Alleyway kitchens

Extensive mazes of alleys cut through the heart of large city blocks. Outside the doors are these clay planter-type contraptions which are used for cooking. You can place a grill on top or set a pot or wok on it. They'll make extensive meals with one or two of these. We have one too but it's been sitting unused with a small healthy weed in it which needs no apparent nutrients from soil or water, because I coudn't find an eco-friendly alternative to deforesting Cambodia (they cut the hardwoods down to make charcoal). But I recently found a great NGO, Ceres, which makes char-briquettes from biomass waste. They develop alternative fuels and stove technologies. Three kilograms of these briquettes cost 9000 Riels ($2.25). Family members … [Read more...]

24 Hour Comics in the Penh

The second 24-Hour Comics in Cambodia was held in Java Arts Cafe today, with six participants. This event is a creative challenge conceived by Scott McCloud in 1990. Artists brainstorm a storyline and draw a 24-page comic in 24 hours. The first international event was organised by Nat Gertler on April 24, 2004. Today it's held annually in many cities on the same day. See the 2008 highlights of the very best pieces submitted over the years here. And keep an eye on Webbed Feet, Weblog or @john_weeks on Twitter for more updates. … [Read more...]

technology and politics

This year's 2-day BarCamp Phnom Penh event was held at Paññāsāstra University (South Campus), Phnom Penh. Increasing interest in all things technology shows in the registration and attendance- over 1000 registered with many more walk-ins, compared to last year's several hundred in total. In the months leading up to this conference the organising group held weekly mini-barcamps, where different ideas, tools and networks were showcased. Tharum Bun writes in the KI Media: [it] introduces Cambodians a new way, if not a breakthrough, in which learning, collaboration, sharing and networking can take place here in Cambodia. Such quick uptake of new technologies, as elsewhere, signals a positive development for the country for the potential … [Read more...]

SIALY: Slow Internet-Adjusted Life Years

One of the metrics used to define the burden of disease is DALY, or Disability-Adjusted Life Years. It quantifies the difference between the actual health status of a population and an ideal situation where all individuals live long lives free of disease and disability. It measures mortality and morbidity, and it's a measurement based on time. This allows for the impact of disease or risk factor to be determined in that one DALY is equivalent to one lost year of healthy life. DALY = YLL (Years of life lost to premature death) + YLD (Years lived with a disability) Given that posts sometimes take 15 minutes to write but two hours to upload, I've come up with a unit of measurement to measure the burden of slow internet for an aid worker … [Read more...]

Sunset on the Mekong

It's been a while since we've seen a sunset here. After the brief lull in the rains last month, September stormed in with brilliant downpours and the energy-sapping intermittent drizzling all day long. In some provinces these downpours made up for the drought. Unfortunately there was so much sudden deluge that up to 2m have been recorded in some villages around the country, and flash floods have taken about a dozen lives. This photo above of the Phnom Penh skyline was taken from the peninsula before the rainy season started. That is the royal palace and royal viewing stage on the riverfront (for the November boat races during the Water Festival, or Bon Om Touk). … [Read more...]

Pchum Ben- remember the ancestors

This is such a great photo, shared by Metro Cafe.It is Pchum Ben in Cambodia, one of the biggest Buddhist holidays in which people visit the pagodas and bring offerings in remembrance of their ancestors. Once again there is a mass exodus from the city as the Khmer go to their provinces to visit their families, and foreigners take advantage of the many days off to flee the country.Pchum Ben is similar to the Christians' All Saints' Day. This ritual used to be an ancient Celtic celebration called Samhain. Attempting to suppress these pagan traditions the Catholic Church created All Saints' Day (All Hallows Day) in the 7th century to christianise the event.Other cultures have rituals for remembering their dead around this same time of year … [Read more...]

our resident tukei gecko

Isn't Fred the cutest tukei gecko ever?? Except he's a SHE! LOL! Just saw her little ones yesterday, they're feisty like mommy!Fred is about 6inches around her tummy, 10inches long to the end of her tail. She's been a regular at our place for years. Or should I say, WE've been regulars at HER place for years LOL!. … [Read more...]

Celestial dance of 22 July 2009

A dismal overcast day spawns in the Kingdom. The mighty Mekong bucks and swells with all the world's rage. Celestial beings roar.Across the land village radios quiver with the news: the Eye of God cometh. Today a dark day falls. None shall be spared.Humans and fortune tellers and witches scurry about their paltry rituals and offerings to stave the impending doom. But the cauldron of the heavens boils and bubbles. In just moments the essence of wrath will descend upon earth to end this corrupt age of Kali. Lesser clouds sent by a kindly small (unknown) Hindu god for Cambodia's meager comfort cower as the lunar transit arcs straight into the solar shanti..... Om Shanti.... OM NAMAHO SHIVA!![looks to see if you, reader, are still … [Read more...]