The Art of Dissent

IMG_0208The Cambodian Center for Independent Media launched its ‘Legacy of Impunity’ exhibition at Meta-House this evening, in tandem with Cambodian Center for Human Rights’ “Never Forget” (at the Mansion, Foreign Correspondents Club). Both were launched in solidarity with today’s International Day To End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.














I missed the CCHR event but at Meta-House, I was intrigued to find some very clear and solid documentation of the peril frequently facing local Khmer journalists.




Why a gallery exhibition? One could say there is art in a good story. And secondly, as the political sphere has become increasingly unstable over the last two weeks, this is a relatively safe way to express concern for those who uphold democratic institutions. IMG_0204

Freedom Park and the concomitant issues surrounding it could be reserved for an exhibition on just that brief and dramatic period.


CCIM’s 2014 report:




Two exhibitions, six days left. Well worth your time. And do take a moment to sign the ‘Justice For Journalists’ online petition:

(Logo (above) provided by International Free Expression Exchange ([IFEX]) for International Day to End Impunity.)




Fire Damage Behind Java 03

This last Friday morning (estimated 1 AM) a fire broke out in the buildings behind Java Cafe. Four residences were damaged as well as the office of Java Cafe / Gallery, including a number of irreplaceable art items in storage.

Community Members 02

Nine families remain in the area, with severe structural damage. (Above.) It is possible that some members of the community may have some issues related to smoke inhalation. In a country where few have fire insurance, health insurance, or other resources, some of the families are believed to have lost nearly everything in their homes.

Thanks to calls on social media, local community members have donated over $700 in cash and a substantial number of household items. (Cash is preferred, household items are welcome as well.)

At 3pm this afternoon a donation of money and household donations took place (below), to be distributed under the supervision of the local village chief.

Donation 01

A further donation of household items took place at 4pm. Java Cafe will accept donations up until 10 PM tonight, closing for several days due to Pchum Ben holiday. It will re-open on Wednesday the 14th.

Due to the Pchum Ben holiday season, it is a particularly challenging time to manage relief efforts. It has been very gratifying to see the immediate response of many varied Phnom Penh residents.

During Pchum Ben holiday, donations will be accepted at nearby Willow Boutique.

For further news and updates, follow Java on Facebook:
It is expected that international fundraising venues will be established in the near future (i.e. ‘Kickstarter’, bank transfer, etc). Default contact email:

Additional pictures:
Interested parties are welcome to share these pictures freely, to assist in the relief effort.
On social media, please reference the hashtag #JavaFireKH.


In a country where Valentine’s Day bears broad similarities to Prom Night, romance is serious business.


Hence there’s a bit of hubbub about the first Khmer-language ‘friend finder’ (wink wink) / dating app ‘Matchstix‘, going strong since its July launch.—s-first—-friend-finder—-app/

Tinder-style functionality in Khmer language? Many parents will be appalled at the idea. But in a country that is phone-crazy, with more sim cards than citizens, it may be hard to avoid.

But let’s see what the target group – young, urban, literate Cambodians – derive from it. Already, the product team is setting its sights on a bigger target – Myanmar, one of the few countries in the region where regulation will be tough to enforce. (See below).

Cambodia is a country that adores the concept of romance in music and film, but is still deeply conservative.  As recently as 2006, wives of government officials wanted a ban on 3g phones, on the rationale they’d enable mistresses.

I’d expect future apps to be used as a family effort – as we are seeing in the Indian diaspora.


Survivor Comes To Cambodia




Having lived in Cambodia for over 15 years, I know plenty of real ‘survivors‘.

I’m not 100% comfortable with Cambodia repackaged as a slick media showtoasted by the powers that be.

Ah well. If you want to see more about the real Cambodia, try the films by actual Cambodians:  Rithy PanhKalyanee Mam, so many more.

Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten is making waves; I’m happy we have The Last Reel up for an Oscar.

I should withhold my snarky comments until the show is done and dusted. My nieces love it.

BarCamp 2008 Photos

Due to a recent talk to drum up interest in Barcamp Phnom Penh 2015, I’ve dredged up some old photos:

BarCamp Sticker

Looking back to Cambodia’s very first BarCamp (Sept 2008), following on the heels of our 2007 Blogger summit.


BarCamp Phnom Penh

As with the prior meeting, we were amazed regarding the enthusiasm, as many people came from near and far.   Microsoft Presentation - BarCamp Phnom Penh  


Opening talk in Khmerlish by sponsor Microsoft. They also handed out shirts with their logo which one of our participants quietly noted were a knockoff of a global brand (Izod, I think?)  




One Laptop Per Child - BarCamp Phnom PenhBarCamp Phnom Penh


‘One Laptop Per Child’

Thomas Wanhoff: Twitter - BarCamp Phnom Penh

Thomas Wanhoff on Twitter  


Bart Geesink - Low Power Computing - BarCamp Phnom Penh

Bart Geesink: Low Power Computing


Kindle - BarCamp Phnom Penh

  Huy Eng & Makara from sponsor House32 check out a newfangled Kindle.       kill-your-email
Yours truly on how to ‘Kill Your Email’.


How to Speak Japanese - BarCamp Phnom Penh 


“How to Speak Japanese”  

Angilee Shah on writing - BarCamp Phnom Penh
Angilee Shah on Writing



BarCamp Phnom Penh

‘The Usual Suspects’. I can spot Tharum, Chantra; who else?

At the very end, a quiet attendee raised his hand and praised the gathering. He was from one of Cambodia’s Ministries, I believe it was the Ministry of Interior. It was not clear if he was attending in a private or public capacity. But that’s Cambodia for you. ;)

Barcamp Poster

Full album:

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