Cambodium: dollars and sense

Daily observations from Cambodia and beyond.

An app from hell was found by @TechCrunch security editor Zack Whittaker (@zackwhittaker). Once installed it can track your location, record from your microphone, use your internet connection, and read your contacts. The Holy Bible app is from Oklahoma-based @LifeChurch, and it “wants to make a lasting difference in your life”.


Is the Thai junta trying to save money by not paying for “zombie election observers”? Lee Morgenbesser (@LMorgenbesser), a researcher of elections under authoritarian governments, wonders why the country banned observers from its upcoming elections. Cambodia’s last election, Morgenbesser says, was a prime example of how such groups help provide a veneer of transparency and fairness. In a Jakarta Post story by Quinn Libson (@quinnlibson), Morgenbesser explains that “Thailand’s apparent strategy of barring observers is probably the healthier one for the Thai political ecosystem in the long run.”


Cambodia tops a ranking for most hours worked for every year between 2005 and 2014,  the last year that data was computed. Oxford’s @MaxCRoser compared some 50 countries for the study.

At 2,500 hours per year, Cambodians work twice as long as, say, the French or Germans. In 2003, they overtook the Koreans, who in the 1970s worked up to 3,000 hours a year.


The editor in chief of @saigoneer@miketatarski, points to the plight of ethnic Vietnamese Khmer in Phu Quoc, the island in southern Vietnam popular with tourists.

An article in @tuoitrenewsvn explains how a lack of official documentation becomes a roadblock to education. Parents have the impossible choice between getting paperwork or working to feed their children.


Journalism and journalists are under threat all over Asia. Notable examples include Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two @reuters reporters jailed in Myanmar, and questionable tax-evasion charges against @rapplerdotcom in the Philippines. In Vietnam, @ngaphambbc notes that @RadioFreeAsia, VOANews and BBC Vietnam were never allowed to operate to begin with.

Which makes it all the more welcome that @washingtonpost is strengthening its regional coverage. According to Douglas Jehl (@jehld), The Post’s foreign editor, WaPo is adding a “news editor in Asia to bring timely judgment, a fast metabolism and deft skills” to the company’s Asia operations.

Tips, comments welcome: [email protected]

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