Cambodia Adrift
July 28, 2018 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Ahead of Cambodia's July 29th national election, regarded by rights groups as a sham after the opposition party's forced dissolution, Voice of America has released a rich special issue: Cambodia Adrift.
A VOA Khmer Service team spent six months talking with Cambodians during the run-up to the nation’s sixth national vote for 125 members of the National Assembly on July 29, 2018. The team traveled to six provinces and Phnom Penh, the capital city, and focused on rural residents because they are the majority of Cambodia’s voters. Many spoke of how they feel left behind by their nation’s economic expansion, which is upending their traditional way of life as they are buffeted by national and global forces.
The Cambodian government ordered ISPs to block 15 independent news outlets for two days before and during the election, including VOA, so if you're in-country you'll have to access their coverage through this alternate link.

If not, you can mimic Cambodians' experience with this thread of DNS errors.

Some links to get you started:

* Hear from a tuk-tuk driver in the capital city as he faces diminished tourism, as well as competition from Uber-like apps and a new public bus service.

* A spokesman for the ruling party (CPP) talks about how he came to join their ranks and bemoans Facebook memes lampooning him.

* Current and former reporters discuss the decline of press freedom, their present and future fears.
posted by cichlid ceilidh (8 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
There are a lot of stories in the issue and I've not read all of them, so do share what you learn!

As for the alternate link, I think they're having some URL path issues, but their GitHub repository is open if you want to help out.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 9:53 AM on July 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Rich indeed. What a source.
posted by infini at 12:34 PM on July 28, 2018

The History tab include profiles of some key figures and a timeline of important events since 1953 if you aren’t all that familiar with the context.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 12:37 PM on July 28, 2018

Oh I am, very familiar. I grew up a couple of countries south of there and there was nothing but the headlines all through the 70s and the 80s.
posted by infini at 12:56 PM on July 28, 2018

Great links. I find it fascinating, as per this piece, how many of dictatorships still go through the theatre of having 'elections'. They are so desperate for legitimacy. The despair from this account is so palpable, it's awful.

Of course, the west couldn't give a shit about Cambodia, and vice versa. China is happy to prop up the regime, even lend out its hackers, so keep another neighboring govt quiescent.

I thought it was interesting reading accounts where people were barely aware of the repression that's happened. A good reminder that - however debased and pathetic they are - a free press is still important, and also that when you're living on the edge, priorities realign. I'm not sure westerners always appreciate just how pervasive and limiting the popular discourse can be in countries like this.
posted by smoke at 5:33 PM on July 28, 2018

Of course, the west couldn't give a shit about Cambodia, and vice versa.

Yes, perhaps this is why Sen sent his son to American military school.

a free press is still important, and also that when you're living on the edge, priorities realign.

Sydney Schanberg said something similar with mixed results prefaced by a world gone mad.
posted by clavdivs at 6:26 PM on July 28, 2018

Thank you
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:29 PM on July 28, 2018

So far it seems like the blank and deliberately spoiled ballots are in second place behind CPP candidates.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 8:35 AM on July 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

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