I read this article ‘arranged marriage & the role of parents’ published on the Global Voice Online with interest. In my home country, this is still very traditional and common. A history of this can be found in our Cambodian story of Tum Teav, for Western Romeo and Juliet is a version of this.
A male Cambodian-American living in the United States has more chances to successfully get married a Cambodian woman in Cambodia. This is called an exception. There are more stories about classes of people, poor vs. rich.
“…this is the tragedy of many arranged marriages when fixed arbitrarily by the South Asian parents. When parents go looking for a spouse for their child they usually consider superficial criteria like religion, ethnicity, financial condition and even horoscope. In absence of pre-existing mutual attraction of the partners or even some sort of communication and understanding before reaching at the final decision to marry, is horrifying for a smart and educated individual. And often they end up with a uncomfortable relationship they had never dreamt of…”
Webbed feet reported about second meeting of Cambodia blogger meeting. Another Cambodian guy joined us this time, so I was not the only Cambodian as in the previous gathering.
Our enthusiastic team are looking for a home on the net to promote blogging in the country. We hope to launch a site to offer available and necessary resources to start blogging, Khmer Unicode fonts, Khmer language software and blog tools. The following proposed domain names are:
Cambodia, Blogosphere, Khmer
As many other names of thing and place, Kampong Chhnang also has its own meaning. Kampong means port and Chhnang is clay pot. And the name represents a specialization of this provincial people. Villagers make and sell pots throughout the country.
It took about an hour to travel 91 Km away from Phnom Penh by truck. Before packing up clothes, I briefly read my Lonely Planet guidebook about the province since it was my first visit.
What I did not imagine before arriving there is looking for an internet café in town. Its close proximity to capital means nothing. Internet access is too-expensive, 400 Riel per minute (1 US$ equals 4000 Riel). And there are very few providing the service. Expensive electricity is one factor to impossibly bring down the price.
Some weeks ago I posted an entry about a launch of Khmer Trial online news. A former colleague whom I worked with in the Community Information Web Portal project has just informed about a testing. Now another sister site of CambodaiCIC goes online. At this time, this is a beta launch. Another major update will be coming soon. And hopefully, you are all the first to know. Please have a look at this: www.krtrial.org, for the time being available in Khmer, English edition will come later as this is an unofficial launch.
Blog explosions continue after the Cambodian Blog Big Bang. Some substances combines together to make this happened. Media coverages, a feature article in the Cambodia Daily and Wired magazine, a brief in the Phnom Penh Post, and inspiration bloggers are parts of this. At that time there were less than 20 Cambodian bloggers (some call Clogger for Cambodia Blogger and Khlogger for Khmer language written Blogger). Now let’s take a look at this development:
- Virak focuses on how to blog, especially his posts have been written for Cambodian people to start to blog. Maybe he could be the first Cambodian blog guru. He nowaday trains working journalists how to blog at Cambodia Communication Institute. What is going to happen when news reporters become independent publishers? Some of the trainees: Gunawadh, Sinin, Moeun Nhean (a Cambodian scenes magazine publisher), Kay Kimsong, Channyda, Kheang,
- Short courses are being provided around the country by a group formed by Mean Lux, a blog advocate. Some of young trainees and youth-focused organizations: Monica, Khmer Student Association, Khmer Democratic Youth Association, Students’ Movement for Democracy, YCC Network, Kalyan Keo,
- Inspired by the Cambodia Daily article: Bodhisattva, D-Dara.
- You have often heard of iPod. Amazingly I found this Khmer Ipod-Books, Khmer Oldies.
- Jinja, as far as I know, the first foreign Cambodia blogger in Cambodia. He maintains the largest blog collection and contributes to Cambodia – Global Voices. And Beth, an independent IT consultant in the US, plays an active roles in this development as well. Until today she has interviewed two Cambodian bloggers and published them on the Global Voice Online.
- Blog meeting first took place July, and the second one has just been away several days ago.
- Chhunly Poy, an artist in Siem Reap and his artworks go online.
The question is: will all these combined substances create a living blog of the country? If not, then let it be. The upcoming introduction of the Khmer Unicode and Khmer language software will be a major boost.
Cambodian Googlers are Googling in Khmer
Just a short note about Google, which is now available in Khmer language. Let’s have a look and find out how amazing it is! Hope to see www.google.kh.
With the introduction of Khmer Unicode fonts, more localization efforts have been advanced to open a new window for Cambodian people who do not understand English. Some basic Khmer software have been translated, and hopefully more to come to fill the need of the users.
I will leave Phnom Penh for Kampong Chhnang this afternoon, and be back on Friday this week. I hope to have some news from the province, កំពង់ឆ្នាំង in Khmer, which is about 100 Km south-northern from the capital city. I will join workshop on Information and Communication Technologies for government officals on Wednesday. And then I will observe youth gathering, which will be organized for the National Youth Day before coming back. Of course, I am looking forward to visit the Community Informaiton Centre for the first time.
Now you can download Khmer Unicode Installer, Moyura 0.8 for Windows, a Khmer Email program, and Khmer Web Browser, Mekhala 0.8 for Windows. Beyond this, Word processor, Sleuk Rith in Khmer, is available in beta version.
I am thinking of Khmer language blogging. And I am sure it is going to come soon. As you can have a look at this picture. I captured it, my web-based email account, which has been developed bases on Khmer Unicode font, by Open Forum of Cambodia. The KhmerOS project of Open Forum of Cambodia develops a computer glossary from English to Khmer. So, with everything available in place, it is now a matter of participation from key players to bring more to Cambodian users. Old people who do not speak English can also connect to the outside world. They will find it even more easier to read and write in national language, Khmer. Jinja also write a good post about ‘Cambodia: Land of Open Source.’
The KhmerOS project was born from our dream for the state of computer technology in Cambodia in three years. We envision, in 2007, a country where Cambodians can learn and use computers in their own language, a country that does not have to change to a new language in order to use computers! Databases and applications will be developed directly in Khmer, with easy, standard ways to handle names and data.
Cambodian People vs Camera Phones
I happened to write my opinion about people and phone to the Cambodia Daily week ago. There have been something new to Cambodian mobile phone users in recent months, especially among young people. High feature phones today allow people to capture and view photo and video clip. In a sense, it is a good thing to record our beautiful world and have it in our palm. But, we also have to experience something new. Cambodia, a country where many traditional issues have long been respected, seems to move beyond. At least there are several cases of nude pictures of Cambodian singer, actress, and a young girl. Those photo have been sent around the country through wireless phones. This is not technology glitch, but human error. A popular actress was reported in the local news that she was a victim of a graphic designer. Her picture was computerized to be a nude star. Another girl of less than 18 years old was forced to take off her clothes. And the scene was captured as video clip and sent from one to another.
I have read about Information and Communication Technology for Development, ICT4D in short. In this stage, I think we are on the way to ICT4Destruction. People choose to pay more on entertainment than education.
Cambodia embraces cell-phone craze
By Samean Yun, Rocky Mountain News
August 1, 2005
Cambodia, a developing country in Southeast Asia, illustrates how cell phones are catching on, especially with young people, thanks to new technology, competition and declining prices. Only a small percentage of households in Cambodia have telephone land lines, partly because of high monthly fees and the lack of infrastructure throughout the country. But today, cell phones can be found everywhere in the capital city of Phnom Penh.
And another article: China lends Cambodia $30 mln for 3G phone network.