Cambodia: Voices from Cambodian blogosphere

Ministry of Information has ordered all radio and television stations to stop reading news article of print newspapers. This move is considered as an attempt to maintain professional journalism in the country. News readers read some selected press articles and make personal comments for their radio and television broadcasting. Since most people find it difficult to buy and read newspapers, airing of news reading is popular in the country where large population is illiterate and living under poverty line.

And in response to the arrest of border critics and a radio journalist, about 30 human rights groups have just formed an Alliance of Freedom of Expression to launch a nation-wide campaign. The campaign aims to promote freedom of expression in the country. So far some 60,000 ribbons has been distributed in the city and some provinces. Apart from traditional media, access to online news and resources is also popular among college students in Phnom Penh, the business and cultural center of the country. The worldwide network opens windows to young people to access to useful online materials, mostly for their life-long learning as well as participation in online discussion groups to share their opinions on particular topics. However, a knife is just a knife; some users enjoy only chatting, accessing to inappropriate Web sites such as pornography and violence.

In 15 years, struggling film industry comes to life again. The country organized its second national film festival , featured 22 Cambodian movies, at Chaktomuk Theatre on November 28, 2005. Vampire and ghost stories make the most in the competition list. In this last decade, popularity of foreign movies have made life difficult for national filmmakers. Local people find Thai, Chinese, American, and even Korean movie a taste of entertainment when local film productions have to do more to compete with quality foreign film company. Horror stories are not only in the film, in countryside, sorcery also makes news headlines. Witchcraft or sorcery, Arb-Thmob in Khmer, is what people have ever heard of, but never actually seen this scary creature, half-ghost and half-human.

Living with her father in Phnom Penh, she was just 5 years old, and was evacuated from the city when the Khmer Rouge came to power. She does not understand why she had to leave from her home in the city to the countryside. An educated person like her father is a target of execution and killing of the regime to revolutionize the society. First They Killed My Father: a daughter of Cambodia remembers by Loung Ung is beautiful and so clearly captures the voice of a child survived from the genocide.


  • […] Anyway, that’s me in the middle of the photo although god knows what I’m laughing at. Maybe it was the suggestion that Esperanto be adopted as a universal language for the web. Great idea, but not one that many will take up, unfortunately. Caribbean Free Radio also managed to get me in the background of this shot of Cambodian blogger Tharum Bun. Thankfully, I look a little more serious in this one. […]

  • Well… About Esperanto:

    “You’ll find in this book everything which makes an Esperanto-speaker a true citizen of Esperanto-Land”

    Vojagho en Esperanto-lando. Boris Kolker. Rotterdam: UEA, 2005. 280 p. 240×150. ISBN 929017088-3. $26.70. Available for purchase from the ELNA Book Service (

