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Cambodia Microcosm 3 – Our Land Issue and the Neighbourhood

The picture that appears here is the latest one that I will keep taking as and when our land and property is inundated because of landfill and new road construction that blocked previous natural drainage.  This blog documents the story including representations to authorities that have allowed this to happen and so creating stagnant mosquito and sewage-infested stretches of water that are serious new health hazards. Already in this picture early 2018 monsoon season rains have overwhelmed our previous drainage that worked well over the last 20 years.

For the very latest please jump to the end of this blog or see my latest Tweets herehere and here.

This is not only a third blog about our Takhmau neighbourhood but a complete documentation of how our property and neighbours have been affected by land development decisions forced upon us.  In this sense it qualifies as a "microcosm" because so many communities across Cambodia have been affected in the same way.  There is one difference though.  For many of those, the first they learn about such development is when strange people come to measure up land, and in some cases even when bulldozers move in. Cambodia is supposed to have planning laws but they are applied inconsistently.

Cambodia Microcosm 2 – the Neighbourhood


Street 251 springs in to life early every day; indeed it never is quiet. The boy with the hand-cart is a recycler. He goes through rubbish that has been dumped and to collect or buy from neighbours.
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Temporary Note: My apologies. have reorganized this blog as the land case is now too great. Here I tell about the neighbours and the beginning of our land saga. As characters they do stand out on their own. The land case is s et out in a linked blog Microcosm 3.
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Good Morning Takhmau  - 11 July 2017, 6.20 am

Welcome to Street 251, Takhmau – Kampong Samnanh Sangkhat.   It’s a small road.  We have lived here for 17 years.  It is the place where I have lived longest in my life, for more than last third of my 42 year career in human resources management; overseas development, and human rights.

Cambodia Microcosm 1 – the Family




The Wife’s Family Photograph 2004
Back Row Left to right:  Cousin, Oldest Brother, My Wife, her late Mother (RIP), "Bad Boy" Father
Front Row: Enterprising Brother; Quiet One, Errant One.

Interlude: Please go to the end of this blog for an update in view of the election in Cambodia in July 2018.  For other blogs just use Search and enter “elections”.

Urgent clarification 8 August 2018.  Last night I learned from my wife's brother that she had indeed been receiving a share of proceedings from her Mother's inheritance, contrary to what she told me. She has not confirmed or denied this. He says that she had also been offered to sell her share for a capital sum.  Throughout the blog I have alleged that her brothers were depriving her of her rights. I have accepted what they say for now and apologized. I will make amend this blog accordingly. However I am not convinced that it is a simple as this. I hope to obtain the full facts although as very little is documented formally this may be hard.  Whatever the truth It is another lesson learned about life in Cambodia.

A recent blog explained why I have had to accept that sometimes your best is not good enough. But I keep on trying regardless.

Usually I refer to policy matters and aspects of Cambodian Society at the macro-level in the hope of helping to influence change for the better.

Equally though it applies at the micro-level, at home and in the neighbourhood, both being exact microcosms of Cambodia, its wider society, with its intoxicating mix of blessings and ills.

Back in 1998, my first home in Cambodia was near Wat Langka, Phnom Penh.  One day I came home and a boy was beating his sister. Their mother and older sister, both well-educated, were unperturbed and laughed when I remonstrated. I had to let the incident pass due to not speaking the Khmer language.