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Man About Town: 22 June 2012

ANOTHER SCHOOL SCAM UNCOVERED

School scams in Siem Reap seem to still be very much on the agenda, according to a missive from a Singapore reader whom we’ll call Miss A.

Until this is all checked out, we can’t name the reader, the school or the school founder.

But of course we can run this gist of Miss A’s complaint about a “free village school,” which has a high profile and professional web site. And a bank account number which belongs to the founder.

Miss A said she was in Siem Reap in March and visited the school with her father, being driven there by Mr B, the founder.

Miss A said, “While he mentioned the drive to the school is free, and a day of touring in his car would cost $25, he demanded $35 from us at the end of the day after visiting the school and giving out pencil cases and toothbrushes to the children. He also brought us to a pharmacy where we were charged $20 each for two simple clay filters, and brought to an overpriced restaurant that ended up costing $36 for a simple meal.

“When we expressed interest to build a roof for the school, he started to quote ridiculous prices, saying the material (made of dried leaves commonly used by villagers) needs to be imported from another town, and would take months to build and insisted we give him the cash or deposit into his personal bank account, saying he’s in charge.

“I’m really concerned about the children being made use of, and am worried he demands the items back from the children. He told me people from Hong Kong donated 60 pairs of shoes, and at the school when I asked why the children were barefooted, he said the shoes were taken away by dogs. Bear in mind the Hong Kong tourists were there only a week before me.”

Miss A also added that Mr B is a tour guide who brings all his tourists to his school.

She added, “I understand most people, unprepared with gifts for the children, gives him cash. The school is a volunteer teacher’s house, with very basic facilities. I had to buy water filters, and apparently the Hong Kong people donated money for a roof, but the roof is made of transparent plastic.”

ANOTHER AWARD FOR RAFFLES

Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor has won a 2012 Certificate of Excellence award from TripAdvisor.

According to the hotels PR release, “Only the very best in the business are awarded a Certificate of Excellence. To qualify, businesses must maintain an average rating of four or higher out of a possible five, as reviewed by travellers on TripAdvisor. Additional criteria include volume of reviews and how recently they have been submitted.

“Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor has an impressive 4.5 rating, and earlier this year it was also ranked amongst the top 25 best hotels in Asia for service, in TripAdvisor’s 10th annual Travellers’ Choice Awards 2012. “

The hotel’s general manager Christian Sack said every single staff member, “Works hard to create the ambiance to make our guests relax and feel good, and to underpin that with great service.”

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