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:

General Amusement



@john_weeks @erikwdavis This would work here judging by the guys I see staring at their phones at MOD every day

— Paul James Harper (@pauljamesharper) September 16, 2015



A tidbit courtesy Silong Chhun.

In the 1980s and 1990s, there were weren’t so many books and films about contemporary Southeast Asia in the West.

To be considered a scholar of Cambodian history, the first step was to simply read everything on the topic. And there wasn’t that much explicitly about the country or the area. It was simply “read everything, watch everything”.

Today I’m pleased to observe that’s not entirely possible. There are many more books, publications, films, comics and music. And many more in the voices of Cambodians themselves.

This is a cheesy Disney TV movie. Those who can speak Khmer won’t hear much of it. But as people have pointed out, it was an attempt to show real-world situations, and one of the very first opportunities for Khmers to recognize themselves in the media.

Additional background:,,20093030,00.html

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