About two months ago, the world was watching Cambodia and Thailand clash on the border near Preah Vihear . The significance of these small-scale battles to the countries involved and the rest of South East Asia should not be dismissed, but the latest flare-up between Thais and Cambodians have quickly become old news with the onset of social the unrest that has now risen to a revolutionary roar across the Middle East and Northern Africa.

Even the developing civil war in the Ivory Coast, which saw thousands of people murdered last week, has struggled to take attention away from the unpredictable revolution being staged in Libya, and the bizarre, violent and nonsensical dictator of that country, Muhammed Gaddhafi.

Still, the most important question regarding the Libyan situation, as well as Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and other countries in flux, is what inspired the people to unite, and confront authoritarian leaders now, when many of the leaders have been in power for decades. The most common answer seems to be economic, mostly in the form of rapidly rising food prices and the failure of governments in the region to generate jobs for the expanding number of youth entering the work force. In a report from Egypt, the Washington Post asked a 17-year-old Egyptian man, who worked as a hired assassin, why he settled for such  rethless job. “We have no jobs and nothing to do, but we have to bring money home,” he said.

Although the world is getting older as a general trend, less developed countries, particularly those such as Cambodian and many countries in the middle east which have recently been embroiled in war, are remarkably young, with the majority of populations yet to reach adulthood. It is in this global context that this week’s “Constructive Cambodian” column has been written, and while Lift has been covering the looming employment crisis in Cambodia for more than a year, the importance of doing something now, rather than waiting, is more obvious than ever.
While low unemployment is a common ill across the world, where economies are still “recovering” from the economic crisis, Cambodia has a compounding problem of poor education of its population, which make it difficult to fill white-collar positions with qualified applicants, even if they are created with improvements in industry and commerce. One of the obstacles on the road to a higher achieving academic population is a lack of enthusiasm for schooling across the board. Our cover feature investigates how this attitude is being changed, both on a national level and one student at a time.

Another commonality between our Kingdom and those in the Middle East is a subservient role of women. While Colonel Gaddafi still insists on his body guards remaining virgins, Cambodia’s rigid rules around feminine behaviour seem to be loosening. One example we noticed recently is the rise of social drinking among young ladies. We talked to people in the know to find out if our suspicions were true and, if so, were they representative of larger shifts in society.

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Our thought and prayers are with citizens in the Middle East and those still piecing together their lives in Japan, or risking their lives to protect their neighbours.


  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million

  • PM warns EU and opposition on 34th anniversary of his rule

    HUN Sen reached the milestone of 34 years as Cambodian prime minister on Monday and used the groundbreaking ceremony for a new ring road around Phnom Penh to tell the international community that putting sanctions on the Kingdom meant killing the opposition. “Please don’t forget