    We Esperantists are proud of our literature – and we do have every reason to be. We have original and translated literature of all genres, all kinds of dictionaries and grammar books, books for beginners… But there used to be a gap in that: we didn’t have books for advanced Esperanto-students. To be more precise, we did have some (like Pashoj al Plena Posedo by William Auld) – but even after reading them, the new Esperantists often got lost in the Esperanto community, full of subtleties, names, facts, hints and the whole bunch of abbreviations, all unknown to beginners… It takes a long time to get (from Esperanto books, magazines, teachers) all the information they need to be well-educated Esperantists, aware of the basic facts and some less known information on Esperanto and its history.
    It used to be that way… until the publishing of Vojagho en Esperanto-lando (=Voyage in Esperanto-Land) by Boris Kolker. The book was such a success that it became an Esperanto-bestseller, and in 2005 Universal Esperanto Association (UEA) published the third edition of this unique book (the first edition was published in Moscow in 1992, the second edition was published by UEA in 2002 and was sold out within two years).
    The changes between the 2nd and the 3rd editions are not crucial: the whole style, liked by Esperantists so much, is preserved: there is the same colorful cover, the same beautiful illustrations by Francisco Veuthey – even the page number is the same! So, what’s new? First of all, the format: it’s bigger (though, the price is the same as for the second edition), so, the text is better to read. The illustrations and photos look better in the bigger version and have more contrast, some photos and pictures have been updated and there are some new illustrations. Also, the book becomes almost 1/3 times thinner and lighter because of the use of thinner paper – but the quality didn’t suffer from that switch at all.
    The Esperanto-world doesn’t stay in one place – new books come out, web-sites change their address, some eminent people pass away… All the changes that occurred in Esperanto-lando from 2002 to 2005 have their place in the book – all the texts and explanations are updated and corrected: there is mention of the newest books (like Sed homoj kun homoj by Z. Sikosek), newest facts, e.g., about the internet and the internet-sites about Esperanto. Also, there are some new texts (like the charming song En nia mondo – Valso por vojaghantoj written especially for the book, excerpt from Neniu ajn papilio by Trevor Steele, information about planned languages, explanations about neologisms and non-official words and affixes in Esperanto). But the most significant change for many Esperantists is the index of names which greatly facilitates the use of the book.
    But what made it a bestseller in Esperanto-lando? The answer is, probably, hidden in the name of the book: “Perfektiga kurso de Esperanto kaj Gvidlibro pri la Esperanta kulturo” – “Advanced Course of Esperanto and Guidebook to the Esperanto Culture”. The book is not only a textbook for those who have finished an elementary course and need reading practice and not too difficult texts: it is a small, but very informative, encyclopedia about Esperanto, which is certainly more than just a language. The readers will find answers to many questions about the history and culture of Esperanto, the facts about milestones of Esperanto history – the life and philosophy of Zamenhof, pioneers of the Esperanto-movement, Esperanto organizations and the most important events. They will become familiar with Esperanto museums, radio, magazines and speeches of the most eminent Esperantists. Also, they’ll find “translations” of all the important abbreviations used by Esperantists – in one word, you’ll find in this book everything which makes an Esperanto-speaker a true citizen of Esperanto-Land.
    In addition to the texts about Esperanto and Esperantists, you’ll find also the fragments of some famous pieces of Esperanto literature (both prose and poetry, from classics to contemporary) and texts on different interesting topics – e.g., about popular science, stylistic – or even love traps! There are also a lot of texts about different countries, which personally I enjoyed very much. Most of the texts are written originally in Esperanto, some of them – exclusively for the book, others were reprinted from Esperanto magazines, a few texts were translated from non-Esperanto sources. All the texts progress from simple to quite difficult. By the end of each section there are questions for self-examination.
    Apart from the direct knowledge, the book helps to develop personal skills: you’ll find there different exercises not only on language usage but also on reasoning and developing of good literature taste (e.g., to write essays on different topics). Some of the exercises are serious (for example, to explain or write sentences with paronyms – words that sound similar but mean different things, or to combine parts of Esperanto proverbs etc.), some – humorous (for example, to create an artificial language and write a love letter in it).
    Last – but not least! – is the very distinctive style of the book: it is written in the name of the Esperanto Club leader. Every lesson is a meeting in the virtual club “Esperanto-lando”, with many “guests” and activities, plans for the future, holidays – unlimited inspiration how to organize activities in your local group! Some critics say the picture of Esperanto activities in the book is too “idealistic” – well, maybe, but we all can aspire to an ideal Esperanto club and adopt some of the “activities” of the “Esperanto-lando”!
    I recommend the book to everybody who still doesn’t have it: from brand new beginners to the most experienced Esperantists, to use it for their Esperanto lessons and maybe even to learn something they don’t know about Esperanto. The only one thing I would like to see in future editions (and, I’m sure, they’re will be!) is to add also an index of terms and glossary of abbreviations.

    Eugenia Amis

    EsperantoUSA, 2005, No 5-6

  • […] In an earlier post on the recent Global Voices Summit held in London, I made reference to a Cambodian blogger, Tharum Bun, but later edited down the post. However, because it appears that the Global Voices site automatically detects links to its content and adds a trackback, and as the reference to Bun is no longer there, I think it only right to draw readers attention to his excellent round up of activity in the Cambodian blogosphere. […]

    Why does so many young people learn esperanto at the universities in South Korea?
    Inga Johanson, town library of Gothenburg Sweden

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