Friday, April 17, 2009

Time for change

In case you didn't know, I'm a guy, a fella, a bloke. However, in my own small way I'm a great believer in women's rights and especially in Cambodia, where generally speaking, women get a bum wrap. It's a male-dominated society even though women seem to do all the hard work. Okay I'm generalizing but you get the picture. Women are the backbone of Cambodia, much the same as elsewhere around the globe of course, but in Cambodia they do all the graft but get little or no reward. In February a group called World Pulse came for a tour over here and have just published their April eMagazine with Cambodia as their main focus for the month. Read it here. World Pulse give women around the world a platform to network and a voice. They are a community of strong women determined to make a positive change, and that includes in Cambodia. And they have my support, for what it's worth.

Another coalition that is looking to make a difference are the acclaimed rock band Dengue Fever - who must have the best PR office of any band I know as they are never out of the press - and the NGO Wildlife Alliance, who are teaming up to preserve Cambodia's unique natural heritage. Whilst Dengue Fever have almost single-handedly resuscitated interest in the 60s and 70s style psychedelic pop, Wildlife Alliance are doing their bit to preserve threatened animals and forests in Asia. The partnership kicks off tonight when a booth by the NGO will be set up at the band's gig in Falls Church. Future co-operation will include benefit concerts, charity remixes, online commercials, and cross marketing on social networking sites and websites. A blatant marketing ploy by both parties - who said that?

Finally, whilst I'm online and still moaning about and their failure to sort out the uploading photos problem... today is the 34th anniversary of the surrender of Phnom Penh to Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge forces, who promptly turned the capital into a virtual ghost-city by sending the inhabitants into the countryside. A terrible chapter in Cambodia's history. On a more upbeat note, over the last three days, during Khmer New Year, the city once again fell silent when approximately 70% of the population returned to their loved ones in the provinces and the streets around my home were virtually empty, save for the odd scavenging dog and myself, looking for somewhere or something to eat. It made a pleasant change from the usual frenetic, madcap streets that I see around me every other day of the year.

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