Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - I can dig it!




I can dig it!

I can dig it!

In reaction to Richard Woodd's article "Poor get shovels for 600km of roads"

(Post, August 13, 2004), I would like to draw attention to the paragraph quoting

an ADB staffer responsible for this program as saying "He said jobs would be

created by replacing mechanized road maintenance with local labor..."

As the article explained that poor people in three provinces would be issued with

shovels and paid "the local minimum legal wage" to maintain roads, may

I respectfully suggest that even more jobs could be created if, before issuing the

laborers with those shovels, additional workers could somehow be employed to dull

the blades so as to diminish the implements' effectiveness.

Better still, instead of issuing something as cutting edge (Please forgive the pun.)

as real picks and shovels, why not require the local people to fashion their own

crude implements from sticks and stones? That should slow the work significantly

and so allow for the employment of even more than the 18,800 workers cited in your

article.

I applaud the desire of both the ADB and the Japanese government (the project's financial

backer) to address the need to create employment in the provinces. However, I wonder

whether replacing mechanized road maintenance with picks and shovels and thus pushing

Cambodia even closer to the "Stone Age" does not represent "NGO think"

at its worst.

I have long been baffled that a nation with such a huge NGO presence and such a torrent

of aid money as Cambodia has long enjoyed could somehow remain so poor. When I learn

that the Japanese government and the ADB have joined forces to use my tax dollars

to replace a previously mechanized process with human sweat and shovels, I think

that I understand the sad reality of Cambodia's predicament a little better.

Mark Rosasco - Tokyo, Japan

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15