has a thread on the safety of Phnom Penh's streets. The mostly male crowd who inhabit this forum seem to be OK with safety issues though they mostly focus on muggings ...
  • Sihanoukville airport back in the news:
    '[The airport operators] determined to convince airlines to start providing scheduled flights through Preah Sihanouk province’s fully operational airport ...' then the article harks back on the national flag carrier: 'SCA and the government want the new national carrier, Cambodia Angkor Air (CAA), to begin scheduled flights to Preah Sihanouk, but the CAA is apprehensive. Cambodia Angkor Airlines’ vice CEO Lim Kao told the Post Wednesday the carrier’s three planes are already burdened with their runs, at a time when tourism has slowed. He added that CAA is reluctant to open up a new flight path without knowing if there is sufficient demand'.
    If the CAA isn't willing to take a risk in promoting Sihanoukville as Asia's newest beach destination who will? Surely that's why you have designated a national carrier in the first place?
  • Much in the same vein, a conference on ground handling in Asian airports concluded that liberalization of both handling and awarding flight rights are lagging...
  • And then there is the Cambodia Daily. On March 27-28 ('Airline Industry set for Recovery as Prices mount') they mention how things are looking up for the aviation industry in Cambodia, but not for the consumers? Witness new routes an/or expended capacity (Siem Reap - Shanghai; Guangzhou - Phnom Penh; KL - Phnom Penh).
    They also mention that a comeback of Siem Reap Airways is in the final stages.
    One funny thing mentioned is that since CAA have started fares between SR and HCM have risen. Flights between HCM and PP are some of Asia's most overpriced, CAA is certainly not competing ....
  • Talking about rivers and boats. The annual Mekong River Swim is off. In the Asialife April edition besides a lack of volunteers they also mention that due to the newly formed Boat 'Association' prices for renting a boat have become prohibitive ...
  • Next up? Cars with tinted windows.
    'Police have begun a crackdown on cars with tinted windows, as ordered by Prime Minister Hun Sen in a meeting Friday at the Council of Ministers. Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Monday that police were taking a hard line with owners of cars with tinted windows, forcing them to remove the window tinting “to ensure security and order for the Cambodian people”.“Police will eliminate cars with tinted windows from the road,” Khieu Sopheak said, ...'.
    More on Khmer 440. Probably it's Khmer New Year soon ...
  • Odd news. A general takes revenge on an ice seller for damaging his .... car. According to his own sense of justice, a neck shot was required, the ice seller still lives. Is this odd? No the odd thing is that the general will be prosecuted, at least that's what they are saying ...
  • Then there is mob rule. Reported on in various media, no less than 400 'residents' killed two motorbike robbers and left another for dead (CD reports: 'regained consciousness just before his body was to be cremated'!) after intervening with police. Gruesome footage with Khmer media.
  • More odd news.
    'A Cambodian taxi driver was arrested after he ramped up an inter-city fare, then threatened to kill his passengers by driving into a lake unless they paid, local media reported Monday. The driver had initially agreed to take 20 passengers to the eastern province of Prey Veng for 2 dollars a head, the Phnom Penh Post newspaper said. However, halfway there, he stopped the taxi and announced the fare had increased to 5 dollars each. When the passengers refused to hand over the extra money and began arguing with the driver, he threatened to drown them by driving into a nearby lake. A passenger then called the police who arrested the driver. Cambodia lacks public transport, and privately operated minibus taxis, which are often overcrowded, are a common way to travel around the country'.
    Source according to KI Media is dpa, though the PPP also runs this story ....
  • Info on a new bus service to Pakse. Elsewhere there's a thread on Tripadvisor.
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